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New Ballet ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ Prioritizes Storytelling, Acting and Mexican Culture

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Cassandra Trenary and Daniel Camargo will perform in American Ballet Theatre's upcoming production of “Like Water for Chocolate.” Credit: Photo courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts

An exploration of tradition and rebellion will take center stage in “Like Water for Chocolate,” Christopher Wheeldon’s latest full-length ballet for American Ballet Theatre. The work is based on a magical love story that was first shared in Mexican author Laura Esquivel’s best-selling novel of the same name.

Adding to the three-act production: an emphasis on acting outside of pure attention to ballet technique and choreography.

“This is the most text-like of all ballets I have made,” said Wheeldon in an ABT special event talk-back session in March. “It is most like a play, a lot of stories are told with just a glance.”

That approach has so far paid off. Reviews of the 2022 world premiere, as danced in London by The Royal Ballet, came back positively and left Wheeldon excited to continue working on the production, fine-tuning it in the way that Broadway productions use preview performances for before the official opening.

“With these big productions, it’s luxurious when you get to restage it,” Wheeldon said. “To have the opportunity to go in and make adjustments…It is ever-shifting, ever-shaping.”

Following the North American premiere in California, “Like Water for Chocolate” will travel back to New York to open ABT’s summer season at the Metropolitan Opera House on June 22.

This full story can be accessed for free in its entirety at Voice of OC.



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