Artistic powerhouses Stephen Mills and Graham Reynolds reunite in Ballet Austin’s The Graham Reynolds Project

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Artistic powerhouses Stephen Mills and Graham Reynolds reunite in Ballet Austin’s The Graham Reynolds Project
AUSTIN, Texas (March 16, 2016) – Fresh off their 2015 smash hit, Belle REDUX / A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, Ballet Austin Artistic Director / Choreographer Stephen Mills and Austin- based Composer and Bandleader Graham Reynolds are combining forces again in The Graham Reynolds Project, a sensation for the eyes and ears, featuring live musical accompaniment and the world premiere of Mills’ Once Belonging.
The three-show production, set for April 1-3 at the Long Center, is a celebration of Mills’ and Reynolds’ highly successful collaborative relationship and will be the fifth time the two have partnered on a contemporary ballet since first working together on Mills’ Cult of Color: Call to Color in April 2008. The new production will feature highlights of previous collaborations including Bounce (Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project, 2010) and Though the Earth Gives  Way (The Mozart Project, 2011), in addition to the duo’s newest offering, Once Belonging,  which includes a first for Reynolds: an original, 22-minute composition performed by a 25-piece orchestra.
Reynolds may be best known internationally for his work as a movie composer, having scored films such as Before Midnight, Bernie and A Scanner Darkly, which was named “Best Soundtrack of the Decade” by Cinema Retro magazine. He’s also active in Austin’s live theatre and music scenes, belonging to the ensemble-based theatre company, The Rude Mechanicals; serving as resident composer with Salvage Vanguard Theater; and leading the musical collective, Golden Arm Trio. With Golden Arm Trio, Reynolds has repeatedly toured the country and released five critically acclaimed albums including the simultaneous release of The Difference Engine: A Triple Concerto and DUKE! Three Portraits of Ellington. As Co-Artistic Director of the 501(c)(3) Golden Hornet Project, Reynolds has produced more than 50 concerts of world-premiere, alt-classical music by more than 60 composers, as well as five symphonies, two concertos and countless chamber pieces of his own.
“Composing for dance is one of my favorite things, and I love working with Stephen Mills,” Reynolds said. “He’s pushed me to create some of the work for which I’m most proud, and that certainly extends to the new score I’m producing for Once Belonging. It’s reminiscent of the first movement of a cello concerto, but a very modern interpretation, with sweeping melodies, lush chords, and three drum sets to give it a contemporary drive.”
“As we approached this new work, I challenged Graham to compose something atypical of what he normally does—to step away from what he’s accustomed to in film and theatre and try something entirely new,” Mills said. “The music for Once Belonging is unlike anything he’s written before, and I can’t wait to share it with Ballet Austin audiences this April.”
As long-time collaborators, Mills and Reynolds know how to bring out the best in each other. Through The Graham Reynolds Project, these artists synthesize their classically innovative styles in an incredible marriage of movement and music.
Featuring jazzy interludes, pounding percussion and out-of-the-ordinary instrumentation (how often do you hear a xylophone?), Bounce lives up to its name. Gathered in a tight circle of energetic “bounce,” eight dancers build a pulsing momentum that explodes across the stage. The fast-paced, driving movement creates a force you can feel, guaranteed to have you bouncing in your seat. Reynolds’ re-imagined Bach’s Suite in A minor serves as the musical foundation for this rambunctious romp of a contemporary ballet.
Though the Earth Gives Way 
Mills and Reynolds balance the effervescence of Bounce, with the thoughtfulness of Though the Earth Gives Way, featuring nine musical movements. This work is set to re-imagined fragments of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major and features synthesized violin and cello, which allows these classical instruments to mimic the sounds of an electric guitar. Wearing  streamlined black and white costumes, an ensemble of six dancers, creates an intimate and intense environment supported brilliantly by Reynolds’ hauntingly beautiful string melodies. Framed within large fluorescent-light boxes, the four men and two women exit and reappear through dark corridors, drawing you deeper into an emotion-rich exploration of innocence and a fall from grace.
Once Belonging – World Premiere 
This latest collaboration features a first for Reynolds—an original, 22-minute composition performed by a 25-piece orchestra. While he still features the cello prominently, Reynolds brings a more symphonic sound to Once Belonging. His musical inspiration for this new work is an interesting mash-up: the Sibelius Violin Concerto, Syzmanoski’s Myths, and drum line music. In terms of movement style, Once Belonging is a tribute to classical form expressed through a contemporary lens. From the opening chords, 10 dancers (five couples, including one lead couple) sweep across the stage in intricate patterns with waltzes giving way to surging lifts, while thematic phrases tell a story of community and devotion. With tender romanticism in one moment and passionate athleticism the next, Once Belonging is full of humanity, something Mills and Reynolds explore and celebrate in every dance concert they bring to the stage.
Great seats are still available for The Graham Reynolds Project and can be purchased online at or over the phone at 512.476.2163.
As distinctive and dynamic as the city it calls home, Ballet Austin welcomes audiences near and far to participate in its “classically innovative” vision for the creation of original art works, classical ballet instruction, and life-long health and wellness through dance and fitness. With a rich history spanning six decades, acclaimed productions, a commitment to creating access to programs, and a large, classical ballet academy, the organization is poised for an even greater future. From their home at the Butler Dance Education Center in downtown Austin, Ballet Austin and Artistic Director Stephen Mills actively engage the community, dancers, and audiences alike. The New York Times proclaims Ballet Austin “a company with big ambitions” originating work that is “absorbing.” For additional information on Ballet Austin and to purchase performance tickets, dance and fitness classes, visit
The Shubert Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, Boulette Golden & Marin LLP
Linda Ball & Forrest Preece, Kodosky Family Foundation, Jennene & K. Ray Mashburn, Bliss & Minsok Pak, Carolyn & Marc Seriff, Sally & Tom Welch
Original score for Once Belonging commissioned by Ballet Austin and funded by the Texas Commission on the Arts.
The Wallace Foundation
Silicon Labs, JPMorgan Chase, The Shubert Foundation, The Fifth Age of Man Foundation, Select Physical Therapy, Austin American-Statesman
Did you know Ballet Austin is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization? Learn more.
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