Artistic Director Gregory Amato’s reimagined Carmen is set to Soviet-era composer Rodion Shchedrin’s “iconoclastic but highly entertaining retelling of Georges Bizet's opera,” scored for strings and battery of percussion instruments. This one-act ballet recounts the familiar operatic love triangle between our Spanish Gypsy Carmen; her lover and soldier Don José; and the highly attractive torero, Escamillo – but in Amato’s gender-bending interpretation, Escamillo is modeled after celebrated and real-life female 19th century bull-fighting matador, Maria Isabel Atienzer (Maribel). All three characters must face a choice between the prospect of love, or the security and comfort of familiarity; only tragedy can ensue. ᴉOle!
The Paintings of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Movement
Following its initial premiere in 2012, this encore presentation, which has been condensed into one act, is an analysis of the works of celebrated husband and wife artists, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, which unearths elements inherent in Mexican culture that are deeply rooted in class differences. Director Zenón Barrón interprets these into the language of dance in this selection of traditionally based choreographies by focusing on specific elements within the paintings.
Two One-Act Dance Works of Power and Passion to be Presented: Carmen Suite and The Paintings Of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo In Movement
Saturday, April 1st, 7pm
Sunday, April 2nd, 3pm
San Mateo Performing Arts Center
600 North Delaware Street, San Mateo
Tickets $60, $45, and $30
Discount of $5-off for seniors (age 65+) and juniors (18 and below).
For groups of more than 10, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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* Subject to change before performance date
About the Directors
Gregory Amato has a wide breadth of experience in the international world of ballet. During his four years with Ballet Du Nord in France, Mr. Amato performed in 53 countries. These included performances before the Queen of England, two presidents, numerous ambassadors, dignitaries and prime ministers.
He was tapped by New York City Ballet principal dancer Edward Villella to join him as a founding member of Villella's Miami City Ballet. After relocating to the Bay Area, he was similarly chosen by Michael Smuin as a founding member of Smuin Ballet. While dancing there, Smuin created several ballets on Mr. Amato, including "Frankie and Johnny,” and "Cyrano." He also appeared in the movie, "The Fantastics," which Smuin choreographed.
Mr. Amato's primary teacher and inspiration was New York City Ballet Dancer, Nolan T'Sani. He also studied under full scholarships at the San Francisco Ballet School and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York.
Mr. Amato competed and won the gold medal in the Fred Astaire International Ballroom Dance Competition. Despite his impressive ballet career, his personal highlight was his experience as the featured dancer at Carnegie Hall for the 100th Celebration of George Gershwin’s birthday.
Zenon Barrón was born in Guanajuato, Mexico as one of 17 children, Barrón’s earliest childhood memory of dancing was when he was five years old, attending rehearsals of his town’s religious festivals during the month of May. Participating in indigenous and folk dances were common activities within the community. These dances were passed down from one generation to another. His great-grandfather, grandfather, and father knew the basic steps. Dancing was as natural as eating and walking. he studied with America Balbuena at the Universidad Autónoma de Guanajuato and a few years later graduated with a dance degree from the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
In 1983 he joined Ballet Folklórico de México of Amalia Hernandez, and a year later became a first company dancer, launching his touring career in South America, Europe, and the U.S.
His career as a professional dancer, trained in classical ballet and modern dance, opened numerous doors of opportunities and the desire to teach grew stronger year after year. in 1992 he founded Ensembles as its the artistic director and costume designer. He is also a dedicated researcher of Mexican and Latin American folklore. In 2009, he received his PhD in dance, writing his thesis on indigenous communities from various countries.