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Symphony in Three Movements
George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
World Premiere: June 18, 1972, New York, NY, New York City Ballet
Boston Ballet Premiere: May 12, 2011, Boston, MA
George Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements is a vivacious ensemble work that features 32 dancers and is marked by its breadth of energy and complexity. It premiered at the Stravinsky Festival at New York State Theater in 1972. The Times described Boston Ballet’s 2013 London performance as, “using complex structures, elegantly knotted couplings, jazzy posturing and an outpouring of emancipated power; it is a knockout.” Set to a score by renowned Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, the ballet reflects the jazz undertones in the music with brisk and swift movements that highlight the Company’s graceful athleticism.
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine is regarded as the foremost neo-classical choreographer in the world of ballet. Taking classicism as his base, he heightened, expanded, and even inverted the fundamentals of the 300 year-old-language of academic dance. Balanchine had an inestimable influence on the growth of ballet in America, which included recommendations to the Ford Foundation that helped establish Boston Ballet and 6 other professional American ballet companies. He became artistic advisor for Boston Ballet in 1963 and gave more than 17 ballets to the company as a gesture of support.
Afternoon of a Faun
World Premiere: May 29, 1912, Paris, France, The Ballet Russes
Boston Ballet Premiere: May 14, 2009, Boston, MA
Known to many as one of the greatest dancers of the 20th century, Vaslav Nijinsky was born in Russia in 1889. At age 9, he joined the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg and soon after joined Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes and went on to become both a legendary dancer and choreographer known for passionate characterizations and spectacular displays of physical talent.
Afternoon of a Faun was Nijinsky’s first work of choreography and made its debut with the Ballet Russes in 1912. Debussy’s music and Nijinsky’s choreography were both inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem, “L’après-midi d’un faune.” London’s The Independent describes the ballet as, “both lush and angular, with sun baked scenery by Bakst and Nijinsky’s angled Greek vase poses.” Afternoon of a Faun is considered among the first modern ballets and it inspired controversy upon its premiere for its erotic undertones. In a 2013 review The Telegraph writes, “The piece at once drips with sensuality and perfectly resembles a frieze in motion – I suspect Nijinsky would have approved.”
Plan to B
Music Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber
Choreography Jorma Elo
Costume DesignLighting Design John Cuff
World Premiere: March 25, 2004, Boston, MA, Boston Ballet
Jorma Elo was appointed resident choreographer of Boston Ballet in 2005, where he created many world premieres His work has been described as “physical, organic, and slightly wild” by Dance Magazine.
Plan to B is a work for six dancers which premiered with Boston Ballet in 2004. Plan to B was titled to reflect Elo’s personal experiences with career transitions – moving from professional dancer to choreographer and the anxiety it brings. Marked by crisp and fluent movements the ballet reverberates with velocity that challenges the perspectives of both dancer and audience. Set to the thrilling music of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, the sensational Plan to B has been described by The New York Times as “electrifying the senses through complex structures and speed.” Boston Ballet’s 2013 London performance was pronounced, “a blast of invention and speed…[with], a giddiness of detail: the choreography is lifted to a pitch of joyous, near spontaneous exultation.”
Choreography Jirí Kylián
Music Lukas Foss
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Set Design Jirí Kylián
Costume Design Joke Visser
Lighting Design Kees Tjebbes
Tech Adaptation Kees Tjebbes
Assistant to Choreographer: Ken Ossola
World Premiere: October 12, 1995, The Hague, Netherlands, Netherlands Dans Theater
Boston Ballet Premiere: April 28, 2011, Boston, MA
Bella Figura, created in 1995 for the Nederlands Dans Theater, is a dreamlike work set to a Baroque score by Jirí Kylián. Boston Ballet is the first American Company to perform this work. Kylián has described the work as “a journey in time – light and space, addressing the ambiguity of aesthetics – performances and dreams..” In 2013 Boston Ballet performed the piece in London where the The Guardian wrote, “the cast engage with it in such vivid but un-self regarding ways, they add emotional light and shade to it, they roughen up its gloss. It’s the journey these dancers take through Kylian’s choreography that supplies the drama behind the beautiful image.” An emotional masterpiece, audiences have called Bella Figura a beautiful and artistic experience that leaves a lasting impression.
Kylián’s revolutionary choreography has made an impact on the dance community globally. Extraordinarily prolific, he has created 98 works to date and continues to influence artists with his highly theatrical and provocative work.