Barak Ballet Announces Two World Premieres At The Broad Stage

Barak Ballet Announces Two World Premieres At The Broad Stage

The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage presents Barak Ballet for a program of two world premieres: Cypher (choreographed by Melissa Barak) and Desert Transport (choreographed by Nicolas Blanc), as well as the return of E/SPACE which had its world premiere at The Broad Stage in 2017. Barak Ballet will perform on Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30 at 7:30pm. This will be the fourth time Barak Ballet has performed at The Broad Stage, although it's the first time The Broad Stage will be presenting the company.

Barak Ballet, founded by Melissa Barak, presents contemporary dance pieces that captivate audiences, invoke thought, and expand the art form of ballet. The company thrives on dynamic partnerships with dancers, choreographers, composers, musicians, designers, and media artists, and the resulting works radiate artistic excellence and collaboration. From athletic pas de deuxs to syncopated group works, Barak Ballet's repertoire explores complex themes and breathes a new life into this classical form. Since its debut in 2013, critics and audiences have lauded Barak Ballet's ascendancy as one of the defining voices of dance in Los Angeles.

The company was featured in a New York Times article about prolific Los Angeles-based companies in 2014. Barak was also featured in LA Weekly's 2013 People issue, nicknamed "The Rebel Ballerina."

This program is unique in that it includes two world premieres and a piece that premiered last year at the same venue. The program features the return of E/SPACE, a work choreographed last year by artistic director Melissa Barak in collaboration with Emmy-nominated composer David Lawrence and award-winning media artist Refik Anadol, which the Los Angeles Times described as "mind-blowing." It was voted one of the "Most Inventive New Works in 2017" by Dance Magazine's Readers Choice Awards. Also included in the program is Cypher, a newly choreographed work by Barak with an original score by Molly Joyce ("energetic, heady and blisteringly emotive," Paste Magazine) as well as rising choreographer Nicolas Blanc's Desert Transport with music by Mason Bates who currently serves as the first composer-in-residence at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Los Angeles Times calls Nicolas Blanc, "A Chicago-based ballet master and coach with the Joffrey Ballet, [who] has a gift for genuinely lyrical, beautifully curved and evocative movement." Blanc has choreographed works for Joffrey Ballet and New York City Ballet. In 2013, he was named by Dance Magazine as "Top 25 to Watch."

Melissa Barak has been awarded the Mae L. Wien and Choo San Goh Awards for Choreography and was named one of the "Top 25 to Watch" by Dance Magazine. She has had featured articles written about her in such publications as Pointe Magazine, Dance Spirit, TimeOut, ELLEgirl, Angeleno, LA Times Magazine to name a few, and appeared on the nationally televised CBS Early Show. She has created new works for Richmond Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, National Choreographer's Initiative, and several New York Choreographic Institutes. In 2009 and 2010, she was invited to return to the New York City Ballet where she created two more works, A Simple Symphony and Call Me Ben, respectively.

About the Program

Choreography by Melissa Barak
Music by Molly Joyce
Costume design by Holly Hynes
Lighting design by Nathan Scheuer
Dancers: Xuan Cheng, Jessica Gadzinski, Zachary Guthier, Brian Simcoe, Tiffany Smith, Lauren Veyette
World premiere: June 29, 2018, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA
This ballet has been made possible by a generous grant from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Desert Transport
Choreography by Nicolas Blanc
Music by Mason Bates
Costume design by Ruth Fentroy and Nicolas Blanc
Lighting design by Nathan Scheuer
Dancers: Sadie Black, Julia Erickson, Stephanie Kim, Robert Mulvey, Francisco Preciado, Evan Swenson, Jorge Villarini,
Hannah Wilcox
World premiere: June 29, 2018, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA
This ballet has been made possible by a generous grant from the Lloyd E. Rigler - Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.

Choreography by Melissa Barak
Music by David Lawrence
Media design by Refik Anadol
Costume design by Holly Hynes
Lighting design by Nathan Scheuer
Dancers: Sadie Black, Julia Erickson, Jessica Gadzinski, Zachary Guthier, Francisco Preciado, Tiffany Smith, Lauren Veyette, Jorge Villarini, Hannah Wilcox
World premiere: June 24, 2017, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA
This ballet has been made possible by a generous grant from the Edward F. Limato Foundation.

Tickets are on sale at or by calling 310.434.3200.

About Melissa Barak (Artistic Director and Choreographer: Cypher & E/SPACE)
Melissa Barak, Artistic Director of Barak Ballet, was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and has achieved a multitude of accomplishments as both a professional ballet dancer and choreographer. While dancing with the New York City Ballet (1998 - 2007), she began exploring her choreographic talents. She was invited by Peter Martins, director of the New York City Ballet, to participate in the inaugural NY Choreographic Institute. The piece she created impressed him so that he commissioned her to choreograph a ballet for the School of American Ballet's June workshop performance. The ballet she made, Telemann Overture Suite, was met with critical acclaim. Mr. Martins brought Telemann into the company's repertoire the very next season and immediately asked her to choreograph again, this time on the company. She was only 22, making her the youngest choreographer in New York City Ballet history to be commissioned an original work at the time.

She choreographed Mattel's recent animated feature film Barbie in the Pink Shoes and was named an L.A. Times "Face to Watch" for 2013 and 2014. The Los Angeles Philharmonic commissioned Ms. Barak and the Barak Ballet recent works in 2015 (Fall Gala Beethoven Tribute) and in 2016 (an original Nutcracker Suite). Barak also became the inaugural recipient of the Virginia B. Toulmin Fellowship for Women Choreographers through NYU's Center for Ballet and the Arts.

Her dancing credits with New York City Ballet include Fairy Carabosse from Sleeping Beauty, Coffee from the Nutcracker, and Russian pas de deux from Swan Lake. In 2007, Barak joined the very new Los Angeles Ballet and danced lead roles in Balanchine's Serenade, Kammermusik No. 2, and Stravinsky Violin Concerto among others during her tenure there. She has worked closely with choreographic notables Alexei Ratmansky and Elliot Feld. The highly esteemed choreographer Christopher Wheeldon created principal roles for her in his Rhapsodie Fantaisie, and Klavier.

About Nicolas Blanc (Choreographer: Desert Transport)
Nicolas Blanc started his dance training in Montauban, France, continuing at the 'Academie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace' in Monte-Carlo. After winning a scholarship in the 1994 Prix de Lausanne, he completed his education at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

He went on to dance for Nice Opera Ballet, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Zurich Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, where he was made Principal Dancer in 2004. His repertoire included lead roles in Balanchine's Jewels, Square Dance, Divertimento no 15, The Four Temperaments and Tarantella pas de deux. He also danced the leads in Robbins' Dybbuk and Mats Ek's Carmen, Benvolio and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and Cavalier in The Nutcracker, and danced in various ballets by Mark Morris.

Blanc originated roles in Wheeldon's Rush and Quaternary; Welch's Falling and Naked, Possokov's Study in Motion and Reflections; and Tomasson's 7 for Eight and Blue Rose.

In 2006 and 2007, he created two pieces for San Francisco Ballet School. He also created After Having Been for the International Ballet Competition (IBC) in Jackson, MS.

Blanc was awarded a special prize in performing arts by the city of Dusseldorf in 1998, and a special award of recognition by his hometown in 2004 (and 2013), and he was named one of the "25 to Watch" by Dance Magazine. In 2010, he was nominated with Tina LeBlanc for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award (Best Ensemble in Wheeldon's Within The Golden Hour).

He joined Scottish Ballet as Ballet Master in 2009. In his time with the company, he coached Page's Nutcracker, Cinderella, Alice, Fearful Symmetries, Pastor's Romeo and Juliet, as well as Ashton's Scenes de Ballet and Balanchine's Rubies. In 2010, he was the personal assistant of Val Caniparoli for the world premiere of Still Life.

Recently, he has created Purple, Memories of The Future, Unveiled, The Spell, and Encounter for the annual fundraiser for Embarc, a Chicago organization dedicated to supporting low income high school students in their training. In July 2014, Blanc received the choreographic award at the IBC in Jackson, Mississippi, for his duet Rendez-Vous. In 2015, his ballet Evenfall made its U.S. debut on The Joffrey Ballet's spring program.

Blanc was selected to participate in the 2015 National Choreographers Initiative (NCI) and created Orphee, which was presented at the Barclay Theater in Irvine, CA. He was also chosen to participate in New York City Ballet's New York Choreographic Institute where he created Mothership, which premiered at New York City Ballet's 2016 gala.

Photo courtesy of the company

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