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Excitement is in the air with dancers back in the studios to start rehearsals today and single ticket sales for Eugene Ballet’s 2023/24 Live Music Season open this month! It will be a season to remember with 17 performances, 3 world premieres, and live music at all productions for the first time in Eugene Ballet’s history.

There is nothing like live music to bring people together and to tell a story. Orchestra Next will be busy in the orchestra pit this season taking on a variety of musical works from Portland composer Kenji Bunch’s scores to the jazz music of Wynton Marsalis. We even welcome two-time GRAMMY® nominee and New York-based musician Tracy Bonham to Eugene to perform on stage with Eugene Ballet’s company dancers.

Eugene Ballet Tours to Chicago

We kick off the season with a unique performance opportunity that takes Eugene Ballet dancers to Chicago, Illinois. The Gerald Arpino Foundation has planned the Chicago Centennial Celebration to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of Gerald Arpino’s birth, the world-famous co-founder and choreographer of The Joffrey Ballet. Prominent ballet companies from across the country such as American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, and Ballet West are performing a variety of Arpino’s most impactful and revered works on September 23 and 24 at the historic Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. Eugene Ballet is joining them on stage on September 24 to open the show with Arpino’s Reflections, set to the beautiful music of Petr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. “This opportunity provides arts viewers with the ability to see our company in action and hopefully recognize that the size of a city does not define the excellence of an organization,” says Associate Artistic Director Jennifer Martin. Eugene audiences have the chance to see EB perform Reflections live at the Hult Center in the Tracy Bonham program on April 6-7, 2024.

The Snow Queen Makes Her Icy Return

Artistic Director Toni Pimble’s dazzling, crowd-pleasing revival of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen returns to open Eugene Ballet’s 23/24 Season at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. Orchestra Next plays award-winning composer Kenji Bunch’s score live at all three performances running from October 27-29. Audiences of all ages will be enthralled with the story of young Gerda’s journey to save her love, Kay, from the grip of the cold-hearted Snow Queen. With dramatic costumes, sets, and Pimble’s exquisite choreography, The Snow Queen is “an audacious act of hope” (Oregon Artswatch, April 2017) where the power of love transforms even the coldest heart.

This one-of-a-kind ballet premiered in 2017 and was a “huge, and very local, successful undertaking” (CriticalDance, 2017) with over 150 artists involved over the course of two years to bring it to life. From the Snow Queen’s icy, bejeweled cape to the exquisite, oversized dresses worn by the Flowers in the Conjure Woman’s Garden, the ballet’s epic costumes are expertly designed by Jonna Hayden. The enchanting ice palace set is designed by Nadya Geras-Carson and is built to perfection by Barry Rodgers and his talented creative team. These are just some of the exciting collaborative successes to look out for on stage. “This ballet is a coming together of many talented artists. It was created by our community for our community,” Pimble said. “Ballet is a universal language, and The Snow Queen is a ballet with a message about hope, perseverance, and love.”

The Magic of The Nutcracker Remains

Following The Snow Queen, Eugene Ballet brings back another beloved family ballet for the holiday season. The Nutcracker returns to the Silva Concert Hall from December 21-26 for three matinee and four evening performances. Bring the entire family to this classic holiday ballet as we journey with Clara to the Land of Sweets and cheer on the Nutcracker Prince as he battles the Mouse King and his Pirate Mice. This season families can keep the holiday spirit alive for a little while longer by joining us for The Nutcracker the morning and evening following Christmas day!

Eugene Ballet Academy students join EB company dancers on stage in various roles throughout the ballet, a tradition that Academy parents and guardians treasure as their children grow into new and exciting roles each season. “Similarly, I progressed through the respective student roles as I grew up, ultimately participating in a professional capacity both internationally and with the Eugene Ballet,” says Martin. “Now, having children of my own, the importance of that tradition remains. I see that magic in my children’s eyes when they attend the Nutcracker and I’m so thankful that we are continuing the tradition of raising our family immersed in the performing arts.”

Travel Back With Us to the Roaring 20’s

Eugene Ballet starts the New Year off right with a rollicking ride back to the glamourous 1920s. With lavish parties, gorgeous costumes, and all the glitz of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel, The Great Gatsby, Pimble’s Gatsby “pulses like a pot on simmer, that slowly comes to a rolling boil, heating up with intrigue and the omnipresent humidity of an inescapable (pre air conditioning) New York summer” (Eugene Weekly, 2016). Brian McWhorter will once again lead Orchestra Next’s Jazz Ensemble with a contagious exuberance as they play a thoughtfully arranged set of Marsalis’ jazz scores. “When we (Pimble and McWhorter) heard Wynton’s music, we knew we had it,” explains McWhorter. “His music is deeply rooted in the tradition while sounding incredibly modern. While his music wasn’t originally intended for a narrative structure, Wynton liked the idea and was excited that we wanted to use it for this story.”

This cast of complex characters, Pimble’s captivating choreography, and Wynton Marsalis’ world-famous music will fill the Silva Concert Hall on February 9-10, 2024. Dress up in your nicest suits and most fabulous flapper attire, and dive into this tumultuous story of forbidden love, greed, and the corruption of The American Dream.

The classic American literature theme continues with Gatsby’s opening ballet, Portrait in Glass, a world premiere from Resident Choreographer Suzanne Haag. Inspired by Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie as well as Williams’ short story Portrait of a Girl in Glass, this ballet “is truly a picture of a family,” explains Haag, “the intense love, tension, and heartbreak that we have all experienced reflected onto one family.”

The Music Takes the Stage

Two-time GRAMMY® nominee and New York-based musician Tracy Bonham joins Eugene Ballet in song, sound, and story on the Silva Concert Hall Stage, April 6-7, 2024. This exciting collaboration is a tribute to the soundscapes of Haag’s youth. She had first heard and fallen in love with Bonham’s music when she was in high school in the 90’s and was thrilled to learn that Bonham was born and raised in Eugene. A multi-talented singer, songwriter, violinist, and guitarist, Bonham will play from her broad catalogue of music – alternative rock to jazz and everything in between. Her raw, intimate lyrics paint pictures of her life as an artist and her native Oregonian roots.

“This collaboration came together so easily,” says Haag. “To our surprise, Tracy responded immediately to our inquiry, wanting to chat with me and hear more about what I had in mind. After one phone conversation, we knew we were on the same page and were excited to dive into the project.” Bonham and Haag have been meeting regularly, mostly over Zoom, to discuss Bonham’s songs and how they each interpret them along with their visions for the lighting, costumes, stage elements, and choreography. “My goal is to represent her songs in a way that feels right to her,” she explains. “This is a true collaboration between the two of us.” Haag and Bonham decided to portray Bonham’s music as vignettes, visual representations of each song. The Tracy Bonham program opens with Gerald Arpino’s Reflections and Toni Pimble’s Slipstream before Tracy and her band rock the Silva Concert Hall stage.

Pimble Takes on Peter Pan

Our 2023/24 Season ends with a fanciful flight through Neverland at the world premiere of Pimble’s full-length ballet, Peter Pan, May 17-19, 2024, at the Hult Center. After The Snow Queen’s tremendous success in 2017, we have commissioned Bunch once again to create a new score—played live by Orchestra Next at all three performances. Pimble’s Peter Pan is based on the classic J.M. Barrie’s story of the boy who will never grow up. With a little flying magic, that twinkling in the sky really will be Tinkerbell soaring if everyone thinks happy thoughts and if Croc, Nana the dog, and Captain Hook don’t steal the show!

With some exciting new costumes, entirely new choreography, and Bunch’s custom score, Peter Pan will be a one-of-a-kind experience. Pimble has bravely confronted many challenges throughout her impressive choreographic career. She’s preparing to tackle yet another in order to bring the magic of Peter Pan to life. “This will be the first time I have choreographed an extensive flying scene,” Pimble admits. “The first scene involves Peter teaching Wendy, John, and Michael to fly, and it will be most complicated having four dancers in the air simultaneously.” With the help of Flying by Foy, a theatrical flying service based out of Las Vegas, Pimble intends to weave flight into several scenes of the ballet with the dancers themselves “pulling the strings” backstage. Join us for this action-packed ballet where even the audience gets to join in on the fun!

Tickets— priced from $30 to $65, with $15 youth and college tickets (with valid ID)—are on sale now at, at the Hult Center Ticket Office in person and by phone at 541-682-5000.

Featured images and videos by Ari Denison, Antonio Anacan, Glenn Edgerton, and Katherine Frizzell.

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