Exploring the Incredible History of Ballet

Blog contributed by Dr. Sherry Lawrence, Sarasota International Dance Festival Board of Directors.

As part of an on-going Lecture Series, Robert de Warren recently presented a multimedia lecture program at the Manatee School for the Arts (MSA). Mr. de Warren is the founder and artistic director of the Sarasota International Dance Festival (SIDAF). The purpose of SIDAF is to promote accessibility and understanding of the art of dance and other arts-related disciplines, as well as expand the scope and knowledge of audiences for dance in all its forms.

With a classroom grant provided by the Manatee Education Foundation, more than 200 MSA students, in grades 7 through 12, learned about the history of ballet “From Tutus on Pointe to Barefoot on Stage.” Information shared focused on 300-years of classical ballet, the origins and development of modern American dance, and some of the individual dance artists who transformed the art of dance. Clips from a wide selection of films depicting past and present stars of the dance world enhanced the presentation which included the following:

  • Eva Peron: A Dance Portrait
  • Christopher Wheeldon: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui: Sutra
  • Sonya Tayeth and Christopher Scott: Sweet Disposition
  • Charles “Lil Buck” Riley: The Dying Swan
  • Ca d’Zan: A Ringling Fantasy

Kelly Burnette, a MSA dance teacher, led the day’s activities and facilitated a Q and A session after each presentation. Attending the session were SIDAF board of director members Georgette D’Amelio and Dr. Sherry Lawrence. Also attending was Dr. Zadda Bazzy, Arts Curriculum Specialist for the Manatee County Schools.

For information regarding the Lecture Series, contact drslawrence@yahoo.com.