NYTB/Chamber Works Presents Spring 2020 REP at Danspace Project
NYTB/Chamber Works (Diana Byer, Founder and Artistic Director) announces its return to Danspace Project with their REP program (February 13 - 15), this year featuring two world premieres: Robert La Fosse's A Soldier's Tale and Antonia Franceschi's untitled new work. The program also features Sir Richard Alston's company premiere of Shimmer and Pam Tanowitz's Double Andante.
Robert La Fosse's A Soldier's Tale (L'Histoire du Soldat), set to Igor Stravinsky's original score for seven live musicians, tells the parable of a soldier who makes a deal with the devil, trading his fiddle for unlimited wealth. The cast will include performance artist John Kelly as the narrator. La Fosse will be also collaborating with playwright/director Ain Gordon as dramaturg and editor. The piece first premiered in Switzerland in 1918 at the close of WWI, when jazz was just beginning to emerge into the mainstream. Although a dark Faustian fable based on a Russian folk tale, the score is a sharp departure from Russian traditionalism, which speaks to Stravinsky's life at the time: broke and stripped of his royalties as a result of the Revolution. La Fosse was drawn to the interdisciplinary blend of theater and dance, of narration and performance, as the libretto calls for a narrator, dancers, and live musicians. This piece preserves the music of a 100-year-old work, embodies the timelessness of war, and resonates today with questions about humans' ability to change.
Antonia Franceschi's untitled new work, with an original score by Claire van Kampen, explores Lee Krasner's works, specifically her series The Umber Paintings, which she made from 1959-1962 following the death of her husband, Jackson Pollock. Krasner painted these works in his vast studio, instead of the small room she had been working in before, with loose brushstrokes that were not fashionable at the time. For Franceschi, "These paintings seem to implode and explode. They synthesize masculine and feminine polarities, which can be very interesting to explore in the studio with dancers. An unapologetic force. A female voice. Insomnia. Grief. Responsibility. Beauty. Life. Force. Strength. Reproduction. Rhythm." Franceschi and van Kampen have worked together several times before, accessing inspiration and creative imagination in their different artistic backgrounds, with a shared fascination and passion for expressing the unspoken with music and dance.
NYTB Resident Choreographer Richard Alston's Shimmer (dedicated to the memory of Alston's friend, broadcaster and art critic, Bryan Robertson), was first performed by Alston's company in 2004, when it was described as an "impressive reverie" by The New York Times. Alston was drawn to Maurice Ravel's elusive Sonatine (1903-05), in particular the contrasting pieces chosen for this work, which conjure dazzling sun-drenched seascapes and spin delicate webs of bell-like single notes: Oiseaux Tristes, Une Baroque sur l'Ocean, and La Valiée des Cloches. The dance will feature Julien Macdonald's Swarovski crystal-encrusted costumes.
Pam Tanowitz's Double Andante, which will also be presented as part of Carnegie Hall's Beethoven Celebration in 2020, was first performed by NYTB in 2014. It received critical acclaim from Alastair Macauley at The New York Times, who noted "the nonchalant precision of footwork, the calm assurance of turns, the ease of sudden changes of direction, the cleanness and power of jumps." This thirteen-minute piece with music from the Andante of Beethoven's Sonata in D (Op. 28) is played twice, each time at different tempos.
NYTB/Chamber Works (formerly New York Theatre Ballet) under the artistic direction of founder Diana Byer, will also host a 40th Anniversary Reunion on April 25-celebrating four decades as the city's leading chamber ballet. NYTB has carved a niche through revivals of infrequently staged work by renowned choreographers. Eschewing "nostalgia" for "active curiosity" (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times), NYTB's repertory enriches the legacies of modern and contemporary choreographers and applies the same rigor looking forward, commissioning established and emerging choreographers. NYTB is also a pioneer in high quality programming for young children in its Once Upon a Ballet series of abridged classical ballets. NYTB School is the training program for the company, which founded the LIFT Community Service Program in 1989, a year-round study program for children from under-resourced communities. LIFT has won recognition from the White House as a model national program. In addition to the NYTB's 40th Anniversary, the company is also celebrating the 30th year of the LIFT Community Service Program.
Performances will take place February 13-15 at 8 pm at Danspace Project (131 E 10th Street). Tickets are $25 general and $15 for Danspace Project members and can be purchased at nytb.org.
REP performances will be followed by NYTB's Once Upon A Ballet series production of Sleeping Beauty (February 29 & March 1) at Florence Gould Hall. More information on this event will soon be announced.
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