To our delight, the Caught in the Act staff discovered a box of newspaper articles and fundraising artifacts from the Straz Center’s early years, many from the inaugural 1987-1988 season. We decided to create a regular feature called From the Vault to share these snippets of performing arts history with you. Enjoy!
October 19, 1987
Mikhail Baryshnikov and American Ballet Theatre premiere Leonide Massine’s Gaiete Parisienne
Famed ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, the then-artistic director of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), brought a revival premiere of Leonide Massine’s “Gaiete Parisienne,” a work originally staged by Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1938 and brought back to the stage by ABT in 1970.
This engagement, which spanned five days and eight performances, typical then and almost unheard of for ballet companies on tour these days, also included Baryshnikov’s staging of Giselle, Balanchine’s “Symphonie Concertante” and Marius Petipa’s “Raymonda” Act III. The company also performed “Bruch Violin Concerto No.1” by Clark Tippet, who was a principle dancer for ABT at that time but later became a rather famous choreographer in his own right.
Tickets ranged from $10.50-$33.50, and, in case you were wondering (and some of you might remember), Baryshnikov didn’t dance with the company during this engagement, which ran in “Festival Hall” (Morsani) from Jan. 18-23, 1988.
In the photograph, Misha works with a young dancer named Alessandra Ferri, who would dance the principle role in Giselle, and later become internationally recognized as one of the greatest dancers of her generation.