By Emily Rust
A mix of young and old make up the performers of Virginia Ballet’s “Precedence.” The August 10 performance is more of a “concert” rather than a ballet according to artistic director Tish Cordova.
Dancers range from age nine to 60 with adult dancers taking on more difficult pieces such as a flamingo dance. The annual summer performance is in its ninth year with plans for an all-star show next year.
Virginia Ballet’s primary goal is to prepare dancers for the future, whether that is auditioning for traditional ballets or college dance programs. Despite its name, 64-year-old company teaches dancers all different types of dance because as Cordova notes, many auditions will ask dancers to not only be an expert in traditional ballet, but also, modern dance. Because of this, “Precedence” includes a variety of dances including classical ballet, modern and contemporary performances.
“While our goal is the same to teach them correctly and produce very diverse and well-rounded dancers, each teacher’s approach is different and approach is slightly different,” Cordova says on the ballet company’s mission.
Many dancers who move onto different ballet companies or universities are returning to Virginia Ballet to choreograph dances. Some former dancers choreograph as part of their college theses but others like summer performance founder, Susanne Mirabello, return for their love of dance. Mirabello now teaches elementary school in Brussels, but returns often to teach dance classes at Virginia Ballet.
This year’s performance includes many guest choreographers including Andrea Heininge of Fairfax Dance Academy as well as two choreographers from a Maryland ballet theater.
The audience can expect a wide range of dance styles among the 18 different pieces with some acts more abstract than others. Solos out of bigger ballets will be included as well.
After Sunday’s “Precedence,” upcoming performances include “The Nutcracker” in late December as well as “La Sylphide” in April.
Virginia Ballet Company
The Ernst Community Cultural Center
Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus
Aug. 10, 4:30 p.m.