Marking its 40th anniversary, Orlando Ballet plans to expand its Mainstage Season to four productions.
The popular "Vampire's Ball" won't return, but fans of classical ballet can look forward to "Carmen" and "Romeo and Juliet" in the season that runs from October through April.
Orlando Ballet artistic director Robert Hill announced the upcoming season during a reception at downtown nightspot The Abbey on Tuesday evening.
The season will serve as a double anniversary — the ballet's 40th and Hill's fifth year leading the company. An anniversary gala will take place Oct. 17, featuring guest artists performing a short program and dinner.
The Mainstage Series opens in October with "Tribute," a salute to works from popular productions during Hill's tenure. It runs Oct. 18-20.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, the ballet will stage "Romeo and Juliet," a work that Hill calls his "all-time classical favorite." Using the famed score by Sergei Prokofiev, Hill will adapt Shakespeare's story of young love that ends in tragedy. The production runs Feb. 14-16.
The ballet will debut "Some Assembly Required," featuring all new works and guest choreographers March 14-16. The program is designed to showcase the dancers' physicality.
The Mainstage Series concludes April 11-13 with the return of
Holiday mainstay "The Nutcracker" will return Dec. 19-23. As with the 2012 performances, the ballet will be accompanied by live music from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Shortened performances of "The Nutcracker," suitable for young children, will be staged on Dec. 21 and 23.
Orlando Ballet's other hourlong productions designed with children in mind have a fairy-tale theme. "Snow White" opens the ballet's Family Series with a show on Oct. 19.
"Beauty and the Beast" is the series' spring production, with a show on April 12, 2014. Orlando Ballet dancer Arcadian Broad will compose the music and choreograph.
The ballet also will continue "Orlando Ballet Uncorked," its series of intimate dance-and-discussion programs, throughout the season. During those events at The Abbey, Hill speaks about the ballet's artistic process. Audience members can ask him questions, and a short performance takes place.
"I am looking forward to thrilling our audiences again during this ambitious anniversary season and to deliver on my mission to make dance accessible and relatable to current times," Hill said. "Our new season has something for everyone, supporters of the classics as well as fans of the new."