Four Bright Talents Creating New Works This Summer in Southern California

Molly Lynch, artistic director of the National Choreographers Initiative, announces the choreographers of NCI’s 2015 season. This year Lynch has invited Nicolas Blanc, Norbert De La Cruz III, Jimmy Orrante, and Sarah Tallman to each choreograph a new ballet on the professional dancers hired for this project. These choreographers are given three weeks and complete artistic freedom to create a new piece. The works will be showcased at the end of the three weeks at NCI Discovery ’15.

NCI Discovery ‘15
Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 8 PM

Irvine Barclay Theatre
4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA 92612

Box Office: (949) 854-4646
Tickets: $32 General, $20 Student, $60 VIP

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The mission of the National Choreographers Initiative is “to support and nurture the process of developing new choreography.” Based in Southern California, Lynch brings emerging and established choreographers to create new ballets on professional ballet dancers. This three week long process allows choreographers to further develop their unique voice in an experimental and nurturing environment. The choreographers have the ability to create whatever they choose without the pressure of a premiere. They will be showing their works-in-progress on July 25th. This showing will culminate in a discussion with the choreographers, moderated by Lynch. At the end of the project, the choreographers take away their experiences working with different dancers and a new ballet for which they can use as they please in the future.

NCI has brought 44 choreographers to Southern California over the past 11 years. Rehearsals take place at the UC Irvine dance studios and the showcase takes place at Irvine Barclay Theatre. NCI is provided as a jumping-off point where many of the ballets premiered at NCI are restaged and performed by other organizations. Lynch has created a program that continues to revitalize, invigorate, and support the dance community.

Molly Lynch
 is an award winning choreographer and artistic director, with over 35 years of experience creating, producing, and presenting dance. She is currently an Associate Professor of Dance in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine. She teaches ballet, pointe, partnering, ballet repertory, senior seminar and arts management. Ms. Lynch is the Founder and Artistic Director of the National Choreographers Initiative.

Contact: (949) 637-0108 |


Meet the Choreographers

Nicolas Blanc started his dance training in Montauban (France), continuing at the ‘Academie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace’ in Monte-Carlo. After winning a scholarship in the 1994 Prix de Lausanne, he completed his education at the Paris Opera Ballet School. He went on to dance for Nice Opera Ballet, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Zurich Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, where he was made Principal Dancer in 2004. His repertoire includes lead roles in Balanchine’s Jewels, The Four Temperaments and Tarantella pas de deux; Mats Ek’s Carmen, Benvolio and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and Cavalier in Nutcracker. Blanc has also performed works by Mark Morris, Christopher Wheeldon, and Helgi Tomasson. Blanc started creating his own choreography in 2006 with Amplitude Goldberg for the trainees of San Francisco Ballet School. After, he went on to create In Search Of (2007), After Having Been, Pivotal Frequencies (2011), and Evenfall (to be premiered spring 2015). Blanc was Ballet Master at Scottish Ballet, as well as a personal assistant to Val Caniparoli where his role was to coach and restage ballets. Nicolas joined the Joffrey Ballet in 2011 as Ballet Master. In 2014 he was awarded the choreographic award for Rendez-vous at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.

Joffrey BioInterviewJoffrey Article


Norbert De La Cruz III was born in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines and was raised in East LA. He trained at LACHSA, ABT NYC, SF Ballet, LINES, Northwest Dance Project, NDT Summer Dans Course, and graduated from The Juilliard School (2010) with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera House, Aszure Barton & Artists (Germany & Austria), Balletto Teatro di Torino (Italy), Sydney Skybetter & Associates, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Gallim, JChen Project, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. He has danced in works choreographed by José Limón, David Parker & the Bang Group, Ohad Naharin, Aszure Barton, Jerome Robbins, Larry Keigwin, Dwight Rhoden, Crystal Pite, Alonzo King, and Jirí Kylián. He has created works for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, Joffrey Academy of Dance, James Sewell Ballet, Tulsa Ballet II, and Ballet X. He received the Jerome Robbins Foundation’s NEW Essential Works Grant (2012), commissioning his first large-scale ballet, “Square None” for ASFB. Norbert was a finalist for Hubbard Street’s National Choreographic Competition (2013), and has received awards from Princess Grace Foundation (2012), Alvin Ailey New Directions Choreography Lab (2013), Asian Arts Alliance’s Jadin Wong Award (2014) and was a finalist for the Joffrey Academy of Dance's 2014 Choreographer of Color Award.

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Jimmy Orrante began his dance training at LACHSA and later at North Carolina School of the Arts. After 22 years as a professional dancer, the Los Angeles native ultimately retired from BalletMet where during his tenure he choreographed over 15 premieres for the company, including his highly successful full-length ballet, “The Great Gatsby”. It was recently reprised in BalletMet's 2014/15 season. In spring 2011 he was honored with the National Choreographic Recognition Award for Regional Dance America and was selected as Choreographer In Residence for Denison University. He received the Special Project Grant from the Princess Grace Foundation and a grant from the NEA to collaborate with The Ohio State University's Advanced Center for Computer Art & Design and multi media composer, Sean Beeson. The resulting “Illuminated Tapestry” premiered in April 2012 and involved motion capture technology using the XBOX Kinect. In March, 2014 Mr. Orrante created “Ya Me Fue” as one of three finalists in Ballet Austin's New American Talent Choreographic Competition and later created “Balanced” on Motion Dance Theatre in Asheville, NC.  He was recently awarded his third grant from the Princess Grace Foundation, The Choreography Mentorship Co-commission (CMCC) Award, and choreographed “Threads of Color” as part of Ballet Austin’s 2015 Directors Choice program.

BalletMet Bio | YouTube | Article | Q&A


Sarah Tallman was born and raised in the state of Colorado. Her early training led her to study with Cheri Noble, Arthur Leeth, and Jeff Rockland. Sarah holds a BA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Northern Colorado. She danced as a Principal Artist with Central City Opera, where she performed to critical acclaim in Danny Pelzig's Carmen. Currently in her eleventh season with Wonderbound, she has danced numerous leading roles by award winning Artistic Director and Choreographer Garrett Ammon. Sarah has been featured in world premieres by Alex Ketley, Maurya Kerr, Amy Seiwert, Mark Godden, Ma Cong and Lauri Stallings. An accomplished choreographer, she has created several works for Wonderbound including See Yourself, In Between Seams, and Intimate Letters. She has collaborated with visual artists Laura Merage, and Virginia Folkestad, as well as the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, the Denver Confluence String Quartet, and the Colorado Symphony in a world premiere set to the music of Edvard Grieg's Holberg Suites. Her work, much like her performance, is influenced theatrically and is guided by the humility that often permeates the human spirit. She believes art and the stimulus of music and movement can awaken the senses in such a way that our reality can in fact be that of a dream

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Press Contact:

Karen Drews Hanlon
Director of Communications
Irvine Barclay Theatre