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ARTS NOTES

On its feet again

March 21, 2004|Chris Pasles

In its first sign of revitalization since it canceled concerts announced for April and May, Ballet Pacifica is auditioning dancers today at its studios in Irvine to fill seven positions with new 25-week contracts. The dancers are to appear in the premiere of a two-act ballet, "Alice in Wonderland," to be choreographed by Robert Sund, Oct. 1-3 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Although Ballet Pacifica has continued to present its children's series and maintain its school, the financially strapped troupe has been lying low since artistic director Christina Lyon unexpectedly resigned in January, less than two months after replacing Molly Lynch. She left abruptly in October after 15 years of leadership, citing artistic differences with the board.

Interim director Gillian Finley said last week: "My main goal in this transition time has been to make sure that as the board continues its search for an artistic director, Ballet Pacifica still maintains a presence in our community and in the dance world. I also wanted to make sure, moving into a new season, I was doing everything I could to uphold Molly's legacy and maintain relationships with choreographers she had discovered."

Sund has created five pieces for the company since 1993. "Alice" will be set to a score compiled from music by Sibelius.

The seven new dancers will be joined by others contracted only for "Alice," Finley said. Six additional professionals also will appear in the company's annual "Nutcracker," Dec. 10-24 at the Irvine theater. Dates for a new children's series at the Festival Forum Theatre in Laguna Beach have been set. Finley also is planning a spring 2005 concert.

-- Chris Pasles

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