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Septime's Blog

Monday, March 22, 2010

Preparing three contemporary works as different as the individuals who created them is a daunting task. Our upcoming Bolero(+) production features Nicolo Fonte's Bolero, Edwaard Liang's Wunderland and a world premiere by Karole Armitage. Karole started working on her piece right after New Years, and held her rehearsals opposite Gatsby rehearsals.

This "Punk Ballerina" gained fame in New York City in the 1980's, when she was tied to many star contemporary visual artists. I asked her to make a "beautiful" work for our company, which was actually more avant guarde for her, since she has always been such a provocateuse! She is teaming with The Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafrtiz Young Artists, who'll be performing Brahms, and together, they've created an emotional and swirling work that is truly transporting. Armitage was so professional in her work with our dancers that I almost forgot her early days when she sported spiked hair, tutus with safety pins and combat boots.

Yesterday, the company started restaging Edwaard Liang's Wunderland, which was a hit with audiences last season. This work, set to mesmerizing music by Philip Glass, is propulsive and really engages all our dancers. Company members from last season all contributed in teaching this work to new dancers, and it was wonderful to watch them impart what Edi had taught them. (I mostly just tried to stay out of the way!) Nicolo is one of the most musical choreographers in the US. He cast Bolero in October and arrives on Monday to stage the piece. It's a physically explosive work -- like a 30 minute ballet packed into 21 minutes, and we're anxious to begin our work on it.

Interestingly, while the music on this program is diverse, there is the sense of a musical journey; from Brahms to Ravel to Glass. Ravel and Glass's music is hypnotic, with rich layers and repetition. Brahm's piece is emotional and humanistic. Altogether...They are dazzling.


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