Igor Stravinsky's ballet Apollo concludes with the three Muses posing in ascending arabesques beside Apollo.
Igor Stravinsky’s ballet “Apollo” concludes with the three Muses posing in ascending arabesques beside Apollo.

George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky will join us, in spirit, at the Arizona Senior Academy on Thursday (Jan. 7) from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. This first of three weekly presentations will highlight these giants of ballet and music through presentation, film, and discussion.

We will be introduced to Sergei Diaghilev, the Russian impresario who brought ballet, opera, and art to the West. All the great dancers, musicians, and artists of the early 20th century worked with, and were either taught by or mentored by, him. He was the instrumental force in guiding Balanchine and Stravinsky to collaborate. The outcome was the gift of Balanchine using Stravinsky’s music creatively, ultimately shaping American dance. Balanchine’s dancers evoked feeling, emotion, and athleticism.

Academy Village resident and ASA member Suzanne Erlon Kee is shown here in a Ballet West production of Stravinsky's "Firebird."
Academy Village resident and ASA member Suzanne Erlon Kee is shown here in a Ballet West production of Stravinsky’s “Firebird.”

Guides for the January 7 presentation are Academy Village residents Suzanne Erlon Kee and her husband, James Edwin “Jed” Kee. Suzanne danced with the New York City Ballet during some of Balanchine’s most creative periods, including the 1972 “Stravinsky Festival” that presented two dozen works by Stravinsky, choreographed by Balanchine. Later, she was a principal dancer with Ballet West in Salt Lake City.

Jed has decades of interest in ballet history, sharing his enthusiasm, knowledge and insights on the roots of American ballet. He is a professor emeritus of Public Policy and Administration at George Washington University, the outgoing executive director of Ballet Tucson, and former treasurer and president of Metropolitan Theatre and Ballet Company.

Joining the Kees on Jan. 14 and 21 will be Daniel Asia. Asia is a professor of Composition at the University of Arizona and Conductor of the New York-based contemporary chamber ensemble The Musical Elements, which he co-founded. He has composed four symphonies, a piano concerto, and numerous chamber and solo works.

Written by Sharon Stetz, Academy Village Volunteer

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Balanchine and Stravinsky: A Celebration of Their Gifts: Jan.2016
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