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First State Ballet dances favorites in the open air downstate

First State Ballet kicks off its 2023-24 season tonight (Thursday) with a free concert at Freeman Pavilion.

The event is a low-key showcase of the ballet’s dancers, featuring the company in a series of popular selections.

The organization’s Director of Advancement Joan Beatson says it’s a strong program.

“We’re doing excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty, including the fantastic Rose Adagio, very exciting pas de six. We’re doing a pas de deux from Diane and Actaeon, Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake, and another pas de deux called Melody - it’s very beautiful - we did it there before about five or six years ago. So it’s a really varied program - something for everyone.”

The event typically attracts over a thousand attendees. Beatson says the draw is an opportunity to see the dancers on a much more personal level than in formal performances.

“We also make it a big event with a little ballet class before the performance, we have tiara making, and a meet and greet after the show.”

Beatson says the event has grown from an initial attendance of 20 to over a thousand recently.

First State’s formal season at the Grand in Wilmington opens with Coppelia October 21st.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Karl Lengel has worked in the lively arts as an actor, announcer, manager, director, administrator and teacher. In broadcast, he has accumulated three decades of on-air experience, most recently in New Orleans as WWNO’s anchor for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a host for the broadcast/podcast “Louisiana Considered”.