Michele Gifford and Shea Johnson will dance this weekend with Ballet Concerto.

Ballet Concerto, the popular summer dance troupe, celebrates 30 years of open-air performances  with a four-day run at Trinity Park Pavilion beginning Thursday.

Founded by Margo Dean (who also founded the Fort Worth Ballet, now Texas Ballet Theater), the group started out on a portable flatbed stage borrowed from the city’s parks and recreation department, parked on a lawn in the Cultural District. Now the company builds its own stage each year in the back of Trinity Park Pavilion.

Also observing a noteworthy anniversary is guest choreographer Luis Montero, who returns for his 25th season with the company to stage his version of Carmen, last seen here in 2001. Montero has created a number of Spanish-flavored ballets for Ballet Concerto over the years.


Michele Gifford, formerly with the New York City Ballet and TBT, will re-create the title role she danced here in 2001. Shea Johnson, a soloist with Arizona Ballet and former dancer with Metropolitan Classical Ballet in Arlington, will be Don Jose. The bull fighter Escamillio will be danced by Brandon Nugent of the Atlanta Ballet.

Also on the program will be a revival of British choreographer Michael Vernon’s Western Sweet, a tribute to Fort Worth’s Cowtown roots inspired by a visit to the Stockyards in 1993. Caradee Cline and Rupert Gerding will be featured soloists.

Rounding out the four evenings will be a revival of Fernando Bujones’ Jazz Swing. Ballet Concerto co-artistic director Webster Dean will stage the piece. –– Leonard Eureka


Ballet Concerto’s Summer Dance Concert is Thu-Sun at Trinity Park Pavilion, 2300 W7th St, FW. Tickets are $30. Lawn seating is free. Call 817-738-7915.