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Gerald Carpenter: Student Dancers to Perform Two Holiday Ballets

Montecito School of Ballet's double bill includes The Night Before Christmas and Les Patineurs (The Skaters)

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Students of the Montecito School of Ballet will perform two holiday ballets this weekend at the Lobero Theatre. (Montecito School of Ballet photo)

Young dancers from the Montecito School of Ballet will perform two holiday ballets, The Night Before Christmas and Les Patineurs (The Skaters) at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 10, and at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St.

This double bill has been a popular feature of past Decembers in Santa Barbara, coming near the top of the roster of holiday-themed musical events directed toward younger audiences.

There is no choreographer listed for the ballet The Night Before Christmas, which is inspired by one of the best-known poems in the English language. Although the name of the author, Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863), is scarcely a household word, practically every line in his 1822 poem, originally called A Visit from St. Nicholas, has become a holiday figure of speech and part of our shared Christmas language. Moore, who was a New York blue blood, wrote it for his family and didn’t intend to have it published.

During the following year, Moore’s children chattered excitedly about the poem to a family friend, Miss Harriet Butler, who obtained a copy and had it published, anonymously, the following December. It took off like wildfire, of course, and was reprinted exponentially across the country, though Moore didn’t acknowledge authorship until 1844.

During the ballet, the poem will be read aloud by Stephen Sherrill. The narrative structure of the ballet begins at a lavish Victorian party. The guests leave, the family goes to bed and the inanimate objects of the house come to life.

Les Patineurs (The Skaters) is a somewhat abstract ballet, based on the ability of dancers to suggest ice skaters. It was choreographed in 1937 by Frederick Ashton for the Royal Ballet of England, to music by Giacomo Meyerbeer, arranged by the great and sadly neglected English composer and writer Constant Lambert (whose son, Kit, was the administrative heart of the British rock group The Who). Ashton’s choreography was the inspiration for this new production, which was choreographed by Carla Moseley and Delila Moseley.

Tickets to the ballets are $21 for adults, $17 for students and seniors and $13 for children age 12 or younger, and are available from the Lobero box office at 805.963.0761. Click here to order online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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