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Fort Wayne Ballet Opens 65th Season with Diversions at the ArtsLab

With two productions planned in less than a month, Fort Wayne Ballet may seem to be making up for lost time. But in fact, the busy schedule was already in the works before last year’s lost season.

“We had this kind of season planned last year,” said Karen Gibbons-Brown, artistic director for Fort Wayne Ballet. “But last year didn’t work out like we planned. We planned to have a repertory ArtsLab performance and a full length ballet on our main stage at Arts United Center.”

Since that plan was unfulfilled last year, the ballet is now moving forward for their 65th season. Not that they didn’t have a fairly busy season last year. Despite the limited performance options, Fort Wayne Ballet still managed to stage a world premier of Dracula, conceived and choreographed by Ballet Mistress Tracy Tritz. They also adapted their annual performances of The Nutcracker to a live steaming option and changed their spring production to a tribute to Tchaikovsky. But last spring’s planned collaboration of The Sleeping Beauty with Fort Wayne Philharmonic is proceeding this coming spring.

Now able to move forward with performances in their usual venues, Fort Wayne Ballet opens their season with Diversions at their second home in the ArtsLab and Giselle later in the month at the Arts United Center. Diversions allows the ballet’s company to showcase their talents in a more intimate setting.

“There are two pas de deux that we were working on before the shutdown last year,” Gibbons-Brown said. “Then we have four dancers in the Grand Pas Classique. I had forgotten how different these dances were until rehearsals began. We’ll also have a piece that Tracy Tritz had begun set to ‘Moonlight Sonata’ which is three sections long. We had the intent to do part of it and expanding on it, but we have all three sections ready now.”

This season will also feature guest choreographers, another plan postponed from last year when travel and additional staff wasn’t possible. Even as Diversions is preparing for staging this weekend, Fort Wayne Ballet is deep into plans for Giselle later in October, in time for Halloween, and casting for The Nutcracker has already been set. It promises to be a busy and productive year for the company of Fort Wayne Ballet.

“It’s a busy season for our dancers,” Gibbons-Brown said. “But that’s what they want. Dancers need to dance.”

Diversions runs September 30 through October 2. Tickets are available at

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