Neoclassical ballet

Sarasota Ballet introduces new choreographers and dancers

The Sarasota Ballet announced the lineup for its 2022-2023 season and the key word seems to be “new” – new ballets, new dancers and new choreographers.

The season will include six world premieres and nine works never before performed by the company. Two dancers new to the Sarasota scene and likely to figure prominently will join the company from Argentina. And audiences will see new choreography from both acclaimed and unrecognized contemporary choreographers.

Macarena Gimenez and Maximiliano Iglesias, both formerly of Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, will join the company as principal dancers after the ballet returns to New York’s Joyce Theater in August. Gimenez and Iglesias came to the attention of Sarasota Ballet director Iain Webb and his wife, assistant director Margaret Barbieri, through contact with the Royal Ballet, who shared that the dancers were looking for a new home.

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With main dancer Victoria Hulland retires at the end of the current seasonthe directors felt that their diverse background would bring maturity and seasoning to the 15 ballets the company will present across seven programs.

Barbieri said he received “high praise” for both dancers, which referred to Macarena’s “enchanting naturalness, exquisite delicacy and mastery of difficult technique” and Maximiliano’s “flair for dramatic interpretation”. and his prowess as a partner. Webb was impressed with the diversity and breadth of the dancers’ experience.

“I was impressed with their two professional repertoires, each bringing their expertise in the lead roles of Ashton, Balanchine, MacMillan, Nureyev and many more,” Webb said in a prepared statement. “In addition to bolstering our company’s existing repertoire, their familiarity with a wide range of choreographic styles adds to Sarasota Ballet’s ability to take on ballets it has yet to dance.”

Among the “still danced” ballets included in the upcoming season are David Bintley’s “The Spider’s Feast” (British choreographer of recent hit “A Comedy of Errors”), which was originally scheduled before the pandemic; the creation with Johan Kobborg’s production of “La Sylphide” by August Bournonille, one of the oldest ballets in existence; and a new work by acclaimed American contemporary director and choreographer Jessica Lang, which premieres at Joyce in August.

Macarena Gimenez, Sarasota Ballet's new principal dancer

In line with director Iain Webb’s past efforts to provide choreographic opportunities for the company’s dancers, the season will also include world premieres by four company dancers. Three of these as-yet-untitled pieces – by coryphée member Asia Bui and soloist Richard House (their first for the company) and the latest creation by principal dancer and resident choreographer Ricardo Graziano – will make up a triple bill for the first program in October . In January 2023, a new work by member of the coryphée Aracadian Broad, who has previously choreographed for the Orlando Ballet, the Cincinnati Ballet and DanceWorks Chicago, will be presented.

The season ends with a tribute to George Balanchine, longtime director of New York City Ballet and considered the father of American dance, marking the 40th anniversary of his death. Included in the triple program are “Divertimento No. 15”, premiered in 1956 and named after its Mozart score; “The Four Temperaments” from 1946, an abstract neoclassical expression of psychological theory considered one of the choreographer’s “black and white” masterpieces; and the return of “Western Symphony,” Balanchine’s homage to “spaghetti westerns” featuring cowboys and dancing girls.

Four of the seven programs will feature live music from the Sarasota Orchestra, performing works by Franz Liszt, Albert Roussel, Herman Severin Løvenskiold and Giacomo Meyerbeer, among others.

The ballet will add the works of British choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton to its extensive repertoire in November with the first company of “Dante Sonata”, which is paired with Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s “Danses Concertantes”, also a first company. Previously performed Ashton ballets that will make a return are scattered throughout the season and include “Les Patineurs” (“The Skaters”), “Rhapsody” and the comical “Facades”.

Continuing its commitment to hosting a guest company each spring, the ballet has engaged the Dance Theater of Harlem to perform in February.

“From the finest of romantic ballets, ‘La Sylphide,’ to the exhilarating world premiere of Jessica Lang, I look forward to seeing dancers and audiences inspired by the beauty and depth of this extraordinary season,” said Barbieri.


Learn more about Sarasota Ballet’s new season at