Daniel Ulbricht & Stars of American Ballet Set for Jacob's Pillow, 7/29-8/2
Following last season's popular BALLET 2014 engagement, New York City Ballet principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht returns with a topflight ensemble in remarkable works by a variety of acclaimed choreographers, performed to live music, July 29-August 2 in the Ted Shawn Theatre. Principals, soloists, and corps de ballet members of New York City Ballet and Boston Ballet perform works by prominent artists including iconic American choreographer Jerome Robbins; New York City Ballet's current resident choreographer Justin Peck; Danish dancer, director, and choreographer Johan Kobborg; and Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, who achieved both his choreographic start and widespread acclaim at New York City Ballet.
Stars of American Ballet's founder and director Daniel Ulbricht, praised as "one of the best male ballet dancers in New York" by Dance Magazine's Wendy Perron, has assembled an ensemble of celebrated dancers from both New York City Ballet (NYCB) and Boston Ballet. The cast features NYCB principal dancers Tyler Angle, noted for his "supremely classical line" (Joseph Carman, Dance Magazine); Amar Ramasar whose "large-scaled prowess" is noted by The New York Times chief dance critic Alastair Macaulay; Teresa Reichlein, praised for her "unruffled poise" and "soaring jump" (Gia Kourlas, The New York Times); Jared Angle, described as "strong and deft" (Robert Greskovic, The Wall Street Journal); Sterling Hyltin and her "ephemeral delicacy" (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times); and Rebecca Krohn, lauded for her "technical confidence" and "fierce demand" (Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune). NYCB soloists include Russell Janzen, "a potent force" (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times), and corps de ballet member, Sara Adams, who "thanks to a technique at once lucid and luxuriant-has become a particular muse" (Margaret Fuhrer, Pointe Magazine). Boston Ballet is represented by the "impeccable technique and dazzling charisma" (Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe) of principal dancer Jeffrey Cirio, who will join American Ballet Theatre as a soloist for the upcoming season, and "quirky and bold" (Ashley Rivers, Dance Magazine) corps de ballet standout Shelby Elsbree.
The evening opens with In the Night from New York City Ballet's seminal choreographer, Jerome Robbins. Danced to three Chopin nocturnes played live by pianist Susan Walters, the work "brings ballet into the ballroom" (Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times) with three couples performing elegant pas de deux with exquisitely delicate partnering. Dance critic Deborah Jowitt states that Chopin's nocturnes are "full of shifts and disruptions, and these are reflected in Robbins's phrases. By sometimes traveling hand in hand with the music, sometimes jostling subtly against it, his choreography reflects the changeability in relationships" (from Jowitt's Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, and His Dance).
Justin Peck's 2014 work Distractions features the powerful dancing of its male cast. Performed by Cirio, Ramasar, Janzen, and Ulbricht, the work is described as "dynamic, invigorating and playful, sensitive to the shifting moods of a piano piece by the contemporary composer Alexander Rosenblatt" (Brian Siebert, The New York Times). Justin Peck, heralded as "the third important choreographer to have emerged in classical ballet this century" (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times), is both a soloist and the current resident choreographer of New York City Ballet. In addition to NYCB, Peck has created works for L.A. Dance Project, Miami City Ballet, and New York City Center's Fall for Dance Festival.
NYCB principal dancers Rebecca Krohn and Tyler Angle perform Christopher Wheeldon's acclaimed After the Rain. Famous for its intricate partnering, haunting beauty, and sublime simplicity, the 2005 pas de deux is set to the ever-popular Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's "Spiegel im Spiegel". Christopher Wheeldon, "one of the world's most celebrated choreographers" (Brian Siebert, The New York Times), is the Artistic Associate of the Royal Ballet and the director and choreographer of Tony Award-winning 2015 Broadway hit An American in Paris.Peck's second work on the program, Sea Change (2013), is set to Franz Schubert's touching "Piano Sonata no. 20 in A major, Andantino movement" and danced by NYCB's Adams, Hyltin, Jared Angle, and Janzen in interwoven pas de deux. The performers are costumed by designers Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, which highlight the dancers in black with accents of deep crimson and emerald.
Les Lutins (or The Goblins) by Danish choreographer Johan Kobborg is set to a score by composers Antonio Bazzini and Henryk Wieniawki, played live by violinist Kurt Nikkanen and pianist Craig Baldwin. Les Lutins is "a competitive trio marked by airy beats and a quasi-improvisatory spirit" (Allan Ulrich, The San Francisco Chronicle). The work is performed by Cirio, Ulbricht, and Elsbree. Johan Kobborg is the Artistic Director of the Ballet Company of the Bucharest National Opera House and is a former principal dancer with both the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Ballet in London.
ABOUT DANIEL ULBRICHT
Daniel Ulbricht was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, and began his dance training at the age of 11 at the Judith Lee Johnson Studio of Dance, studying with Lenny Holmes. His early training also took place at the Chautauqua Summer Dance Program under former NYCB principals Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. In 1999, Ulbricht was invited by the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of NYCB, to participate in their Winter Program. As a student at SAB, Ulbricht performed with NYCB as a Jester in Peter Martins's The Sleeping Beauty. In December 2000, he became an apprentice and in November 2001 he joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet. Ulbricht was promoted to the rank of soloist in January 2005, and principal dancer in May 2007.
ABOUT STARS OF AMERICAN BALLET
The mission of Stars of American Ballet is to one day see all parts of this country entertained, educated, lifted up and inspired by the art of ballet and great dancing, delivered to anyone, anywhere who wishes to share this experience. Since its creation in 2008, Stars of American Ballet features beloved performers from top tier professional ballet companies, offering top-notch choreography throughout North America including Saint-Sauveur, Canada, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Kansas City, Missouri. Daniel Ulbricht and Stars of American Ballet also sponsor dance education programs, consisting of master classes, pre-performance lectures and community outreach projects, to build a better awareness and overall experience with the art form, and offers free tickets for underprivileged children.
Daniel Ulbricht performed as a guest artist as part of A Jazz Happening, with the students of the Musical Theatre Dance Program of The School at Jacob's Pillow, in 2010. In 2014, he returned to the Ted Shawn Theatre with an ensemble of New York City Ballet dancers in Daniel Ulbricht/BALLET 2014.
On Sunday, August 2 at 4:30pm, the Pillow will host a screening of the 2014 documentary Ballet 422 featuring Justin Peck's creation of a new work, La Paz de La Jolla, on New York City Ballet dancers. Tickets are $10; please call the Box Office at 413.243.0745 or visit jacobspillow.org for more information.