At the Ballet

Studio Theater Project

March 25 – April 2

Join us for a night of contemporary works set to a modern day rhythm in the heart of downtown. This is the night we open our studio for a party-like atmosphere consisting of music, drinks and dancers up close and personal.

Lasting Imprint
Choreography by Nicolo Fonte
Music by Steve Reich

silence within silence
Choreography by Stephen Mills
Music by Johannes Brahms

Luminaria
A world premiere choreography by Stephen Mills
Music by Jordi Savall



Sponsors:

Nora Linares-Moeller & Mike Moeller
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About


Studio Theater Project
3pm | Mar 27, Apr 3
7pm | Mar 31
8pm | Mar 25, 26, Apr 1, 2


"No wonder people couldn't contain their enchantment — Mills surprised and delighted."
- Jeanne Claire van Ryzin / Austin360.com


Studio Theater Project 2011 brings together dream-like worlds, sensual music, and playful rhythms for an evening of Austin premieres in contemporary ballet. With choreography by dance luminaries Nicolo Fonte and Ballet Austin’s own Stephen Mills, as well as music by Jordi Savall, Johannes Brahms, and Steve Reich, the Project is a culmination of dance and music in a combination never before experienced by the city of Austin.



Program Notes


Synopsis

Luminaria
Luminaria is a playful new work by Stephen Mills that explores the intricate vocal and instrumental rhythms blended in Jordi Savall’s exotic compilation of Spanish New World baroque music.

silence within silence
Inspired by the romantic poetry of e.e. cummings, Mills’ silence within silence speaks to the fragility of love as it follows four couples through a series of relationships.

Lasting Imprint
A mysterious and fiercely energetic work, Nicolo Fonte’s Lasting Imprint reveals the chaos, respite, and transformation held in one man's dream.



History

Luminaria
In early 2011 Stephen Mills was commissioned by the Luminaria Festival in the city of San Antonio to create a world premiere ballet to be performed for the very first time at the festival on March 12, 2011. On March 25, 2011 this new work will make its way to Austin as part of the Studio Theater Project 2011.

silence within silence
Stephen Mills was first drawn to poetry by e.e. cummings in high school. He describes cummings’ writing as “beautiful, evocative, sensual.” As an experienced choreographer, Mills revisited cummings’ work and chose four of the poems as the basis for a new ballet called silence within silence.

The four poems by e.e. cummings are:
  • i like my body when it is with your
  • i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
  • it may not always be so;and i say
  • somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
This was the first time that Mills used poetry as the inspiration his choreography. Silence within silence, featuring four sensual pas de deux set to the lush sounds of Johannes Brahms (Ballades, Op. 10, Nos.1 – 4), premiered on May 10, 2007 at the Paramount Theatre.

Lasting Imprint
Lasting Imprint was originally commissioned by Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet as part of a program called Dream Collaborations. It premiered in January 2006 in New York.



Music

The Music for Luminaria
Luminaria features four songs from the CD El Nuevo Mundo: Folias Criollas (From the Old Spain to the New World) (2010), Alia Vox. The songs are performed by Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI and conducted by Savall.
  • Guaracha “Ay que me abraso”
  • Los Chiles Verdes
  • Danza de Moctezuma
  • El Pajarillo
Jordi Savall is a viol player & conductor from Catalunya. He has been one of the major figures in Early Music since the 1970s, and has been a major exponent of solo viola da gamba performance as well as various innovative approaches to ensemble. His repertory ranges from the medieval era to the French baroque and beyond.

El Nuevo Mundo is an exploration of the music of the Americas that illuminates the extraordinary blending of musical cultures that occurred with the arrival of European explorers and conquerors. The album’s goal is to introduce the listener to extraordinary music that has been kept alive for centuries, often in regions remote from major towns and cities.

(excerpted from www.medieval.org and www.amazon.com)


The Music for silence within silence
Ballades, Op. 10, Nos.1 – 4 (1854) by Johannes Brahms were dedicated to his friend Julius Otto Grimm.

The Ballades constituted some of the finest examples of lyrical piano music written by Brahms during his youth. The first ballade was inspired by a Scottish poem Edward found in a collection Stimmen der Völker in ihren Liedern compiled by Johann Gottfried Herder. It is also one of the best examples of Brahms's bardic or Ossianic style; its open fifths, octaves, and simple triadic harmonies are supposed to evoke the sense of a mythological past.
  • No. 1 in D minor. Andante
  • No. 2 in D major. Andante
  • No. 3 in B minor. Intermezzo. Allegro
  • No. 4 in B major. Andante con moto
(excerpted from en.wikipedia.org)


The Music for Lasting Imprint
Triple Quartet (1998) by Steve Reich, was commissioned by and is dedicated to the Kronos Quartet.

The world premiere of Triple Quartet took place on May 22, 1999 at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC and was performed by the Kronos Quartet.

Composer's Notes: Triple Quartet is for three string quartets. The piece is in three movements (fast-slow-fast) and is organized harmonically on four dominant chords in minor keys a minor third apart: E minor, G minor, B-flat minor, C-sharp, minor, and then returning to E minor to form a cycle. The first movement goes through this harmonic cycle twice with a section about one minute long on each of the four dominant chords. The result is a kind of variation form.
---Steve Reich, 1998

Recommended Recording: Kronos Quartet, Nonesuch 79546
(excerpted from www.boosey.com)




Cast & Credits


Cast

Luminaria
Oren Porterfield, Christopher Swaim, Aara Krumpe, Orlando Julius Canova, Beth Terwilleger, Jordan Moser, Kirby Wallis, James Fuller

silence within silence
Frank Shott / Ashley Lynn Gilfix (all shows)
Edward Carr / Michelle Thompson (all shows)
Paul Michael Bloodgood / Beth Terwilleger (3/25, 3/26, 3/27, 3/31)
Orlando Julius Canova / Aara Krumpe (all shows)
James Fuller / Anne Marie Melendez (4/1, 4/2, 4/3)

Lasting Imprint
Paul Michael Bloodgood (3/25, 3/26, 3/27, 3/31)
Kirby Wallis (3/25, 3/26, 3/27, 3/31)
Edward Carr (all shows)
Oren Porterfield (4/1, 4/2, 4/3)
Ian J. Bethany (3/27, 3/31, 4/3)
Orlando Julius Canova (4/1, 4/2, 4/3)
James Fuller (4/1, 4/2, 4/3)
Ashley Lynn Gilfix (3/25, 3/26, 3/27, 3/31)
Aara Krumpe (all shows)
Anne Marie Melendez (4/1, 4/2, 4/3)
Jordan Moser (3/25, 3/26, 4/1, 4/2)
Chelsea Renner (3/27, 3/31, 4/3)
Frank Shott (3/25, 3/26, 3/27, 3/31)
Christopher Swaim (all shows)
Beth Terwilleger (3/25, 3/26, 4/1, 4/2)



Credits

Luminaria
Choreography by Stephen Mills
Music – Traditional, from the CD El Nuevo Mundo: Folias Criollas
Performed by Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI
Conducted by Jordi Savall

silence within silence
Choreography by Stephen Mills
Music by Johannes Brahms, Ballades, Op. 10, Nos.1 – 4
Costume Design by Stephen Mills & Susan Branch
Lighting Design by Tony Tucci

Lasting Imprint
Choreography by Nicolo Fonte
Music by Steve Reich, Triple Quartet

Costume Design by Marija Djordjevic
Lighting Design by Brad Fields



Artist Profiles

Nicolo Fonte, Choreographer - Lasting Imprint
Choreographer Nicolo Fonte is known for his daring and original approach to dance. His work has been noted by critics for a unique movement language as well as a highly developed fusion of ideas, dance and design. He danced with Peridance in NYC and later joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal, dancing in the works of Balanchine, Tudor, Kudelka and Spaniard Nacho Duato. Fonte subsequently joined Duato's Compañia Nacional de Danza in Madrid and forged a strong identity in the Spanish company for seven years - for both his dancing and his choreography.

In 2000 Fonte retired from performing to devote himself full-time to his choreographic career. Since that time he has created or staged his ballets for The Dutch National Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Stuttgart Ballet, The Australian Ballet, The Göteborg Ballet, The Finnish National Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, The Washington Ballet, Ballett Mainz, Ballett Nürnberg, Ballet West, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, TANZ Ensemble Cathy Sharp, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Tulsa Ballet, Ballet British Columbia and Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal.

Fonte received a Choo San Goh award for his 2002 collaboration with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Almost Tango, of which R.M.Campbell of the Seattle Post- Intelligencer wrote, "Fonte is a thinker, an architect who creates the new rather than reinvent the old. He is a master of manipulating space and creating relationships".


Stephen Mills, Choreographer – silence within silence and Luminaria
Known for his innovative and collaborative choreographic projects, Stephen Mills has works in the repertories of companies across the US and around the world. From his inaugural season as Artistic Director in 2000, Mills attracted attention from around the United States with his world-premiere production of Hamlet, hailed by Dance Magazine as “...sleek and sophisticated.” The Washington Post recognized Ballet Austin as “one of the nation's best-kept secrets” in 2004 after Ballet Austin performed Mills' world premiere of The Taming of the Shrew, commissioned by and performed at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In 2005, Mills led 13 organizations through a community-wide human rights collaboration that culminated in the world premiere work Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, after which the Austin Anti-Defamation League awarded Mills its 2006 Humanitarian Award.

In 1998 Mills was the choreographer chosen to represent the U.S. through his work, Ashes, at the Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in Paris. More recently, Mr. Mills was awarded the Steinberg Award, the top honor at the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur International Choreographic Competition for One/The Body’s Grace.

Mr. Mills has created more than 40 works for companies in the United States and abroad. His ballets are in the repertories of such companies as The Hong Kong Ballet, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, The Atlanta Ballet, The Milwaukee Ballet, Washington Ballet, Cuballet in Havana, Cuba, BalletMet Columbus, The Dayton Ballet, The Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Ballet Pacifica, Dallas Black Dance Theater, The Louisville Ballet, The Nashville Ballet, Fort Worth/Dallas Ballet, The Sacramento Ballet, and Dance Kaleidoscope.


Director's Notes


"Lasting Imprint is the second piece by Nicolo Fonte to enter the Ballet Austin repertoire. In 2008 the company presented the Austin premiere of Left Unsaid danced to the music of J.S. Bach. In both dances Nicolo displays a unique ability to create with minimal elements, very rigorous, tense and engrossing dances that draw audiences into unexpected environments. In Lasting Imprint the artist has imagined a liminal space, a dream experience where relationships are precariously balanced. And as viewers, we want to know where the story is headed and how it might end."
-Stephen Mills
Artistic Director, Ballet Austin

Reviews


silence within silence
Spontaneously, an audible appreciative "ah" rippled through the audience Friday night at the Paramount Theatre during silence within silence, one of two short new works premiered by Ballet Austin artistic director Stephen Mills.

No wonder people couldn't contain their enchantment — Mills surprised and delighted.

And he did so by extending the edges of his signature style of modern moves set atop clean yet classic ballet lines.

In silence and Kai, Mills explored new forms. Backs arched while ankles thrust and elbows briefly jabbed the air. Hips and legs shot out ahead of torsos to propel the bodies forward. Couples struck surprisingly angular poses together, creating unexpected silhouettes. Rhythm rippled out through arms and legs in quick and almost idiosyncratic bursts. And every movement was awash with a sensuality that came less from any specific gesture as it did from the expressive flow that held the often pointed moves seamlessly together.

For silence, Mills enlisted pianist Anton Nel to play Johannes Brahms solos. In an artfully done introductory film segment, Mills explained that silence was based on poems by E.E. Cummings. The series of intense, sensual pas de deux that made up silence held the audience rapt.
-Jeanne Claire van Ryzin / Austin360.com - May 17, 2007


Lasting Imprint
Lasting Imprint, by Nicolo Fonte, startled with the clarity of its formal design, yet also packed an emotional wallop. The dance suggested the psychic transformation of a protagonist who encounters different characters, possibly in his dreams. Like a dream (or real-life relationships), the piece evolved organically, its measured pace interrupted by sudden, unforeseen events. As dancer Jason Kittelberger entered the empty space, alone and in silence, Fonte established a spare, oneiric atmosphere using nothing but the dancer's twisted movements and dull, white light. A corps appeared dramatically, assembling the dance piece by piece, with dancers entering in blocks from different directions. The young dancers, who have made terrific progress since Cedar Lake's debut, certainly deepened their understanding of movement dynamics and characterization through this encounter with Fonte's work.
-Robert Johnson / The Star-Ledger


Fonte's Lasting Imprint, from 2006, creates drama from the contrast between gentle undulations and sharp tension. He was the one who taught Cedar Lake's energetic young dancers about self-possession and the power of stillness. (see the complete review here)
-Anthony Venutolo / The Star-Ledger - June 3, 2008

   
 
 
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