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UW World Series Presents Seattle Premiere of BALLET DU GRAND THEÂTRE DE GENÈVE, Now thru 4/5

UW World Series Presents Seattle Premiere of BALLET DU GRAND THEÂTRE DE GENÈVE, Now thru 4/5

Appearing in Seattle for the very first time, Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève has a rich, century-long history in Switzerland. Known for its exceptional, classically trained dancers and a repertory of varied works by today's leading choreographers, the company is considered one of the most original and inventive dance companies in Europe. For their Seattle debut, Ballet Genève will perform the evening-length Preludes et Fugues by acclaimed Israeli choreographer Emanuel Gat, an hypnotic reflection on human interaction set to Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier performed to live, solo piano by Brooks Tran.

Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève performs at Meany Hall today-Saturday, April 3-5, 2014 at 8pm. Tickets are $39-44 ($10 for UW students). Tickets may be purchased by phone at206-543-4880, online, or in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office. Meany Hall is located on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington.

Choreographer's statement about Preludes et Fugues
by Emmanuel Gat

On the title page of The Well-Tempered Clavier Bach writes: "...For the Use and Profit of the Musical Youth Desirous of Learning...", and indeed this work (as all of Bach's music) is to me a kind of mentor/manual/guide/companion. Bach's way of transforming structure and form into a musical object that holds fundamental truths, is to me unmatched. The Well-Tempered Clavier embodies most of my beliefs regarding art making in general and choreography in particular. It is with profound humility, gratitude and love for this music, that I embark on this project.

Preludes et Fugues will be in no way an attempt to illustrate the music of Bach nor to translate it into movement, but rather a proposition for a co-existence of structures. The core of my choreographic search, revolves around the development of mechanisms and the process of their fine-tuning. I believe dance holds much of the qualities associated with music, particularly its non-verbal ones. The same way the art of music relates to our deepest selves through abstract sound structures, dance bares the capacity to convey substance through movement and ever changing structures. Within a context of a burning relevancy to contemporary dance-making, Preludes et Fugues offers a reflection on structure and form, a meditation on the unique capacities of dance.

About Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève

The history of ballet in Geneva dates back to the beginning of the 19th century and is intimately linked with the "Théâtre de Neuve", initially located in the Bastions, and subsequently in the present-day Grand Théâtre. By the 1870s, the ballet master of the time had two dozen dancers under his instructions, of whom several held the rank of soloist.

From the beginning of the 20th century, the evolution of dance in Geneva was strongly influenced by the presence in Geneva of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze and subsequently Ernest Ansermet, who were responsible for the introduction of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and Nijinski to local audiences. During this period and immediately after the Second World War (1939-1945), the Grand Théâtre's own corps de ballet was deployed primarily in ballet scenes within operas and operettas, or in pas de deux. After the theater was destroyed by fire in 1951 and during its subsequent reconstruction, the Grand Casino played host on several occasions to the Paris Opera Ballet, as well as to Maurice Béjart's 20th Century Ballet.

In 1962, to honour its re-opening, the Grand Théâtre acquired an enlarged company under the direction of Janine Charrat (1962-64). Following Charrat as Artistic Director was Serge Golovine, one of the most remarkable classical dancers of his generation. He held the post for five years from 1964 to 1969. Alongside his work as choreographer and principal dancer, Serge Golovine was also a prolific teacher.

In 1969, summoned by his friend Herbert Graf, Director of the Grand Théâtre, George Balanchine, without doubt the greatest choreographer of the 20th century, became the Company's Artistic Advisor. He transformed the Geneva Ballet into a kind of European ambassador for the New York City Ballet, appointing as Director Alfonso Cata (1969-73), who would set a new direction for the Company and provide it with fresh impetus. As well as producing his own works, Cata produced Balanchine's great choreographies with the purest style and great musicality. In addition, he invited other world-class choreographers, such as Tudor and Bolender, to Geneva, thereby strengthening the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève and widening its popular appeal.

Subsequently, under the inspiration of Balanchine, Patricia Neary (1973-78), soloist at the New York City Ballet, took the reins at the Company. With Patricia Neary's departure for Zurich, the Balanchine era came to an end, and Peter van Dyk, an exceptional former principal dancer at the Paris Opera, took charge of the Ballet for two years from 1978 to 1980.

As newly appointed Director General, Hugues Gall called upon Oscar Araiz to take over as Director of the Ballet in 1980. The great Argentinean would stamp a new expressionist style - modern and innovative - on the Company, during a tenure which lasted eight seasons (1980-88). More than 30 premières were presented to the public over this period, including Tango, Adagietto, Scènes de famille, and Cantares.

At the beginning of the 1988-89 season, Gradimir Pankov, former Director of the National Ballet of Finland and of the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm, took his turn at the helm. He was the Company's first Director who was not himself a choreographer. As a result, the Company, no longer attached to any particular style, opened a new chapter in its history. It became more polyvalent, adapting itself to the wide-ranging styles of its visiting choreographers. Audiences were exposed to a new repertoire and several of the leading choreographers of the day came to Geneva for the first time, such as Jiri Kylian, Christopher Bruce, Rudi Van Dantzig, Mats Ek, and Ohad Naharin. This collaboration brought new blood to the Company and was warmly received.

From 1996, Renée Auphan became Director General of the Grand Théâtre de Genève, and entrusted the direction of the Ballet to François Passard and Giorgio Mancini. The Company continued to pursue its policy of inviting guest choreographers to Geneva, both neo-classical and contemporary alike.

In 2003, Jean-Marie Blanchard, Director General of the Grand Théâtre de Genève since 2001, appointed Philippe Cohen to head the Ballet. Since his appointment, Philippe Cohen has continued to seek out new choreographers to bring to Geneva, such as Andonis Foniadakis, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Gilles Jobin or Benjamin Millepied, and has given these artists carte blanche for their productions. He has also continued to enrich the repertoire with works by renowned choreographers such as Carolyn Carlson, Lucinda Childs, Jerome Robbins, Nacho Duato, or Saburo Teshigawara.

The Ballet du Grand Theatre continues to enrich and broaden it's repertoire with programs that invite the public to discover the "newcomers" such as choreographers like Ken Ossola, Isira Makuloluwe or even Dominique Bagouet, Joëlle Bouvier, Michael Kelemenis, and Emanuel Gat.

In 2009, Tobias Richter was nominated the Grand Théâtre de Genève's General Director and nourishies the continuity and fully supports all projects of the company.

With the development of international tours to USA, Australia, South America, and Asia, the Ballet now shares its passion for dance with a wider audience who are captivated by the mere artistry.

Artist website: http://www.geneveopera.ch

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