THIS WEEK'S TOP BALLET NEWS
● Ballet West Celebrates Rodeo‘s 80th Anniversary
● San Francisco Ballet Announces More Details About next@90
● Kansas City Ballet Performs The Nutcracker at The Kennedy Center
● Tulsa Ballet Presents World Premiere Carmen
Ballet West Celebrates Rodeo‘s 80th Anniversary
Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo turns 80 this year and Ballet West is the only company known to be commemorating this special occasion. The Salt Lake City based ballet company will premiere the iconic work at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City on November 4th along with George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco and Jiří Kylián’s Return to a Strange Land.
“Rodeo is part of the history of ballet, in particular, the development of American ballet,” said Adam Sklute, Ballet West’s Artistic Director. “Agnes de Mille redefined how we approach dance in the 20th century and it still colors the American approach – theatrically, artistically and technically – to ballet in the 21st century. It’s also fascinating how much this 1942 work says about acceptance, inclusion and gender identity. Its ultimate message of staying true to yourself and being loved for who you are remains poignant and relevant today.”
Rodeo is a one-act story ballet set to American composer Aaron Copland’s score, representing Americana in classical ballet. “It’s the sweet, simple story of a cowgirl who longs to be ‘one of the guys,’ and who loses, but then finds, her heart along the way.”
San Francisco Ballet Announces More Details About next@90
In 2023, the three programs curated by current San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson and incoming Artistic Director Tamara Rojo that make up the next@90 festival will include nine world premieres.
- ROBERT GARLAND, named the new artistic director of Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2022, creates Haffner Serenade, his first work for SF Ballet. Set to Mozart, Garland explains that “Part of my intention is getting dancers to experience what a standard is within the classical canon”.
- JAMAR ROBERTS’ first piece for SF Ballet is titled Resurrection, named after the first movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. “The idea of the cinematic lives rent free in my mind,” he said.
- DANIELLE ROWE’s second work for SF Ballet MADCAP is set to eerie, carnival-inspired music by Pär Hagström orchestrated by Philip Feeney. “It’s been a very collaborative experience,” says Rowe, highlighting the versatility and bravery of the dancers. “They’re so willing to be uncomfortable, so willing to try something new.”
- VAL CANIPAROLI, who celebrates his 50th anniversary with the Company in 2023, will create Emergence, set to Dobrinka Tabakova’s Concerto for Cello and Strings, costume designs by Susan Roemer, and lighting designs by Jim French.
- BRIDGET BREINER, Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer of Staatsballett Karlsruhe, creates her first work for SF Ballet with The Queen’s Daughter, an adaptation of the biblical story of Salome set to Benjamin Britten’s only violin concerto. “In certain interpretations, Salome is a young girl who is pushed around and manipulated by her family,” said Breiner. “I found the idea of her dancing, then, as a moment of power for her. Maybe she’s a shy and introverted person, but she takes this opportunity to perform, and with this expression of herself she can ask for anything.”
- YUKA OISHI makes her United States and SF Ballet debut with BOLERO, a creative process that began in 2020, when she experienced two major life changes at once: her pregnancy and subsequent birth of her son, and the death of a loved one. “Death and life kissed each other,” described Oishi. “When I listened to Bolero, I had to start moving. The repetition of rhythm and melody completed my idea of a constant beating, the idea of growing a cell to the universe’s scale.”
- NICOLAS BLANC, former SF Ballet Principal Dancer and current Rehearsal Director/Coach and Choreographer at The Joffrey Ballet, returns to SF Ballet for Gateway to the Sun, his new ballet set to Anna Clyne’s DANCE for cello and orchestra. “Dance is a liberation, dance is a sense of soothing, of solace for a human being,” said Blanc.
- CLAUDIA SCHREIER, Choreographer in Residence at Atlanta Ballet, is creating on SF Ballet for the first time with her abstract ballet Kin, set to a commissioned score by Tanner Porter. “Working with Tanner has blown open wide for me the possibility of what it means to work in collaboration with an artist,” said Schreier. “It’s surreal to be here, to be in this beautiful city,” she says. “I love the San Francisco Ballet dancers.”
- YURI POSSOKHOV, SF Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence, presents his premiere Violin Concerto set to Stravinsky’s score. “I needed to do this now,” Possokhov said. “My memory of Balanchine comes back, of course, but this impulse gives me the chance to express myself.”
Kansas City Ballet Performs The Nutcracker at The Kennedy Center
Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney’s version of The Nutcracker will see a seven-performance run at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. between November 23 and 27.
Upon return to their home town, the company will dance at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts to Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score played by the Kansas City Symphony.
Carney says, “I am so excited to be returning to the Muriel Kauffman Theatre presenting our wonderful vibrant production of The Nutcracker after our performances at the Kennedy Center. It means the world to me to see the joy and sparkle in the eyes of our audiences of all ages, as they are transported to a whimsical winter wonderland and a beautiful land of the sweets – full of scrumptious treats and surprises.”
In December, the performances in Kansas City will be complemented by events such as a virtual dancer chat about The Nutcracker, The Nutcracker Ball, and the Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Ball.
Tulsa Ballet Presents World Premiere Carmen
In just a few weeks, Tulsa Ballet will present their first full-length ballet of the season – Carmen, a world premiere production with choreography by British choreographer, director, producer and Northern Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Kenneth Tindall. Explaining why the company decided to not perform Amedeo Amodio’s 2011 version of this ballet based on Bizet’s opera, Artistic Director Marcello Angelini says:
“While I love Amedeo’s choreography, I feel the work needs to be reimagined based on the cultural shifts of the past two decades. I have been looking for the right choreographer to transform and translate this story into a dance piece that is artistically compelling while telling the story in the optics of the 21st century. Kenneth is a choreographer I have been watching for years; he is a great story teller, one whose choreography tells the story with each step, each breath, each glance. He excels in creating works on tales of passion, intrigue and drama. This will be an epic Carmen!”
Tindall says, “I am delighted to have been asked to choreograph Carmen for Tulsa Ballet and thank Marcello for trusting me with his beautifully gifted company and giving me the opportunity to create my first full length ballet in the United States. Carmen has a long performative history and many interpretations through multiple mediums. Whilst I have looked to nod to and take inspiration from the original source material of the Prosper Novella and the Bizet opera this Carmen will look to contextualize these characters and narrative through a modernized lens.”
Photo Credits: 1) Claudia Schreier during rehearsal for her Kin // © Chris Hardy; 2) Kansas City Ballet Dancer Kevin Wilson in The Nutcracker. Photographer: Kenny Johnson; 3) Tulsa Ballet’s Arman Zazyan and Jaimi Cullen in Carmen. Photo by Josh New.