Ballet Theatre of Maryland steps lively toward 39th season

Alexander Collen and Nicole Kelsch as "Romeo and Juliet" with Ballet Theatre of Maryland. Photo by Nick Eckert
Alexander Collen and Nicole Kelsch as "Romeo and Juliet" with Ballet Theatre of Maryland. Photo by Nick Eckert(HANDOUT)

For Ballet Theatre of Maryland's 39th season, artistic director Dianna Cuatto has developed a schedule expanding dancers' horizons in choreography, depth and versatility, while also fulfilling the group's mission to bring ballet to audiences across the state.

Ballet Theatre has grown tremendously under Cuatto's 15-year tenure, leading to the company's being designated Maryland's premier professional dance company. Cuatto promises this season will "offer an exquisite array of classical to contemporary innovative theatrical dance works."


Things to look forward to include the return of "Romeo and Juliet" in October, and the addition of five new soloists to the troupe.

Another highlight will be the February pairing in Annapolis of the company with the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra, under conductor Anna Binneweg, to bring "Aladdin" to life.

Ballet Theatre of Maryland is based at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis, and also performs in Bowie, in Owings Mills and in Garrett County.

The company will also travel again this year to the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric in Baltimore. There, Cuatto said, the troupe will dedicate "Nutcracker" performances "in memory of David Modell — community leader, philanthropist and steadfast friend of the arts."

For those performances, violinist Kurt Nicannen from the New York City Ballet will join conductor Julien Benichou and the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. The "Nutcracker" is scheduled for Dec. 23 at the Lyric, with performances at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Each will feature festivities in the lobby before the performance.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.com, 410-547-SEAT or at the Modell Lyric Box Office.

There is much to look forward to even before the troupe's appearance at the Lyric. BTM will open at its home in Maryland Hall with "Romeo and Juliet," reviving a fan favorite that it last performed more than six years ago.

Described by Cuatto as "a tragic tale told poetically and passionately through the fusion of dance, literature and Prokofiev's magnificent musical masterpiece," this production seems a perfect choice to open the season.


Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20; 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. There will be parties celebrating Cuatto's anniversary before the Friday and Saturday shows and a Sunday matinee "Meet and Greet the Stars Party" to meet Romeo and his Juliet after the performance.

On Oct. 29, the troupe heads west to Garrett County for a performance of "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow," at 2 p.m. at the Garrett Lakes Arts Festival.

"Nutcracker" comes next. The story of Clara's magical Christmas birthday, set to Tchaikovsky's transporting music, will be at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts for two performances at Thanksgiving, on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 26 at 2 p.m.

Next, the show arrives at Maryland Hall for six performances: 7 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 9 and 16; then 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Sundays, Dec. 10 and 17. From there, the show makes the trip to Baltimore for the Lyric engagement.

On Feb. 11, "Beauty and the Beast" will have two performances at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave, Owings Mills. Choreographed by Cuatto, the show features Diego Sosa as the Beast and Sarah Gilliam as Beauty. Call for show times.

Later in February, audiences will enjoy a magic carpet ride in "Aladdin," as the hero strives to save the Princess and her kingdom from destruction. This is the show at Maryland Hall that will feature Maestra Anna Binneweg and the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23; 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25.


On April 8 at 2 p.m., the troupe will be back at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts to present its final "Beauty and the Beast" performance of the season.

Then, April 20-22, the company closes its season at Maryland Hall with "Innovations," a program of diverse works displaying the depth and versatility of ballet through BTM's talented professionals. Shows are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 20; 7 p.m. Saturday, April 21; and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22.

"Dramatic, traditional and contemporary works all come together," Cuatto said noting that Marc Galibre's powerful "Vortex" will be performed, and the classical short version of "Raymonda" will make its BTM debut. Composer Ryan Lucas has been commissioned to create his second new work for the troupe. Additional new and returning works for "Innovations" will be announced at a later date.

Also to be announced will be another performance at the Lyric, in March.

For updates as the season approaches, go to balletmaryland.org or call 410-263-8289. Ticket information is also available at marylandhall.org or call 410-280-5640.