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GK ArtsCenter to Present Gelsey Kirkland Ballet's STEALING TIME

GK ArtsCenter is thrilled to present Gelsey Kirkland Ballet's production of Stealing Time, a new ballet with direction, scenario and design by Michael Chernov, choreography by Akop Akopian and Mr. Chernov, with Gelsery Kirkland as artistic advisor and music by Kurt Weill. This production of Stealing Time will present a preview on March 17 and will run March 18-20 at the GK ArtsCenter - 29 Jay St. (formerly St. Ann's Warehouse), Dumbo Brooklyn, N.Y.

In his new ballet, Stealing Time, Mr. Chernov tells a story of illusions, elusiveness of images, dreams, nightmares and the redemptive power of love. The main character, Algae, husband to Venus, is an outsider who is constantly chasing after the elusive success of ambition, power, sex and other dangerous temptations. One fateful night, in a nightclub, Algae kills a mysterious being. Overwrought with guilt and confusion, he struggles to maneuver his now chaotic world. Ultimately, Algae finds mercy through the love of his wife.

Stealing Time, a two-act ballet, asks that the audience play a part in Algae's story. They observe Algae, Algae's theoretical conscious and even each other, thus forcing them to experience what it is like to be watched and judged by one's community. Multi-media projections also serve a prevailing role in this ballet as they illustrate the delusion that is so easily fed to us by society.

Chernov uses sections of Kurt Weill's music from three distinct musical time periods 1) the classical period before he met his collaborator Bertolt Brecht 2) the years he worked with Brecht 3) his U.S. residency when he created American musicals. Each era had a distinct sound and Chernov's uses these pieces to drive the story line making the characters move, change and adapt as they are pushed forward through life and struggle to find a way to hold on to hope.

Tickets for Gelsey Kirkland Ballet's Stealing Time range from $25 to $35. The performance schedule is as follows: Thursday - Saturday 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm.


MICHAEL CHERNOV (Choreographer/Co-Artistic Director ) received his early ballet and theatre training at the National Theater Drama and Ballet School in Melbourne, Australia. He has performed with classical ballet companies in Australia and Europe. From 1987 to 1994 Mr. Chernov worked as an actor performing Off-Broadway and in regional theatre with the Hartford Stage Company and the Alonso Theatre Company in plays by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Shaw, and Coward, working under the direction of Tony Award winning directors Vivian Matalon and Brian Murray. In 1992, he studied theatre directing at T. Schreiber Studios in New York and has directed plays by Anton Chekov and Horton Foote, including directing the actor Leonid Satinovsky from Russia's prestigious Moscow Arts Theatre in Chekov's The Bear. In 2003, Mr. Chernov received his Graduate Ballet Teacher's Diploma (Vaganova Method) at the Victorian College of the Arts, and in he 2006 completed a Master of Arts Administration at the University RMIT, Melbourne Australia. He taught classical ballet at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2004 and 2005, and at Danceworld in Melbourne, Australia where he was co-director of the ballet program with his wife Gelsey Kirkland. He has taught at Steps on Broadway, Peridance Studios, and Ballet Hispanico in New York and in summer programs throughout the U.S. From 2006-2007 Mr. Chernov worked in collaboration with Gelsey Kirkland and Kevin McKenzie on the staging and choreography for The Sleeping Beauty at American Ballet Theatre. In 2010, Ms. Kirkland and Mr. Chernov founded Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, and in 2013 they founded the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Studio Company. Mr. Chernov staged and choreographed The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty for Gelsey Kirkland Ballet and is currently choreographing a new ballet, entitled Stealing Time set to music by Kurt Weill.

GELSEY KIRKLAND (Co-Artistic Director) received her early training at the School of American Ballet, gaining early stage experience dancing children's roles in Balanchine's The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night's Dream, andHarlequinade. She graduated to the New York City Ballet in 1968, was promoted to soloist in 1970, and principal dancer in 1972. Her desire to master roles in full-length works coincided with Baryshnikov's defection and invitation to dance with him at American Ballet Theatre, which she joined in 1974 as principal dancer. Teachers most influential in her development as a classical artist include Stanley Williams, Maggie Black, David Howard, actress and mime Pilar Garcia and dramaturge Greg Lawrence. Ms. Kirkland received worldwide acclaim for her performances in the classical repertory: the title role in Giselle, "Kitri" in Don Quixote, "Clara" in The Nutcracker, "Swanhilda" in Coppélia, "Aurora" inThe Sleeping Beauty, "Juliet" in Romeo and Juliet, "the sylph" in La Sylphide, "Lise" in La Fille Mal Gardée, "Odette/Odile" in Swan Lake , "Nikiya" in The Kingdom of the Shades, "the Mazurka" and pas de deux in Les Sylphides, and "the sleepwalker" in La Sonnambula. Major choreographers have been inspired to create new works for her; namely, a production of Firebird by George Balanchine when she was seventeen, several ballets by Jerome Robbins, and Antony Tudor's The Leaves are Fading and The Tiller in the Fields. Ms. Kirkland's guest appearances with leading companies are notably the critically acclaimed performances of The Sleeping Beauty and MacMillan's Romeo andJuliet with The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, and in Cranko's Romeo and Juliet with The Stuttgart Ballet. On the occasion of Queen Elizabeth's 60th Birthday Gala at Covent Garden, she performed the balcony pas de deux with Anthony Dowell. Her appearances on American and British television include Live from Lincoln Center and the film version of Baryshnikov's The Nutcracker. Retirement from the stage in 1986 marked Ms. Kirkland's transition into teaching and coaching in institutions such as American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet School, English National Ballet, and The Australian Ballet. In the 1990's she was Professor of Dance at Adelphi University in New York. Gelsey Kirkland and Greg Lawrence are the authors of her first autobiography Dancing on my Grave published in 1986, her second autobiography titled The Shape of Love published in 1990, and a children's book called The Little Ballerina and Her Dancing Horse published in 1993. In 2002-2005 she taught at the Victorian College of the Arts and was director of the ballet program at Danceworld 301. Ms. Kirkland studied the Vaganova Method under Robert Ray at the Victorian College of the Arts. She continued intensive teacher training under Nina Osipyan. In 2006 -2008 she collaborated with Kevin McKenzie and Michael Chernov in the staging and additional choreography for The Sleeping Beauty for American Ballet Theatre, as well as appearing as the "Fairy Carabosse" in that production. In 2010, Ms. Kirkland and Mr. Chernov founded Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, and in 2013, they founded the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Studio Company.

AKOP AKOPIAN (Choreographer ) graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Yerevan State Choreographic College. He had the privilege to study under two of A.Vaganova's former students, ballet legends F.Balabina, and N.Dudinskaya. Mr. Akopian also had the privilege of studying under K. Sergeyev, W. Zimin, N. Serebryanikov and N. Mehrabyan. Upon graduation from the Vaganova Academy, he became a leading dancer in the Armenian National Theater Opera and Ballet in Yerevan. In 1991, he danced with classic ballet de Montreal. In 1993, he was invited to Germany to join the Thuringian State Ballet. For the following seven years he became one of the most acclaimed principal dancers of the company. Mr. Akopian received the best dancer of the year award in 1997 and 1999. He was also praised in many European magazines and in a book entitled Musis-Sacrum published in Germany. In 2000, Mr. Akopian danced with Ballet New York and in 2001 he was invited to join GRBC. Mr. Akopian has had the opportunity to work with numerous ballet masters and choreographers including Dietmar Seyffert, Ludmilla Sakharova, Anahit Grigorian, Vilen Galstyan, Martin Wennde, Peter Martin, Judith Fugate and Nina Strogonova. Throughout his career, Mr. Akopian danced the leading roles in Giselle, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, Carmen, The Nutcracker, Eugene Onegin, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, La Fille Mal Gardee, Fierbird, Scherheresade, Paquita and several others. In 2014, Mr. Akopian choreographed two original ensemble pieces for the Youth American Grand Prix:Time and Russian Milk Maids , which placed third. Mr. Akopian worked as a Founder Artistic Director and Board of Directors member of Michigan Ballet Academy. He is committed to excellence, likes to share his rich stage experience and is feel very proud of his students who perform professionally in various ballet companies after studying under his guidance.

KURT WEILL (Composer) was born on 2 March 1900 in Dessau, Germany. By 1925, a series of performances in Berlin and at international music festivals established Weill as one of the leading composers of his generation. Already at nineteen, he decided the musical theater would be his calling. In 1926, he made a sensational theatrical debut in Dresden with his first opera, Der Protagonist, a one-act work on a text by Georg Kaiser. Weill considered Der neue Orpheus (1925), a cantata for soprano, violin, and orchestra on a poem by Iwan Goll, to be a turning point in his career; it prefigured the stylistic multiplicity and provocative ambiguity typical of his compositional style. A commission from the Baden-Baden Music Festival in 1927 led to the creation of Mahagonny (Ein Songspiel), Weill's first collaboration with Bertolt Brecht, whose Mann ist Mann and whose poetry collection, Die Hauspostille, had captured Weill's imagination and suggested a compatible literary and dramatic sensibility. The succès de scandale of Mahagonny encouraged Weill and Brecht to continue work on the full-length opera Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (premiered at Leipzig in March 1930). The Group Theatre recruited Weill to collaborate with distinguished playwright Paul Green on a musical play loosely based on Hasek's Good Soldier Schweik. Weill's innovative and extensive score for Johnny Johnson, though still recognizably European in accent, established the composer on the American scene. For a brief period in 1937, Weill had two works running simultaneously in New York. During the next decade, he established himself as a new and original voice in the American musical theater. His death came at the time that his German works were beginning to be rediscovered. Yet, the resulting dichotomy of the "two Weills" has thus remained for posterity to resolve.

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