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Velocity

A high-speed riff on traditional ballet technique for eight men and eight women, Velocity pays homage to classical conventions in a contemporary manner.  “Velocity is true classical dance at its most agile and exciting,” commented Stanton Welch.  “I’m playing with the speed and agility of classical ballet.  This work tests the limits and talents of the dancers, because they’re going as fast as they can, pushing their technique and bravado.”

Mr. Welch created Velocity for The Australian Ballet, and it premiered in 2003 to great critical acclaim.  Jill Sykes, dance critic for The Sydney Morning Herald wrote, “Velocity is well named.  It is a headlong gallop of virtuosic dance that is stamped with the classical technique, yet races ahead with explosive twists which test the dancers’ skills.” (November 7, 2003)  Lee Christofis, writing for The Australian, remarked, “The Australian Ballet has a winner in Velocity.  A dazzling display of formal structures and fireworks…it is rich and dangerous.” (September 1, 2003)

Set to sharp and angular music by American composer Michael Torke, Velocity is the abstract sequel to Mr. Welch’s sensational work Divergence.  “I’m approaching classical ballet in the same way,” he explained.  “Velocity is the sister ballet to Divergence.  It’s a yang to Divergence’s yin.”  In Velocity, the colors are mostly whites and grays, in contrast to dramatic black costumes in DivergenceVelocity’s gray set is based on the paintings of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944).  The women wear paper-thin tutus and are on pointe, emphasizing the exposed and clean look of their footwork.  

VELOCITY
Music by Michael Torke
Choreography by Stanton Welch
Scenic and Costume Designs by Kandis Cook
Lighting by Francis Croese

American Premiere on May 25, 2006, by Houston Ballet in the Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas.

 

 



Dancers: Mireille Hassenboehler and Nicholas Leschke
Photo: Jim Caldwell

Dancer: Melody Herrera
Photo: Drew Donovan

Dancer: Melody Herrera
Photo: Jim Caldwell