Southwest Virginia Ballet (SVB) is proud to collaborate with local museums and artists in their production of TIES.  A collage of historic photos, live music, and expressive dance, audiences will be delighted as dancers ride the rails of railroad history with a vision of the past, present, and future.  

From artistic director, Pedro Szalay:  To me, TIES is about people and their incredible connections to others and to the land that holds them.  Many have uprooted or been uprooted, leaving a country, a region, or a family. They are pushed by themselves or by circumstances to reach goals and go beyond their comfort zones.  As a result of WWII, my family emigrated from Hungary to Venezuela where I was born.  I loved both my countries; however, when wing-spreading time came for this young man, I went to New York City, then to Richmond, Virginia, and finally here to Roanoke following my dreams.
So when I started searching for a project for SVB in 2008, I was intrigued by the rail history of this region and its influence on immigration to Roanoke.  As the idea developed, I decided to leave the chronological story telling to the museums.  Instead I am focusing on the relationships of people - the dreamers, laborers, and witnesses who chose to stay in or come to the Big Lick, the Magic City, the Star City, and the Roanoke Valley.  Our costume changes will flit through history like the children, parents, and grandparents of O. Winston Link’s photographs.  Relationships will develop and dissolve throughout the choreography like the spirits that rise, suffuse, and integrate into the earth that is this valley.  Their spirits grew out of great dreams, cold steely labor, disappointments, and victories.  Watch the images of the train with its trails of steam and imagine it to be the spirit of the tough gritty people who brought the clanging steel carts to our days and nights.  

As with these people, it takes collaboration and we are happy to have fostered that in this production.  Thank you to O. Winston Link for the captured images of a past era and the museum that houses them here in Roanoke.  We also thank the Virginia Museum of Transportation for sharing ideas and history.  David Austin’s original score expresses the spirit of a past and contemporary era.  We thank local artist, Nancy Stark, for the image used on promotional materials.  She consistently captures the images of today’s railcars that hint at their own history in their rusty skins.  Please visit and support these museums and artists as they have supported SVB.   

As part of our program Southwest Virginia Ballet Gives Back, SVB is pleased to offer free tickets to TIES to clients of human service organizations.  Staff members from local human service organizations are invited to contact to apply for tickets on behalf of their clients.  

Southwest Virginia Ballet presents TIES
Location:  Shaftman Performance Hall, Jefferson Center, 541 Luck Avenue, Roanoke, VA. 
Dates:    School Outreach Performance Friday, March 4, 10am
              Public Performance Saturday, March 5, 7pm
Tickets:  Adults - $27, Students under 18 - $18
Buy tickets early for your favorite seats!  Box Office: 540-345-2550 or online at

Southwest Virginia Ballet is a regional, pre-professional youth dance company.  Serving Southwest Virginia since 1990, SVB is recognized internationally for excellence in classical dance, costuming, and instruction.  SVB provides the highest quality of dance training, focusing not only on the development of technical and performance skills, but also instilling the discipline, teamwork, and dedication necessary to be successful in all aspects of life.  SVB alumni continue to dance, teach, and choreograph professionally around the world.  Our mission is to make the performing arts experience available to all ages from all walks of life through full-length productions of varied repertoire including classical ballet, contemporary, and new works.  Southwest Virginia Ballet provides, free of charge, the highest quality of pre-professional training possible to young dancers and promotes cultural enrichment and awareness of the art of dance.  SVB is committed to offering outreach opportunities for under-served and at-risk children and adults from across Southwest Virginia.  

For information contact
Karen Kalbfleisch, Executive Director


Photo credit McDilda Photography