Richmond Ballet News


April 29th, 2015

Richmond Ballet's Made in The USA

Festive opening night marks the beginning of a new journey for returning company member, Shira Lanyi, as she bids a formal farewell to her hometown audience


Richmond Ballet is excited to announce that the professional company will preview the touring program, Made in The USA: Traditions & Innovations at the Ballet’s Studio Theatre, with four Road to China preview performances, May 12-15, 2015, before leaving for its four-city tour to China on May 17. The evening of May 12 will also mark an opportunity to bid farewell to returning company member Shira Lanyi, as she has elected to retire from the stage and begin a new chapter of her life, pursuing a medical career. The Richmond-native has been a member of the professional company for eight seasons. READ MORE ABOUT SHIRA.

The program will feature four short works, including two ballets by iconic American choreographers, Valse Fantaisie by George Balanchine and After Eden by John Butler; and two ballets commissioned and premiered by Richmond Ballet, Swipe by Val Caniparoli, and Lift The Fallen by Ma Cong.


VIDEO: Watch Swipe from the perspective of Phillip Skaggs! Richmond Times-Dispatch photographer Alexa Welch Edlund strapped a go-pro to Phillip one day in early April, and the results were pretty amazing!


The company is scheduled to perform this program at the 15th annual ‘Meet in Beijing’ Arts Festival at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing; in Dezhou, at the Dezhou Grand Theatre; in Jinan at the Shandong Grand Theatre; and finally in Shanghai at the Shanghai Grand Theatre while touring in China. With a departure date scheduled for May 17 and plans to return on June 1, the company will be traveling in China for roughly two weeks. As the final steps of the Ballet’s yearlong cultural exchange initiative with China, these preview performances will provide a unique opportunity for the company’s hometown audience to see some of the most memorable and diverse pieces of the professional repertory in one full-length evening.

“Our Kennedy Center debut in June of 2013 was already one of the most incredible weeks in recent Richmond Ballet history,” said Stoner Winslett, Artistic Director of Richmond Ballet. “But when we learned that representatives from the Chinese Embassy had seen us perform, and had then decided to invite us to participate in the ‘Meet in Beijing’ Arts Festival in May of 2015, we were both stunned and honored. We had performed internationally once before in London but China seemed to us to be a whole new realm, and we considered the invitation very thoughtfully.”

“Now, nearly two years later,” she continued, “members of our staff have visited China, myself included, and studied its history; we have hosted two dancers from its national ballet company; we have celebrated the Commonwealth’s connections with this fascinating country; and raised our glasses in honor of the Chinese New Year. Through so many of our new friends at the Chinese Embassy and through the Chinese community here in Richmond, we have come to learn a great deal about China’s rich culture, and I know I speak for the dancers when I say, we cannot wait to perform for the Chinese audiences.”


Made in The USA: Traditions & Innovations

“I love the idea of this program,” says Ms. Winslett, “because it represents so much of our identity here at the Richmond Ballet: it helps us to acknowledge the most important parts of our heritage and charges us to care for those, while at the same time, it reminds us that we must continue to look for the new voices and towards the future of the art form.”

The company performed a previous version of this program while on tour in London in June of 2012. This year, Ma Cong’s Lift The Fallen will travel in place of his older work, Ershter Vals. Lift The Fallen was also commissioned and premiered by Richmond Ballet in May of 2013.


Valse Fantaisie  |  Choreography: George Balanchine  |  Music: Mikhail Glinka

George Balanchine’s bright and glittering Valse Fantaisie is a sweeping waltz that is a tremendous display of technical virtuosity. It bears the classic hallmarks of Balanchine’s distinct American style. Set to Mikhail Glinka’s music of the same name, Valse Fantaisie is a joyful ballet in constant motion that is sure to delight.


Swipe*  |  Choreography: Val Caniparoli  |  Music: Gabriel Prokofiev

Swipe, a compelling contemporary piece driven by its music, is Val Caniparoli’s fifth commission for Richmond Ballet. Marked by highly physical, athletic movement, perfectly woven with music by Gabriel Prokofiev, Swipe celebrates each dancer and his or her interpretation of the movement. Remixed string quartets provide the company with an opportunity to let loose, and they bring the audience right along with them.


After Eden  |  Choreography: John Butler  |  Music: Lee Hoiby

Portraying the famous story of Adam and Eve’s exile from the Garden of Eden, this powerful ballet is a stunning example of John Butler’s trademark combination of classic and contemporary styles. Providing a poignant glimpse into the somber story of love and forgiveness, Mr. Butler’s innovative style shines as he uses the dancers’ precise physical movements to express the characters’ raw emotions.


Lift The Fallen*  |  Choreography: Ma Cong  |  Music: Max Richter

Ma Cong’s Lift The Fallen takes its inspiration from the choreographer’s own experience of the loss of his beloved mother. As a ballet envisioned in two parts– representative of, first, the spiritual world of memory, and then the physical world in which we must reckon with loss, Lift The Fallen charts the healing process that we experience in our attempts to move forward. Both deeply personal and yet wholly universal, Lift The Fallen shows us that we can emerge from our struggles, uplifted and strong.



Road to China Preview Performances  |  TICKETS START AT $20.00

Featuring the mixed repertory touring program, Made in The USA: Traditions & Innovations

Richmond Ballet Studio Theatre  |  407 E. Canal Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219

Tuesday, May 12, 6:30 pm (includes a farewell reception for Shira Lanyi)  |  TICKETS

Wednesday, May 13, 6:30 pm

Thursday, May 14, 6:30 pm

Friday, May 15, 6:30 pm

Tickets available at, by calling 1.800.514.3849,

or through the Richmond Ballet Box Office at 407 E. Canal Street

RTC Preview Sponsors



Lift The Fallen Photo by Sarah Ferguson.

Valse Fantaisie. Choreography by George Balanchine. © The George Balanchine Trust.

*Richmond Ballet Commission


VIDEO: Swipe (in Rehearsal)

Phillip Skaggs and Maggie Small with Artists of the Richmond Ballet.

Choreography by Val Caniparoli.

Music by Gabriel Prokofiev. Elysian String Quartet STRING QUARTET NO. 2. Used with permission. Published by Faber Music Ltd., London.

Courtesy of Alexa Welch Edlund and The Richmond Times Dispatch.

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