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NYTB: Visionaries Jan. 24-25 / Legends May 9-10

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From the publicist:

New York Theatre Ballet

celebrates 35 Years with


January 24 and 25, 2014 at 7pm

"The generous breadth of taste shown by New York Theatre Ballet...

is good for New York's whole dance scene."

- Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times


Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7pm
Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 7pm

New York Theatre Ballet celebrates 35 years with VISIONARIES at Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street, NYC. VISIONARIES, the first of two programs in the series LEGENDS AND VISIONARIES, performs on Friday, January 24 and Saturday, January 25, 2013 at 7pm. Tickets are $30 ($20 for students and seniors) and are available for purchase at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-982-2787.

VISIONARIES performance program features a 2013 NYTB commission choreographed by Pam Tanowitz, accompanied by live music by Lou Harrison and Henry Cowell, as well as a pas de deux choreographed by Richard Alston in addition to other pieces.

New York Theatre Ballet's repertory pairs the ballets of legendary creators with those of contemporary visionaries, bringing a new understanding and appreciation of dance. This season features new works and beloved favorites from choreographers including Dan Siretta, Gemma Bond, Pam Tanowitz, Richard Alston, Antonia Franceschi, Remy Charlip, and Antony Tudor.


Short Memory by Pam Tanowitz: A 2013 NYTB Commission, with live music by Lou Harrison and Henry Cowell, helps set up Ms. Tanowitz's brilliant use of stage space. "Short Memory is a dance for six, yet the groupings and comings and goings make it seem more populous. Eccentric gestures like wriggling fingers are woven into unpredictable yet convincing patterns, bristling with witty detail." (Brian Seibert, The New York Times, 2/24/13)

Light Flooding Into Darkened Rooms by Richard Alston is inspired by Vermeer's paintings. The ballet, a pas de deux of rare intimacy, conveys a delicacy of feeling masking the formal facade of propriety and gracious behavior. Jo Kondo's Ars Breview, music inspired by Gaultier's "broken style," adds a 20th century tension to this formality with music inspired by Denis Gaulter's 17th century lute pieces, adds a more overt picture of the undercurrents swirling beneath a demeanor of dignity.

Jazz, choreography by Antonia Franceschi with an original score by Allen Shawn

Libera!, choreography by Marco Pelle
Run Loose
by Gemma Bond

Ten Imaginary Dances, choreography by Remy Charlip, read by David Vaughan

The World Premiere of Three Shades of Blue, choreography by Dan Siretta with an original score by Lynn Crigle

The second program in the series, LEGENDS, will perform on Friday, May 9, 2014 and Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 7pm.

LEGENDS includes a full evening of ballets by Antony Tudor - A. Tudor Celebration:

Jardin aux Lilas (Lilac Garden): The bittersweet theme is set in the gracious Eduardian era. A young woman betrothed to a man she does not want to marry, mirrors the society in which power and position are uppermost. The ballet is so musically constructed that it would seem Ernest Chausson, musician and composer of the ballet, indeed wrote it for the ballet. The changes of weight amplify the changes of emotion. And while the movement vocabulary is simple in its use of ballet steps and gestures, the choreography and layering of emotional content are dense.

Dark Elegies: Tudor described this as his favorite ballet and many people agree and consider it to be his greatest. From tender moments of quiet devastation to careering bursts of rage, Tudor's "ballet requiem," set to Gustav Mahler's absorbing Kindertotenlieder, expresses the raw emotion of a tight knit community faced with the inexplicable loss of their beloved children.

Trio Con Brio is a short, punchy pas de trois technical statement for two men and one women. In 2008, a 16 mm film was found by Norton Owen at Jacob's Pillow. Diana Byer and then-Music Director Ferdy Tumakaka took a year to reconstruct the pas de trois. A minute was burned out and Lance Westergard re-choreographed that small section.

Judgment of Paris: The Greek legend transferred to a French Café, late at night, where a drunken boulevardier makes his choice from three sad and aging ladies of pleasure.

Soiree Musicale: A charming divertissement set to Benjamin Britton's suite based on pieces by Rossini. Legend has it that in conceiving the choreography, Tudor had in mind four of the great ballerinas of the Romantic period, Lucille Grahn for the Canzonetta, Marie Taglioni for the Tirolese, Fanny Elssler for the Bolaro and Fanny Cerrito for the Tarantella.

For full season information visit www.nytb.org.


New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB), founded in 1978 by artistic director Diana Byer, is the most widely seen chamber ballet company in the United States and has been hailed by The New York Times as "an invaluable company." NYTB is dedicated to inspiring a love of dance in diverse audiences through performances of chamber ballet masterpieces and bold new works, as well as innovative one-hour ballets for children, all at affordable prices.

By pairing the ballets of legendary creators with those of contemporary visionaries, NYTB brings a new understanding and appreciation of dance. The approach to live performance for children is groundbreaking and unique. New York Theatre Ballet offers an annual series of hour-long ballets tailored to the attention span of young audience members, while offering high production values and clever choreography sophisticated enough for discerning parents.

NYTB is committed to reaching underserved audiences by performing in small cities throughout the U.S. Its professional school provides ballet training based on the Cecchetti syllabus. Classes are offered at affordable prices. Scholarships are awarded to talented homeless and underserved children along with support for well-rounded learning.


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I went to the all-Tudor program at Gould Hall on Saturday. There was no mention of the towns to be visited on the tour, sandik.

As for the show...it's always a pleasure to see famous Tudor works in an intimate (small-auditorium) setting, as this. In particular, Dark Elegies, in which gestures mean as much as steps, benefits from being staged in a smallish venue. Even Jardin aux Lilas is far more meaningful and appreciated in a small setting where audiece almost feels as if it is on the stage with the characters. And the jokes in Judgment of Paris were even funnier (esp. Diana Byer's sad walks as Minerva). And that makes sense, as these works were created in smallish venues in London in the 1930s, e.g., Marie Rambert's Mercury Theater in Nottingham.

That said, the real eye-opener of the program was the premiere of a reconstructed ballet by Tudor, Trio Con Brio. Very unusual because it's a pure-classical work for three virtuoso dancers - one lady and 2 men - through the beautiful prism of Cecchetti-like technique. Had I not known that it was by Tudor -- created in Jacob's Pillow, June 1952, under the pseudonym 'Vispitin' -- I would have guessed that this was a Yuri Burlaka or Sergei Vikharev reconstruction of a long-lost Petipa treasure in the Harvard-Stepanov notes. Set to the ballet music in Glinka's opera Ruslan & Ludmilla (same music used by Balanchine three years later for another Pas de Trois for 2 girls and one boy), this pas de trois is totally traditional - entree, adagio, solos and coda. The costumes could have come from Mariinsky-1890; in fact, the girl's white-and-gold-threaded tutu, with large gilt laurel-wreath crown, and the boys' bright-red velvet tunics, could have come from one of the recent Mariinsky reconstructions of Petipa classics. Kudos to Steven Melendez, Amanda Treiber (a Tanaquil LeClerq look-alike in face & neck & willowy limbs...only shorter), and Mr. Choong Hoon Lee for their (mostly)-clean and clear technique in a work that is so different from what they normally perform at NYTB.

Tudor ("Vispitin")-as-Petipa. Who'd have thunk?

p.s. - Although advertised, another 1930s Tudor work, Soiree Musicale, was not presented. Thankfully, I had already seen that ballet in a recent JKO School presentation.

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The reason given for the pseudonym was that according to a book on Tudor "it wasn't in his usual style". In fact it also reminded me of Balanchine's earlier neoclassical Petipa hommages like "Symphony in C".

"Trio con Brio" was reconstructed from a primitive silent 16mm film that was done on a cranked up camera. The can of film was stored in an attic in Jacob's Pillow since 1952. It was missing about a minute of film which included one entire male solo which had to be reconstructed. The main problems were that the film was dark, had variable speeds and was silent. It took two years to figure out which beat of choreography synched with which beat of music - they had several dancers and the music director work it out in a rehearsal room by slowing down the film. It is a lovely piece.


I must say that Natalia's review is absolutely accurate and spot on. The pieces are mounted with a kind of loving care and precise attention to detail. Again the intimate space really helped the dancers connect with the audience.

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The main problems were that the film was dark, had variable speeds and was silent.

Well, if that's all...

I'm so very grateful to people who are willing to put that kind of painstaking, loving effort into these kind of projects, and bring back a little bit more of our shared heritage -- what a thrill!

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