When Barak Ballet entered the L.A. dance scene last year, the immediate response was Bravo!
As Los Angeles dance landscape evolves, choreographer Melissa Barak’s Barak Ballet signals the arrival of a seriousness about original dance programming and performance here. After many years in the dance world myself, I know that visionary ballerinas are a rare breed and ballet culture is competitive and conformist.
Melissa Barak’s moves are bold, and I am delighted to be part of the effort to grow and stabilize this exciting new company headed by a world-class choreographer, who happens to be a woman, a rarity in the dance world.
Right? Melissa Barak knows what she is doing. As a ballerina with the New York City Ballet for nine years, she mastered that world, and then landed back at home with the L.A. Ballet for another four years before launching Barak Ballet last year.
Barak’s says there’s a gap in the offerings in the L.A. dance scene that her 17-member ballet and neoclassical dance company was created to fill.
“So much of what LA audiences see are the big name companies that come in to the Music Center . . . and leave after a few days,” says Barak. “We are here to stay, and we are looking for the supporters who want to grow something special and permanent that reflects L.A. and belongs to L.A.”
Barak says she’s aware the challenges are real: The cultural landscape here is crowded, and the crowds here demand a certain caliber of entertainment. “I know L.A. I have that pulse and we are already delivering.” Barak says she knows her brand will attract a certain audience. “It takes courage to support something new.”
Barak Ballet has already demonstrated a capacity to present extraordinary dance and genuine audience engagement. I predict that is precisely how Melissa will attract foundational donors to Barak Ballet as the company’s impressive performances earn respect and the demand for more.
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