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He is Spartacus: Arsen Serobian

A contemporary of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, Aram Khachaturian was the third of what has been dubbed 20th-century Russian music’s “trio of titans.” Best known for his orchestral scores, Khachaturian also made an indelible mark on the world of ballet. Artistic director Natasha Middleton and Media City Ballet pay tribute to this often-overlooked aspect of Khachaturian’s oeuvre with a program re-creating sections from two of his ballets and an orchestral work that Middleton believes demands to be danced. The centerpiece is a section from Spartacus, which the Bolshoi Ballet staged in 1956 as a spectacle befitting Cecil B. DeMille. The Spartacus excerpt will feature Arsen Serobian, Jenkyns Peláez and Gabrielle Palmatier. Composed in 1942 during World War II for the Kirov Ballet, Gayane references Armenian folk tunes but is best known for its rousing “Saber Dance.” Dancers Amara Baptist and Edgar Nikolyan are featured. Khachaturian’s lush and mysterious waltz Masquerade was written to celebrate the Russian Revolution’s 25th anniversary, but Middleton employs it to evoke an elaborate ball featuring dancers Ellen Rosa and Stephen Nelson. Sadly, this ambitious program is one night only. To see video clips of Media City Ballet on Dance Channel TV, go to www.laweekly.com/stage and click on the Dance pick. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m.; $20-$48. (818) 243-2539 or www.alextheatre.org.

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