Houston Ballet Presents
From Houston To The World
September 18 – 28
Full Company Shines In The Classical Showpiece Paquita, Staged By Stanton Welch
Jorma Elo’s Witty And Arresting One/End/One Returns To Houston
Internationally Renowned Choreographer Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration,
Inspired By The Flight Patterns Of Starling Birds
For more information on From Houston to the World visit: http://www.houstonballet.org/Ticketing_Schedule/Season_Calendar/From_Houston_to_the_World/
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HOUSTON BALLET PRESENTS
FROM HOUSTON TO THE WORLD
SEPTEMBER 18 – 28
Full Company Shines in the Classical Showpiece Paquita, Staged by Stanton Welch
Jorma Elo’s Witty and Arresting ONE/end/ONE Returns to Houston
Internationally Renowned Choreographer Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration,
Inspired by the Flight Patterns of Starling Birds
Houston, Texas — From September 18-28, 2014,Houston Ballet offers up its fall mixed repertory program titled From Houston to the World with ballets choreographed for Houston Ballet dancers. Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo brings wit and humor to the extreme virtuosity that he demands in ONE/end/ONE. Edwaard Liang’s deeply spiritual ballet Murmuration also returns. Closing the program is Stanton Welch’s vivid and exciting interpretation of the third act of Paquita, showcasing a breathtaking display of technique and classical skill. Houston Ballet will give six performances of From Houston to the World at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston. Tickets start at $20, and may be purchased at www.houstonballet.org, or by calling 713 227 2787.
ONE/end/ONE was created for Houston Ballet by Jorma Elo in 2011. It features four couples who employ the choreographer’s quirky and unexpected movements to create an atmosphere of playfulness. Mandy Oaklander, dance critic for the Houston Press (June 23, 2011) described the ballet as “Arresting and absolutely unpredictable . . . both technically and innovatively, this piece shines.” Dance writer Nichelle Strzepek stated, “Jorma Elo, resident choreographer at Boston Ballet, is clearly winning throughout the ballet world with a characteristically playful, always satisfying catalog that now includes ONE/end/ONE, created for and on Houston Ballet. To be the instrument and focus of Elo’s creativity is a rather victorious notch in the HB belt, as well.” (Dance Advantage, June 4, 2011).
“When I observed Jorma choreographing, I instantly loved his vocabulary as a dance maker,” observed Mr. Welch. “His choreographic style is unique, reflecting influences ranging from classical ballet to Mats Ek.”
Mr. Elo, who has created pieces for American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, and New York City Ballet, among others, is currently the resident choreographer at Boston Ballet. He trained at the Finnish National Ballet School and The Kirov Ballet School. From 1978-1984 he danced with Finnish National Ballet, with Cullberg Ballet from 1984-1990, and in 1990 he joined Netherlands Dance Theatre. Mr. Elo worked with renowned choreographers such as Hans van Manen, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, Jiří Kylián and William Forsythe. In 2005 he was awarded the choreographic prize at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition.
Mr. Elo’s ONE/end/ONE features beautiful costumes by Holly Hynes. “This is my fourth original Elo ballet. We collaborated before on Slice to Sharp, Double Evil, and Pur ti Miro,” comments Ms. Hynes. “Working with Jorma feels like bringing home a friend to meet the family.”
Created in 2013, Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration employs the choreographer’s signature seamless movements and emotional spirituality. The work showcases eight couples and one male dancer. Mr. Liang explains his inspiration for the piece by saying, “Murmuration is a phenomenon in Europe where starling birds flock together and make beautiful shapes and patterns in the sky. Scientists have no idea how they come together to make these shapes, but the birds never crash into one another.”
Writing in the Houston Chronicle on March 8, 2013, dance critic Molly Glentzer observed, “Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration is the most kinetically thrilling new work the company has commissioned in some time – a rhapsodic evocation of birds in flight set to Ezio Bosso’s new ‘Violin Concerto No. 1, Esoconcerto.’ The score, reminiscent of Philip Glass but more emotional, was given a virtuosic first run by violinist Denise Tarrant. With eight couples and one man, this is the kind of dance that makes you wish you could hit the rewind button on a live performance. Seas of fluid bodies swirl and swoop around the stage in swift circles, changing direction rapidly or lining up in vividly interlocked patterns. A complex canon sequence near the end is pure rapture. “
Dance critic David Clarke observed, “The striking, stirring, and highly athletic choreography by Edwaard Liang is raw, visceral, intense, and extremely passionate” (Broadway World, April 2013).
Mr. Liang’s Murmuration is set to Ezio Bosso’s Violin Concerto No. 1 “Esoconcerto”. “I had to wait a few years for this music; I wanted to use it for a long time,” Mr. Liang explains. “It seems very minimal at first but it continues to increase in soul and depth. It’s big music.”
Born in Turin, Italy, Ezio Bosso is known internationally for his work as composer, conductor and double-bass soloist. He has worked extensively in the dance world, including collaborations with Ballet Boyz at the Southbank Centre and Sadler’s Wells, Christopher Wheeldon at the San Francisco Ballet and Rafael Bonachela at the Sydney Dance Company. He is the only classical Italian composer to have been awarded the prestigious Italian Music Award. In 2010, Mr. Bosso’s composition We Unfold for Rafael Bonachela’s piece was named Best Music/Sound Composition at Australia’s Green Room Awards. His works have been produced at Philip Glass’s studio in New York, and performed on five continents.
Murmuration wasMr. Liang’s first ballet to enter Houston Ballet’s repertoire. Mr. Welch first saw his choreography at The Joffrey Ballet and knew he had to bring Mr. Liang to Houston. “Edwaard has a unique mix of influences inspiring his work, ranging from George Balanchine to Jiří Kylián, two choreographers with whom Houston Ballet’s dancers are intimately familiar because they have performed many of their works,” explains Mr. Welch.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Marin County, California, Mr. Liang began his training at Marin Ballet. In 1989 he entered the School of American Ballet. He joined New York City Ballet in the spring of 1993, and that same year, was a medal winner at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition. He was promoted to the rank of soloist in 1998. In 2001, he joined the Tony Award winning Broadway cast of Fosse, performing a leading principal role. In 2002, he was invited by Jiří Kylián to become a member of the acclaimed Nederlands Dans Theater. Dancing with Nederlands Dans Theater is where he discovered his passion and love for choreography. After returning from Holland, Mr. Liang again danced with New York City Ballet from 2004-2007.
Mr. Liang has choreographed a number of works, starting in 2003 with Nederlands Dans Theater workshop, Flight of Angels, which has since been staged for many companies. Mr. Liang has also created ballets for New York City Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Shanghai Ballet, among others. Mr. Liang was named one of the “Top 25 to Watch” for 2006 by Dance Magazine for choreography, winner of the 2006 National Choreographic Competition, and invited to be a part of the 2007 National Choreographers Initiative. In 2013, he was named artistic director of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio.
Rounding out the program is the third act of Paquita, a dazzling classical showpiece staged by Stanton Welch that debuted at the 2013 Jubilee of Dance in December 2013. Paquita was premiered by the Paris Opera in 1846, and Marius Petipa produced the ballet in 1847 for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg as his debut production. Although originally a full-length narrative work, by the twentieth century only a portion of the third act of the ballet, a dazzling classical showpiece was being performed.
Paquita presents an opportunity for Houston Ballet’s dancers to display their sparkling technique. “With Paquita, I hoped to challenge our dancers with demanding classical ballet choreography and the rigors of a historically significant work. I also wanted to showcase the company’s high level of classical technique,” comments Mr. Welch.
About Houston Ballet
On February 17, 1969 a troupe of 15 young dancers made its stage debut at Sam Houston State Teacher’s College in Huntsville, Texas. Since that time, Houston Ballet has evolved into a company of 55 dancers with a budget of $24.5 million (making it the United States’ fifth largest ballet company by number of dancers), a state-of-the-art performance space built especially for the company, Wortham Theater Center, the largest professional dance facility in America, Houston Ballet’s $46.6 million Center for Dance which opened in April 2011, and an endowment of just over $69 million (as of June 2014).
Australian choreographer Stanton Welch has served as artistic director of Houston Ballet since 2003, raising the level of the company’s classical technique and commissioning many new works from dance makers such as Christopher Bruce, Jorma Elo, James Kudelka, Trey McIntyre, Julia Adam, Natalie Weir, Nicolo Fonte, and Edwaard Liang. Executive Director James Nelson serves as the administrative leader of the company, a position he assumed in February 2012 after serving as the company’s General Manager for over a decade.
Houston Ballet has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. Over the last decade, the company has appeared in London at Sadler’s Wells, at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia, in six cities in Spain, in Montréal and Ottawa, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in New York at City Center and The Joyce Theater, at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, and in cities large and small across the United States. Houston Ballet has emerged as a leader in the expensive, labor-intensive task of nurturing the creation and development of new full-length narrative ballets.
Writing in Dancing Times in June 2012, dance critic Margaret Willis praised Houston Ballet and highlighted the fact that “During his own tenure, (Stanton) Welch has upped the standard and Houston Ballet now shows off a group of 55 dancers in splendid shape. With fast and tidy footwork, they are technically skillful and have strong, broad jumps and expansive, fluid movements. The dancers’ musicality shines through their work, dancing as one with elegance and refinement –and they are a handsome bunch too!…if ballet were an Olympic sport, see Houston Ballet well on the way to achieving gold.”
Houston Ballet Orchestra was established in the late 1970s and currently consists of 61 professional musicians who play all ballet performances at Wortham Theater Center under music director Ermanno Florio.
Houston Ballet’s Education and Outreach Program has reached approximately 33,500 Houston area students (as of the 2013-2014 season). Houston Ballet’s Academy has 950 students and has had four academy students win awards at the prestigious international ballet competition the Prix de Lausanne, with one student winning the overall competition in 2010. For more information on Houston Ballet visit www.houstonballet.org.
FROM HOUSTON TO THE WORLD FACT SHEET
WHAT: FROM HOUSTON TO THE WORLD featuring:
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto No. 4
Choreography by Jorma Elo
Costume Design by Holly Hynes
Lighting Design by Christina R. Giannelli
ONE/end/ONE was created with the support of a Rudolf Nureyev Prize for New Dance awarded by The Joyce Theater with major funding from the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation.
Music by Ezio Bosso, Violin Concerto No. 1 “Esoconcerto”
Choreography by Edwaard Liang
Costume Design by Edwaard Liang and Laura Lynch
Lighting Design by Lisa J. Pinkham
PAQUITA (created 1846, Welch staging performed in 2013)
Choreography by Stanton Welch, after Marius Petipa
Music by Leon Minkus (1826-1917)
Lighting Design by Lisa J. Pinkham
Houston Ballet Orchestra conducted by Ermanno Florio
Denise Tarrant, violinist
underwritten by: Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, L.L.P.
PROGRAM: Houston Ballet’s fall mixed repertory program showcases three works that were created for Houston Ballet. Inspired by video of flocks of birds flying in breathtaking unison in the skies of Northern Europe, Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration is a deeply spiritual work for eight couples and one male dancer. Set to Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4, Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo brings wit and humor to the extreme technical virtuosity that he demands of the four women and four men featured in ONE/end/ONE. A highpoint of the program will be a performance of the dazzling third act of Paquita, the Spanish-flavored classical showpiece that Stanton Welch staged for Houston Ballet in 2013.
WHEN: At 7:30 pm on September 18, 20, 26, 27, 2014
At 2:00 pm on September 21, 28, 2014
WHERE: Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Avenue in downtown Houston
TICKETS: Start at $20. Call (713) 227 ARTS (2787) or 1 800 828 ARTS.
Also available at Houston Ballet Box Office at Wortham Theater Center downtown at 501 Texas at Smith Street Monday – Friday 9 am – 5pm
INFORMATION: Visit Houston Ballet online at www.houstonballet.org.