Kansas City Ballet’s Bliss Point program next month, the finale to the company’s season, features works by contemporary creators Mark Morris, Jiří Kylián, and Alexander Ekman.
The Kansas City Symphony and Opus 76 String Quartet, conducted by Kansas City Ballet Music Director Ramona Pansegrau, will accompany the dancers in their performances of Sandpaper Ballet, Petite Mort, and Cacti to be held at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Mark Morris’ hip Sandpaper Ballet is an inventive pop ballet that teases your imagination with wit, humor, and dazzling movement by one of America’s most acclaimed choreographers. Morris is a world-renowned choreographer known for his ability to blend classical technique with modern sensibilities and create works that are both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant.
Featuring a light-hearted musical score by Leroy Anderson which includes a wide range of “instruments” such as a typewriter, this piece is a joyful and fun start to this diverse program. Morris choreographed this piece in 1999 as a tribute to softshoe dancing. When it premiered, San Francisco Chronicle declared it “the hit of the evening.”
Petite Mort (“translated from French, meaning “little death”), the tantalizing contemporary ballet by Jiří Kylián, returns to Kansas City Ballet and this popular masterpiece remains an absolute must see. Kylián holds world-wide acclaim and has been one of the most influential voices in the progression of dance in past decades.
When Petite Mort premiered in Kansas City in 2018, Chicago critic Lauren Warnecke stated, “It’s breathtakingly beautiful, juxtaposing the most iconic, sensitive images we have in the 20th century concert dance with Kylián’s dry, cheeky, sense of humor.”
Alexander Ekman’s gleeful ballet, Cacti, pokes fun at the pretentious and often hilarious way that people interpret art. Ekman is a Swedish choreographer known for his innovative and daring work, which challenges traditional notions of dance and performance.
“This work is about how we observe art and how we often feel the
need to analyze and ‘understand’ art. I believe that there is no right way and that everyone can interpret and experience art the way they want. Perhaps it’s just a feeling that you can’t explain or perhaps it’s very obvious what the message is.” – Alexander Ekman
This Kansas City premiere, which concludes the evening, showcases the future of not only dance but the dance theatre experience. Cacti is an affectionate, pointed and often hilarious deconstruction of the affections of dance.
- Fri., May 12 7:30 p.m.
- Sat., May 13 7:30 p.m.
- Sun., May 14 2 p.m.
- Fri., May 19 7:30 p.m.
- Sat., May 20 7:30 p.m.
- Sun., May 21 2 p.m.
The performances of Bliss Point are complemented by a series of events including Dance Speaks, featuring rehearsal viewing and a chat with Ana Marie Lucaciu and Elke Schepers, the stagers of Cacti and Petite Mort, respectively.
There will also be a Facebook LIVE chat with several Kansas City Ballet dancers as they discuss their process in preparing for Bliss Point.
Featured Photo of Kansas City Ballet Dancers Angelin Carrant and Kelsey Ivana Hellebuyck in Alexander Ekman’s Cacti from the Bliss Point program. Photo by Kenny Johnson.
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