Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 | 2 a.m.
This Sunday kicks off the 10th anniversary performances of the annual collaboration between Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du Soleil known as “A Choreographers' Showcase.” The first of three shows is set for 1 p.m. October 8 at the Mystére Theater at Treasure Island, and the show continues October 14 and 15 at the same Strip location.
“ACS” is emblematic of the long tradition of Las Vegas entertainers getting away from the Boulevard to work creatively with other local artists, but there are two dancers-choreographers who are particularly excited to collaborate for this year’s edition.
Rachel Thomson is one of the ballet’s company artists, in her third year in Las Vegas from Alberta, Canada. She’s participated in “ACS” as long as she’s been in town, and she met Vegas native Anthony Cardona, a performer from Cirque’s “Michael Jackson One” show at Mandalay Bay, that first year. They started dating soon afterwards, and together they’ve created one of the 15 original works that will be presented in this year’s show.
“We hit it off immediately, and she’s been my love ever since,” says Cardona. Though they’ve danced in the showcase, it’s the first time for both performers to choreograph for the event. “We thought it was a great idea to team up and we were encouraged by the entire team to do so, and they’ve been helping us along the way on the entire project.”
Cardona has choreographed different entertainment events at MGM Resorts properties during his career, but the hip-hop dancer says this collaborative experience is widening his perspective like never before. “She and I have two different upbringings but we decided to come together and remove any preconceived notions of what we should be doing and start fresh,” he says. Their piece uses elements of Thomson’s style, ballet, mixed with poppers, a bonebreaker, and other street-style dancers.
“Our piece is a fusion of both of those [styles],” Thomson says. “There are certain sections he was more focused on and certain ones that are more my part, but so many multiple parts where we bring them together.”
Their piece also involves a member of NBT’s Future Dance Scholars program, an outreach project established in 1993 that serves students from underserved communities and provides exposure to the art and education of dance.
“It’s a really big honor for both of us to be part of the anniversary event,” Cardona says. “It’s not just a collaboration of artists, it’s really different audiences coming together, too. People who might not go to a Cirque shoe or go to the ballet will sit together and enjoy watching these worlds collide.”
More than 60 local artists from both companies plus 10 Future Dance Scholars will perform in the showcase, a benefit for the nonprofit ballet organization. Proceeds will support the company’s productions at the Smith Center as well as its education and outreach programs. Tickets for the performances start at $25 and are available by calling 702-894-7722 or at nevadaballet.org .