Los Angeles Ballet Announces Free Performance in Grand Park, 7/6

The Music Center announces that it will partner with Los Angeles Ballet to present that company's productions of Agon and Rubies on Saturday evening July 6, free to the public. Both have music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by George Balanchine.

This performance is part of The Music Center's L.A.'s Rite: Stravinsky, Innovation, and Dance, a festival honoring the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), and the 10th anniversary of the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center series. Lorin Johnson, Associate Professor in the Dance Department at California State University, Long Beach, is the artistic advisor for L.A.'s Rite. Agon and Rubies are two of three Balanchine-Stravinsky works in L.A.'s Rite. On July 11, American Ballet Theatre will perform the Apollo as part of its week long engagement July 11-14.

Los Angeles Ballet is led by artistic directors Thordal Christensen (former New York City Ballet dancer and former Director of the Royal Danish Ballet) and Colleen Neary (former New York City Ballet soloist under Balanchine's direction). Christensen and Neary will participate in a discussion about Stravinsky and Balanchine after the performance on July 6.

"Los Angeles Ballet is pleased and honored to present collaborative masterpieces of George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky for this occasion. George Balanchine was the innovator that changed classical dance forever, and is responsible for what it has become today. Together with his dear friend Igor Stravinsky they created works of pure musical and choreographic genius. These ballets remain timeless, an inspiration to us all," said Christensen and Neary.

Renae Williams Niles, Director of Programming for The Music Center, said, "We are thrilled that this partnership with Los Angeles Ballet allows our region's leading proponent of the Balanchine repertoire to be part of L.A.'s Rite. We are equally excited to bring our audience to Grand Park, for a lovely downtown summer evening outdoors with great dancing and great music. We are encouraging everyone to bring a picnic dinner and celebrate Stravinsky under the stars. This also allows us to present three Balanchine-Stravinsky works in less than one week as American Ballet Theatre performs Apollo as part of its performance in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Thursday, July 11."

Stravinsky began writing Agon, a ballet for twelve dancers, in December 1953 and concluded in April 1957; the music was first performed on June 17, 1957 in Los Angeles conducted by Robert Craft, while the first stage performance was given by the New York City Ballet on December 1, 1957 at the City Center of Music and Drama, New York. The composition's long gestation period covers an interesting juncture in Stravinsky's composing career, in which he moved from a diatonic musical language to one based on twelve-tone technique; the music of the ballet thus demonstrates a unique symbiosis of musical idioms.

The ballet has no story, but consists of a series of dance movements in which various groups of dancers interact in pairs, trios, quartets etc. A number of the movements are based on 17th-century French court dances - saraband, galliard and bransle. Agon is the Greek word for contest; the movements of the ballet are named after French court dances. The score was commissioned by New York City Ballet with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation and dedicated to Lincoln Kirstein and Balanchine by the composer. Together, Balanchine and Stravinsky designed the structure of the ballet during the creation of the music.

Rubies, to Stravinsky's Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra, is the second act Jewels, a full-length, three-act plotless ballet that uses the music of three very different composers. Balanchine was inspired by the artistry of jewelry designer Claude Arpels, and chose music revealing the essence of each jewel. He explained: "Of course, I have always liked jewels; after all, I am an Oriental, from Georgia in the Caucasus. I like the color of gems, the beauty of stones, and it was wonderful to see how our costume workshop, under Karinska's direction, came so close to the quality of real stones (which were of course too heavy for the dancers to wear!)." Each section of the ballet is distinct in both music and mood. Rubies is crisp and witty, epitomizing the collaboration of Stravinsky and Balanchine.

Following the performance by Los Angeles Ballet, L.A.'s Rite continues five days later with American Ballet Theatre's production of Stravinsky's Apollo with choreography by George Balanchine, as part of a repertory program on July 11, 2013, that opens ABT's engagement at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Widely regarded as the fountainhead of neoclassical ballet, Apollo features one of the greatest male roles ever created. The ABT engagement takes place July 11 to 14, which includes four performances of the full evening Le Corsaire.

Next, RE-RITE, London's Philharmonia Orchestra's Digital Residency will take over the entire stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (American debut - August 1-11, 2013). This one-of-a-kind installation allows members of the public to conduct, play, and step inside the Philharmonia with Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia's Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor -through audio and video projections of musicians performing Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring). The project first opened to the public at the Bargehouse on London's South Bank on November 3, 2009, and shows every section of the Orchestra performing Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) simultaneously 'as live'. The public is able to sit amongst the horn players, perform in the percussion section and take up the baton and control sections of the Orchestra as they play.

This ambitious project is the brainchild of Esa-Pekka Salonen, who developed the concept with the Philharmonia's Digital Department. He will be making his (virtual) return to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Stage for the first time since his tenure as conductor of the LA Philharmonic from 1984-2009. Salonen said, "Taking RE-RITE to Los Angeles joins up lots of connections for me - bringing the project to the same stage where I made my US debut and conducted for much of my LA career, in the city that Stravinsky called home for much of his life, is very exciting."

Salonen continued, "To see the inner workings of an orchestra is fascinating because what you see usually is 100 people wearing tail coats. Audiences rarely get the opportunity to understand how it all works and what the physical reality is to be inside an orchestra -- experiencing the sensation of 101 players taking on this iconic music is one of the biggest adrenalin rushes, and one that I want to share with the world. Now we're doing just that."

Nederlands Dans Theater's Chamber, inspired by the 100th anniversary of Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) with a score by Joby Talbot and choreography by NDT dancer Medhi Walerski performs October 18-20, 2013. Chamber is a production commissioned by Nederlands Dans Theater, Den Haag, Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Den Norske Opera & Ballett, Oslo - along with The Music Center.

Joby Talbot, composer of Chamber, said, " The music for Chamber is about momentum, physicality and exhaustion. Taking its cue from the sacrificial dance of The Chosen One at the close of Stravinsky's Rite Of Spring, the relentless orchestral score celebrates sensations of mental & visceral exertion: the elation that comes through pushing the body beyond the seemingly possible, & the agony of musculature tested beyond endurance."

Prior to each performance by Nederlands Dans Theater, students from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) will present an excerpt of "Symphony of Psalms," choreographed by Ji?í Kylián in 1978 for NDT and set to Stravinsky's composition for symphony and chorus. An excerpt of "Symphony of Psalms" will be taught to the students by LACHSA dance faculty member Fiona Lummis. Lummis was a former principal dancer with NDT for two decades. Their performance will take place in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall one hour prior to each NDT curtain and will be immediately followed by a pre-performance talk. Additional performances and activities inspired by L.A.'S RITE will be announced at a later date. For ticket information, please call (213) 972-0711 or visit http://www.musiccenter.org/events/dance_1213.html

Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) was originally choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky in 1913 and had its premiere at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees on May 29 by Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. Considered now a seminal moment in modernism, the ballet's controversial premiere shocked Parisian audiences with Nijinsky's anti-balletic styles.

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