American Repertory Ballet Announces 2013-14 Season - ROMEO AND JULIET, NUTRACKER & More!
American Repertory Ballet, New Jersey's preeminent ballet company, voted NJ's Favorite Dance Company in the Jersey Arts People's Choice awards, is delighted to announce its 2013-2014 Season of performances around the state. Season highlights include three major productions: the premiere of Artistic Director Douglas Martin's Romeo and Juliet at State Theatre in New Brunswick, with live music played by the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Kynan Johns; ARB's 50th Annual Nutcracker Season, which will span five weekends at theaters across NJ and include a "Celebrate the Legacy" reception; and Night of Fire, a program featuring the premiere of Martin's Firebird and the company premiere of Kirk Peterson's Afternoon of a Faun, at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. The 2013-2014 season will also include brand new works by American choreographers Mary Barton, Trinette Singleton, and Kirk Peterson and revivals of works by Ann Marie DeAngelo, Patrick Corbin, and the late Gerald Arpino, Joffrey Ballet co-founder and choreographer.
On October 11, 2013 at 8:00pm, Douglas Martin's Romeo and Juliet will premiere at State Theatre in New Brunswick, with Prokofiev's score played live by the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Kynan Johns. ARB will reprise Martin's Romeo and Juliet at the Berrie Center at Ramapo College on February 22, 2014 at 8:00pm and at The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College on March 8, 2014 at 8:00pm.
Based on Shakespeare's tragic story, and set to Prokofiev's passionate score, the ballet features a company of 30 dancers, beautiful sets, and stunning costumes. In his review of a spring 2012 preview performance, NY-based dance critic Jerry Hochman of CriticalDance and Ballet-Dance Magazine characterizes Martin's masterwork as "an ambitious production...emotionally and artistically fulfilling...exuberant and exciting to watch...[and] invit[ing] comparisons to other well-known productions,...including...that of Sir Kenneth MacMillan." Marina Kennedy of Broadway World calls the production "an outstanding example of dance being perfectly adapted to dramatic interpretation, with the ARB dancers in full command of their art."
ARB's Nutcracker is a holiday classic featuring Tchaikovsky's score and a cast of over 100 performers. The Company has been performing Nutcracker for 50 consecutive years, making it the longest-running Nutcracker production in New Jersey and one of the longest-running in the United States next to a very few, including New York City Ballet, Ballet West, Ballet Austin, San Francisco Ballet, and Washington Ballet. ARB's 50th Annual Nutcracker Season will run from November 23 through December 22, visiting: the main stage at Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, McCarter Theatre in Princeton, Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan, and State Theatre in New Brunswick. ARB is also holding a "Celebrate the Legacy" reception at The Nassau Club in Princeton for alumni who have performed in past Nutcrackers and ARB supporters.
On March 12, 2013 at 8:00pm, ARB will return to McCarter Theatre with its Night of Fire program. The company will dance an evening of 21st century interpretations of revolutionary works premiered by Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in the early 20th century. As a former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, Martin has an extensive background with Diaghilev-era works. He had the honor of performing several other Ballets Russes classics, including Petrouchka, Le Noce, and Parade. He also was an original cast member of the reconstruction of Nijinski's Le Sacre du Printemps. The program will feature the premiere of Martin's Firebird, which will share a program with his Rite of Spring and Kirk Peterson's Afternoon of a Faun.
As Tony Angarano, Dance Critic for The Courant who reviewed Hartford Ballet's premiere of the work, Peterson's Faun "retains its setting of a Grecian idyll, but the characters, a faun that is half-human/half-beast and a flirtatious nymph, interact with more tender innocence than Nijinsky's originals, which caused a scandal at the 1912 premiere in Paris with their eroticism." He goes on to say, "Peterson's movements seem like the natural expression of Debussy's heated music....a re-interpretation [with] stunning impact."
Martin's Rite of Spring transports the original libretto of Nijinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps - a story based on pagan ritual and sacrifice - in a competitive 1960's office environment. In response to its spring 2013 premiere, The Star-Ledger's Robert Johnson described the work as, "Part sentimental tribute and part screwball comedy" which "avoids primitivist clichés and, in gender parity...manages to find a concept still radical enough to make audiences squirm."As Hochman says of Martin's Rite, "Mr. Martin's choreography fills the stage...The steps...are to this viewer an indescribable potpourri that work together because they fit both Mr. Martin's concept and the Stravinsky score...a tribute to Mr. Martin's choreographic ability."
Just as Martin infused Rite of Spring with a feminist statement, he layers a gender twist onto the classic Firebird libretto. In his version of this classic Russian folk tale, the namesake character will be portrayed by a male rather than a female dancer. Martin will tell the original story with new choreography and set design.
"It is a great challenge for any arts organizations to present original works," says Martin. "I am committed to keeping great 20th century work alive by both continuing to perform those great works and by creating new versions and new takes on those themes. These Diaghilev-era ballets opened the west to eastern pageantry and lore. They introduced western audiences to the artist that would go on to define art in the 20th century. Exploring that history and expounding upon it is essential to the identity and personality of my work."
ARB will present mixed-bill repertory evenings at Rider University's Bart Luedeke Center, The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College, and Union County PAC's Hamilton Stage this fall and spring. The fall season will open with ARB's Fall Kick-Off Performance at Rider University's Bart Luedeke Center on September 20 and 21, 2013 at 7:30pm. The performance will feature, among other works, Douglas Martin's Rite of Spring and Patrick Corbin's Caress, which was characterized by Hochman as "vibrant, inventive, and multi-faceted."
American Artist Showcase will run October 18, 2013 at 7:00pm and October 19, 2013 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm at Hamilton Stage. The program will feature ARB Resident Choreographer Mary Barton's Faerie Tyme, a narrative work in one act filled with both whimsy and athleticism. Also on the program is the great Joffrey Ballet co-founder and choreographer Gerald Arpino's Viva Vivaldi, which ARB originally revived in the fall of 2012. This uniquely charming work is set to Antonio Vivaldi's Concert in D for Violin, Strings, and Cembalo.
The following weekend, on October 26, 2013 at 8:00pm, ARB will present Premieres Evening at Raritan Valley Community College. This evening will feature world premieres by Kirk Peterson, former dancer with American Ballet Theatre and now acclaimed choreographer, and Barton.
ARB will return to Hamilton Stage on March 21, 2014 at 7:00pm and March 22, 2014 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm to present Signature Duets, featuring a brand new work by Trinette Singleton, choreographer of ARB repertory favorite Capriccios, and Gerald Arpino's Confetti. Robert Johnson praised ARB's original performance of Confetti, writing, "Trying to resist 'Confetti's' charms ultimately proves futile. The dancers' courage is exhilarating, and Arpino, its under-appreciated choreographer, wins a belated round of applause."
"We're all extremely excited about this season - which will be a busy one," says ARB Executive Director Christine Chen. "It will be a particular treat to present Romeo and Juliet with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra at State Theatre this fall and to see Douglas Martin's highly anticipated take on Firebird at McCarter next spring. As his Rite of Spring demonstrated, no one understands and visualizes Stravinsky's genius like Mr. Martin. In addition to all that's going on in our own season, we're also very honored to be opening our season at the incomparable Jacob's Pillow this summer and on an incredible lineup as part of the Career Transition for Dancers Annual Jubilee at City Center New York."