The Stars of American Ballet will celebrate 10 years of performing in Santa Fe.
“There would be no Stars of American Ballet without Performance Santa Fe,” said Daniel Ulbricht, dancer and choreographer.
“We kind of use Performance Santa Fe as a flagship. What we try here, we might try elsewhere.”
The dancers will return to the Lensic Performing Art Center on Friday, Aug. 5 and Saturday, Aug. 6. Seventeen dancers will take the stage with two musicians.
The troupe travels to cities that rarely host ballet performances, offering principals and soloists from major American companies, including the New York City Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre. The dancers perform during their time off.
The Lensic date comes after a two-year, COVID-driven hiatus.
“A lot of people used it as an off-ramp,” Ulbricht said. “It was an opportunity to pivot. It nudged me to reinvest in the next generation of dancers. It also allowed me to invest in new work.”
The weekend programs showcase completely different offerings, he added.
Friday’s selection opens with “Apollo” by Igor Stravinsky with choreography by George Balanchine. The ballet marked the first time the pair worked together.
“It’s got such a weight in it,” Ulbricht said. “For any male dancer to dance the lead is a big deal.”
With choreography by David Parsons of the international touring dance company Parsons Dance Company, “Balance of Power” features a bracing solo by Zoey Anderson.
“The amount of intensity and electricity and complex control she has in the solo is amazing,” Ulbricht said.
Ulbricht choreographed “Dreamers” to the music from the movie “La La Land.”
“I loved the music but didn’t get the movie,” he explained. Eight dancers will dominate the stage.
The Aug. 6 show will open with the world premiere “De Deux” starring Quinn Starner and Cainan Weber, two up-and-coming dancers from the New York City Ballet. The precise dance is in the Baroque style, Ulbricht said.
Balanchine choreographed “Sonatine” to the music of Maurice Ravel on piano.
“It has a little bit of a French air to it,” Ulbricht said. “It’s very much Balanchine, letting the music take the lead.”
Set to a ukulele soundtrack, “Palolo” was choreographed by Caili Quan, “one of the hottest choreographers in town,” Ulbricht said.
Ulbricht choreographed Benny Goodman’s famous “Sing, Sing, Sing” as an accessible delight.
“It always leads the audience to tap their feet and say, ‘Hey, I know this,’ ” he added.
The evening ends with “Les Lutins,” (“The Goblins”) choreographed by Ulbricht.
“This is a trio,” Ulbricht said, “with violin and piano on stage.
“You get to see the dancers and the musicians interact.”
Both of the male dancers compete for the female’s attention, only to see her fall for the violinist.
“I’m trying to find more pieces that make the music and the dancing more accessible,” Ulbricht said. “I think we’ve brought over 80 or 90 pieces (to Santa Fe) over 10 years. That’s kind of an embarrassment of riches.”