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The staging of Arizona Ballet’s “Juan Gabriel” returns in 2023 with a second season at Phoenix’s Symphony Hall in October.
The Arizona Ballet, led by Luis Javier Corrales, offers a show in tribute to the Mexican singer Juan Gabriel. This production attracted a large audience during its premiere in 2022 and returns with a new season from October 26th to 29th at Phoenix’s Symphony Hall, aiming to present a unique experience that transcends cultural and generational boundaries.
The dancer and choreographer Luis Javier Corrales dreamed of this project since his childhood in Havana, Cuba, where he was drawn to the music of Juan Gabriel. At 28 years old, Corrales has realized his dream with a production that celebrates the life and legacy of the Mexican icon.
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The staging of Arizona Ballet, titled “Juan Gabriel,” is inspired by the famous concert of the singer in 1990 at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. The show premiered in May 2022 and attracted over 5,000 people, 80% of whom were Latinos, setting new attendance records for the dance company.
A space for the Latino community in ballet.
The box office success highlighted the power of representation in the arts. Ballet, which historically has attracted a predominantly white audience in the United States, is shown as a space where the stories and voices of the Latino community can be appreciated by a broader audience.
Samantha Turner, former executive director of Ballet Arizona, noted that “Juan Gabriel” is the highest-grossing production after “The Nutcracker,” a Christmas classic presented by the company every year. This demonstrates the audience’s interest in greater diversity and inclusion in the artistic scene.
The production of “Juan Gabriel” has had an impact on both those who are familiar with the music of the Mexican singer and those who discovered it through this staging. In addition, it has brought more people closer to this type of show. According to Turner, 70% of individual ticket buyers had never attended a performance by the Arizona Ballet before.
A personal and emotional project for the creator of the Juan Gabriel ballet.
For Luis Javier Corrales, this project has been a personally and emotionally intense experience. The dancer recalled his childhood days of dancing to the rhythm of “Amor del alma,” his favorite song by Juan Gabriel. During the creation of the show, Corrales remembered his mother, whom he considers his “greatest love.” The emotional connection to Juan Gabriel’s music and memories of his mother are reflected in the choreography.
The choreography inspired by Juan Gabriel’s music and Luis Javier Corrales’ personal story has been successful both at the box office and in artistic terms. Audiences appreciated the dance, costumes, and exciting atmosphere of the production. Samantha Turner highlighted that “Juan Gabriel” was “successful in every aspect”.
The staging of “Juan Gabriel” represents a milestone in the history of the Arizona Ballet and in the world of ballet in general. By bringing the music and story of a Latin American icon to the stage, the Arizona Ballet has shown how dance can unite people from different backgrounds and cultures while celebrating the legacy of those who have influenced and left an indelible mark on art and culture.
If you are interested in enjoying this staging about the Divo de Juárez, do not miss the opportunity to attend the new season at the Symphony Hall in Phoenix from October 26th to 29th. Tickets and more information about this event will be announced on the website balletaz.org.
Sources: AZ Luminaria, Az Central, Ballet Arizona.