Choreography by Stanton Welch
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor and the first and second movements from the Violin Concerto in G minor
Costumes by Michael Kors for Celine
Lighting by Lisa Pinkham
An abstract work for seven men and one woman, Mr. Welch’s Clear is a showcase for male dancers. Set to music by Bach, the work is an artistic response to 9/11. Mr. Welch began choreographing Clear for New York City’s American Ballet Theatre two weeks after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan. The resulting critically acclaimed work explores his reaction to that time of crisis.
Commented Mr. Welch, “In a time of tragedy, what is the clearest thing that occurs to people? What is most important? What is the common thread? To me it’s love and family. In Clear, the woman brings clarity to the seven men in the ballet. She represents the thing that leads you home and out of the mess you’re in.”
Noted New York fashion designer Michael Kors created the costumes for Clear. Sleek and sexy, Mr. Kors’s flesh-toned designs focus the attention on the dancers, emphasizing the emotional impact of Mr. Welch’s choreography.
When Amerian Ballet Theatre premiered Clear on October 25, 2001, in New York City, Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times enthused,
Seven Men And One Woman Equals Explosion
Clear is already the major hit of American Ballet Theatre’s season. The choreography is explosive, fiercely danced by seven men with no show of diminished energy by the sole woman in the cast. Yet under the almost aggressive exuberance there is a hint of sadness, resolved finally in the comfort of a lover’s embrace…
Above all Clear is a work that uses classical technique but not classical style. That is, it is not a classical ballet. (Think Balanchine or Petipa.) But it explores the academic dance idiom in depth. Mr. Welch knows how to play around with that idiom: Clear has a contemporary look but not the self-consciousness about the ballet vocabulary sometimes seen in Ballet Theatre’s works by modern-dance choreographers.
This naturalness extends to the way Mr. Welch has matched the ferocity of his fast footwork with the delicate sound of the violin and oboe in Bach…
As a choreographer Mr. Welch, 32, is something of a chameleon. When The Australian Ballet introduced his work to Americans at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 1994, the roots of his British-derived classical training were obvious. But so was his rebellion against tradition. Clear is a variation on that theme; the early promise is being fulfilled.” (October 30, 2001)
Houston Ballet Premiere on May 24, 2007, by Houston Ballet in the Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas.
Dancers: Randy Herrera, Connor Walsh & Oliver Halkowich
Dancers: Amy Fote and Connor Walsh
Dancers: Artists of Houston Ballet
All Photos: Drew Donovan