The Cleveland Ballet has ended its 20th anniversary season.
One ballet spokesman called the season, "...a realization of the opportunity to pay homage to such staples as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, a chance to celebrate our history, and an ability to now point toward the future."
The last part of the statement, about pointing "...toward the future," is result of the spectacular acceptance of the presentation of "Blue Suede Shoes."
The rock-and-roll ballet, created and choreographed by artistic director Dennis Nahat, closed Friday, June 7, as a box office hit that literally, spokesman Todd Stuart says, "gives the Ballet the fiscal ability to continue."
The Elvis Presley ballet, as it has been called, was a big ($1.1 million) show with fantastic sets and costumes by Hollywood designer Bob Mackie and orchestration by composer William Ross. And, it was big in ticket sales: in the area of $700,000, with a final figure still being calculated. They had set a $350,000 ticket sales goal.
"Blue Suede Shoes" isn't finished. A national tour is in the works with bookings expected in several cities as early as the 1997-98 season. One of those possible cities is Memphis. The 20th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death will be commemorated there next year.
The production has been called a show business mix of "the best of Broadway, the best of dance, and the best of rock and roll." It will play here again next April, then go to the new opera house in Detroit and then to the Ballet's second home in San Jose, Calif.
Earlier in the year, of course, Cleveland Ballet marked its 20 years of dance history with a big anniversary gala.
Just before the Cleveland Ballet egg was finally hatched in 1976, Plain Dealer dance critic Wilma Salisbury wrote, "...already the image of the company-to-be is beginning to take shape. Clearly, the Cleveland company will not be an esoteric ensemble devoted exclusively to one style of dance. Rather, it will be a repertory company: young, eclectic, and popular." "Blue Suede Shoes" certainly is proof that it is that.
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