Three Works by Philip Glass to be Staged by New York City Ballet In July at SPAC
The New York City Ballet will present a diverse repertory of 14 ballets during its 2014 summer season at SPAC, from July 8 – 12. Showcased during the residency will be works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins as well as contemporary ballets by 21st century choreographers including Peter Martins, Mauro Bigonzetti, Justin Peck, Angelin Preljocaj, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon.
Highlights of the program include the Saratoga premiere of the newest collaboration from Justin Peck and Sufjan Stevens; a gala tribute to Great Britain featuring the Saratoga premiere of Liam Scarlett’s Acheron; the return of several ballets not seen at SPAC in many years including Preljocaj’s La Stravaganza, Bigonzetti’s Vespro, Balanchine’s Raymonda Variations and Robbins’s Glass Pieces.
“The breadth and brilliance of this program is quintessential New York City Ballet,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President and Executive Director, in a statement. “Nearly 50 years after our Opening Season, it remains a tremendous privilege for SPAC to host this revered company on our summer stage; we are looking forward to an extraordinary 2014.”
New York City Ballet opens its 48th season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on July 8 with a tribute to the company’s legendary co-founder George Balanchine, in recognition of the 110th anniversary of his birth. Balanchine, who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on Jan. 22, 1904, will be celebrated in a program that reflects the varying influences on his artistic life, from his formative years in his native Russia, to his early years as a choreographer with the Ballet Russes in Paris, to his 1933 arrival in America.
The culmination of the Ballet’s Saratoga program will be the annual Ballet Gala on Saturday, July 12. This year’s theme – A Tribute to Great Britain – finds inspiration in the new generation of British choreographers who are influencing contemporary ballet and in Union Jack, Balanchine’s famous work celebrating the British cultural heritage.
Making its Saratoga Premiere at the Gala will be ACHERON, a new ballet by Liam Scarlett which had its World Premiere in New York on Jan. 31. Also sharing the bill is Christopher Wheeldon’s poignant AFTER THE RAIN pas de deux, set to a score by Arvo Pärt. The evening culminates with a performance of Balanchine’s UNION JACK, a work created in 1976 to honor the British heritage of the United States on the occasion of its Bicentennial. The work was last performed at SPAC in 2005.
NYCB Opening Night 2013 at SPAC with kaleidoscope effect
Marking its debut at SPAC on July 10 will be Peter Martins’s TODO BUENOS AIRES, a work originally premiered in 2000 and then expanded and re-choreographed for the 2005 season. Set to an arrangement of Piazzolla tangos for chamber orchestra, including La Mufa and Todo Buenos Aires, the work offers different interpretations of the tango.
Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti’s 2002 work VESPRO makes a return to SPAC’s stage in 2014, its first appearance since 2002. Set to music by Bruno Moretti, the Diamond Project work features 13 dancers in geometric costumes who navigate around two musicians and a singer placed center stage.
Angelin Preljocaj’s LA STRAVAGANZA, another Diamond Project work which premiered in 1997, features an ensemble of 12 dancers. The work by the French choreographer juxtaposes 17th-century sensibility with modern culture against a backdrop of contrasting classical and electronic accompaniment.
Returning to SPAC’s stage after its Gala premiere last season is Christopher Wheeldon’s pas de deux THIS BITTER EARTH. Set to Max Richter’s version of Dinah Washington’s 1960 rhythm and blues song of the same name, the work is excerpted from Wheeldon’s Five Movements, Three Repeats.
A major highlight of the season will be the Saratoga premiere of a new collaboration from choreographer and NYCB Soloist Justin Peck and American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. The project will be the second for Peck and Stevens, who previously collaborated on the acclaimed Year of the Rabbit which premiered in 2012. Stevens’ score was commissioned for the work, which also features costumes by Janie Taylor, who retired as an NYCB principal dancer on March 1.
Also highlighting the season will be two ballets by Jerome Robbins, the legendary co-founding choreographer of New York City Ballet. Programs on July 9 and 11 will feature Robbins’s masterpiece GLASS PIECES. A ballet set to three works by American minimalist composer Philip Glass, the work is a tour de force for 42 dancers.
Robbins’s enchanting CIRCUS POLKA featuring a ringmaster and 48 young dancers highlights matinees on July 10 and 12. The work is set to Stravinsky’s Circus Polka which he composed for the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1942.
Ticket prices for SPAC’s NYCB performances start at $24 for lawn seats; inside seating ranges from $32 to $85. The Kids in Free program entitles children 12 and under to free lawn admission for NYCB performances. The Student Discount program allows students of all ages to purchase tickets at a 25 percent discount. Tickets to NYCB and SPAC’s classical season go on sale online at spac.org on February 25 for members and March 18 for the general public. Box Office and phone sales begin on May 15.
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