American Repertory Ballet Hosts 'On Pointe' Event BEHIND THE MUSIC: STRAVINSKY'S FIREBIRD Today

This spring 2014 season, American Repertory Ballet will present the premiere of Douglas Martin's Firebird, set to Stravinsky's dramatic score. At "Behind the Music: Stravinsky's Firebird", an On Pointe Enrichment Series event, ARB Artistic Director Douglas Martin and guest lecturer Maestro Michael Pratt will discuss this ballet's music and history. "Behind the Music" will be held today, January 10, 2014 at 5:15pm at Princeton Ballet School (301 North Harrison Street, above McCaffrey's Supermarket).

In his role as Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University, Maestro Pratt has led performances of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, giving him a unique knowledge of the work. Pratt is also Conductor of the ARB's Orchestra for Nutcracker at State Theatre and co-directs the Composers' Ensemble and the Richardson Chamber Players.

Martin's Firebird will be a contemporary re-imagining of the original ballet, which was choreographed by Michel Fokine for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. The ballet marked the beginning of the great collaboration between Stravinsky and Diaghilev. Stravinsky later produced the score for Rite of Spring.

During ARB's 2013 season, Martin produced a critically-acclaimed Rite of Spring, set in a 1960's ad agency. Jerry Hochman, reviewer for Critical Dance Magazine, said of Martin's Rite, "The steps, from the Office Girls typing in tandem with the Stravinsky score, to the preening Personal Secretaries and clownish Ad Men, to the diabolical Boss, are to this viewer an indescribable potpourri that work together because they fit both MR. Martin's concept and the Stravinsky score...a tribute to MR. Martin's choreographic ability."

Last season, Pratt joinEd Martin in a discussion of Stravinsky, focusing on his score for Rite of Spring and how Martin was choreographing to it. This year's discussion of Firebird will be a similar format.

"Maestro Pratt offered a lot of really eye-opening insights the last time he was a guest lecturer at one of our On Pointe events," Martin says. "I'm looking forward to delving deeper into the life and music of Stravinsky, and to exploring Firebird, specifically."

On March 12 at 7:30pm at McCarter Theatre, the world premiere of Martin's Firebird, his Rite of Spring, and Kirk Peterson's Afternoon of a Faun, another acclaimed re-imagining of a Diaghilev-era ballet, will be presented together on one program. This project is funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

About American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School: American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization is comprised of: American Repertory Ballet, the preeminent contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and the Access and Enrichment initiatives, ranging from the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program to the popular On Pointe series. The professional company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th century alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. The company's rich history of repertory includes established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields and Melissa Barak; and former Artistic Directors Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, Septime Webre and Graham Lustig. ARB has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. ARB was voted People's Choice for Best Dance Company in 2008, 2011, and 2012.

Princeton Ballet School has gained a national reputation for its excellent dance training since its founding in 1954 by Audrée Estey. Princeton Ballet School currently enrolls approximately 1500 students annually from age three through adult and is directed by Mary Pat Robertson. Princeton Ballet School has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton which are equipped with shock-absorbent floors, non- slip dance surfaces and pianos for live accompaniment. Many of Princeton Ballet School's faculty members have performed professionally; others have attained graduate degrees in dance education and have won awards for their teaching. Students from the school have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the US and abroad. Graduates have danced with such diverse organizations as the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, STREB, Momix, Complexions, Mark Morris Dance Company, Twyla Tharp Dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, New York Theatre Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet Met Columbus, and American Repertory Ballet.

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