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‘Swan Lake,’ ‘Coppelia’ lead Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 19-20 season

In May, Roy Kaiser will officially wrap his first season as Nevada Ballet Theatre’s artistic director.

In his first year, the Philadelphia transplant learned a lot about his new home. And he likes what he sees.

“You know, it’s critical mass in the valley,” Kaiser says. “People are excited for the Golden Knights, the Raiders, the new ballpark, an art museum is coming here. People really want that quality of life stuff, and arts play an important role in that.”

For Kaiser, that interest means it’s prime time for arts institutions like Nevada Ballet Theatre.

For the 2019-20 season, Kaiser promises a broad variety of programs that will challenge its dancers and engage longtime NBT subscribers and ballet newbies alike.

The season opens in October with “A Choreographers’ Showcase” at Mystere Theatre at Treasure Island. The annual program engages choreographers from NBT and staff from all of Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas productions.

Dancers from NBT and Cirque bring the choreography to life for the first time.

“It’s one of the most unique, special collaborations in existence anywhere. And here is the only place it can happen,” Kaiser says.

Later in October, “Swan Lake” will take the stage at The Smith Center.

This year’s production is by Ben Stevenson, whom audiences may remember from last Halloween’s “Dracula.”

“You think ballet,” Kaiser says, “and you think ‘Swan Lake’ or ‘Nutcracker’. ”

Stevenson’s “Swan Lake” tells the complete story with concise choreography, honing the familiar tale into just over two hours.

“It’s an important artistic experience for our company,” Kaiser says. “I see more big ballets like this in our coming seasons. It’s time for the company to really own them as part of our culture.”

Coming off “The Nutcracker” in December, NBT will host “Bolero,” a three-part mixed repertory program.

Nicolo Fonte’s “Bolero” pairs innovative set pieces and dynamic dance all set to a score that Kaiser thinks most viewers will recognize.

The second program in the repertoire, “The Four Temperaments” by George Balanchine, does away with costumes, favoring the simplicity of sparse leotards and tights so as to showcase the dancers’ movement.

“There’s no storyline, but the ballet conveys emotion,” Kaiser says. “I almost defy an audience member not to be totally pulled in.”

The third ballet is as yet unnamed.

Company dancer Krista Baker, who has performed with NBT for 15 seasons and created works for the “A Choreographers’ Showcase” and the Studio Series, is creating a world premiere tailored specifically for the company’s dancers.

“I love programs like this,” Kaiser says. “There’s so many facets to them.”

After the Studio Series, NBT will close the season with three performances of “Coppelia.”

The comic ballet tells the story of Dr. Coppelius, the doddering old dollmaker who creates a life-size dancing doll — and the young villager who falls infatuated with her.

The large-scale ballet offers numerous opportunities for character performances alongside dance that are, in parts, beautiful and funny.

“If I were to tell you to bring someone to introduce them to ballet, bring them to this,” Kaiser says. “It has something for everyone.”

Contact Janna Karel at jkarel@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jannainprogress on Twitter.

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