NYC Ballet's Daniel Ulbricht Directs JACOB'S PILLOW DANCE FESTIVAL, 7/16 - 7/20
Daniel Ulbricht/BALLET 2014 offers an exclusive opportunity for audiences to experience some of today's most remarkable ballet dancers in the intimate Ted Shawn Theatre at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, July 16-20. New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Daniel Ulbricht directs and performs with a select ensemble of top stars including Tyler Angle, Craig Hall, Robert Fairchild, Russell Janzen, Emily Kikta, Rebecca Krohn, Tiler Peck, Georgina Pazcoguin, and Teresa Reichlen. The program is equally impressive, including Christopher Wheeldon's Liturgy, danced to Arvo Pärt's "Fratres;" Two Hearts, a collaboration between Benjamin Millepied and composer Nico Muhly; Furiant, created by NYCB Soloist Justin Peck; Sunshine, a solo for Ulbricht by Larry Keigwin; the world premiere of Opus 19. Andante, a duet by critically acclaimed young choreographer Emery LeCrone; and the classic Fancy Free, the first ballet created by Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein in 1944, which subsequently inspired the full-length musical On the Town. Cast subject to change.
Ella Baff, Executive and Artistic Director of Jacob's Pillow states, "Whether longtime dance-lover or newcomer to dance, no one should miss this rare opportunity to see Daniel and a remarkable cast of New York City Ballet dancers in their prime, performing an illuminating spectrum of dances by some of the most important choreographers of our time."
Christopher Wheeldon's Liturgy was first performed in 2003 by New York City Ballet veterans Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto; Anna Kisselgoff ofThe New York Times wrote of the premiere that it was "wondrous...a striking experiment on a high plane." The duet's choreography is deliberately simple, using a consistent vocabulary to develop the relationship between dancers Rebecca Krohn and Craig Hall. Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's "Fratres" is a textured, evocative accompaniment.
Two Hearts, by Benjamin Millepied, is set to a commissioned score by noted composer Nico Muhly that "suggests a world unto itself" (Robert Greskovic, The Wall Street Journal). Millepied is the founding director of LA Dance Project as well as the incoming artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet. Two Hearts features Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle in stunning partnering with exquisite shapes. Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times remarks that "[Millepied] creates a vivid showcase for Ms. Peck's breathtaking technique and timing."
Furiant, choreographed by New York City Ballet soloist Justin Peck, is a strong and sultry duet set to music by Antonin Dvo?ak. This work was created for the gala performance at the 2012 Youth America Grand Prix. NYCB principals Teresa Reichlen and Robert Fairchild perform this work juxtaposing fluidity and control with pure reckless abandonment. Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times praises Furiant for its "wide range of colors, releasing the exultant largeness of Ms. Reichlen's style...while showing them both at times collecting themselves in the strict formality of ballet's fifth positions - all as if prompted by the music."
Sunshine, a solo performed by Daniel Ulbricht, is one section of a six-part piece titled Mattress Suite choreographed by Larry Keigwin, artistic director of Keigwin + Company. Set to the bluesy tune "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" sung by Bill Withers, Sunshine pairs smooth undulations of the arms and torso with technically virtuosic turns and jumps. Ulbricht is lauded as among the finest technicians of his generation; Wendy Perron of Dance Magazine notes that "he's one of the best male ballet dancers in New York and he enlivens every ballet he dances."
Prodigious young dancemaker Emery LeCrone has achieved widespread critical and popular acclaim for her "genuine choreographic gifts" (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times). The world premiere of Opus 19. Andante is performed by Emily Kikta and Russell Janzen to music by Sergei Rachmaninoff. LeCrone, an alumna of The School at Jacob's Pillow, will also bring her company, Emery LeCrone Dance to the Inside/Out performance series on Thursday, July 17 at 6:15pm. This performance will be followed by a Q&A session with the company.
Daniel Ulbricht/ BALLET 2014's impressive program concludes with recognition of an earlier and seminal choreographer of the New York City Ballet. Fancy Free was the first ballet created by Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein in 1944.This theatrical ballet portrays the adventures of sailors on shore leave in the 1940s, and was later adapted into the stage musical On the Town in 1949. Fancy Free was performed at Jacob's Pillow in 1947 and 1949 by the American Ballet Theatre, and the Daniel Ulbricht/ BALLET 2014 program marks a return of Robbins' choreography, 65 years after it was last performed at the Pillow. This ensemble work will be performed by Tyler Angle, Daniel Ulbricht, Robert Fairchild, Georgina Pazcoguin, Tiler Peck, and Rebecca Krohn, with Andrew Robertson in the role of the Bartender. Deborah Jowitt describes the charm ofFancy Free, in her full-length biography entitled Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance, that "there was something particularly alluring about the topic of sailors on leave. Their joking camaraderie, their rolling gait, their tight uniforms and rakish caps all fostered an image of cockiness" that brought audience members to their feet in a "reported twenty-plus curtain calls on opening night." A PillowTalk will take place on Friday, July 18 at 5pm, entitled Legacies of Robbins and Balanchine, which will explore the achievements and ongoing influence of these choreographers, featuring Ellen Sorrin, who is both the Director of George Balanchine Trust and a board member of the Jerome Robbins Foundation.
Daniel Ulbricht was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, and began his dance training at the age of 11 at the Judith Lee Johnson Studio of Dance, studying with Lenny Holmes. Early training also took place at the Chautauqua Summer Dance Program under former New York City Ballet principals, Jean Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. In 1999, Mr. Ulbricht was invited by the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, to participate in their Winter Program. As a student at SAB, Ulbricht performed with New York City Ballet as a Jester in Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty. In December 2000, he became an apprentice with New York City Ballet and in November 2001 he joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet. Ulbricht was promoted to the rank of soloist in January 2005, and principal dancer in May 2007. In 2008 Ulbricht formed a touring company known as Daniel Ulbricht and Friends, which included principals and soloists from America's most prominent and esteemed dance companies. The company was renamed Stars of American Ballet in 2013 and has toured to venues across the U.S. from Hawaii to Pennsylvania and everywhere in between, including an international performance in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 2013.
New York City Ballet is one of the foremost dance companies in the world, with a roster of spectacular dancers and an unparalleled repertory. Founded in 1948 by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, it quickly became world-renowned for its athletic and contemporary style. Jerome Robbins joined NYCB the following year and, with Balanchine, helped to build the astounding repertory and firmly establish the company in New York. Daniel Ulbricht/ BALLET 2014's grouping of talent includes a Princess Grace Statue award-winner (Peck), two Janice Levin Dancer honorees (Reichlen and Ulbricht), and six recipients of the School of American Ballet's Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise (Angle, Hall, Janzen, Fairchild, Pazcoguin, and Peck).
Jacob's Pillow, celebrating its 82nd Festival in 2014, is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America's longest running international dance festival. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and 350 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, and events. The School at Jacob's Pillow, one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the U.S., encompasses the diverse disciplines of Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance, as well as an Intern Program in various disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production. The Pillow's extensive Archives, open year-round to the public, chronicle more than 80 years of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Year-round Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults through public classes, residencies in area schools, and an extensive schedule of free public events. Through Jacob's Pillow Curriculum in Motion®, a nationally-recognized program, artist-educators work with Berkshire County teachers and students grades K-12, transforming curricula such as biology, literature, and history into kinesthetic and creative learning experiences. Creative Development Residencies, in which dance companies are invited to live and work at the Pillow and enjoy unlimited studio time; choreography commissions; and the annual $25,000 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award all support visionary dance artists and choreographers. Virtual Pillow is aimed at expanding global audiences for dance and offers the opportunity to experience dance and Jacob's Pillow from anywhere in the world via online interactive exhibits, global video networks, and social media. As part of the Virtual Pillow initiative, Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive is a curated online video collection of dance highlights from 1936 to today. On March 2, 2011, President Obama honored Jacob's Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org.