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Fort Wayne Ballet opens new season with 'Celebrations!'

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Season opener

What: The Fort Wayne Ballet opens its season with “Celebrations!,” a variety of classic and contemporary dances. A champagne reception will follow in the Ian Rolland gallery of the Arts United Center.

Also, the Fort Wayne Ballet Youth Company presents “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” a ballet inspired by the children's book of the same name.

When and where: “Celebrations!,” 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” 10 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Fort Wayne Ballet's new studios in the Auer Center for Arts and Culture, 300 E. Main St.

Cost: Tickets for “Celebrations!” are $18 for adults, $13 for seniors and youth, and $10 for children. Tickets for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” are $10. Call the Arts United Center box office at 422-4226 to purchase tickets with a credit card. In person, purchase tickets at the Arts United Center box office, 303 E. Main St. (in the front vestibule) noon-6 pm. Monday-Friday, or beginning at noon Saturday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 12:01 am

With a new home right across the street from its primary performance venue, Fort Wayne Ballet has much to celebrate.

So it's only fitting the first performance of the 2011-2012 season Saturday is titled “Celebrations!”

In addition to the move in August to the Auer Center for Arts and Culture on Main Street, the ballet also is celebrating its 55th season this year, said Karen Gibbons-Brown, executive/artistic director.

“Celebrations!” is a mixed repertoire of classical and contemporary dances. “Each one of them has something so different and so interesting to offer,” Gibbons-Brown said.

Repertoire programs give dancers the opportunity to experiment and explore different movement qualities, Gibbons-Brown said. “It's important for artistic growth.”

One of the more traditional, classic pieces in the performance is Gerald Arpino's “Birthday Variations,” courtesy of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

Another piece, “Grand Tarantella,” is based on the idea of what happens when someone is bitten by a spider, or tarantula — the person dances around in a frenzy.

Fort Wayne Ballet also will perform two story ballets this season — “The Nutcracker” later this year and “Sleeping Beauty” in the spring. So the mixed repertoire of “Celebrations!” is a nice change of pace — “exciting and fun to do,” Gibbons-Brown said.

For the younger crowd

You don't have to be young, but you do at least have to be young at heart to enjoy the Fort Wayne Ballet Youth Company's production of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” this Saturday. It's based on Eric Carle's memorable picture book of the same name about a caterpillar that eats a variety of foods before turning into a butterfly.

This youth company performance will be in the ballet's new Studio A in the Auer Center for Arts and Culture. The audience is encouraged to bring a blanket because seating is on the floor.

The performance is short — around 30 minutes — followed by a meet-and-greet with the performers, who range in age from 9 to 15.