Stage Premiere of Gershwin Ballet by Company Dancer Zalman Raffael

RALEIGH, NC — Now that Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker has been put to bed for another season, the Triangle area’s professional ballet company is ready to launch the first of the spring programs of its 15th anniversary season with a diverse selection of ballets by Lynne Taylor-Corbett and company member, Zalman Raffael.   The program consists of Taylor-Corbett’s December Songs and Code of Silence; and Rhapsody in Blue to Gershwin’s romantic score choreographed by Raffael.   The program opens February 7-24, 2013 at the AJ Fletcher Theater at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Raleigh, and runs for eleven performances over three weekends. The schedule of performances is as follows:

                        Thursday, February 7 at 8:00pm

Friday, February 8 at 8:00pm

Saturdays, February 9, 16 & 23 at 2:00pm & 8:00pm

Sundays, February 10, 17 & 24 at 2:00pm

Lynne Taylor-Corbett choreographed December Songs on Carolina Ballet in 2000.  It is set to the music of Maury Yeston, who composed the score and wrote the lyrics for the 100th anniversary celebration of New York City’s Carnegie Hall in 1991.  The music is called a “song cycle” and is made up of love songs from which Ms. Taylor-Corbett created vignettes that are gut-wrenching, joyous and speak to “anyone who’s loved and lost and hopes to love again.”  The lyrics will be sung by Raleigh’s own Broadway star Lauren Kennedy, with Glenn Mehrbach accompanying her on the piano, live on stage, as the dancers bring the stories to life.  Lauren Kennedy and her husband Alan Campbell are the directors of Raleigh’s Hot Summer Nights at The Kennedy.  Lauren was seen in 2011 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in a dazzling performance in the title role of Evita.

Code of Silence, choreographed in summer 2008, during Carolina Ballet’s summer intensive at UNC Wilmington, takes a 180 degree turn from songs of lost love to issues of human rights (and is dedicated to Amnesty International) showing a much darker side of human nature.  The ballet is set to the riveting music of Estonian composer Arvo Part.

The third ballet on the program, Rhapsody in Blue, was choreographed by dancer Zalman Raffael to the ever popular score of George Gershwin. Raffael choreographed his ballet in January 2012 on thirteen Carolina Ballet dancers as a studio workshop during the dancers’ winter break.  It was then presented to a small audience at Carolina Ballet’s studio with an enthusiastic response.  Artistic Director Robert Weiss explains “I like to encourage young choreographers.  Ballet is an art form that cannot be created at home alone, unlike writers who only need a pen and paper. Ballets rely totally on a collaborative process between choreographers and dancers and for that reason is an expensive proposition.” Weiss says that his mentor, George Balanchine, was fond of saying “my muse comes to me on union time.”  Raffael raised the money from friends, mostly outside the Triangle region, so he would be able to pay the dancers for two weeks of their time as he choreographed on them.  This production will be the stage premiere of Rhapsody in Blue.

It is still possible to purchase a subscription for the remaining four productions of the 2012-2013 season, and may be accomplished by calling the Carolina Ballet box office at

919 719-0900.  Single tickets may be purchased through the box office as well, and through Ticketmaster at 919 982-2787, or on the Carolina Ballet website.  Individual tickets range from $28-66 and there is a $10 student rush ticket that may be purchased with a student ID on half hour before the show.

Now into the fifteenth season, Carolina Ballet, Inc. has taken its place among America’s premier arts organizations.  Under the innovative direction of artistic director Robert Weiss, a talented company, fiscally responsible management and community support, Carolina Ballet continues to expose audiences to traditional ballet by legendary masters and new works of contemporary choreographers.  The company reflects the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and ever-increasing quality of life experienced in North Carolina.

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