Preview: Beer and Ballet

Beer and Ballet; 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; $54. Fry-Paoletti Stage at CLARA, 2420 N Street. (916) 552-5810;; through October 29.

When the Sacramento Ballet opens its 2017-18 season Friday with its annual Beer & Ballet program, it will be the first opening night performance Ron Cunningham has missed in 30 years. Cunningham, co-artistic director of the dance company with wife Carinne Binda, said it may even be the first performance he’s ever missed in his 30 years here.

In a telephone interview from Dayton, Ohio, where he is staging his Great Gatsby ballet for the Dayton Opera, Cunningham said the dancer-created program is one of his proudest achievements with Sac Ballet.

“More than half the company [15 of 27 dancers] is creating world-premiere works for the program,” he said. As usual, the styles vary from classical to experimental—“wherever the choreographers want to go. Carinne and I basically try not to watch them work. You don’t want the ’boss’ looking over your shoulder. Some people feel the necessity to ’help’ the dancers, but we want the raw talent.

“The styles will be amazingly different. Some will be extraordinary, like, ’Holy cow, how did they think of that?’”