Overview

Houston Ballet's 2015/16 fall mixed rep Featured:

Christopher Bruce's Ghost Dances (1981), Stanton Welch's Tapestry (2012), and the World Premiere of Garrett Smith's Reveal (2015).

"Ghost Dances" was the first work I staged for them [Houston Ballet] so it has special significance… The company has my work in their blood and the dancers understand my movement.

Christopher Bruce

"Tapestry" revealed ample showmanship, musicality and Welch’s signature breathtaking and daredevil partnering.

Arts+Culture

In "Reveal" I wanted to try to let go… and just embrace and accept what you have been given in life and please yourself to make yourself happy.

Garrett Smith

Synopsis

Ghost Dances Description

Set to South American folk songs recorded by Inti-Illimani, Ghost Dances premiered in 1981 by Ballet Rambert in England. The work entered Houston Ballet's repertory in 1988. Since then, the work has become a signature piece for Houston Ballet and the company has performed it in Washington, D.C., Canada, Scotland, and Denmark.  The movement vocabulary for the ballet mixes traditional South American folk dances with Mr. Bruce's own highly athletic, contemporary choreography. Ghost Dances was created in part in response to the overthrow and assassination of President Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973.  "I felt quite strongly about that particular coup and the evils that continued after the killing," commented Mr. Bruce. "I see it as a human piece.  Most of my dances are about people, feelings, situations - about feeling strongly about people and situations."

Tapestry Description

Stanton Welch created Tapestry, a spectacular showcase for Houston Ballet’s dancers, in 2012. The music, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 served as his inspiration for the piece. The composition is one of Mozart’s earlier efforts and is characterized by a joyous melody throughout, with pockets of warmth, serenity, and depth in the Adagio movement. The music’s rhythmical third movement, influenced by Turkish folk music, surprised and intrigued Mr. Welch. His exploration into Turkish culture led to a photograph online of a dobby loom, a large device that allows weavers to create complex patterns with many colors. Seeing a ballet company as a type of tapestry, with different styles, bodies, and artists creating a picture and story, Mr. Welch capitalized on the music’s intricate blending by integrating a stunning scenic loom background.

Reveal Description

Garrett Smith’s 2015 World Premiere Reveal is set to music by Philip Glass and focuses on the ideas of self-reflection and vulnerability. “In this work I am exploring opposite sides and the dichotomy that separates two opposing sides. There will be moments of androgyny, as well as mirrored movements as a theme,” said Mr. Smith. “The heart of this work is the challenge of truly revealing one’s self and daring to look into the mirror and accept who you are, not how others have framed you.” Smith joined Houston Ballet costumer Monica Guerra in creating a collection of sleek, androgynous original designs for Reveal.

Artists

Christopher Bruce

Choreographer, Ghost Dances

Christopher Bruce was born in England in 1945 and started studying dance at 11 years old. After studying at the Rambert School he joined Rambert Ballet in 1963, where he quickly became the leading male dancer. Mr. Bruce appeared in works such as Don Quixote in 1964 and Coppelia in 1966. In 1977 Mr. Bruce was appointed associate director of the company and was associate choreographer from 1979-87, where he created over twenty works for the company. Between 1986-91 he acted as associate choreographer for London Festival Ballet, later English National Ballet, and associate choreographer for Houston Ballet beginning in 1989. From 1994 - 2002, he served as artistic director for Rambert Dance Company. Often political in his work, he integrates classical ballet and modern dance, often set against popular music by artists like Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. Throughout his career, critics have praised his innovative and detailed choreography. Over the last 25 years, Houston Ballet has emerged as Mr. Bruce’s artistic home in America.

Inti-Illimani

Composer, Ghost Dances

Musicians include Horacio Salinas, Max Berrd, Horacio Duran, Jorge Coulon, Jose Seves, Marcelo Coulon. Inti-Illimani was formed in 1996 when most of the musicians were attending the Technical State University. As members of Chile’s Nueva Cancion/New Song movement, the group achieved a large degree of popularity and musical accomplishment during the administration of President Salvador Allende. They began interpreting songs from other authors and countries, but ultimately developed a unique style which refuses to be defined. Their music combines instruments and rhythms from a variety of musical styles and cultures, including jazz, tango, rock, and Latin American folk music. The group has traveled to 45 countries on five continents, released over 15 records, a number of documentary films and given over 1500 concerts. The sikus, quena, classical guitar, 12 string guitar, flamenco guitar, and charango are among the instruments heard during Ghost Dances.

Stanton Welch AM

Choreographer, Tapestry

In July 2003, the acclaimed Australian choreographer Stanton Welch assumed the leadership of Houston Ballet, America's fourth largest ballet company, as artistic director. Since his arrival, Mr. Welch has transformed Houston Ballet by raising the level of classical technique, infusing the company with new energy, drive and vision; introducing works by distinguished choreographers to the repertoire; and attracting some of the world's best coaches to Houston to work with the dancers. He has created works for such prestigious international companies as Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Composer, Tapestry

Mozart was born in Salzburg to a musical family. From an early age, the young Mozart showed all the signs of a prodigious musical talent. By the age of 5 he could read and write music, and he would entertain people with his talents on the keyboard. By the age of 6 he was writing his first compositions. Mozart was generally considered to be a rare musical genius, though Mozart said that he was diligent in studying other great composers such as Haydn and Bach.

The work of Mozart is epic in scope and proportion. There were few branches of music Mozart did not touch. He composed operas, symphonies, concertos, and single pieces for the piano. His work spanned from joyful light-hearted pieces to powerful, challenging compositions which touched the human emotions. In the beginning of his career, Mozart had a powerful ability to learn and remember from the music he heard from others. He was able to incorporate the style and music of people such as Haydn and J.C. Bach. But, as he matured he developed his very own style and interpretations. In turn the music of Mozart very much influenced the early Beethoven. Mozart was very productive until his untimely death in 1791, aged 35.

Garrett Smith

Choreographer, Reveal

Choreographer Garrett Smith was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and began his formal training with the Utah Regional Ballet. In 2002, Garrett performed in the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies, and toured Austria in the Tanszsommer Festival. Garrett was later named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts where he was honored to meet George W. Bush at the White House and perform his choreography at The Kennedy Center. Garrett studied at the Houston Ballet Academy where he created five works for Houston Ballet II's repertoire, which were taken on tours through the United States, China, Toronto, and Hungary. Garrett joined Houston Ballet and danced works by Stanton Welch, Jorma Elo, Nicolo Fonte, and Christopher Bruce. Garrett choreographed his first work on the company as an apprentice, through an award presented to him by Peter Martins from the New York Choreographic Institute Fellowship. Garrett was later commissioned by Houston Ballet to create a new work in the 2013 season’s mixed bill. Garrett was accepted as a member of the Norwegian National Ballet, where he had the great pleasure to work personally with choreographers Jiři Kylían, Nacho Duato, Alexander Ekman, and dance in other works by William Forsythe. Garrett has since been commissioned by Norwegian National Ballet, Ballet West, and Milwaukee Ballet to create new works. Garrett was a selected choreographer to choreograph a new work for the National Choreographers Initiative 2014. Garrett was recently accepted as a finalist for the Milwaukee Ballet's Genesis International Choreographic Competition, where his new creation Mortal Form took 1st place. New York City Ballet has selected Garrett to create on the company for the 2015 New York Choreographic Institute Fellowship.

Philip Glass

Composer, Reveal

For more than five decades, Philip Glass continues to be at the forefront of contemporary music and art. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and, while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. By 1974 Glass had a number of innovative projects, creating a large collection of new music for The Philip Glass Ensemble and for Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts and the landmark opera Einstein on the Beach, for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson. Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Several new works have been unveiled, including two operas in 2013 (The Lost, for the opening of the new opera house in Linz Austria, and The Perfect American, about the death of Walt Disney). Glass’s newest opera, based on Kafka’s The Trial, premiered at London’s Covent Garden in October 2014 and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel with Katia and Marielle Labeque premiered his Concerto for Two Pianos & Orchestra in May 2015. Glass’s memoir, Words Without Music, was recently released to great acclaim via Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company.

History

Ghost Dances Repertoire History

This was Houston Ballet’s fifth time performing Ghost Dances as part of its main season. Houston Ballet has performed Ghost Dances at Miller Outdoor Theater, Woodlands Mitchell Pavilion, and Jubilee of Dance during various main seasons. Houston Ballet performed Ghost Dances during the Denmark tour in 1990.

Ghost Dances Production Details

ORIGINAL CHOREOGRAPHER: Christopher Bruce

GENRE: Contemporary Ballet

RUN TIME: Ballet in 1 Act; approximately 40 minutes

ORIGINAL PREMIERE DATE: July 3, 1981 at the Bristol Old Vic in Bristol, England by Ballet Rambert

COSTUME DESIGN: Belinda Scarlett

SET DESIGN: Christopher Bruce

LIGHTING DESIGN: Nick Chelton

HOUSTON BALLET PREMIERE DATE: May 26, 1988 in the Brown Theater at Wortham Theater Center in Houston, TX

BALLET MASTER (2015): Sean Kelly

STAGERS FOR HOUSTON BALLET (2015): Christopher Bruce and Steven Brett

HOUSTON BALLET ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR (2015): Ermanno Florio

HOUSTON BALLET STAGE MANAGER (2015): Michelle de los Reyes

SPECIAL PROGRAM NOTES:  “I made this ballet for the innocent people of South America who from the time of the Spanish Conquests have been continuously devastated by political oppression. I would like to give my thanks to Joan Jara for all the help and to Inti-Illimani for the inspiration of their performance.” –Christopher Bruce

Tapestry Repertoire History

This was Houston Ballet’s second time performing Tapestry as a part of its main season.Tapestry was also performed at the Woodlands Mitchell Pavilion in 2015. Houston Ballet performed Tapestry with Maninyas and Velocity during the Germany tour in the summer of 2015.

Tapestry Production Details

CHOREOGRAPHER: Stanton Welch

GENRE: Contemporary Ballet

RUN TIME: Ballet in 1 Act; approximately 30 minutes

COMPOSER: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

SCORE: “Violin Concerto No. 5”

ORIGINAL PREMIERE DATE: March 8, 2012 at Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston, TX

COSTUME DESIGN: Holly Hynes

LIGHTING DESIGN: Lisa Pinkham

BALLET MASTER (2015): Barbara Bears

HOUSTON BALLET ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR (2015): Ermanno Florio, with Violinist Denise Tarrant

HOUSTON BALLET STAGE MANAGER (2015): Michelle de los Reyes

Reveal Repertoire History

This was Houston Ballet’s first time performing Reveal as part of its main season. Previous ballets by Garrett Smith in Houston Ballet’s repertoire include Found Alone, Subtle Release, Den III, Of Opposing Nature, and Return.

Reveal Production Details

CHOREOGRAPHER: Garrett Smith

GENRE: Contemporary Ballet

RUN TIME: Ballet in 1 Act; approximately 20 minutes

COMPOSER: Phillip Glass

SCORE: “Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra and Tirol Concerto”

COSTUME DESIGN: Monica Guerra

LIGHTING DESIGN: Michael Mazzola

BALLET MASTER (2015): Steven Woodgate

HOUSTON BALLET ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR (2015): Ermanno Florio, with Violinist Denise Tarrant, Cellist Barret Sills, and Pianist Katherine Burkwall-Ciscon

HOUSTON BALLET STAGE MANAGER (2015): Michelle de los Reyes

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