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Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
Arts & Music

Dancers bring new approach to 'Streetcar Named Desire' at Straz


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Tampa Bay residents will be treated to a unique interpretation of Tennessee Williams' 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” when the Scottish Ballet takes the stage at the Straz Center on Sunday.

Theater and film director Nancy Meckler and international choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa collaborated on this original approach to an iconic play.

“Through dance, we're able to expand on the play, to show the spaces in between words with movements,” said Scottish Ballet artistic director Christopher Hampson. “You see aspects of the story that are not normally focused on.”

Hampson concedes that translating a well-known American stage play and film production into a ballet was a gutsy move on the part of the Scottish Ballet.

“But that's what we do,” he said. “While classical ballet is our foundation stone, it doesn't stop us from exploring new and original ways to tell a story. The result is a ballet I believe the people in Tampa will find hugely entertaining.”

This will be the ballet's first visit to Tampa, and Hampson said he's looking forward to introducing Scotland's national ballet to a new audience.

“We toured the U.S. previously, but this is our first trip to this region,” he said. The ballet's tour will kick off in New Orleans, where the play is set, before heading to Tampa.

Founded in 1957, the Scottish Ballet is based in Glasgow, Scotland, and employs 36 full-time dancers.

Thirty of those dancers will accompany Hampson to Tampa for the full production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” featuring a jazz-inspired original score by Peter Salem performed by a full orchestra.

Hampson said the ballet closely follows the original play featuring the Southern belle Blanche Dubois, her sister, Stella Kowalski, brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski and Blanche's suitor, Harold Mitchell. It even includes the celebrated scene when the tormented Stanley shouts his wife, Stella's, name, a moment made famous by actor Marlon Brando in the 1951 film version of the play.

“It's a fantastic and stimulating evening,” said Hampson, noting the production has accumulated six national dance awards in the United Kingdom. “I'm really excited. I'd love the people of Tampa Bay to experience what our ballet is all about.”

'A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE'

Presented by the Scottish Ballet

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. Macinnes Place, Tampa

Tickets: $35-$74.50; www.strazcenter.org; (813) 229-7827

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