Overview

Houston Ballet's 2015/16 winter mixed rep featured:

The Houston Ballet Premiere of Wayne McGregor's Dyad 1929 (2009), Houston Ballet Premiere of Jiří Kylián's Wings of Wax (1997), and Houston Ballet Premiere of Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Stuite (1995).

“Dyad 1929" is a technically challenging dance, but McGregor also seemed to be interested in pushing the musicality of his choreography.

Houston Press

Bodies soften but the mood gathers inward intensity with the contemporary humanism of European master Jirí Kylián's "Wings of Wax."

Houston Chronicle

“West Side Story Suite" continues to pay direct homage to Jerome Robbins’ lasting love affair with representing the human spirit through movement.

Playbill

Synopsis

Dyad 1929 Description

Set to Steve Reich's Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet and dedicated to the memory of modern dance legend Merce Cunningham, Dyad 1929 showcases Wayne McGregor’s trademark style of dynamic contrasts and intensely physical partnering. Judith Mackrell of the Los Angeles Times writes, “Shards of feverish, unpredictable movement ricochet through Wayne McGregor’s choreography with the force of an unleashed cyclone.” Dyad 1929 was originally presented as a diptych titled, Dyad 1909. With both Dyad 1909 and Dyad 1929 McGregor set out to create a plotless work which encompasses modern-day scientific, social, and technological innovation much like Sergei Diaghilev did with the Ballets Russes and modern dance choreographer Merce Cunningham.

Wings of Wax Description

Wings of Wax was Houston Ballet's ninth Kylián ballet added to the company's repertoire in 2016, lovingly staged by former NDT dancer and répétiteur, Brigitte Martin. Along with Kylián’s fluid, melting choreography, the costume design by Joke Visser, set and lighting designs by Michael Simon for this ballet are one of a kind. A giant aged-tree is suspended upside down from the middle of the stage, while a single revolving spotlight circles the tree, casting shadows upon the moving dancers below. Maggie Foyer writes, “Wings of Wax offers enigmatic moments which may leave audiences unsettled yet richly satisfied.”

West Side Story Suite Description

West Side Story electrified audiences when it premiered on Broadway in 1957, and this collection of dances and songs from that landmark production exemplifies the electricity, vitality, and dramatic poignancy of this quintessentially American work. With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story Suite is a collection of songs and dances from the larger stage and film version. In addition to rehearsing Robbin's choreography, the Houston Ballet company dancers had to prepare for this work with vocal and stage lessons from Robbins répétiteurs Jean-Pierre Frohlich and Jenifer Ringer Fayette.

 

Artists

Wayne McGregor

Choreographer, Dyad 1929

Wayne McGregor is a multi-award-winning British choreographer and director. He is Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor, the creative engine of his life-long choreographic enquiry into thinking through and with the body. Studio Wayne McGregor encompasses his extensive creative collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science; Company Wayne McGregor, his own touring company of dancers; and highly specialized learning and research programmes. Studio Wayne McGregor moved into its own newly created studio spaces at Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2016. Wayne McGregor is also Resident Choreographer at The Royal Ballet, where his productions are acclaimed for their daring reconfiguring of classical language. He is Professor of Choreography at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and has an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Plymouth University. He is part of the Circle of Cultural Fellows at King’s College London. He is Vice President of the Roundhouse, a Trustee of Aerowaves, and Patron of The Place and the Lisa Ullman Travel Scholarship. McGregor is regularly commissioned by and has works in the repertories of the most important ballet companies around the world, including Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. He has choreographed for theatre, opera, film (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Warner Brothers’ forthcoming Tarzan), music videos (Radiohead), fashion (Gareth Pugh at New York Fashion Week, 2014), TV (Paloma Faith’s Brit Awards performance, 2015), and site specific performances (Big Dance Trafalgar Square, 2012).  McGregor's work has earned him a multitude of awards including three Critics' Circle Awards, two Time Out Awards, two South Bank Show Awards, three Olivier Awards, a prix Benois de la Danse and a Critics’ Prize at the Golden Mask Awards. In 2011 McGregor was awarded a CBE for Services to Dance. Opening in late 2016, Studio Wayne McGregor is the creative engine for choreographer and director Wayne McGregor CBE, and the home of his life-long enquiry into thinking through and with the body. It is a nexus of partners who explore movement, artistry, thought and partnership. With Wayne at its centre, this collaborative network encompasses dancers, writers, composers, producers, software engineers, visual artists, scientists and more.

Steve Reich

Composer, Dyad 1929

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich has been called "America’s greatest living composer" (The Village VOICE), "...the most original musical thinker of our time" (The New Yorker), and "...among the great composers of the century" (New York Times).  His music has been influential to composers and mainstream musicians all over the world. He is a leading pioneer of Minimalism, having in his youth broken away from the "establishment" that was serialism. His music is known for steady pulse, repetition, and a fascination with canons; it combines rigorous structures with propulsive rhythms and seductive instrumental color. It also embraces harmonies of non-Western and American vernacular music (especially jazz). His studies have included the Gamelan, African drumming (at the University of Ghana), and traditional forms of chanting the Hebrew scriptures. Different Trains and Music for 18 Musicians have each earned him GRAMMY awards, and his "documentary video opera" works—The Cave and Three Tales, done in collaboration with video artist Beryl Korot—have pushed the boundaries of the operatic medium. Over the years his music has significantly grown both in expanded harmonies and instrumentation, resulting in a Pulitzer Prize for his 2007 composition, Double Sextet.  Reich’s music has been performed by major orchestras and ensembles around the world, including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics; London, San Francisco, Boston, and BBC symphony orchestras; London Sinfonietta; Kronos Quartet; Ensemble Modern; Ensemble Intercontemporain; Bang on a Can All-Stars; and eighth blackbird. Several noted choreographers have created dances to his music, such as Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Jirí Kylían, Jerome Robbins, Wayne McGregor, and Christopher Wheeldon.

Jiří Kylián

Choreographer, Wings of Wax

Jiří Kylián has proven to be one of the world’s most influential choreographers and has had a profound impact on the world of dance. Born in Prague, Jiří Kylián studied at Prague National Theatre, Prague Conservatory and The Royal Ballet School in London before joining Stuttgart Ballet in 1968 under the direction of John Cranko. There Mr. Cranko helped cultivate Mr. Kylián as a student and choreographer which lead to him setting his first work for Stuttgart Ballet in 1970.  Mr. Kylián joined Nederlands Dans Theater in 1973 as a guest choreographer, and was appointed artistic director in 1978. After joining Nederlands Dans Theater he created and realized over 60 productions for the company, including such works as: Sinfonietta (1978), Forgotten Land (1981), Bella Figura (1995), and Last Touch (2003).  In 1995 Mr. Kylián celebrated 20 years as artistic director with Nederlands Dans Theater with the large-scale production Arcimboldo as well as receiving Holland’s highest honor, Officier in de Orde van Oranje Nassau.  In 1999 Mr. Kylián retired as artistic director, but still has an active role as resident choreographer and artistic advisor with the company. Since 2014 to 2016 Kylián has created three films, Car-Men (2006), Between entrance and exit (2013), and Schwarzfaher (2014). Kylián is currently showcasing his photography in an exhibit titled Freefall: A Photographic Study at Korzo Theatre in the Netherlands. 

Composers, Wings of Wax

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber's “Passacaglia for Solo Violin”

John Cage's “Prelude for Meditation for Prepared Piano”

Philip Glass's “Movement III for String Quartet No. 5”

Johann Sebastian Bach's “Variation No. 25, Adagio in G Minor (Arranged for String Trio by Dimitri Sitkovetsky from Goldberg Variations”)

Jerome Robbins (1918-1998)

Choreographer, West Side Story Suite

CO-CHOREOGRAPHER: Peter Gennaro

Jerome Robbins is world renowned for his work as a choreographer of ballets as well as his work as a director and choreographer in theater, movies and television.  His Broadway shows include On the Town, Billion Dollar Baby, High Button Shoes, West Side Story, The King and I, Gypsy, Peter Pan, Miss Liberty, Call Me Madam, and Fiddler on the Roof.  His last Broadway production in 1989, Jerome Robbins; Broadway, won six Tony Awards including best musical and best director.  Among the more than 60 ballets he created are Fancy Free, Afternoon of a Faun, The Concert, Dances At A Gathering, In the Night, In G Major, Other Dances, Glass Pieces and Ives, Songs, which are in the repertories of New York City Ballet and other major dance companies throughout the world.  His last ballets include A Suite of Dances created for Mikhail Baryshnikov (1994), 2 & 3 Part Inventions (1994), West Side Story Suite (1995) and Brandenburg (1996). In addition to two Academy Awards for the film West Side Story, Mr. Robbins received four Tony Awards, five Donaldson Awards, two Emmy Awards, the Screen Directors' Guild Award, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.  Mr. Robbins was a 1981 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient and was awarded the French Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur.

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

Composer, West Side Story Suite

LEONARD BERNSTEIN was a world-renowned conductor and composer, and one of classical music's icons of the 20th century. He was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic and conducted the world's major orchestras, leaving behind an enormous legacy of audio and video recordings. His books, as well as the much-beloved televised Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic, established him as a leading educator. His orchestral and choral works include three symphonies (No. 1 "Jeremiah", No. 2 "Age of Anxiety", and No. 3 "Kaddish"), Serenade, Mass, Chichester Psalms, Songfest, Divertimento for Orchestra, Arias and Barcarolles, and Concerto for Orchestra. Bernstein's works for the Broadway stage include On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide and the immensely popular West Side Story. In addition to the West Side Story collaboration, Mr. Bernstein worked with choreographer Jerome Robbins on three major ballets, Fancy Free, Facsimile and Dybbuk. Mr. Bernstein was the recipient of many honors, including  eleven Emmy Awards, one Tony Award, the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors. 

History

Dyad 1929 Repertoire History

This was Houston Ballet’s first time performing Dyad 1929 and first work by Wayne McGregor.

Dyad 1929 Production Details

CHOREOGRAPHER: Wayne McGregor

GENRE: Contemporary Ballet

RUN TIME: Ballet in 1 Act; approximately 40 minutes

COMPOSER: Steve Reich

SCORE: "Double Sextet"

ORIGINAL PREMIERE DATE: August 21, 2009 at State Theatre, Victorian Arts Centre in Melbourne, Australia by Australian Ballet. Originally part of a diptych alongside Dyad 1909 for Sadler’s Wells Theater in London.

COSTUME DESIGN: Moritz Junge

SET DESIGN: Wayne McGregor and Lucy Carter

LIGHTING DESIGN: Lucy Carter

LIGHTING RECREATION: Simon Bennison

BALLET MASTER (2016): Barbara Bears

STAGER FOR HOUSTON BALLET (2016): Antoine Vereecken

HOUSTON BALLET ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR (2016): Ermanno Florio

HOUSTON BALLET STAGE MANAGER (2016): Dathan Manning

Wings of Wax Repertoire History

This was Houston Ballet’s first time performing Wings of Wax. Previous ballets by Jiří Kylián in Houston Ballet’s repertoire include Symphony in D, Sinfonietta, Forgotten Land, Svadebka, Falling Angels, Soldiers’ Mass, Sechs-Tanze, and Petite Mort.

Wings of Wax Production Details

CHOREOGRAPHER: Jiří Kylián

GENRE: Contemporary Ballet

RUN TIME: Ballet in 1 Act; approximately 20 minutes

COMPOSER: Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber

SCORE:  “Passacaglia for Solo Violin”

COMPOSER: John Cage

SCORE:  “Prelude for Meditation for Prepared Piano”

COMPOSER: Philip Glass

SCORE:  “Movement III for String Quartet No. 5”

COMPOSER: Johann Sebastian Bach

SCORE:  “Variation No. 25, Adagio in G Minor (Arranged for String Trio by Dimitri Sitkovetsky from Goldberg Variations”

ORIGINAL PREMIERE DATE: January 23, 1997 at Lucent Danstheater in Hauge, Netherlands by Nederlands Dans Theater

COSTUME DESIGN: Joke Visser

SET DESIGN: Michael Simon

LIGHTING DESIGN: Michael Simon

LIGHTING REDESIGN & TECH SUPPORT: Kees Tjebbes

BALLET MASTER (2016): Louise Lester

STAGER FOR HOUSTON BALLET (2016): Brigitte Martin

HOUSTON BALLET ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR (2016): Ermanno Florio

HOUSTON BALLET STAGE MANAGER (2016): Dathan Manning

West Side Story Suite Repertoire History

This was Houston Ballet’s first time performing West Side Story Suite. Previous ballets by Jerome Robbins in Houston Ballet’s repertoire include In the Night, The Concert, Afternoon of a Faun, and Fancy Free.

West Side Story Suite Production Details

CHOREOGRAPHER: Jerome Robbins

CO-CHOREOGRAPHER: Peter Gennaro

GENRE: Ballet Musical

RUN TIME: Ballet in 1 Act; approximately 40 minutes

COMPOSER:  Leonard Bernstein

LYRICS: Stephen Sondheim

SCORE:  Selections from “West Side Story”

ORIGINAL PREMIERE DATE: May 18, 1995 at New York State Theater in New York, New York by New York City Ballet

COSTUME DESIGN: Irene Sharaff

SCENIC DESIGN: Oliver Smith

SCENIC SUPERVISION: Rosaria Sinisi

LIGHTING DESIGN: Jennifer Tipton

LIGHTING RECREATION: Perry Silvey

BALLET MASTER (2016): Steven Woodgate

STAGER FOR HOUSTON BALLET (2016): Jean-Pierre Frohlich and Jenifer Ringer Fayette

HOUSTON BALLET ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR (2016): Ermanno Florio

HOUSTON BALLET STAGE MANAGER (2016): Dathan Manning

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