A Letter from the Artistic Director

January 15, 2014

Defining Dance, Reveal, Uncategorized

I referenced the Shakespeare quote “What’s in a name?” when first announcing the exciting season that we have planned for OBT and Portland in our season brochure.  You see, I felt we had a chance to really define what we aim to do in the four fantastic repertory programs that we had lined up-  DREAM, REVEAL, CELEBRATE, CREATE – and the names themselves are an important part of that story.  DREAM, performed to ecstatic ovations and terrific critical acclaim in October, introduced a completely reinvigorated company and the work of Nacho Duato to Portland.  Today, I want to talk about the second installment in that series, REVEAL, which is coming to the Keller February 22 – March 1.
 
Liturgy

Haiyan Wu and Brian Simcoe in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Liturgy”

REVEAL could easily be defined by the fact that the choreography in the evening is signed by four of the most dynamic and sought-after choreographers in the world today, and three of the four works carry as well the OBT signature, as they were created (or in one case, will be created) on our very own company.  It is exciting for me, in my role as “curator”, to be able to juxtapose the work of choreographers Christopher Wheeldon and James Kudelka side by side, as we will with the ballets Liturgy and Almost Mozart.  These two gentlemen are at the apex of the art form, but their vocabulary and sensibilities could not be more distinct.  Adding into the mix a creation by former Artistic Director Christopher Stowell just brings the excitement level even higher:  Stowell was the driving force behind a tremendous creative flowering at OBT and I can’t wait to see what he will do next!
Almost Mozart

Alison Roper, Damian Drake, and Paul Destrooper in James Kudelka’s “Almost Mozart”

 
Of course, the headline event of the evening is the closing ballet, Nicolo Fonte’s Bolero, created for OBT in 2008.  Fonte’s first collaboration with the artists of Oregon Ballet Theatre resulted in an exuberant and enthralling marriage of music, scenic design and wit.  To date the work has been acquired by The Washington Ballet, Ballet West, Tulsa Ballet, and Queensland Ballet in Australia – so balletomanes all over the country and the world are now getting to see a work stamped “Made in Portland”!  But perhaps even more exciting, we have persuaded retired principal dancer Artur Sultanov to return to the stage to dance with his longtime partner Alison Roper in every performance of Bolero, as this ballet is one of the pinnacles of what many dance lovers in Portland consider to be a magical partnership.  These performances with Alison and Artur are not to be missed!
Bolero

Alison Roper and Artur Sultanov in Nicolo Fonte’s “Bolero”

 
So what’s in the name REVEAL?  Aside from a playful allusion to the fascinating scenic world of Fonte’s Bolero, in which an ever-evolving stage continually reveals intricacies, REVEAL promises new ways of looking at the world.  Once you succumb to the poetry of movement married to music in a live experience that you share with perhaps a thousand other people, you will begin to see and hear around you all sorts of unthought-of possibilities – in the way a hand reaches out in greeting, in the turn of a head – even in the patterns that the traffic makes!  One other revealing aspect of this riveting evening of dance is also contained in the Bolero:  underneath what may appear to be a hard, mechanical, and driven world is the pulsing heart and heat of the human animal at its finest.  I hope you will join us!
KevinSign
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