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Alabama Ballet Dances 'Don Quixote' Next Weekend

Don Quixote Grand Pas de Deux
Don Quixote Grand Pas de Deux
Photo: AP/Franklin Reyes

Part 2

Alabama Ballet performs the celebrated story ballet 'Don Quixote' at Samford University's  Wright Concert Hall next  weekend, February 26 through 28.  The adventurous story from the famous Cervantes novel  will be presented by the 22 professional dancers on an opulent stage in grand style. Full of exciting lifts, spins and fast paced action, the story ballet created by Marius Petipa with Alexander Gorsky, was first performed by the Imperial Ballet in Russia. It  remains popular and active in the repertoire of major companies of the world such as American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet , New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Kirov Ballet and the Australian Ballet, to name a few. Several of these companies are performing 'Don Quixote' this season.

The story centers on  Don Quixote as he enters Seville accompanied by his squire, Sancho Panza.  In search of a vision, Don Quixote mistakes the lovely Kitri for his illusive Dulcinea.  The plot becomes complicated because Kitri is in love with the poor barber, Basilio.   To make matters worse, her father has engaged her to the nobleman Gamache. A series of interplays and events ensue along with the famous WIndmill battle.   In the end,  there is a happy ending.  Kitri and Basilio marry and Don Quixote continues his quest for honor and his beautiful Dulcinea.

If you are going to the ballet, it is good to know that 'Don Quixote' is especially known for the virtuoso grand pas de deux in Act III between Kitri and Basilio. It is often performed separately as a bravura piece for Prima Ballerinas and Premier Danseurs. Look for elegant footwork, brilliant turns, high jumps and lifts with confident execution. Legendary dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Eric Bruhn, Gelsey Kirkland, Cynthia Gregory, Fernando Bujones and Mikhail Baryshnikov have all performed this celebrated work and can be seen on film.

Alabama Ballet is donating a portion of the ticket sales to benefit Aids Alabama. Performance times are 7:30 on Friday and 2:30 and 7:30 on Saturday and 2:30 on Sunday.  There is plenty of parking on the Samford campus.