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Fall Arts Preview 2019: Richmond Ballet celebrates artistic director Stoner Winslett during fall season

Fall Arts Preview 2019: Richmond Ballet celebrates artistic director Stoner Winslett during fall season

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Forty years ago, former ballerina Stoner Winslett joined Richmond Ballet as artistic director. In this role, she has commissioned nearly 75 original works from more than 35 choreographers worldwide and has overseen the company’s debuts in New York, London, Beijing and Shanghai.

One of the few female artistic directors in the U.S., Winslett has been a leader in diversity and inclusion in the world of ballet.

She took part in the launch of The Equity Project, led by the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and, more locally, introduced a community access program, Minds in Motion, now offered in 27 Virginia schools.

Throughout the fall 2019 season, Richmond Ballet will celebrate Winslett while showcasing its depth of talent with both innovative contemporary works and well-loved classics.

From Sept. 27 to 29, at the Carpenter Theatre, Richmond Ballet will perform “Contemporary Classics,” with the production of two ballets. The first, “Carmina Burana,” is an often-repeated contemporary ballet that was first set in Richmond in 1987 by John Butler and then restaged by Malcolm Burn. The VCU Commonwealth Singers and the Richmond Symphony Chorus will perform the score by Carl Orff.

“Carmina Burana” will be paired with George Balanchine’s elegant classical ballet “Theme and Variations,” performed by 26 dancers.

From Nov. 5 to 10, Richmond Ballet will hold its first performance of the studio series at its Canal Street location with an old favorite and a world premiere.

“Ancient Airs and Dances,” the first piece Winslett choreographed for the professional company, explores the phases of relationships.

That performance will be paired with a world premiere ballet by Ma Cong, who began his dance career at the Beijing Dance Academy and has created several other innovative works for Richmond Ballet.

From Dec. 13 to 23, Richmond Ballet will perform its 40th “Nutcracker” set by Winslett. “The Nutcracker” has become a fan favorite and a holiday tradition for many in Richmond.

New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay once wrote, “Stoner Winslett’s staging [of The Nutcracker] for Richmond Ballet was so satisfying all round … that I formed an ideal version of America in which every state in the Union has at least one local production that’s this perfect.”


The Latin Ballet of Virginia has two performances this fall. On Sept. 14, from 1 to 3 p.m., the performers will help the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts celebrate the art of Latin America with dance from Patagonia.

On Oct. 27, the ballet will perform at the Dia de los Muertos Festival at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen.


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From Sept. 19 to 22 at the Grace Street Theater, Starr Foster Dance will present six works, including three premieres choreographed by Artistic Director Starrene Foster.

For one of the original works, “Here,” Foster collaborated with Lisette Johnson from the Shameless Survivors Organization to support survivors of domestic violence. At all performances, attendees will have the opportunity to donate gas and grocery cards to the YWCA.

The event also includes the premiere of the visionary “Land Shadows,” performed by the full company, and the Richmond premiere of “At Your Darkest,” performed by senior company members Erick Hooten and Caitlin Cunningham.


On Sept. 27, the Modlin Center for the Arts will present Camille A. Brown & Dancers, with highlights from the award-winning choreographer’s critically acclaimed African American trilogy.

On Oct. 9 and 10, the center will present the Martha Graham Dance Company’s “The Eve Project,” which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.


As part of the fourth annual Dogtown Presenter’s Series, Dogtown Dance Theatre will present a collaborative work by local choreographer Kara Robertson of the modern-dance company KARAR DANCE COMPANY. The performances will be Oct. 18 to 26. The piece, “Circadian,” is inspired by Fan Ho’s architectural photographs of 1950s and 1960s Hong Kong and showcases the beauty of simplicity and the value of routine.


On Dec. 11, Studio 4 Dance will present the 2019 RVA Dance Awards at the Hofheimer Building at 6 p.m. with performances by Richmond artists.


K Dance, a company-in-residence at the Firehouse Theatre, will present the 21st annual YES! Dance Festival on Dec. 20 and 21. Through the festival, a showcase of contemporary choreographers and dance companies, K Dance has introduced more than 140 choreographers and performers to the Richmond area. Developed by Artistic Director Kaye Weinstein Gary, the production has featured guest artists from Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch,” a list of up-and-coming artists featured in the magazine’s January issue.


For those who prefer donning their own dance shoes to sitting in a theater seat, the RVA Salsa Bachata Foundation is hosting the RVA Salsa Bachata Congress at the Delta Hotel by Marriott from Sept. 6 to 8.

Attendees will enjoy choreographed dance performances and opportunities to participate in workshops for dancers of all levels.


Richmond Urban Dance presents the I AM HIP HOP Dance Convention from Sept. 13 to 14 at the Dogtown Dance Theatre. Recommended for intermediate and advanced dancers ages 11 and up, the convention offers workshops with world-renowned choreographers and opportunities to participate in a freestyle battle and showcase.

Catherine Brown writes about the arts, parenting, health and interesting people for local and national publications. She can be reached at

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