American Repertory Ballet Launches Spring Season At Two River Theater This Month
This spring, American Repertory Ballet (ARB) will present Generations: Influences from theModern Age, a triple bill of critically acclaimed works by José Limón, Gerald Arpino and Artistic Director Douglas Martin, at three venues in New Jersey and New York City. The company, whose mission "is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences," launches its spring tour at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ, (21 Bridge Avenue), with two performances on Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24.
The company brings the program to the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in New York City on April 6 and 7, and concludes with a performance at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ, on April 20.
Artistic Director Douglas Martin says, "This program represents the influence that past generations have on their future counterparts. Current artists absorb the knowledge of past generations and explore and expand upon their ideas. As a dancer, you are influenced by the style, narrative and construction of the works you perform. As a choreographer, you process those experiences and reach out to find your voice."
The triple bill begins with the much loved "There is a Time," a deeply evocative work by, legendary modern dancer and choreographer José Limón. This classic work is based on Ecclesiastes 3 and evokes rich feelings through both the dance and the familiar, time-worn words.
ARB premiered the work in 2015 as part of the José Limón International Dance Festival at New York's Joyce Theatre. World-renowned reconstructor/director Sarah Stackhouse returns to the Princeton studio to set the work on ARB dancers.
"The greatest thing about dance is also the hardest thing about dance," Martin says. "It needs to be passed down person to person, and Sarah is one person removed from Limón." Stackhouse danced with the José Limón Dance Company from 1958-1969 as a principal dancer and dance partner to Limón and was featured in many of the female roles of his masterworks.
The program also features the company premiere of "Sea Shadow" and "Rite of Spring" - two works that represent important milestones in Douglas Martin's career as a former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet.
"Sea Shadow," choreographed by Gerald Arpino, has been described by The New York Times as a "neo-romantic tale of love between a mortal and a supernatural with contemporary naturalness." In 1989, Martin performed the male lead in a major revival of the work by the Joffrey Ballet.
The evening concludes with "Rite of Spring," a ballet choreographed by Martin, inspired by the revolutionary works that the legendary Ballet Russes brought to America in the early 20th century. Martin's ballet maintains the original libretto, a celebratory ode to spring and a statement on the theme of ritualistic behavior and sacrifice. However, he has re-set the story in 1961 corporate America - think AMC's "Mad Men." Complete with pencil skirts and avocado-colored chairs, Martin's "Rite of Spring" explores the office relations, the gender roles and focuses on women breaking through traditional male roles. Martin was a cast member of the Joffrey Ballet's historic 1987 reconstruction of Nijinsky's original 1913 version.
Aptly titled, Generations: Influences from the Modern Age clearly demonstrates that each generation of dancers had a style all their own, and helped defined what modern dance is today.
For tickets to see American Repertory Ballet at Two River Theater on Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24 at 8:00 p.m., call (732) 345-1400, online at www.tworivertheater.org or in person at 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, N.J.
American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization comprises: the preeminent professional classical and contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and ARB's Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program. The performing company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th centuries alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. To learn more, visit arballet.org.