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Arts & Culture

Dance Theater Piece About Anne Frank Highlights New Showcase By South Coast Ballet Company

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(Photo Courtesy State Street Ballet)
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State Street Ballet to feature five works at weekend performances, including "Annie's Window" by Cecily Stewart

A South Coast ballet company which performs around the world has a big weekend planned at home.

Santa Barbara’s State Street Ballet is presenting a program featuring five brand new works, including one inspired by the life of World War Two holocaust victim Anne Frank.

The company is putting the finishing touch on an ambitious program, called “Women’s Work.” There are five pieces created by an all-female lineup of choreographers, with the centerpiece a work called “Annie’s Window,” a performance based on the life of Anne Frank.

State Street Ballet founder and Artistic Director Rodney Gustafson says “Annie’s Window” is a unique piece because it’s inspired by history.  State Street Ballet dancer Cecily Stewart turned choreographer to create the piece.

It’s actually a dance/theater piece, with actress Sofia Ross playing Anne Frank, intertwined with the dancers.  Stewart says the dance/theater mix is especially challenging for the dancers, because the play multiple characters in the story. While Anne Frank’s story had a tragic end with her death, Stewart says she remains an inspiring figure in history.

State Street Ballet’s Rodney Gustafson says the other four pieces which make up the dance program feature a wide range of dance styles  He says it's not just a chance to showcase female choreographers, but also to honor some female benefactors who have made the two decade old dance company possible to exist, and create works.

The State Street Ballet’s presentation of “Women’s Work” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at the New Vic Theater in Santa Barbara