Entertainment

Post image for Menlowe Ballet’s spring season includes new ballet in tribute to Florence Nightingale

Menlowe Ballet’s 2018 spring season — Illume — is fitting, in particular, because one of the three ballets is based on the life of Florence Nightingale. A tribute to the visionary who revolutionized the nursing profession, The Lady with the Lamp is choreographed by Menlowe Artistic Director Michael Lowe and Associate Artistic Director Sarah-Jane Measor.

“The world premiere of The Lady with the Lamp continues Menlowe’s commitment to honoring the spirit and accomplishments of women from history who have touched the world with courage and creativity,” said Lisa Shiveley, the company’s Executive Director. “The performance comes at the end of National Hospital Week, and we’re encouraging doctors, nurses and other medical staff to attend together.” [Note: Group discounts are available; contact Lisa[at]menloweballet.org.]

Talking with Michael and Sarah-Jane, we learned the idea of choreographing a ballet about Florence Nightingale was first introduced when thinking about women who should be included in Portraits, part of the company’s first anniversary show two years ago.

“But we didn’t want it to be truncated,” said Michael, “so decided to do more research on Florence. The resulting ballet has more substance and runs about 22 minutes, which is a good running time for us.”

The Lady with the Lamp  begins not in Florence Nightingale’s time but in the ’60s when a girl finds her lava lamp transforming into a Turkish lamp like the one Nightingale used. The next section of the ballet portrays her during the Crimean War, and it finishes with a younger Florence and her sister. So, there are actually three dancers portraying Florence.

“The 60s section has music by Buffy St. Marie (Where Have All the Flowers Gone) and Donovan (Universal Soldier),” said Michael, who remembered them as anti-war songs he heard growing up in the Bay Area.

Sarah-Jane grew up in England and feels a connection to her fellow countrywoman. “Florence came from a upper-class family and she simply could have married and lived her life in quiet and comfort,” she said. “Her health was not good following the war, but she continued writing on a variety of subjects and spreading medical knowledge.”

ILLUME will be performed May 11-13 at the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center (555 Middlefield Road). In addition to The Lady with the Lamp, the program features Donald McKayle’s Crossing the Rubicon: Passing the Point of No Return and Dennis Nahat’s Pas de Cinq from Swan Lake. Performances take place Friday, May 11 at 8:00 pm; Saturday, May 12 at 2:00 & 8:00 pm; and Sunday, May 13 at 2:00 pm. Tickets, ranging from $28-$55, are available online or by calling 800-595-4TIX (4849).

“That’s Mother’s Day weekend,” pointed out Lisa, the mother herself of a ballerina. “Plus, Florence Nightingales birthday is the 12th. Here’s a local opportunity to do something cultural to celebrate mothers, the ultimate healers and comforters.”

Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2018. Pictured (left to right) are two of the Florences, Julie Giordano and Chantelle Planetta, along with Sarah-Jane Measor and Michael Lowe, sporting an Iron Maiden t-shirt because the band wrote a song based on Lord Tennyson’s poem The Charge of Light Brigade, which was about Battle of Balaclavaut during the Crimean War.

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Spotted: Aladdin Jr. being performed by La Entrada School students

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Aladdin Jr. being performed by La Entrada School students

For the school’s spring musical, La Entrada is performing Aladdin Jr. There’s a performance tonight (Friday, April 20) at 7:00 pm at Hillview Middle School (corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Elder) in Menlo Park. Fun for the entire family. Tickets are available at the door or online. Photo by Laura Hamilton (c) 2028

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Aimée Bolter Campbell is the host of Dala’s Nest house concerts in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Aimée Bolter Campbell is the host of Dala’s Nest house concerts in Menlo Park

“Everybody gets a front seat,” says Aimée Bolter Campbell about her Dala’s Nest house concerts that she hosts each year at her Menlo Park home on O’Connor Street. The season kicks off this year on April 21 with the Adrian West Trio. Aimée had a career as a technical writer before retiring in 2016, two […]

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Meet aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman via Betty Slater’s performance on April 14

Thumbnail image for Meet aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman via Betty Slater’s performance on April 14

In 1921, Bessie Coleman became the first woman of African-American descent, and the first of Native American descent, to hold a pilot license. Because she was black and female, Coleman could not find anyone in the U.S. willing to teach her how to fly, so she headed off to France. Coleman toured the country with […]

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Five seniors perform for final time at M-A Dance Team Show & Fundraiser

Thumbnail image for Five seniors perform for final time at M-A Dance Team Show & Fundraiser

Five seniors — Olivia Bloom, Grace Geiser, Kaley Garrett, and twins Lara and Sofia Karadogan — who have performed together on the Menlo-Atherton High School  dance team for all four years, will be dancing in their last performance at the annual M-A Dance Team Show and Fundraiser, on Thursday, April 5, at 6:30 pm at […]

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Visit with Harry Houdini in Menlo Park on March 24

Thumbnail image for Visit with Harry Houdini in Menlo Park on March 24

Actor Duffy Hudson returns to Menlo Park, this time with a one-man show featuring the great magician and escape artist, Harry Houdini. The show will take place on March 24 from 11:00 to noon at the City Council Chambers (701 Laurel St.) Hudson-as-Houdini will impart fascinating details of the star’s life and career, pull off […]

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Puppet Art Theatre’s “Tommy’s Space Adventure” comes to Menlo Park on Thursday, March 22

Thumbnail image for Puppet Art Theatre’s “Tommy’s Space Adventure” comes to Menlo Park on Thursday, March 22

Take a trip into the cosmos, when Puppet Art Theater performs “Tommy’s Space Adventure” on Thursday, March 22, from 7:00 t0 7:45 at the Menlo Park Library. Space aliens, mad scientists, and more! Tommy loves books about outer space and space aliens. His greatest wish is to someday meet a real live space alien. Little […]

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The lead role in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat” is just one of Wesley Barker-Mouton’s many accomplishments

Thumbnail image for The lead role in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat” is just one of Wesley Barker-Mouton’s many accomplishments

Wesley Barker-Mouton burst onto the scene at Menlo-Atherton in a big way this year, playing football, being involved with the Environmental Club, and now starring in the spring musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat, opening on Friday, March 16, with performances this weekend and next. It’s not surprising, given his leadership genes. The senior, […]

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Two local musicians playing at legendary Slims in San Francisco

Thumbnail image for Two local musicians playing at legendary Slims in San Francisco

Two local guys we’ve covered before, Jack Mosbacher and Rooney Pitchford, are playing at Slims in San Francisco on March 16. Jack went to Menlo School and Stanford; Rooney to Sacred Heart Prep and Stanford. We talked to Jack in 2012 when he was working for his mentor Larry Diamond as a research assistant and covered Rooney […]

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LUNAFEST Women’s Film Festival at Guild on March 10

Thumbnail image for LUNAFEST Women’s Film Festival at Guild on March 10

The Zonta e-Club of Silicon Valley presents its 7th annual screening of LUNAFEST Women’s Film Festival at the Guild Theatre in Menlo Park on March 10, 2018. Enjoy complimentary coffee and snacks while watching nine short films created by, for and about women. All proceeds to benefit the Chicken & Egg Pictures and Zonta e-Club […]

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The Blues By Five jazz band set to play at Luttickens in their final season together

Thumbnail image for The Blues By Five jazz band set to play at Luttickens in their final season together

As Menlo-Atherton High School freshman, five young musicians formed The Blues by Five jazz band. Now they’re seniors and entering what will be the final chapter as a group with performances over the next few months at Lutticken’s (3535 Alameda de las Pulgas). Members (right to left) Chris Iyer (trumpet), Selim Karahan (sax), Callum Burgess […]

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