To kick off our 50th year we present the revival of Ballet West Founder Willam Christensen’s colorful and dramatic production, The Firebird, danced to Igor Stravinsky’s legendary score; Who Cares?, George Balanchine’s joyous mix of Gershwin tunes and classical ballet; and Petite Mort, Jiří Kylián’s sensual work of genius, recently featured on the national television series “Breaking Pointe.”
Music by Igor Stravinsky THE FIREBIRD SUITE (1945)* Choreography by Willam F. Christensen Scenic and Costume Design by Ronald Crosby Costume Design by David Heuvel Lighting Design by Nicholas Cavallaro Masks Created by Logan Long
Staged by Bené Arnold and Bruce Caldwell
In a deep forest is the castle of the sinister King Kostchei, encircled by a carved golden wall. In front of the wall are rows of statues - knights turned to stone when they tried to rescue their sweethearts whom the Kostchei holds hostage. Outside this wall grows a tree of golden apples.
Ivan Tsarevich, a young prince, enters the garden. As he examines the gigantic wall, a remarkable bird flies down to feed on the golden apples. The bird is like no other - she has feathers of flame and emanates an aura of magic. Ivan, fascinated by the illuminated creature, succeeds in catching her. She begs for freedom and, out of kindness he releases her. In gratitude, the Firebird gives Ivan one of her feathers and tells him that if he is ever in trouble, all he need do is wave it to summon her.
As the Firebird flies away, the gates in the wall open and thirteen beautiful princesses enter to dance and play in the moonlight. The evil King Kostchei allows his captive maidens one hour of freedom a day. If they do not return, they will die. The Tsarevna, the most beautiful of the princesses, entrances Ivan, and he leaves his hiding place to meet her. They dance together and then part with a vow of love as the princesses return to the depths of the castle.
Ivan, determined to save his beautiful Tsarevna, attempts to open the gates when suddenly the garden is filled with grotesque monsters that seize him. King Kostchei appears and begins to turn Ivan to stone. In desperation, Ivan waves the Firebird’s feather. The wonderous bird arrives and lulls the monsters to sleep. She reveals the hiding place of a great egg which holds the soul of Kostchei’s power. Ivan breaks the egg thus destroying King Kostchei and freeing the princesses.
The evil kingdom vanishes, The enchanted statues of the knights come back to life and reclaim their princesses as Ivan and Tsarevna are married.
Dance Production/Choreography by Jiri Kylian Assistant to the Choreographer: Roslyn Anderson Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major [Adagio] KV 488 Piano Concerto in C Major [Andante] KV 467 Set Design by Jiri Kylian Costume Design by Joke Visser Light Design by Joop Caboort Technical Supervisor light/set: Erik van Houten
Solo Pianist: Jed Moss
Jiri Kylian choreographed Petite Mort for the Salzburg Festival in commemoration of the second centenary of Mozart's death. He chose as his music the slow movements of two of Mozart's most beautiful and popular piano concertos. The choreography includes six men, six women, and six fencing foils. The foils are the men's real dancing partners and sometimes turn out to be more stubborn and willful than a human partner. Besides light-hearted moments with the foils, Kylian also plays with black baroque dresses, which at times appear to exist separately from the dancers and at others to be molded to their bodies.
The performance of Who Cares, a Balanchine® Ballet, is presented by arrangement with The George Balanchine Trust_ and has been produced in accordance with the Balanchine Style® and Balanchine Technique® Service standards established and provided by the Trust.
World Premiere: February 5, 1970, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, New York Ballet West Premiere: February 9, 2001, Capitol Theatre, Salt Lake City
This charming suite of dances to the ever tuneful, ever popular music of George Gershwin is another example of choreographer George Balanchine’s genius. Yes, it is presented to well-known early 20th Century songs; yes, there are elements of American theater and popular dance styles; but through and through, Who Cares? remains a classical ballet with a classical structure of ensemble, pas de deux, and solo variations. -- Adam Sklute
Ballet West | The Premiere Company of the American West