"A Comedy of Errors" - An Opportunity Sarasota Ballet Couldn't Pass Up

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Pictured: Ricardo Graziano and Arcadian Broad in Sir David Brintley's A Comedy of Errors. Photo courtesy of Sarasota Ballet.

For many, golden opportunities are rare. That’s why in early 2020, when one came knocking, Iain Webb, director of the Sarasota ballet, answered the door.

Fast forward two years later and that opportunity has finally blossomed into something real: the Sarasota Ballet’s World Premiere of A Comedy of Errors, a full-length balletic adaption of the Shakespeare comedy The Comedy of Errors, on display at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall from March 25th - 26th. Replete with choreography from Sir David Bintley - who is widely considered one of the greatest modern choreographers and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his contributions to dance in 2020 - a fully commissioned score from celebrated composer Matthew Hindon, and set and costume designs from vaunted designer Dick Bird, the program was an opportunity the Sarasota Ballet couldn’t pass up.

“A Comedy of Errors is the biggest premiere the Sarasota Ballet has ever done and the largest event we’ve ever put on as well. What’s particularly special is that it’s a full-length, story ballet, which is extremely rare today. Because the program features a commissioned score, it also provides our frequent collaborator, the Sarasota Orchestra, a rare opportunity to perform a world premiere. We’re very fortunate to have this incredible team here, working with our dancers and bringing the story to life on the stage,” says Sarasota Ballet’s Marketing Director, Jason Ettore.

Producing a program of such size and complexity, however, takes time. “Sir David first approached Iain about the project in early 2020. However, production was halted until March of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That downtime gave Sir David and Matthew Hindon a chance to write the score - deciding what they would adopt from Shakespeare’s original work. Because A Comedy of Errors is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s comedy, its essence is the same as the original but a lot of the mechanics of it are very different. Sir David had to figure out how to tell the story in a modern setting, through the modern medium of dance,” says Ettore.

Finally, in September of 2021, Bintley was able to spend a few weeks in Sarasota choreographing with the Sarasota Ballet’s dancers. He returned in the beginning of February and has been here, rehearsing, ever since. Everybody, it turns out, has been working double time. “With something as large as comedy, we scheduled more time than usual - a full two months - for our dancers to focus solely on this project,” attests Ettore.

However, for the Sarasota Ballet, it has been time well spent. In recent history, the Company’s expansive repertoire of works has brought it national and international acclaim - acclaim that was initially garnered by a reputation for performing historical ballets and working with the heralded English choreographers of the early 20th Century. “With Sir David’s world premiere, it’s about expanding our repertoire to feature the choreographers of today as well as providing the dancers to create a dance legacy through their performance,” states Ettore.

 Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota,941.359.0099

 

Pictured: Ricardo Graziano and Arcadian Broad in Sir David Brintley's A Comedy of Errors. Photo courtesy of Sarasota Ballet.

For ticket information click here.

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