Kansas City Ballet's 56th Season Features Jerome Robbins' FANCY FREE & More
Kansas City Ballet's 56th season opens with a Fall program featuring a new work by Los Angeles-based choreographer Jodie Gates, George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, Jerome Robbins' hugely popular Fancy Free with music by Leonard Bernstein, a recent work by William Whitener, and Opus One, a world premiere by newly appointed Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney. The Fall program will be accompanied by Kansas City Symphony and conducted by Kansas City Ballet Music Director Ramona Pansegrau.
The October performances will be Mr. Carney's first with Kansas City Ballet. "I'm very excited about our Fall program and the opportunity to present our dancers in a such a diverse and well rounded repertoire." He says, "It's always satisfying to present the works of legends like Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine. Plus having the opportunity to create a new ballet on the program is a chance to demonstrate to our patrons at least one of the new directions I desire to take the company in the future. This program is one that I think audiences will find both intimate and grand at the same time."
When Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free, the precursor to the Broadway musical and film On The Town, premiered in 1944, it proved to be one of the most exciting evenings in the history of dance in America. It marked the emergence of two new American treasures; Jerome Robbins, an original member of American Ballet Theatre, created the choreography, working closely with a young, then unknown composer, Leonard Bernstein. Following the success of the ballet it was translated into a musical comedy On The Town, which was subsequently adapted for the screen starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. The setting is New York City on a hot summer night with three sailors on shore leave. They pick up two girls and a fight develops. Each sailor dances to win the favor of a girl, revealing his individual character. When the girls are unable to choose, they slip away. The sailors make up, but when a third girl passes their way, the audience is left wondering whether they have learned their lesson.
The pas de deux Triple Play is choreographed by William Whitener, who will be returning to stage this piece following his departure as artistic director (1996-2013) at Kansas City Ballet. It features a piano solo Three Novelettes by Francis Poulenc, performed by pianist Sam Beckett.
The ballet was created for "Dancers Making Dances," the Ballet's choreographic workshop, and received its first fully staged performance at the Dance St. Louis Festival in May 2013.
An untitled new work choreographed by Jodie Gates to the 7th Keyboard Concerto of J.S. Bach, scheduled September 27 and 28, 2013 at Johnson County Community College, also will be on the Fall program, featuring pianist Dan Velicer. This premiere is a co-commission of Kansas City Ballet and the Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College for the New Dance Partners Project. Kansas City Ballet and two area modern dance companies were commissioned to create new pieces to raise the profile of dance and help build dance audiences in the metropolitan area. For more information, please visit www.jccc.edu/TheSeries.
Jodie Gates is a 30-year veteran choreographer, director, producer and dancer. Characterized by vivid articulation and rich musicality, her work has been called "visually compelling, powerful, beautiful," by the Philadelphia Inquirer and praised for "showing considerable skill at construction, moving dancers seamlessly on and off stage" by The New York Times.
Allegro Brillante, George Balanchine's neoclassical ballet set to Peter I. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 75 might be aptly subtitled "Appassionata." The music, which will feature piano soloist Sam Beckett, originally for symphonic use, was the last Tchaikovsky composed. It is melodically and stylistically reminiscent of much of his work, with a brisk vigor which motivates the dance. The choreography, like the music, is Russian and romantic, evidenced throughout in expansiveness of movement and gesture with dazzling speed. According to Balanchine, Allegro Brillante "contains everything I knew about the classical ballet - in 13 minutes."