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Read the Performance Program:

After 15 months of severe restrictions, Saint Louis Ballet appeared live on stage over Memorial Day weekend May 29-30.  While operating at greatly reduced capacity and with safety/social distancing measures in play, The Touhill Performing Arts Center set the stage for George Balanchine’s Valse-Fantaisie, Peter Martins’ Ash and the premiere of an original ballet by director Gen Horiuchi, in partnership with pianist/composer TOYA

Saint Louis Ballet is grateful to its community of donors for sustaining the company throughout the pandemic and for making it possible for dancers to perform for live audiences this spring.

Performance Length: Approximately 50 minutes




An Interview with Nilas Martins


Repetiteur for "Ash": Nilas Martins

“Ash is such a perfect ballet for right now,” said Nilas Martins, former New York City Ballet principal dancer, teacher and choreographer in anticipation of his work with Saint Louis Ballet. “It has been a difficult season and this ballet says “let’s move forward, let’s get going, let’s go into the next year.”


Martins returned to the Saint Louis Ballet studios March 22 for his third visit, this time to set the ballet Ash. Premiered by New York City Ballet in 1991, Martins first performed the piece with principal Wendy Whelan, along with four pairs of demi-soloists. It was created by his father, Ballet Master-In-Chief Peter Martins, to commissioned music by Michael Torke.

“It has energy, a vibrant score – it’s just what the dancers need,” Martins said. “I know many of the dancers having worked previously with them. Gen thought it would be a great choice for young dancers.”

Martins has known director SLB Gen Horiuchi since their time together at New York City Ballet. When Martins joined the famed company in 1986, Horiuchi was already there. They were friends and colleagues for many years and maintained a connection. Many years later, after a career on Broadway and some time with Saint Louis Ballet, Horiuchi reached out to Martins about setting George
Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco on the company. That experience was a positive one and Martins returned one more time to Saint Louis to set a version of Puccini Songs on the dancers. They loved it and it was a big success.

Horiuchi contacted Martins this season about a return visit and the possibility of choreographing Ash. “He remembered it from years ago at New York City Ballet and believed it would be a good fit,” Martins said. “Nobody leaves the stage for long."

Martins, who choreographs for the Balanchine Trust, his father’s ballets as well as other repertoire, witnessed the dramatic reduction of commissions from ballet companies during this past year. He spent considerable time teaching in person and via Zoom, at schools in California and with the trainee program at Santa Barbara’s State Street Ballet. He looks forward to his week in Saint Louis and re- connecting with Horiuchi and the dancers. The company will continue to rehearse Ash until his return in late May in advance of the Touhill performances.

“After a difficult year, the audience will be reminded of how different ballets can be from one another,“ Martins said. “There will be Balanchine’s Valse-Fantaisie, Ash, and then Gen’s new piece. A great deal of energy and emotions for the audience to be back in the theatre to see live performance. And in large scale.”



Saint Louis Ballet COVID-19 Performance Safety Protocols


What to Expect

  • Audience capacity is limited to 250 patrons per performance (approximately 15% of overall capacity)    

  • All public spaces will be sanitized before each performance

  • Mask covering nose and mouth are required for all persons attending    

  • Performances will last approximately 50 minutes with no intermission.

  • Concessions will not be available at this time and any outside beverage or food is not permitted

Audience Safety

  • A self-health check should be performed before arriving

  • Please do not attend if you experience any illness, are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in contact with someone that is positive for COVID-19   

  • Masks are required while in the facility at all times

  • Please be sure to practice safe social distancing of 6 ft or more

  • Those purchasing seats in pods will be seated at least 3 seats apart horizontally, vertically, and diagonally

  • Practice good hand hygiene through frequent washing and/or sanitizing hands

Tickets & Seating

  • Tickets will be sold through an online platform NOT through the Touhill Ticket Office

  • Tickets must be purchased in advance and cannot be purchased at the door

  • Tickets need to be purchased in your own pod 

  • You will be limited to 6 total tickets in a pod

  • The first 4 rows of seating will be vacant to distance patrons from the performers   

  • Performers will NOT be masked while performing on stage

  • When seats are added to the shopping cart online, the surrounding 3 seats horizontally, vertically, and diagonally become unavailable. Before checking out, if you remove tickets from the cart, the surrounding seats become available for sale again.   

  • All ticket sales are final / non-refundable



Read about the safety guidelines when visiting UMSL's Touhill PAC

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