Madison’s Homegrown Ballet Company To Present Four Programs In 2016-2017 “Season of Excellence”

(Madison, WI – September 15, 2016)—Madison Ballet will present four programs in its 2016-2017 “Season of Excellence” that highlight the potential of dance to be both a large-scale spectacle and an intimate, personal experience.  The Nutcracker is a lavish annual celebration of the holiday season on the grand stage of Overture Hall. In addition, the company will present three mixed-bill programs at the Bartell Theatre that will feature original choreography and classic works, including two world premieres, and community events that allow for a closer look at dance.

“This year we are really focused on our talented dancers and opportunities for the community to get to know us up close,” said Artistic Director W. Earle Smith. “We are honored to be able to live and breathe ballet in Madison. We create, rehearse, and teach in our studios here year-round, but it is the greatest pleasure to be able to perform for Madison audiences. We are thrilled to present this season that will showcase the breadth of Madison Ballet.”

The season opens with Black/White, a program of contrasts, this fall (October 14-15) at the Bartell Theatre. Excerpts from George Balanchine’s iconic ballet The Four Temperaments—known as one of his “black and white” ballets for its simple costumes—showcase classic lines and music. The Ballet also brings Mr. Smith’s Street back to the stage. This sexy ode to urban dance is set to the rhythmic music of the strings duo Black Violin.

The company returns to Overture Hall December 10-26 to present its annual holiday production of The Nutcracker. Over 130 local community members join Madison Ballet dancers on stage in this glittering production. Original choreography by Madison Ballet’s Artistic Director W. Earle Smith brings the magical tale of Clara and her Nutcracker prince to life, with Tchaikovsky’s classic score performed live by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. 

In February (February 3-4), Bare heats up the mid-winter chill with innovative new dances by up-and-coming choreographers.  The program will include a ballet by guest choreographer UW Dance Department Professor Jin-Wen Yu. Always challenging, and never conventional, Bare is dance at its most pure, sensual, and intimate.

Madison Ballet closes the season (March 31-April 1) with Primavera: a celebration of the new, with two world premieres by Artistic Director W. Earle Smith. The first, One Last Waltz, takes audiences back to the era of the grand Viennese Waltz.  Then, La Cuatro, set to Astor Piazzolla’s score “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires,” is a dynamic interpretation to Vivaldi’s popular tune.


Season subscriptions, group tickets and single tickets are on sale now.

Tickets may be purchased online at MADISONBALLET.ORG or by calling The Overture Center Box Office at 608.258.4141. (Valid for all ticket sales, including The Bartell Theatre performances.)




Madison Ballet at Pinney Branch Library

Saturday, October 22

1:30 – 2:15pm

A fun, creative movement workshop for children ages 3 and up. No dance experience necessary!

Offstage and Personal

Rotunda Stage, Overture Hall

Saturday, November 5

9:00am – 1:00pm

Join School of Madison Ballet students and faculty for an interactive behind-the-scenes look at the daily life of a ballet dancer.

The Nutcracker: Behind the Curtains

Friday, December 9

10:00am – 12:00pm

A special presentation of The Nutcracker for public, private and home-school groups.  Original study guides outline lessons in music, dance, and storytelling to make for an enchanting and educational experience for students of all ages.

For more information, visit MADISONBALLET.ORG/EVENTS.


Originally founded in 1981, Madison Ballet is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional performing arts organization based, led by Artistic  Director W. Earle Smith. Its mission is to promote appreciation for and access to ballet by providing training and performing opportunities through professionally produced productions and educational initiatives.

Now in its 35th year, Madison Ballet is the second-largest dance organization in Wisconsin. Over 13,000 people attend Madison Ballet’s original production of The Nutcracker each year. In addition the Ballet presents a series of intimate annual performances each year, showcasing original choreography, and re-stagings of historically significant and innovative new works by choreographers. Community outreach programs such as “Madison Ballet: Offstage & Personal” and “Behind the Curtains” bring the magic of Madison Ballet to both the young and young-at-heart, providing new perspectives on this timeless art form.

Madison Ballet opened its School of Madison Ballet in September 2005 with just seventy students. Today, the Ballet provides classes and pre-professional training for over 400 children and adults each year. Alumni of Madison Ballet have gone on to a number of prestigious companies and schools, such as Sacramento Ballet, Miami City Ballet, School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and Ballet Chicago.

For more information, please contact:

Gretchen Bourg, General Manager

Madison Ballet

608-278-7990 x672


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