Los Angeles Ballet Announces 2007-2008 Season
Fusing Global Masterpieces with Local Flair
Company Taps Los Angeles Talent to Choreograph Original Ballets for World Premieres
Ahmanson Theatre, The Irvine Barclay Theatre and Royce Hall, UCLA Added to Venue Line-up that includes
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Alex Theatre, Glendale and Freud Playhouse, UCLA
August 23, 2007 (Los Angeles, CA): Los Angeles Ballet Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary have announced the company's Second Season as Los Angeles' own professional ballet company with a fresh repertoire that features new choreographic works by Los Angeles artists including Jacques Heim of Diavolo, Lester Horton Award winner Jennifer Backhaus of Backhaus Dance, and LAB's Melissa Barak who has choreographed for New York City Ballet to critical acclaim.
Season two, which kicks off with the Neary-Christensen choreographed holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, also features masterpieces by George Balanchine including, The Four Temperaments, a monumental masterpiece, set to the majestic, commissioned Hindemith score; Tarantella, a charming, vivacious pas de deux danced to spirited Gottschalk/Kay music; and Allegro Brilliante, a classical bravura work for five couples danced to Tchaikovsky's exciting score. In addition, back by popular demand, is August Bournonville's Napoli Pas de Six and Tarantella. These works will be staged by Neary and Christensen.
Season tickets are scheduled to go on sale Thursday September 6th by calling 310.998.7782 or by visiting http://www.losangelesballet.org
"We are extremely pleased to bring world class dance back to Los Angeles for a second season showcasing the artistic talent of our city as well as the works of master choreographers," said Christensen. "It's thrilling to be able to pay tribute to talented choreographers in our own backyard and provide them with a global platform to display their artistry."
Additionally, Los Angeles Ballet continues its mission to bring great dance to all surrounding areas in Southern California. New venues have been added to its performance schedule including Royce Hall, UCLA, the Ahmanson Theatre (Music Center) and The Irvine Barclay Theatre.
Los Angeles Ballet inaugurates its second season in December with the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Featuring brilliant sets with a Los Angeles flair by LA designer Catherine Kanner and costumes originally designed by Mikael Melbye, The Nutcracker, which debuted last season, will be performed at the Alex Theatre, Glendale; Royce Hall, UCLA; and Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. (Please see season repertoire and venues below.) [N.B.: See the next post.]
"We are excited to begin our second season with such a beloved ballet, and again provide a special production tailor-made for Southern California audiences," Neary said.
During its triumphant inaugural season, Los Angeles Ballet was hailed by audiences and critics alike, having performed three successful repertoires including The Nutcracker, New Beginnings (Agon, Concerto Barocco and Napoli Pas de Six and Tarantella) and An Evening of Balanchine (Rubies, Apollo and Serenade). The Company continues to build its repertoire that underscores the creative leadership of its artistic directors as well as present timeless classics and innovative choreography from today's contemporary artists.
About the Choreographers
Thordal Christensen is the Artistic Director for the Los Angeles Ballet. The world of dance claims Mr. Christensen as one of its most respected citizens. Mr. Christensen danced with the Royal Danish Ballet, New York City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet in major roles in the classical and modern repertoire. He was appointed artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet School in 1999. During his leadership he advanced the company repertoire and school to new levels. In 2002, Mr. Christensen was appointed Knight of Dannebrog by Her Majesty Margrethe II.
Colleen Neary is the Artistic Director for the Los Angeles Ballet. Ms. Neary danced as a soloist from 1969 to 1979 in The New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. She had numerous roles created for her by George Balanchine, Peter Martins, Jacques d'Amboise and others.
She was invited in 1979 to be Ballet Mistress and Choreographic Assistant for the Zurich Ballet. During this period she also staged Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote and Manfred for La Scala de Milan, Zurich Ballet and Vienna State Opera. In 1984 she was invited to be Principal Guest Artist and company teacher for Maurice Béjart's Ballet du XXième Siecle where he created several roles for her. In 1986 she was invited to join Pacific Northwest Ballet as Principal Dancer. In 1992 she joined The Royal Danish Ballet as Ballet Mistress and company teacher. By 1999 she became First Ballet Mistress in charge of productions, a position she held until 2002.
Ms. Neary is a member of the George Balanchine Trust and has staged many of his ballets, including Agon, The Four Temperaments, Theme and Variations, Rubies, Serenade, Tarantella, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Divertimento no.15, Piano Concerto no. 2, Concerto Barocco, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Symphony in C, for leading companies around the world.
Artistic Director of Diavolo, Jacques Heim was born in Paris. He earned a BFA in Theatre, Dance and Film from Middlebury College and he was awarded a Certificate for Analysis and Criticism of Dance from the University of Surrey in England. Heim moved to Los Angeles in 1989 and attended California Institute for the Arts, receiving an MFA in Choreography. In 1992, Heim founded Diavolo Dance Theater. Inspired by the unusual and innovative way that Heim works with architectural structures in Diavolo, the creative team at Cirque du Soleil commissioned Jacques Heim to choreograph Ka, the newest permanent (and still-running) show in Las Vegas which opened in February of 2005. His most recent assignment outside of Diavolo is the innovative choreography for the production of The Stones at the Center Theatre Group's Douglas Theater in Los Angeles. Mr. Heim is in constant demand to choreograph and to direct live events for corporate clients such as Amgen, General Motors, Sunrider, Honda and Wells Fargo. Mr. Heim was recently named the Artistic Director for the 2005 Taurus World Stunt Awards and was nominated for the CalArts/Alpert Awards-in-the-Arts for Dance in both 2000 and 1996. In 1999 Heim received a James Irvine Foundation Fellowship in choreography, and a fellowship from the Brody Arts Fund. In 1998 and 1999 Heim was nominated for a Lester Horton award for Best Choreography. He has been named one of the "Faces to Watch in the Arts" by Los Angeles Times and one of the "100 Coolest People in LA" by Buzz Magazine. Heim has taught Intensive Movement for Actors at UCLA and Cal State LA. Other honors include the 1992 Martha Hill Choreography Award from the American Dance Festival, and the 1992 Special Prize of the Jury at the 6th Saitama International Dance Festival in Saitama, Japan.
Jennifer Backhaus began her career as a gymnast, leading to an early introduction to dance. Continuing her education at Chapman University, she began studying modern dance, igniting a passion that continues to this day. She received a B.F.A in Dance from Chapman University where she graduated cum laude and received multiple awards for choreography. Following graduation, Jennifer was invited to join Donna Sternberg and Dancers with whom she performed numerous roles that were created for her and received praise from the Los Angeles Times and Dance Magazine. During this time, Jennifer also performed as a guest artist with Orange County Regional Ballet and Project 21.
As a choreographer, Jennifer's works have been commissioned and produced by a number of dance organizations including Orange County Regional Ballet, Utah Regional Ballet, Chapman University, Mount San Antonio College, Santa Ana College, Impact Dance Theater, TDC of the Bay Area, and most recently, Brigham Young University. Many of Jennifer's works have been honored by the Regional Dance America organization and her piece Disintegration was selected for both regional and national performances with the American College Dance Festival, which included a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 2005, she was awarded Best Choreography for her piece Sitting on January from L.A.'s Dance Resource Center Lester Horton Awards.
Melissa Barak was raised in Los Angeles, trained at the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica, and was a scholarship student at the School of American Ballet. She joined New York City Ballet in 1998 and performed many leading roles with the company, including a principal in Christopher Wheeldon's Klavier, Helena in George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and leads in The Four Temperaments, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty. She recently became a member of the Los Angeles Ballet. She began choreographing in 1997 and created a piece for the School of American Ballet Student Choreographic Workshop. She participated in the New York Choreographic Institute in 2000, 2003, and 2006, and has choreographed works for New York City Ballet and Choreographers on Pointe. In 2001 she received the Mae L. Wien Award for choreography and the Choo San Goh Choreographic Award.
About Los Angeles Ballet
Launched in 2006 by artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, Los Angeles Ballet enjoyed a successful first season as the city's own professional ballet company focused on capturing the creative aesthetic unique to Southern California. Los Angeles Ballet is committed to bringing world class dance and great dancers to every corner of Southern California through performing at different venues accessible to communities across the city and presenting varied programs designed to appeal to a large and diverse base of fans who will grow to become devoted, supportive patrons.
The Company, a not-for-profit arts organization, makes its professional home at the Malibu Performing Arts Center. Julie Whittaker is the Company's executive director.
2007/2008 SUBSCRIPTION SERIES
Ticket Information: 310-998-7782; http://www.losangelesballet.org