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Boston Ballet's Digital Season to Conclude With BB@YOURHOME: PROCESS & PROGRESS

The program begins with Lex Ishimoto’s What Happens If… This is his first work for a professional ballet company and pulls inspiration from the title.

Boston Ballet's Digital Season to Conclude With BB@YOURHOME: PROCESS & PROGRESS

Boston Ballet's first-ever digital season will conclude with BB@yourhome: Process & Progress, an approximately one-hour long program featuring a collection of dance films by international choreographic and new-to-North America voices Ken Ossola and Nanine Linning, boundary-breaking choreographer Lex Ishimoto, and Boston Ballet Principal Dancer John Lam. Process & Progress premieres on May 13 and will be available until May 23. Subscribers will receive a streaming link prior to the premiere.

"Process & Progress is an incredible way to end this historic season," said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. "Boston Ballet is always pushing boundaries, and these unique and highly artistic works do just that."

The program begins with Lex Ishimoto's What Happens If... This is his first work for a professional ballet company and pulls inspiration from the title. Featuring contemporary vocabulary, Ishimoto created this piece to demonstrate ballet's relevance while honoring classical foundations. What Happens If... is set to music by Kurtis Sprung and features Boston Ballet Dancers Lia Cirio, Madysen Felber, Emily Hoff, Sage Humphries, Sangmin Lee, Sunwoo Lee, Abigail Merlis, Irlan Silva, and Gearóid Solan.

"The inspiration for this piece is the title: What Happens If. What happens if we push the boundaries of dance? What happens if the dancers destroy the normal and expected? What happens if we explore, move, evolve? People think that they know what standard classical ballet is and can be, but what happens if we change all that," Ishimoto said.

Lex Ishimoto was trained in jazz, lyrical, tap, hip-hop, ballet, and contemporary. He debuted his first professional dance job as "Billy" on the first and second national tour of "Billy Elliot the Musical" in 2011. He trained at Boston Ballet School as a trainee in 2015 and was promoted to Boston Ballet II the following year. He later joined Travis Wall's Shaping Sound company for the tour of "After The Curtain." In 2017, Ishimoto was crowned America's Favorite Dancer on So You Think You Can Dance season 14, and he appeared as an All-Star for the 15th season. His most recent works include completing the world tour with rock band MUSE and working for choreographer William Forsythe.

Boston Ballet will present the North American debut of two dynamic choreographic voices. Ken Ossola and Nanine Linning's work has been seen in internationally, and these are their first works an American company.

Ken Ossola's Zoom In features dancers María Álvarez, Tyson Clark, Paul Craig, Daniel Durrett, Chyrstyn Fentroy, John Lam, Nina Matiashvili, Tigran Mkrtchyan, Alec Roberts, Haley Schwan, and Patrick Yocum. Created through Zoom as Ossola choreographs from Europe, Zoom In was filmed at the Citizens Bank Opera House in April 2021 and is set to "Fratres" by Arvo Pärt.

"Inspired by the dancers and the meditative composition from Arvo Pärt's 'Fratres,' the online sessions led to a work that invites one to zoom in on intimacy, integrity, human emotions, and the great desire to stay connected. Separated by an ocean yet being connected online with a view through a screen gave me the opportunity to be near the dancers and zoom in on every detail to translate it into movement that will invite the audience to zoom in as well," Ossola said.

In 1989, under the leadership of Gerald Tibbs and artistic direction of Jiří Kylián, Ken Ossola joined Nederlands Dans Theater 2. For the next three years he developed himself as an artist working and creating with leading choreographers such as Hans van Manen, Ohad Naharin, William Forsythe, Martino Müller, Paul Lightfoot, Nacho Duato, Johan Inger, and Jiří Kylián. He then joined Nederlands Dans Theater 1. Ossola collaborated with Jiří Kylián on many creations including One of a Kind, Blackbird, Tiger Lily, Wings of Wax, and Bella Figura. Currently, he is the resident choreographer at Yen Han Ballet. Ossola's connection with Boston Ballet began in 2010, when he staged Bella Figura, which made its North American premiere in 2011.

Nanine Linning's La Voix Humaine, also filmed on the Citizens Bank Opera House stage, is set to the opera of the same name by Jean Cocteau with music by Francis Poulenc. The work, which marks Linning's debut in the United States, showcases her signature use of vivid imagery and innovative theatricality. Dancers Ji Young Chae, Soo-bin Lee, Molly Novak, Paulina Waski, Lasha Khozashvili, Benji Pearson, Lawrence Rines, My'Kal Stromile, and Nations Wilkes-Davis are featured in this work.

"In this short film, I wanted to melt my passion for dance and opera together. I was drawn to La Voix Humaine for its relevance today. Themes of isolation, letting go of a loved one, and farewell resonates with me and many of us in the times we live in. I felt truly connected during our long-distance process and although sharing our experience in a sad time reflected in the theme of La Voix Humaine, it was an extraordinary experience to be able to exchange and share our passion for art and feeling comforted by the boundless power of art." Linning said.

Award-winning Dutch artist Nanine Linning launched her choreographic career in 2001 as the world's youngest resident choreographer, working for the renowned Scapino Ballet in Rotterdam. In 2006, Linning left Scapino to devote herself to her own foundation, established in Amsterdam, where she increasingly focused on the creation of dance operas, musical theater, and film. Her extremely physical choreographies pull from fundamental human instincts and emotions.

The program concludes with John Lam's moving pARTS, a dance public art film made for the City of Boston with video production by Bearwalk featuring Boston Ballet Dancers Daniel Cooper, Louise Hautefeuille, Lauren Herfindahl, Graham Johns, Benji Pearson, Lily Price, Nina Matiashvili, and Addie Tapp as they dance in Boston's MBTA locations Ashmont Station and Alewife Station.

"As relevant now as at any point in our history, moving pARTS is a reminder that we are better and more resilient when we celebrate the commonalities among our differences. Seeking the best in each other brings us closer to our artistic identities that allow us to shape our society together," said Lam.

John Lam began dancing at age 4 at Marin Ballet. He received his professional training at Canada's National Ballet School and joined Boston Ballet II in 2003 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2004, to second soloist in 2006, and to soloist in 2008. He was named principal dancer in 2014. Lam choreographed Boston Ballet's "Dance Is" short film in support of the National Endowment for the Arts, and his dance films, "Movement in Structure" and "SHE/I," have won critical acclaim at international dance film festivals. Lam also choreographed for the December 2020 digital program, BB@yourhome: The Gift.

Boston Ballet's virtual season featured new creations, signature works, and classical ballet favorites captured live in-studio. Dancers have been rehearsing under a new health and safety plan, which was developed in partnership with a team of medical professionals and infectious disease specialists.

For more information on BB@yourhome, please visit bostonballet.org.


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