Sacramento Ballet springs into dance

Modern Masters and Beer & Ballet

Sample dance in several styles with <i>Modern Masters </i>by the Sacramento Ballet.

Sample dance in several styles with Modern Masters by the Sacramento Ballet.

Photo By juan ayora

Full information about tickets for all the performances of Modern Masters and Beer & Ballet is available by calling the Sacramento Ballet or visiting its website: (916) 552-5800, ext. 2;

The Sacramento Ballet focuses on two of the troupe’s edgier, more intimate programs during May.

Modern Masters, which showcases new (or newish) works by professional choreographers, gets three performances in Sacramento, one at the Mondavi Center in Davis and one at the Three Stages at Folsom Lake College.

Then Beer & Ballet, which features choreography by young dancers in the company and includes some special, ballet-related artisanal beers by Brew It Up, follows in late May in downtown Sacramento.

The Sacramento Ballet likes to regard these as sampling opportunities.

“You’ve heard of wine tasting. Think of these as ‘dance tasting,’” suggested co-artistic director Ron Cunningham.

Modern Masters is a road show, with three different box offices. The first performances will be in the 500-seat theater at the St. Francis Arts Complex (St. Francis High School, 5900 Elvas Avenue). Performances are Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 15, at 2 p.m., and some performances are already nearly sold out.

Then Modern Masters moves to the 250-seat Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Mondavi Center next Thursday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m., and it’s sold out.

The road show concludes at the newest venue—the 850-seat main hall at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College—on Saturday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. Seats should be available at the door.

Modern Masters tickets are $40, regardless of the venue.

On the program will be “Market Crash,” a frantic piece about Wall Street gone haywire that was created by Brian Reeder—who spent 10 years with the American Ballet Theatre—specifically for the Sacramento Ballet, with support from the Jerome Robbins Foundation. Robbins was a multi-Tony winner who worked on shows like West Side Story and The King and I.

“The Robbins Foundation was impressed that even during difficult times, the Sacramento Ballet continues to do new work,” said Cunningham. “We were also the smallest dance company to receive a grant.”

There’s also a recent piece by Matthew Neenan, another recent recipient of a Robbins Foundation grant.

“There were only four Robbins Foundation grants last year, and we’ve got works by two of them,” said Cunningham.

“We have a nose for picking out the best people in the country.”

Also on the Modern Masters program: a piece by Russian-trained Viktor Kabaniaev, and from local professionals Nolan T’Sani and Nicole Haskins.

The Beer & Ballet performances are in Sac Ballet’s rehearsal studio at 1631 K Street. The new pieces by the company’s dancers are typically long on youthful energy and vision, with the audience sitting close enough to hear the performers breathe.

Performances will be on May 25-28 at 7 p.m., and May 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35, which includes two beverages; among them, the afore-mentioned specialty brews, “Black-Out Swan” and “Stumble-ina.” These two beers were crafted by the dancers themselves. With Beer & Ballet, it’s best to get seats early, since Beer & Ballet typically plays to capacity audiences in this 125-seat venue, and the first show earlier this month sold out quickly.