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NORTHAMPTON — The Russian Ballet Theatre will present a new production of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” at the Academy of Music on Fri., Feb. 11 as part of a tour that includes performances in 52 cities across the U.S., including Minneapolis, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

This performance of “Swan Lake” includes all of the splendor that has mesmerized ballet audiences for over a century, plus a bit more. It delights with new, as well as time-honored, Russian traditions. Detailed, hand-painted sets and added choreography accent the production, and the costumes follow designs originally envisioned by the great theater masters.

Choreographer Nadezhda Kalinina (Mariinsky Theatre, Omsk State Music Theatre, Teatro Lirico) lovingly reimagines the oldest St. Petersburg version of the ballet. With a new prologue, she offers an emotional explanation for the wrath of evil sorcerer Rothbart.

Accomplished designer Sergei Novikov (Mariinsky Theatre, Omsk State Music Theatre, St. Petersburg State Music Hall Theatre) has designed not only new sets but also 150 costumes that bring fresh representation to this timeless ballet.

Irina Strukova’s award-winning makeup artistry enhances the production. Strukova, known for her film makeup (Netflix, HBO, Crazy Rich Asians), has created hair designs and special-effects makeup that, together with the costumes, further enhance this whimsical production.

For more information, visit www.russianballettheatre.com.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — The Academy of Music and New England Public Media will celebrate the seventh edition of Valley Voices Story Slam on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Music Theatre.

Audience members have selected the top three stories from the four Valley Voices Story Slams of 2021. These top stories by local storytellers will be shared on the Academy stage to compete for the top prize: Best of Valley Voices. The community will choose the winner of this competition based on the art of first-person narrative storytelling.

“I’m honored to have these talented storytellers join us for a night of laughter, joy, and possibly some tears amongst friends,” said Chloe Soto, outreach coordinator and co-producer of Valley Voices Story Slam.

Musical interludes will be performed by Mia Friedman, fiddler, singer, and banjo player. She is currently the co-director of the Fiddle Orchestra of Western Massachusetts and has spent many years teaching strings at the Community Music School of Springfield and the Hartsbrook School.

All attendees at the Academy of Music Theatre must show proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or a negative PCR test taken within the past 72 hours, and wear a mask while they are inside the theater. Children under age 5 who can’t be vaccinated yet may attend, but they must wear a mask at all times. Full vaccination means being at least two weeks past the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks past the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Booster shots are recommended but not yet required.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton’s historic Academy of Music Theatre announced its “We Care!” campaign, which will expand and renovate the public restrooms in the 130-year-old landmark to provide more toilets and sinks and upgrade the facilities for cleanliness and hygiene.

Among the improvements slated for the $325,000 project are the expansion of the existing restroom facilities and the installation of new plumbing, HEPA-filtered hand dryers, touch-free toilet and sink fixtures, and partitions to serve a larger patron population, according to Debra J’Anthony, executive director of the independent nonprofit arts organization that manages the city-owned building.

“With more than 60,000 patrons each year attending live performances, films, and educational programs, the need to expand the restrooms with added safety measures is due,” J’Anthony said.

The size of the ‘stalls only’ restroom (previously referred to as the women’s restroom) will be expanded to include 10 new water-efficient toilet stalls. Four new touch-free sinks will be added.

The ‘stalls and urinals’ restroom (previously referred to as the men’s restroom) will also be expanded, replacing the two existing toilet stalls and three existing urinals with four new water-efficient toilet stalls and four water-efficient urinals. The design of this restroom will provide privacy separation between the stalls and urinals so the stalls may be used gender-neutrally. Both restrooms will have new, state-of-the-art heat and ventilation installed, which will exhaust 100% of the room air, continuously bringing in fresh outside air. Both restrooms will receive new wall, floor, and ceiling finishes. These renovations will provide better service and a safer environment for the patrons of the theater.

The project is led by Northampton-based Thomas Douglas Architects, whose previous design for the renovation of the Academy of Music’s auditorium earned a Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award.

The Academy secured $225,000 last winter for the project from state and foundation sources, including the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Funds, Smith College, and the Beveridge Family Foundation. The “We Care!” campaign aims to raise the remaining $100,000 from the Pioneer Valley community.

“We plan to have these improvements completed before we reopen in the fall and welcome our community back,” J’Anthony said.

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