State Street Ballet Brings “Carmen” to Socorro

SOCORRO, N.M. March 1, 2016 – The California-based State Street Ballet is bringing its original, full-length production of the famous opera “Carmen” to New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10, in a Performing Arts Series (PAS) event.


The State Street Ballet Company brings 'Carmen' to the stage at Macey Center on March 10.


Inspired by the French composer Georges Bizet’s wildly popular score with choreography by William Soleau, the State Street Ballet performance retells the tale of the beautiful gypsy and her desperate lover in a contemporary ballet style that weaves together both classical and modern influences.

“‘Carmen’ is a classic tale set in southern Spain that tells the story of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by the fiery gypsy Carmen,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “José abandons his childhood sweetheart and his military duties for Carmen, but eventually loses her to the glamorous bullfighter, Escamillo, after which José kills her in a jealous rage.

“As a special treat, several young dancers with the Rising Stars Dance Studio in Socorro will join the professional dancers onstage for a portion of the show,” Kalish said. “And while the local dancers’ time on stage is short, the young ballerinas have been practicing for months to prepare for this performance.”

State Street Ballet is comprised of professional dancers from across the globe. Under the direction of former American Ballet Theatre dancer Rodney Gustafson, the troupe has been praised for their commitment to technical and artistic excellence, and applauded for their versatility and innovation.

“The dancers rehearse for an average of 30 weeks per season and are on the road two to three months of the year,” Kalish said, adding that the current tour has stops in New Mexico, Colorado and New York.


Art Reception 

  Prior to the performance of “Carmen,” the Performing Arts Series is hosting a special reception with artist Roy van der Aa. His non-objective geometric artwork is currently on exhibit at the Macey center through March 20. This exhibit represents his work from 2010-2015 and is the largest body of this work ever shown together by van der Aa.

The pieces on display consist of a base of hand-pulled monotype prints that are saturated with color or other substrate overpainted in two layers to bring out designs painted in a resist technique. These patterns are inspired by Southwestern petroglyphs, eastern calligraphy, tar patches on asphalt or the twisting forms of a large sheet metal sculpture made by Chris Patterson in 2014. This appropriation of forms, with Patterson’s permission, is a type of loose collaboration that van der Aa enjoys. 

Born in Amsterdam, Holland, Roy van der Aa grew up in Montreal, Canada. and has lived in Las Cruces, N.M., since 1989. His formal education includes two years of Fine Art specialty at John Abbott College, and three years at Concordia University studying printmaking and archaeology. He has exhibited with the group ArtForms since its inception in 1997, with the Border Artists and the Insighters, a group with a metaphysical focus. He has had over 75 solo, two-person and group shows throughout New Mexico and juried two major shows in 2015.

Inquiries should be made to the agent Ali Robertson via  www.alirobertosonradart.com or by calling her at 1-402-957-0174.


“State Street is bringing Carmen to the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque and to venues in Alamogordo and Clovis – but we at PAS are delighted that the troupe’s first New Mexico appearance this year will be at Macey Center, right here in Socorro,” she said.  Ronna added that “some Socorroans will remember State Street Ballet wowing us in years past with their beautiful version of ‘The Nutcracker’ and very fun ‘Jungle Book.’”

In addition, Tech Club-Club Macey will host an event prior to the show from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. featuring paella with sausage, chicken & veggie bites, and mini lemon bars; the event is open to adult members and non-members alike.

The original “Carmen” was a fan opera in four acts by Georges Bizet. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée. It was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on March 3, 1875, to a tepid reception largely due to unconventionality and controversial main characters.

Unfortunately, Bizet died before the opera received the acclaim it deserved. “Carmen” has since become one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the classical canon, with “Habanera” and “Toreador Song” among the best known of all operatic arias.

The music of “Carmen,” in fact, has been widely acclaimed for its brilliance of melody, harmony, atmosphere and orchestration, and for the skill with which Bizet musically represented the emotions and suffering of his characters.

Soleau, meanwhile, has choreographed more than 20 ballets for State Street Ballet, to critical and popular acclaim. His emotionally evocative choreography, exquisitely detailed storytelling, and powerfully theatrical depth of expression have propelled State Street Ballet to the forefront of innovation and evolution in the constantly changing world of dance.

Critics speculate that the choreography for “Carmen,” rich with symbolism, subtlety and heartrending moments of pathos, is destined to become one of Soleau’s signature works. Artistic credit also goes to A. Christina Giannini and Mark Somerfield for the expertly-crafted costumes, sets and dramatic lighting design.

 The production’s scenic design images the dusty streets of Sevilla, the moody twilight of a gypsy mountain camp, and the circular shape of the Spanish bullring. Scenic artwork by Stefania Piazzo adds the finishing touch to this story of love, jealousy and the hands of fate.

Sponsors for the State Street Ballet’s production of “Carmen” are IRIS-PASSCAL, Washington Federal, Chartwells, Katharine Bejnar and America’s Best Value Inn.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $10 for youths 17 and under, and are available online at www.nmtpas.org, or at the Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Socorro County Chamber of Commerce, Sofia’s Kitchen drive-up, or at the door.

– NMT –