The production is the original creation of renowned Canadian choreographer Jorden Morris, who sets the ballet in the late 1880s, when the world famous Moulin Rouge cabaret first opened its doors. It will be the first time the production premieres in the southeast.
"Moulin Rouge - The Ballet" will run today through Oct. 31. Tickets begin at $20 and can be purchased at the Cobb Energy Centre box office or by calling (800) 982-2787. To purchase tickets online, visit www.atlantaballet.com or www.ticket
The legendary Moulin Rouge, an extravagant cabaret that featured the high-kicking, cancan dance by women performers in long skirts and heavily frilled undergarments, has been the subject of paintings, books, musicals and movies for generations.
Morris, guest choreographer, acknowledged that it worries him that audiences may come to the performance with a preconceived idea about the Moulin Rouge. However, the Atlanta Ballet wanted something exciting and colorful to open the season and he believes this production does that.
"I just hope that the audience comes with an open mind," said Morris.
"Part of what the Moulin Rouge in Paris loved about the ballet is that it is historically based and very different from other versions that exist in film, etc. I would like audiences to experience the amazing energy that was Paris at that time - the freedom, the expression of art, and that very creative atmosphere."
The Atlanta Ballet's production is the second ballet production after last fall's world premiere by Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Like the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the company collaborated with the Moulin Rouge in Paris to be granted the rights to use its trademarked name for the title of their ballet.
"Moulin Rouge - The Ballet" tells the ill-fated love story of laundress turned cancan star Nathalie and a painter named Matthew, through spectacular dance, grand scenery and vivid costumes within the magical atmosphere of Moulin Rouge.
All of the company's 20 dancers, as well as six apprentices and some student dancers, will perform in the production. They've been rehearsing with Morris since Sept. 21.
John McFall, artistic director, attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's world premiere and said he decided to pursue bringing Moulin Rouge to Atlanta after seeing the positive response it received.
"Audiences can expect wonderful dancers performing very riveting and compelling works," he said. "In fact, four of the ballet's for the remainder of our season are world premieres. Three other ballets are company premieres that were created by some of the most important choreographers in the world."
Following "Moulin Rouge - The Ballet," the Atlanta Ballet will perform the holiday classic "The Nutcracker" from Nov. 27 - Dec. 26 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. In February, the company will return to the Cobb Energy Centre with the production of "Sleeping Beauty." Back again in March is the company's Fusion production, which will include "Lambarena," a classical ballet with African dance, and a world premiere ballet by English-born choreographer Christopher Hampson. The season will culminate with "Ignition: New Choreographic Voices" performed May 13-15 at the Alliance Stage of the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.
In the past year, the Atlanta Ballet has added five new company members. It's biggest change, however, is the opening of its new 54,000-square-foot headquarters - the Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre - about 9 miles from the Cobb Energy Centre at 1695 Marietta Blvd. in Atlanta. A $10 million renovation of the former manufacturing plant was completed before it officially opened on Aug. 14.
The secret to the Atlanta Ballet's success is that it's an extended family, said McFall.
"It begins with lots of students of dance, some of whom become professional dancers in Atlanta Ballet and elsewhere. The students become audience members, community leaders and members of the Atlanta Ballet Board of Trustees. The process is a cycle that replicates itself continuously, until tens of thousands of passionate dance lovers expect to experience beautiful dance performances and support the process with a fervent commitment."