THIS WEEK'S TOP BALLET NEWS
● Joffrey Academy of Dance Introduces Contemporary Ballet Track
● Sarasota Ballet Review: A Touch of Curiosity and Reverence
● Ballet West to Perform at Red Butte Garden
● Solange Knowles Commissioned for Gianna Reisen Ballet
● The Trocks Return to The Joyce
● North Texas Welcomes Kyiv City Ballet
Joffrey Academy of Dance Introduces Contemporary Ballet Track
Beginning this fall, the Official School of The Joffrey Ballet – Joffrey Academy of Dance – will offer a contemporary dance track, the first trainee program of its kind by a United States classical ballet company. Students will continue to focus on the foundations of classical ballet (technique, pointe work, partnering), in addition to the defining characteristics of contemporary training: improvisation and floor work.
Katlin Michael Bourgeois has been named as the inaugural Head of the Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program and former Joffrey Artist Oğulcan Borova takes over as the new Head of Studio Company and Ballet Trainees.
“Katlin and Oğulcan are outstanding teachers and leaders, with long ties to the Joffrey,” said Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet. “Both have a gift for nurturing students and talent, at a time when the models of training are quickly evolving. They are welcoming and inspirational, deeply committed to the Joffrey mission, and uniquely qualified to develop the next generation of cross-disciplinary, world-class dancers. They will be indispensable as the Joffrey shapes the conversations taking place across the dance industry today.”
Sarasota Ballet Review: A Touch of Curiosity and Reverence
Sarasota Ballet’s program at The Joyce, which will close the theater’s Spring/Summer 2022 season, featured two Ashton numbers. Ashton’s Birthday Offering is a jubilant affair, complete with a set of low stairs, billowing white curtains, and twin candelabras. The second Ashton piece on the program is less successful as an entertaining number and more successful as an interesting history lesson. Varii Capricci was meant to contrast the English classism expected of The Royal Ballet at the 1983 Britain Salutes New York Festival at the Metropolitan Opera House. Bookended by the Ashton pieces was the world premiere, Shades of Spring, by Jessica Lang.
Read our full review of opening night written by Nadia Vostrikov.
Ballet West to Perform at Red Butte Garden
On September 9, Ballet West will dance two new works by Juliano Nunes and Sophie Laplane.
Opening the performance is Juliano Nunes’ world premiere for Ballet West, Orange, an expression of joy and peace.
“Nunes said the color orange gave him solace and reminded him of a sunset, so I felt presenting his sublime and flowing new ballet Orange at that time of the evening in Red Butte Garden would create the mood and environment he envisioned for the work,” said Artistic Director Adam Sklute.
A tribute to the resilience and strength of dancers, Galantheae, choreographed by Sophie Laplane, will close the performance. Galantheae is the scientific name for the unique snowdrop flower that pushes its way through the frozen earth each year, battling the elements to survive. Galantheae metaphorically shows the staunch determination of ballet dancers coming out of the pandemic to create beauty and their art.
“The ballet is quirky and peculiar, but it’s also funny, upbeat and elegant all at the same time,” said Sklute. “Anyone who is into gardening will recognize the imagery as the dancers represent both plant-life and the elements. I thought it was a delightful way to close a show in glorious nature.”
Sandwiched between the premieres is Arthur St. Léon’s charming La Vivandiere Pas de Six, preserved from the mid-19th century. This lively Romantic-era suite of short dances from a lost full-length story ballet is delicate, light, and full of challenging technical demands for the Ballet West II dancers.
Solange Knowles Commissioned for Gianna Reisen Ballet
New York City Ballet has commissioned Solange Knowles to compose the score for Gianna Reisen’s premiere at the 2022 Fall Fashion Gala on September 28. This will be the Grammy-Award winning singer, songwriter, and visual artist’s first score for a ballet company. The piece was written for chamber ensemble and will be performed by some of Solange’s frequent musical collaborators as well as members of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Solange is the talent behind the critically acclaimed albums A Seat at the Table and When I Get Home which revolve around the themes of identity, empowerment, grief, and healing.
The new work – Reisen’s third for NYCB – will include costumes by fashion designer Alejandro Gómez Palomo for Palomo Spain, featuring Swarovski crystals; and lighting by Mark Stanley, NYCB’s Resident Lighting Director.
The Trocks Return to The Joyce
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, captivating audiences since 1974, returns to The Joyce from December 20 through January 8 for another uproarious holiday program in their signature comical style. The beloved troupe of male dancers takes the stage for three weeks of nonstop skilled pointe work and hilarious parodying of classical ballet.
Program A features Swan Lake, Pas de deux, Dying Swan, and Majisimas and Program B features Les Sylphides, Pas de deux, Dying Swan, and Paquita.
North Texas Welcomes Kyiv City Ballet
Thanks to two prominent organizations in the state – Texas Ballet Theater (TBT) and Performing Arts Fort Worth (PAFW) – Kyiv City Ballet will perform for one night only at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, the company’s only stop in Texas during its United States tour.
A Tribute to Peace – North Texas Welcomes Kyiv City Ballet will be performed on Monday, October 3 @ 7:30pm and feature choreography by Ekaterina Kozlova and Ivan Kozlov and include an appearance by TBT dancers.
“We are honored to share the beauty of ballet with US audiences, through Ukrainian artists,” said Ivan Kozlov, Artistic Director. “Touring the States for the first time with a range of ballets makes an important global statement. It demonstrates the resilience of the Ukrainian people.”
Photo Credits: 1) Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet. Photo by Cheryl Mann; 2) Richard House and Ricardo Rhodes in Jessica Lang’s Shades of Spring. Photo by Steven Pisano; 3) Artists of Ballet West. Photo by Beau Pearson; 4) Solange Knowles at Lincoln Center, Photo Credit: Rahim Fortune; 5) Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo © Zoran Jelenic; 6) Artists of the Kyiv City Ballet, Courtesy of Kyiv City Ballet