The Joyce Theater to Welcome The Royal Ballet
The Joyce Theater Foundation presents the long-awaited NYC return of the UK's Royal Ballet - first time in over 11 years - at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center beginning with a gala performance on June 23, followed by two mix-billed programs of works by Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, Wayne McGregor, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon through June 28. Tickets for The Royal Ballet can be arranged online at www.DavidHKochTheater.com or by calling (212)-496-0600.
Linda Shelton, Executive Director of The Joyce Theater, said, "I take great delight in The Joyce's success in presenting extraordinary international companies at the Koch Theater over the past three years, and I am thrilled that the tradition will continue with this engagement of The Royal Ballet. It is especially exciting to welcome the company back to New York after a more than ten year absence and to give audiences the chance to experience dance created and performed by some of the finest artists in the world."
Director of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O'Hare, said, "Since The Royal Ballet, known at the time as the Sadler's Wells Ballet, first visited New York in 1949, we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with audiences there. We very much look forward to returning this year after an 11 year absence at the kind invitation of The Joyce Theater. We will be celebrating the talents of the Company's current dancers and the wealth of its choreographic achievements past and present with 20th century classics from Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan and recent works from Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon and Liam Scarlett."
From June 23 through 28, The Joyce Theater Foundation will proudly present The Royal Ballet in its first New York appearance since 2004. The engagement opens with a gala performance of Frederick Ashton's 1964 classic ballet The Dream, inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and created to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. For its premiere, Ashton cast two young dancers, Anthony Dowell and Antoinette Sibley, as Oberon and Titania and it proved to be the start of one of the most celebrated partnerships of 20th century ballet. This engagement also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first performance of The Dream in the USA.
The New York engagement also includes two programs celebrating the work of British choreographers closely associated with The Royal Ballet. Program One features Kenneth MacMillan'spowerful Song of the Earth which was created in 1965. Set to Gustav Mahler's great song cycle, MacMillan explores the fragility of human life and features six episodes which are atmospheric rather than literal interpretations of the text. Song of the Earth will be performed with Frederick Ashton's The Dream from June 24 - 26.
Program Two is a mixed bill comprised of Infra by Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor, The Age of Anxiety by Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett, and highlights from The Royal Ballet's repertory, or Divertissements, including the central pas de deux from Royal Ballet Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon's award winning Aeternum.
Infra, meaning "below," premiered at the Royal Opera House in 2008. McGregor collaborated with artist Julian Opie who created digital images of walking figures below which McGregor's choreography unfolds through solos, pas de deux and group ensembles as dancers meet, pass and move on. The haunting electronica score by Max Richter sets the tone of an impersonal cityscape. The ballet is about people, a fragmented narrative exploring partial views of humanity and emotion.
Liam Scarlett's most recent work for the Company takes its name from Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No2 The Age of Anxiety, and is inspired by WH Auden's 1946 poem of the same name. John Macfarlane's lavish set and costume designs create a backdrop of 1940s wartime New York against which four disparate characters meet in a bar and try to make sense of their shifting worlds.
The Joyce Theater Foundation's presentation of The Royal Ballet marks a continued presence of programming by The Joyce Theater Foundation at Lincoln Center. Since April 2012, The Joyce has successfully presented annual week-long engagements at the David H. Koch Theater, beginning with Sylvie Guillem's 6000 miles away. Nederlands Dans Theater followed in 2013, Ballet Preljocaj's Snow White last April (2014) and the National Ballet of Canada's production of Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in September 2014. The Joyce plans to continue to present at the Koch Theater, helping to ensure that New York City experiences a diversity of outstanding large-scale dance productions while increasing The Joyce's capacity to engage new audiences.
Kevin O'Hare is Director of The Royal Ballet. Appointed in July 2012 following the retirement of Monica Mason, he is responsible for driving the artistic direction of the Company. He is committed to the promotion of outstanding creativity and artistic excellence, developing talent and widening the Company's performing platform. O'Hare was born in Yorkshire, England. He trained at The Royal Ballet School and, through an exchange program, with the Royal Danish Ballet. He began his performing career with The Royal Ballet's sister company Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, and stayed with that company as a Principal during its transformation to Birmingham Royal Ballet. During this time he performed extensively in the UK and internationally, including as a guest artist with many leading companies. His repertory included all the leading classical roles, such as "Prince Siegfried" (Swan Lake), "Prince Florimund" (The Sleeping Beauty), "Albrecht" (Giselle) and "Romeo" (in BRB's first performance of Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet). O'Hare has worked with many leading figures in the ballet world, including Ninette de Valois, Peter Wright, Frederick Ashton, MacMillan and David Bintley, and created several roles, including "Amynta" (in Bintley's Sylvia). He also produced many galas and choreographic evenings. O'Hare retired from the stage in 2000, entering into a traineeship in company management with the Royal Shakespeare Company. This led to the post of Company Director with BRB in 2001, and in 2004 he joined The Royal Ballet as Company Manager. He was made Administrative Director in 2009 before being appointed to his current role. In 2013 he was appointed to the board of Dance UK.
Kenneth MacMillan (Choreographer) (1929-1992) was one of the leading choreographers of his generation. His close association with The Royal Ballet began when he joined The Sadler's Wells School (now The Royal Ballet School) at age 15. He was Director of the Company 1970-1977 and Principal Choreographer 1977-1992. His ballets are distinguished by their penetrating psychological insight and expressive use of classical language. These qualities are demonstrated in his many works for the Company, which include Romeo and Juliet, Gloria, Manon, Mayerling and Requiem. MacMillan was born in Dunfermline, Scotland and discovered ballet while evacuated to Rutford during World War II. At age 15, he forged a letter from his father to Ninette de Valois requesting an audition. He joined Sadler's Wells School on a full scholarship, later entering the Company. He created his first major work, Danses concertantes, in 1955 and went on to become one of the world's leading choreographers. Positions away from the Company included Director of Deutsche Oper Ballet Berlin (1966-1969) and Associate Director of American Ballet Theatre (1984-1990). He continued to create masterpieces throughout his life, including The Prince of the Pagodas (1989) and his last work, The Judas Tree, in 1992. He died backstage at the Royal Opera House during a revival of Mayerling. Some of MacMillan's most significant muses included Lynn Seymour, Christopher Gable, Monica Mason, Marcia Haydée, David Wall, Darcey Bussell and Irek Mukhamedov.
Frederick Ashton (Choreographer). Founding Choreographer of The Royal Ballet Frederick Ashton (1904-1988) was one of the most influential dance figures of the 20th century. In his work with the Company, he developed the distinctive "English style" and left a vast corpus of works that are regularly performed by The Royal Ballet and companies around the world, among them La Fille mal gardée, Marguerite and Armand and Symphonic Variations. Ashton was born in Ecuador to British parents. He first saw ballet when Anna Pavlova performed in Lima in 1917, later claiming, "From the end of that evening I wanted to dance." In England, Ashton was tutored by Leonid Massine and made his choreographic debut for Marie Rambert in 1926. After working with Rambert and Ida Rubinstein he was appointed principal choreographer of Vic-Wells Ballet (later The Royal Ballet) by Ninette de Valois in 1938. With De Valois Ashton played a crucial role in determining the course of the Company and The Royal Ballet School. In 1963 he took over from De Valois as Director of the Company and introduced several significant works, including Nijinska's Les Noces and Balanchine's Serenade, and commissioned MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. He retired in 1970 but continued to choreograph throughout his life, producing his last major work, Rhapsody, in 1980. Ashton's style is distinctive for its épaulement (the way the head and shoulders are held) and fleet footwork. All are notable for their combination of elegance and breathtaking technical demands.
Christopher Wheeldon (Choreographer). English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet. He trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with the Company 1991 through 1993. For The Royal Ballet, he created the one-act ballets Tryst (2002), DGV: Danse à grande vitesse (2006), Electric Counterpoint (2008), 'Trespass' (Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, in collaboration with Alastair Marriott) and Aeternum (2013, winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production), as well as the full-length ballets Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 2011 (The Royal Ballet's first full-length commission in 20 years) and The Winter's Tale in 2014. Wheeldon was born in Yeovil, England and trained at The Royal Ballet School. In 1991 he won gold medal at the Prix de Lausanne with a solo of his own creation and that year entered The Royal Ballet, where Kenneth MacMillan encouraged him in his choreographic work. In 1993 Wheeldon joined New York City Ballet and was promoted to soloist in 1998. He created his first work for NYCB, Slavonic Dances, in 1997 and became the company's first Resident Choreographer in 2001. Works for NYCB include Polyphonia (2001, winner of a London Critics' Circle Award and the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production), An American in Paris (2005) and The Nightingale and the Rose (2007). Wheeldon choreographs regularly for leading companies, including Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet. In 2007 he founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company and became the first British choreographer to create a new work for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2012 he collaborated with Alastair Marriott on the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games, watched by 23.2 million people worldwide.
Wayne McGregor (Choreographer). English choreographer Wayne McGregor was appointed Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet in 2006, becoming the first contemporary choreographer to hold the post. His many works for The Royal Ballet include Raven Girl (2013), Ambar (2012), 'Machina' (part of Metamorphosis: Titian 2012), Carbon Life (2012), Live Fire Exercise (2011), Limen (2009), Infra (2008), Nimbus (2007), Chroma(2006), Engram (2005), Qualia (2003) and Symbiont(s) (2001). He directed and choreographed Dido and Aeneas and Acis and Galatea (2009) for The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera. He curated Deloitte Ignite 2008 and directs Draft Works, an annual celebration of developing choreographic talent within the Company. McGregor was born in Stockport, England and studied at Bretton Hall, West Yorkshire, and the José Limón School, New York. In 1992 he founded Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, now a resident company of Sadler's Wells. His interest in cross-discipline collaboration has seen him work across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science. McGregor has created works for Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, New York City Ballet, Australian Ballet, ENB, NDT1 and Rambert, among others. His works are also in the repertories of leading companies including the Bolshoi, Royal Danish Ballet, Boston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. He has directed movement for theatre and film, includingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and music videos, including the Grammy-nominated Lotus Flower for Radiohead. In 2012 McGregor delivered a TED talk on the choreographic process and in 2014 presented the exhibition Thinking with the Body at the Welcome Collection. He was appointed a CBE in 2011.
Liam Scarlett (Choreographer). English choreographer Liam Scarlett trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with The Royal Ballet, retiring as a dancer in 2012 to focus on his choreographic career. That year he was appointed The Royal Ballet's first Artist in Residence. His works for The Royal Ballet include Despite and Vayamos al Diablo (2006), Consolations and Liebestraum (2009 - nominated for a Critics' Circle Award), Asphodel Meadows (2010 - nominated for a South Bank Award and an Olivier Award, and winner of a Critics' Circle Award), Sweet Violets, 'Diana and Actaeon' from Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 (2012), Hansel and Gretel (2013) and the Jubilee pas de deux in celebration of HM The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. In the 2014/15 Season, he returned to create a new work, The Age of Anxiety. Scarlett was born in Ipswich, England and trained at the Linda Shipton School of Dancing before joining The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge. While at the School, he won both the Kenneth MacMillan and Ursula Moreton Choreographic Awards, and was the first recipient of the De Valois Trust Fund Choreographers' Award. He graduated into The Royal Ballet in 2005 and was promoted to First Artist in 2008. His repertory as a dancer included "Peter Rabbit" (Tales of Beatrix Potter), "Vicar/The March Hare" (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) and roles in Swan Lake, The Prince of the Pagodas, and La Fille mal gardée. Scarlett's works for other companies include Hinterland (2007) and Indigo Children (2008) for Ballet Black, Gargoyles for New York City Ballet (2009), Viscera (2012) and Euphotic (2013) for Miami City Ballet (also designed by Scarlett), Promenade Sentimentale for K-Ballet (2013), Serpent for BalletBoyz: The Talent (2013) and No Man's Land for English National Ballet (2014).
The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization, has proudly served the dance community and its audiences for three decades. The founders, Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, acquired and renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea, which opened as The Joyce Theater in 1982. The Joyce Theater is named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz. It was LuEsther's clear, undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater. One of the only theaters built by dancers for dance, The Joyce Theater has provided an intimate and elegant home for more than 320 domestic and international companies. The Joyce has also commissioned more than 130 new dances since 1992. In 2009, The Joyce opened Dance Art New York (DANY) Studios to provide affordable studios for rehearsals, auditions, classes, and workshops for independent choreographers, non-profit dance companies, and the dance/theater communities. New York City public school students and teachers annually benefit from The Joyce's Dance Education Program, and adult audiences get closer to dance through informative Dance Talks and post-performance Dance Chat discussions. The Joyce Theater now features an annual season of approximately 48 weeks with over 340 performances for audiences in excess of 135,000.
The Royal Ballet, based at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, is Great Britain's most prestigious ballet company and one of the great classical ballet companies of the world. Led by Director Kevin O'Hare, the Company has a wide-ranging repertory that showcases the great 19th century classics alongside heritage works including those of its two great 20th century choreographers, Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. In addition, The Royal Ballet performs new works by Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Royal Ballet Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon, two of the foremost international choreographers of today. The Royal Ballet continues to create and encourage new choreography and appointed Liam Scarlett as Royal Ballet Artist in Residence in 2012.
The Joyce Theater presents The Royal Ballet of London at the David H. Koch Theater from June 23 - 28. The engagement opens with a Gala performance of Frederick Ashton's The Dream on Tuesday, June 23 at 6:30pm. Program One (The Dream / Song of the Earth) will be Wednesday, June 24 & Thursday, June 25 at 7:30pm and Friday, June 26 at 8pm; Program Two (The Age of Anxiety / Highlights from The Royal Ballet's repertory / Infra) will be Saturday, June 27 at 2pm & 8pm and Sunday, June 28 at 2pm & 8pm. Tickets, ranging in price from $35-$150, can be purchased through www.DavidHKochTheater.com or by calling (212)-496-0600. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change. For more information, please visit www.Joyce.org.