Boston Ballet Presents GENIUS AT PLAY Sept 6–16

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Boston Ballet's 2018-2019 season opens with Genius at Play, a program that celebrates the centennial of choreographer Jerome Robbins' birth, his storied career, and his countless contributions to dance. The all-Robbins program opens with an orchestral performance of Leonard Bernstein's Candide Overture followed by Interplay, a bright and colorful work for eight dancers set to a jazz score by Morton Gould, and Fancy Free, his first of many collaborations with composer Leonard Bernstein, which depicts the antics of sailors on shore leave in New York City in the 1940s. The program concludes with the Company premiere of Glass Pieces, a bustling tribute to urban life choreographed for 42 dancers and set to music by Philip Glass. Genius at Play runs September 6-16, 2018, at the Boston Opera House.

"Jerome Robbins was a choreographic genius who left an indelible mark on American culture through dance, film, and Broadway productions. I am thrilled to share with Boston audiences a program dedicated to celebrating his life and work. These three playful ballets are the perfect kickoff to our colorful 55th season of new and classic works," said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen.


Set to Morton Gould's American Concertette, Interplay's jazzy score captures the swing style of the 1940s. Robbins played with choreographic patterns and the interactions of eight dancers in various formations including a central and bluesy pas de deux. Interplay was the second ballet that Jerome Robbins choreographed and debuted in 1945 for Billy Rose's Concert Varieties at the Ziegfeld Theater. Boston Ballet premiered the piece in 2001. According to Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times, "You could watch the whole thing as geometry: lines, diagonals, circles, squares and more complex patterns evolve with the inevitability of a turning kaleidoscope."

Fancy Free

Premiering in 1944, Fancy Free was the first ballet Robbins choreographed and his first collaboration with then up-and-coming composer Leonard Bernstein. The ballet depicts sailors on shore leave in New York City during the 1940s. Fancy Free immediately became a runaway hit and inspired their Tony Award-winning full-length musical On the Town. This year marks the centennial of both Robbins' and Bernstein's births, and their legacies are being commemorated around the world. In advance of the Company's season opener, Boston Ballet will join in the celebration with a debut performance at Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. The Company will perform Robbins' Fancy Free, accompanied by conductor Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as part of an all-Bernstein program. Boston Ballet premiered Fancy Free in 2012, which Karen Campbell of The Boston Globe described as "full of comic flair and brilliant choreography."

Glass Pieces

Making its Company premiere, Robbins' Glass Pieces captures the heart and energy of metropolitan life with choreography set to music by Philip Glass. The ballet's score pulls from the opera Akhnaten along with Glass's Rubric and Façades, both from Glassworks. Glass Pieces, which premiered in 1983, plays with recurrent rhythms to create intricate patterns for the ensemble of 42 dancers. Boston Ballet's Assistant Artistic Director Russell Kaiser performed Glass Pieces with New York City Ballet under the direction of Robbins and is now coaching Boston Ballet dancers on Robbins' distinctive style and aesthetic.

Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) is world-renowned for his work as a choreographer of more than 60 ballets as well as his work as a director and choreographer in theater, movies, and television. His Broadway shows include On the Town, Billion Dollar Baby, High Button Shoes, West Side Story, The King and I, Gypsy, Peter Pan, Miss Liberty, Call Me Madam, and Fiddler on the Roof. His last Broadway production in 1989, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, won six Tony Awards including best musical and best director.

All performances of Genius at Play take place at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111):

Thursday, Sept 6 at 7:30 pm
Friday, Sept 7 at 7:30 pm*
Saturday, Sept 8 at 1:30 pm
Saturday, Sept 8 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, Sept 9 at 1:30 pm
Thursday, Sept 13 at 7:30 pm
Friday, Sept 14 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, Sept 15 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, Sept 16 at 1:30 pm

*Indicates post-show talk

Tickets start at $37. For more information, visit or call 617.695.6955. Genius at Play is approximately two hours long with two intermissions.

Boston Ballet Orchestra conducted by Beatrice Jona Affron

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