POSTED ON MARCH 17, 2010:
Tulsa Ballet displays successful repeat performances in The Contemporaries
On Their Tippy Toes. Tulsa Ballet performs The Contemporaries March 19-21 and will include works from Por Vos Muero and This is Your Life.
Three years ago, I watched in stunned awe as Tulsa Ballet performed -- performed isn't a good enough word; incarnated is better -- Nacho Duato's Por Vos Muero. It was quite literally one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.
So, I was mildly thrilled when I heard the company would perform the work again this year as part of its March 19-21 program, The Contemporaries.
Passionate and haunting, the ballet is based on a 16th century poem Garcilaso de la Vega and set to 15th and 16th century Spanish music.
"Por Vos Muero is the only work by Nacho Duato we have ever repeated," said TB's Artistic Director Marcello Angelini. "We normally do a new one every year. However, Por Vos Muero is different. It is a very special piece -- in my opinion among the best works Nacho has ever created. Given the reception it got the last time we performed it in Tulsa and in Oklahoma City, I felt making an exception for this one was the right thing to do."
TB also performed the work in New York City at The Joyce Theater last summer to seven sold-out audiences, five standing ovations and rave reviews.
Dance Magazine wrote, "(Tulsa Ballet) shone brightly with clean technique and individual personalities. They had joy and rigor, but best of all, a sense of freedom onstage."
The company will also perform Por Vos Muero at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., this summer.
"When we were discussing the repertory we would bring to the Capitol, I shared my thoughts with them and they immediately jumped on Por Vos," Angelini said. "While the final choice is ours, they made it very clear that they loved this work and how the company performed it. So, Washington will get to see it, too."
Por Vos Muero isn't this show's only repeat performance. TB will also dance Young Soon Hue's This Is Your Life, created for Tulsa Ballet in 2008 and first performed in Studio K's inaugural program, "About Tango."
"It is our intention to bring back, in the main season, a work created in Studio K every year," Angelini said.
"The best part of this plan is that our audience gets to choose which one they'd like to see again," he said. "Last year, we contacted all the patrons who attended that particular program and asked them to vote online for their favorite work of the evening.
"The vote was very, very close between Blood Rush by Ma Cong and This Is Your Life by Young Soon Hue. It was a virtual tie. Since we already have Carmina Burana (in May) and a new work by Ma Cong this season (in April's "Pop Culture" program), it was decided to include Young Soon's work in The Contemporaries."
This Is Your Life capitalizes on the reality TV craze by portraying, through beautifully moving choreography, "the true joy and pain of everyday life hidden behind a thin veil of comedy." The piece is set to tango music.
Rounding out the program is Stanton Welch's Maninyas. Although the company has performed work by Welch before, this is the first time TB has danced Maninyas.
The work is an abstract blend of classical and contemporary ballet, set to "Maninyas Concerto for Violin and Orchestra" by Australian composer Ross Edwards.
"The piece is a process of unveiling," Welch has said of the work. "It examines how in relationships, you gradually unlayer yourself, and how scary, dark and open it is to reveal yourself to another, without protection.
"The dancers are undressing themselves spiritually as well as physically."
"Manynias is a work by Stanton Welch, created originally for the San Francisco Ballet," Angelini said. "It's a very powerful, exotic, passionate, tender and yet physical work. Stanton describes it as an exploration into the relationship between man and woman, the attraction between the sexes and complexities of their interactions.
"It's also a very challenging work for any company, having been created for the top American dance organizations of our times."
Programming for The Contemporaries might seem like something of an aberration in Tulsa Ballet's 2009-2010 season, which so far has included three very extravagant, very theatrical works -- Dracula, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.
"It's not by coincidence that as a follow-up to our recent production of The Sleeping Beauty, which is known as the most rigorous classical work in the ballet repertory, I scheduled an evening that represents the evolution of dance throughout the past century and the current decade," Angelini said. "While audiences can relate to the well-known story of Aurora and her handsome prince, The Contemporaries will give our patrons the opportunity to connect to the art of ballet through the language of dance that is the embodiment of our times.
"It will also be a great occasion to showcase the trademark quality of Tulsa Ballet: its versatility."
Tulsa Ballet performs The Contemporaries Friday, March 19, at 8pm; Saturday, March 20, at 8pm; and Sunday, March 21 at 3pm in the Chapman Music Hall of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Second St.
Tickets, ranging from $15 to $70, and other information are available at tulsapac.com.
A Very Merry Unbirthday
On Saturday, March 20, ArtBeat, a statewide arts publication, presents "Unbirthday Costume Party and Art Show," inspired by and featuring works themed around Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Hosted at the Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St., and beginning at 8pm, the show features original work by local artists. Three works will be chosen by a panel of judges to receive sponsored donations by local art advocates, and the remainder will be auctioned off to benefit ArtBeat and the artists who created them.
Admission is free to costumed attendees; the remainder will pay $10 at the door. More at artbeatok.com.
Also on Saturday is "Nude 6: Night of the Living Nude," at Flytrap Music Hall, 514 E. Second St., at 8pm.
In its sixth year, "Nude" is an erotic-themed art show featuring original works by local and regional artists.
As well as original artwork (zombie-themed this year), the event features live music, a burlesque show and giveaways. Tickets are $15 and are available, along with additional information, at nudeartshow.com.
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