Diablo Ballet’s Daring New Pas de Deux for Dance & Device and Former San Francisco Ballet Star Joanna Berman’s Partnership with Christopher Wheeldon

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Tonight’s Diablo Ballet performance either marks the advent of a hot new trend in dance criticism…or not.

Dan Meagher, Director of Marketing for Diablo Ballet, has already been fielding comments from both sides of the Great Textpert Debate, while Artistic Director, Lauren Jonas, has voiced her support in Dan’s experiment of creating “CitizenCritics” for the performing arts.

What will happen:

A handful of ‘Textperts’ have been chosen to sit in the back of the theater with their portable texting devices and to ‘Tweet’ their <14o character ‘haikus’ of their observations during tonight’s performance. Their sound pads will be switched off and the light emitted from their devices will be switched to ‘low’, so as to not disturb the rest of the audience.

Hiromi Yamazaki with Derek Sakakura and Robert Dekkers in KT Nelson’s The Escaping Game; Photo: Ashraf

The original Press Release (to those of us fortunate enough to receive the invitation) to apply for the coveted spot of ‘Textpert’ (in exchange for a free ticket to the performance) is as follows:


Walnut Creek, CA

 How would you describe dance in 140 characters? Diablo Ballet of  Walnut Creek invites Bay Area ‘text-perts’ to break the barriers of dance and Twitter live during the Company’s Friday March 2 7:30 PM at Shadelands Arts Center in Walnut Creek, California.

Bay Area residents are invited to apply to receive a complimentary ticket to sit in the ‘tweet seat’ section (located in the back of the auditorium), where they can share their immediate thoughts about the performance over Twitter. Each participant’s live tweets will be re-tweeted the night of the performance on Diablo Ballet’s Twitter page (@ <https://twitter.com/#%21/DiabloBallet>DiabloBallet) and also via the hash tag#diablo.

“I’m excited to bring this exciting, interactive idea to the world of dance”, said Lauren Jonas, Diablo Ballet?s Artistic Director. “It will be interesting to see how an audience member describes dance in only 140 characters.”

Potential participants must:

-Be age 16 or older

-A Bay Area resident

-Have a portable texting device that can last two hours without charging

-Have an active Twitter account

“We thought it would be a fascinating project to see how the art of dance can be described and shared with everyone”, said Lauren. “By using social media, we hope to intrigue and inspire folks to see live dance!”

One aim of the program is to give people a critical voice in the arts. “We’re creating “citizencritics,” says Dan Meagher, Diablo Ballet Director of Marketing. “The power of arts criticism is moving into the hands of everyday people, whose opinions are just as relevant and valid as those of a major critic.”

Diablo Ballet’s March program will feature  the West Coast premiere Pas de Deux from Mercurial Manoeuvres by Christopher Wheeldon.

To apply, send your name, phone number, city, and link to your Twitter account to Dan Meagher, Director of Marketing, at Dan@DiabloBallet.org <mailto:Dan@DiabloBallet.org>. For more information, visit  Diablo Ballet’s websiteat http://www.DiabloBallet.org <http://www.diabloballet.org/>  and select “performances” or by clicking here <http://www.diabloballet.org/performance.html&gt;. You may also call their office at 925-943-1775 extension 0. Interested parties must apply by February 22nd. Participation is by invitation only.


Another reason to get excited about tonight’s performance:

Joanna Berman

Former San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer, Joanna Berman, one of the greatest and most beloved dancers in SFB’s long history, has ‘set’ the pas de deux from Christopher Wheeldon’s Mercurial Manoeuvres for tonight’s performance and she will be in attendance in the audience tonight.

Read Geri Jeter’s interview with Joanna here, and Mary Ellen Hunt’s here.


Odette has chosen to attend tonight’s performance as a regular member of the press, as opposed to being one of the invited ‘textperts’, but you can be sure she will also tweet her observations soon after the performance.


It’s still not too late to attend this ‘Inside the Dancer’s Studio’ (up close and personal!) series of performances this weekend; according to the powers that be at Diablo Ballet we can expect to be “within feet of the dancers” and a “dance presentation performed to live music and audience participation in an intimate setting.”

Ahhh, yes. The other big reason to get thee to Diablo Ballet.


Here’s the Press release for this weekend’s performances:

Diablo Ballet Spring Program Features West Coast Premiere by Christopher Wheeldon on March 2-3 in Walnut Creek and March 30-31 in Foster City.

Program Line-up to Include the West Coast Premiere of Mercurial Manoeuvres, by Christopher Wheeldon

Diablo Ballet will continue its 18th Season on March 2-3 and March 30-31, 2012 with the duet from Mercurial Manoevres, which was commissioned for New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project April 28, 2000 at New York State Theater, Lincoln Center and is set to Dimitry Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 35.   “I am incredibly excited to have a work in the repertoire by Christopher Wheeldon, one of today’s most sought after choreographers. My dear childhood friend, former San Francisco Ballet principal dancer, Joanna Berman will be staging the duet,” says Lauren Jonas, Artistic Director. Diablo Ballet’s production will be accompanied by live music.

An internationally acclaimed choreographer, Wheeldon has received the London Critics’ Circle Award, the American Choreography Award and the Laurence Olivier Award. In 2001, he became New York City Ballet’s resident choreographer and first resident artist. Wheeldon has since choreographed over 23 new works for companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet.  In 2011, he premiered a full-length ballet of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. This was the first full-length ballet that was created for the Royal Ballet in over 20 years and was jointly commissioned by the National Ballet of Canada.

In 2010, Diablo Ballet began a new, interactive series called Inside the Dancer’s Studio.  Bringing audiences within feet of the dancers, the series combines a fully costumed dance presentation performed to live music and audience participation in an intimate setting.

The March 2-3 Inside the Dancer’s Studio performances will also include Escaping Game by ODC San Francisco’s Artistic Director KT Nelson and set to the music of Zap Mama, a new ballet by company dancer, David Fonnegra set to live music to classic Frank Sinatra favorites and A Path of Delight or…by Tina Kay Bohnstedt. The Program will be presented at the Shadelands Arts Center Auditorium in Walnut Creek and Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City.  These unique venues not only places the audience within yards of the stage, each performance is followed by a lively, interactive Q&A with the dancers and a reception with tasty gourmet delicacies, Peet’s Coffee, and Destino Wines. 


PROGRAM 2:  Performances:  Friday, March 2, 2012, at 7:30 pm, and Saturday, March 3, 2012, at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm and March 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm, and Saturday, March 31, 2012, at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

Location for March 2-3: Shadelands Arts Center Auditorium, 111 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek, CA. 94598.  Tickets: $37.00 for evening performances and $19-28 for the matinee.  Purchase online at www.DiabloBallet.org or by calling (925) 943-1775. 

Location for March 30-31: Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 East Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, CA. 94404. Tickets: $36.00 for evening performances and $27.00 for the matinee. Purchase online at www.hillbarntheatre.org or by calling (650) 349-6411.



See You at the Ballet!

About Odette's Ordeal

'Ballet's Head Cheerleader'
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2 Responses to Diablo Ballet’s Daring New Pas de Deux for Dance & Device and Former San Francisco Ballet Star Joanna Berman’s Partnership with Christopher Wheeldon

  1. Dan says:

    Thanks so much Teri!

  2. ANTON says:


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