Nijinsky starts in Orange County.REMEMBER ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA Orange County is a county in Southern California, United States. Its county seat is Santa Ana. According to the 2000 Census, its population was 2,846,289, making it the second most populous county in the state of California, and the fifth most populous in the United States. , THAT LOONY, WHITE-BREAD ORANGE COUNTY FABRICATED BY THE EASTERN MEDIA IN THE 1970S AND 1980S, THE ORANGE COUNTY OF TROGLODYTE (jargon) troglodyte - (Commodore) 1. A hacker who never leaves his cubicle. The term "Gnoll" (from Dungeons & Dragons) is also reported.
2. A curmudgeon attached to an obsolescent computing environment. POLITICAL SENTIMENTS AND BRAINLESS, BLEACHED SURFERS? FORGET IT. INSTEAD, WHEN YOU THINK ORANGE COUNTY, THINK SWANS ON POINTE, SYLPHS LOSING THEIR WINGS AT THE MOST INOPPORTUNE MOMENTS, AND SHAKESPEARE DANCED TO AN ORIGINAL ELVIS COSTELLO SCORE. THESE DAYS, John Birch wears ballet slippers, and the population reflects the changing demographics of Southern California, where Little Saigon is now a freeway exit.
Cultural cliches die hard, but it is not unreasonable to claim that the fantasy started crumbling on the day almost seventeen years ago that the Orange County Performing Arts Center The Orange County Performing Arts Center is a performing arts complex located in Costa Mesa, California. It is the home of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Opera Pacific, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Chorale. opened for business in the thriving, landlocked city of Costa Mesa. The beaches haven't washed away, nor have the pockets of political conservatism or the illusion of a sybaritic syb·a·rit·ic
1. Devoted to or marked by pleasure and luxury.
2. Sybaritic Of or relating to Sybaris or its people.
Syb lifestyle. Yet Orange County has become the prime destination in Southern California for major international dance companies--many would call it the left coast's most prestigious and glamorous booking. When, in its West Coast debut this month, Hamburg Ballet visits Segerstrom Hall with the American premiere of John Neumeier's Nijinsky, it will mark the latest in an extensive series of firsts.
IN THAT RESPECT, OCPAC'S RECORD IS impressive. Since 1986, thirty-nine companies have performed in multiuse, 3000-seat Segerstrom, with American Ballet Theatre American Ballet Theatre, one of the foremost international dance companies of the 20th cent. It was founded in 1937 as the Mordkin Ballet and reorganized as the Ballet Theatre in 1940 under the direction of Lucia Chase and Rich Pleasant. holding the record at seventeen engagements. It has been A-list all the way: New York City Ballet New York City Ballet, one of the foremost American dance companies of the 20th cent. It was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine as the Ballet Society in 1946. , The Royal Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet Royal Danish Ballet, one of the oldest major ballet companies, established at the opening of Denmark's Royal Theater in Copenhagen in 1748. The company was developed over the centuries by three great masters. , Paris Opera Ballet The Paris Opéra Ballet is the official ballet company of the Opéra national de Paris, otherwise known as the Palais Garnier, though known more popularly simply as the Paris Opéra. , the Joffrey Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet San Francisco Ballet, or SFB, is a San Francisco, USA based ballet company, founded in 1933 as part of San Francisco Opera Ballet. The company is currently based in the War Memorial Opera House, where it is directed by Helgi Tomasson. , and, in June 2004, Frankfurt Ballet. Many of these visits, like Hamburg's, are the companies' only West Coast gigs. And, in a few cases, such as Aterballetto's Midsummer Night's Dream in 2002, OCPAC sponsored the only U.S. engagement.
Much more is to come: with a new concert hall in the planning and South Coast Repertory South Coast Repertory (SCR) is a professional theatre company located in Costa Mesa, California.
SCR, founded in 1964 and continuing today under the leadership of Artistic Directors David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely regarded as one of America’s foremost Theater across the street, allusions to Lincoln Center West--let's not forget that Lincoln was a Republican--spice OCPAC's press packet. Currently, in Costa Mesa, dance presentations share the premises (which include the 250-seat Founders Hall) with the Pacific Symphony, Opera Pacific, the Pacific Chorale, and a full roster of jazz, cabaret, classical music, and theater artists. But in 2006, when Cesar Pelli's 2000-seat concert hall and adjoining 500-seat multipurpose theater open, the dance diet, now restricted to an average of six companies a year, may increase at Segerstrom. It's a dream of OCPAC's executive vice president, Judith O'Dea Morr, who both administers the center and books its dance programming.
DREAMS, AND NOT JUST THE MIDSUMMER variety, flourish here, in an area where dance had never previously been a staple of the performing arts agenda. OCPAC is a nonprofit complex built entirely through private funding and donations, and it neither solicits nor receives any government financial support. The answer to why this center should have blossomed in Orange County rather than in Los Angeles or San Francisco, those cultural meccas to the north, is Henry T. Segerstrom, a local philanthropist who, in 1979, donated the land, a cash gift to South Coast Repertory Theater, and a $1 million incentive grant. Two years later, Segerstrom delivered an additional $5 million challenge grant and spearheaded a massive fundraising campaign. In 2000, he offered $40 million more for the design and construction of the new concert hall. It's only fitting that the complex will be renamed the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
The unusual funding setup here places a great onus on Morr's experienced shoulders. OCPAC must raise $1 million annually to support the dance program, and ticket sales are expected to cover as much as 70 to 78 percent of expenses. "So," Morr says in her spacious office, "I must focus my attention on marketing and filling those seats. I can't afford to lose more than $1 million a year, or I'm in trouble."
ONE KEY TO SUCCESS AT OCPAC IS balancing the fare and refusing to underestimate the community's receptiveness. "There's an openness to learning about the arts here," says Morr, who worked at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the name by which it is known, (or, as named on the building itself, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts but, locally called the The Kennedy Center before arriving in Costa Mesa in 1985. "There's a desire among audiences to experience and support what they feel enhances their lives."
Morr is also flexible about programming. "I ask artistic directors, 'What do yon feel is significant about your company at this time?' I find that most companies want to bring mixed bills, which show the greatest range. I respect erudition, but the bottom line dictates that we also book the full-length classics."
So, compromise reigns. A few years ago, when Frank Andersen insisted on importing the Royal Swedish Ballet's specialized Ballet Suedois reconstructions, the week also included multiple performances of Swan Lake. European companies also like the idea that the Pacific Symphony can be enlisted for a pit orchestra, sparing them the stigma of taped accompaniment.
One fear about OCPAC has proved groundless. Although downtown Los Angeles Downtown Los Angeles is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, located close to the geographic center of the metropolitan area. The sprawling, multi-centered megacity is such that its downtown core is often considered just another district like Hollywood or is only forty-five miles northwest of Costa Mesa, neither place has suffered from the proximity. "We have found that only 10 percent of our audience comes from L.A.," reports Morr. "Major companies try to offer different repertoire here. And when, a few years ago, the Bolshoi Ballet brought the same works to the L.A. Music Center and to Segerstrom, we both cleaned up."
A former music and dance critic for the San Francisco Chronicle The San Francisco Chronicle was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. The paper grew along with San Francisco to become the largest circulation newspaper on the West Coast of the and the San Francisco Examiner The San Francisco Examiner is a U.S. daily newspaper. It has been published continuously in San Francisco, California, since the late 19th Century. History
The beginning of the Examiner is a topic of some controversy. , Allan Ulrich is a senior editor of DANCE MAGAZINE.