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A MEDLEY OF THEMES SARASOTA BALLET DANCERS SHINE IN COMPANY B, WITH HITS AND MISSES IN TWO OTHER PIECES ON THE PROGRAM By Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer In an evening of contrasts and surprises, Iain Webb, director of the Sarasota Ballet, shared his love of dance history in a video conversa- tion with Wendy Ellis Somes, the charming former dancer with the Royal Ballet who set Sir Frederick Ashton's quintessential, neoclas- sical ballet, Symphonic Variations, on the young Sarasota Ballet Company. Commenting on the prized video clips of the original 1946 rehearsals with Sir Frederick, Somes said the origins of the ballet stemmed from Sir Frederick's belief in new beginnings after the horror of World War II. There were also some recent clips that showed today's dancers learning their roles: It was a tantaliz- ing glimpse into the backstage world of dance and an enjoyable start to the evening. Ashton's Symphonic Variations is a retreat into the pure abstraction of the classical ballet vocabulary, and it challenges both the tech- nical ability and the musicality of the danc- ers. A stunning geometric set (by Sophie Fe- dorovitch) is the background for the hint of a world transported to a mythical Greece, as suggested by the white tunics of the women and the one-shouldered, brief costumes of the Amy Wood and Ricardo Rhodes perform the Je ne t'aime pas segment of Christopher Wheeldon's There Where She Loves. Contributed photo

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