Local Choreographers Join Texas Ballet Theater For Lamentation Variations

TBT will be the first U.S. ballet company to participate in the project.

By: Jul. 08, 2024
Local Choreographers Join Texas Ballet Theater For Lamentation Variations
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Texas Ballet Theater (TBT) has commissioned three North Texas choreographers to create new dance works as a part of Lamentation Variations, a national choreography project inspired by Martha Graham's 1930 solo Lamentation. TBT will be the first U.S. ballet company to participate in the project, and performances will coincide with GRAHAM100, the centennial celebration of the Martha Graham Dance Company.

The choreographers, selected for their innovative contributions to choreography and dance in North Texas, are Joy Bollinger, Artistic Director of Bruce Wood Dance; Alexandra F. Light, Principal Dancer at Texas Ballet Theater; and Nycole Ray, Artistic Director of Dallas Black Dance Theater: Encore!. "My hope is that, by uniting with our peer dance companies, we will generate a new interest in the Metroplex for dance and elevate our Dallas choreographers to national prominence," Artistic Director Tim O'Keefe said.

While the project requires all variations to adhere to a consistent set of guidelines, choreographers still have the creative freedom to interpret the prompt as they see fit. Describing her upcoming variation, Ray said, "I envision a piece where dancers remain physically connected, symbolizing unity and interdependence. As a woman, I am deeply committed to elevating female voices in choreography, celebrating our unique perspectives and contributions to the art form."

The new TBT variations will debut in International Woman, the company's upcoming mixed-repertoire production that exlusively features choreography by women. The show also includes Maple Leaf Rag by Martha Graham, Shibuya Blues by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Jabula by Natalie Weir.

Light said, "Lamentation Variations is very unique in its living history, and I am so excited to make my mark on its timeline. To be a thread in its rich tapestry of iterations is an honor." Bollinger agreed, saying, "To be a part of this extravagant piece of art history is a privilege—and a direct echo of the impact that bold female choreographers forged in years past."


Founded in 1961, Texas Ballet Theater (TBT) is a non-profit, fully professional ballet company whose mission is to create, present and tour world-class ballet, from classical to cutting-edge, and promote its appreciation, accessibility and technical mastery among students, pre-professionals and audiences of all ages. TBT is the only arts organization to serve as a resident company in two venues: AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas and Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. For more information about TBT, visit www.texasballettheater.org.

About Lamentation Variations

The first Lamentation Variations event premied with the Martha Graham Dance Company on September 11, 2007. It drew inspiration from both the heartbreaking events of 9/11/2001 and Martha Graham's gripping visualization of grief in her original Lamentation. All variations in the project must adhere to the same limitations: no more than 10 hours of rehearsal, set to public domain music or silence, with basic costumes and lighting design. A short video of Martha Graham herself performing Lamentation also opens the act.


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