High Energy Program Celebrates Music, Dance and the Joy of Life
Ballet West presents an explosion of music and movement with three major Utah premieres, April 8, 9 and 13-16 at the Capitol Theatre. This high velocity program includes the life-affirming splendor of Jiří Kylián’s Sinfonietta, George Balanchine’s pure and sublime Chaconne, and the sensual power of Nicolo Fonte’s pulsating Bolero.
The evening unfolds with Jiří Kylián's joyous Sinfonietta. Czech born Kylián was inspired by the beautiful music of his compatriot, Leoš Janáček, to create this fluid, spacious, romantic ballet which has become a milestone in contemporary choreography. Last October, Ballet West received huge ovations from Las Vegas audiences when the Company performed Sinfonietta during Nevada Ballet Theatre’s tribute to the late Robert Joffrey. According to Dance Critic Julia Osborne of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Ballet West’s performance was “without a doubt attention-getting and fulfilling.” Hal de Becker of CityLife raved: “The ballet opened to the bounding brass of Janáček’s thrilling score. The dancers seemed to ride the music like crests of ocean waves.” This is the first ballet by Kylián that Ballet West is presenting and is a major addition to the company’s rich and varied repertoire.
The program continues with the courtly elegance and ethereal purity of George Balanchine's classic Chaconne to musical excerpts from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera “Orpheo et Euradice.” This beautiful and recognizable score includes the famous flute solo “the dance of the blessed spirit”. Chaconne is pure dance but with references to the heavenly elysian fields of Gluck’s opera. The opening pas de deux and following ensemble are lyrical and flowing. The second part has the spirit of a court entertainment, with formal divertissements, bravura roles for the principal dancers, and, of course, a concluding chaconne.
The evening concludes with the power and sensuality of Nicolo Fonte's pulsating Bolero, set to the music of Ravel. In a 2008 review of its world premiere on Oregon Ballet Theatre, Dean Speer of criticaldance.com described Bolero as follows: “Metal sheets are placed and hung vertically in layers, right to left and down to up, across the stage. Dancers move behind, in front of, and around these, which eventually rise, disappearing to the flies above the stage. In the last moments, the work dramatically concludes with a blood-red drapery lowering out of the flies and [a dancer] being tossed into it, caught by [a fellow dancer], as the music crashes through its last chords.”
Of Bolero, Fonte explains: “I found inspiration from comments made by Ravel himself, preferring a ballet scenario with a somewhat more industrial setting reflecting the mechanical nature of the music – despite the romantic and obvious Spanish musical figures that predominate in what is certainly one of the most popular pieces of music ever composed. What I really love about the music is how contained it is – despite its mechanical nature, there is a slow accumulation until the finale, when Ravel really lets go. It makes me think of a bacchanal – it becomes so life-affirming and rich. I'd been wanting for a long time to make a ballet that had a joyful nature, a ‘yes’ to it. Bolero is, for me, that ballet.”
The performances of Bolero will be accompanied by the Utah Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Terence Kern and Ballet West assistant conductor Jared Oaks. Single tickets range from $18 to $75 and are available through ArtTix at www.arttix.org or by calling (801) 355-ARTS. Discounts are also available for groups of 15 or more by calling Ballet West at (801) 869-6900.