Sophisticated footwork could be the main attraction of many ballets. But three phenomenal works of classical music are the stars of BalletMetcurrent production, Director’s Choice: A Collection of Short Ballets.
“The main principle of this whole program is beautiful music,” said Edwaard Liang, Artistic Director of BalletMet.
Director’s Choice presents George Balanchine’s BalletMet debut Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. One of the most important choreographers of the 20and century, Balanchine was also the founder and long-term artistic director of the New York City Ballet. the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux shares the marquee with works by two former New York City Ballet dancers and Balanchine proteges – Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain Pas de Deux and that of Liang Seasonsin its first performances.
Balanchine is known for creating ballets to some of classical music’s most important works. Liang says music is also particularly important to him and to Wheeldon.
“Christopher Wheeldon and I come from the home of Balanchine and (dancer/choreographer) Jerome Robbins, and we always think of the music first,” Liang said. “And with Director’s Choice) you have a program with Arvo Pärt, Tchaikovsky and Max Richter recomposed Four Seasons. I think all the pieces are just beautiful pieces of music.
by Liang Seasons was inspired by Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons. Richter’s historical recomposition of Vivaldi Four Seasons puts a contemporary spin on the Baroque masterpiece, which is re-harmonized, phased and presented with strings and ambient electric keyboard sounds.
“I feel and truly believe that what (Richter) has created retains the powerful essence and impact of The four Seasonsbut it makes it even more layered, it makes it even more inviting,” Liang said.
One of the best-known works of contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, Mirror in the mirror (Spiegel in Spiegel), gives a contemplative tone to the work of Christopher Wheeldon After the Rain Pas de Deux.
“Spiegel in Spiegel goes straight to your soul,” Liang said.
Since its creation by the New York City Ballet in 2005, Wheldon’s After the Rain Pas de Deux has been performed by major ballet companies around the world.
“It really aligns with the mission and our vision of BalletMet, (which) is to bring world-class dance to Columbus, Ohio,” Liang said.
In their dependence on the great works of classical music and in their broader conception, the works of Wheeldon After the Rain Pas de Deux and that of Liang Seasons to be indebted to Balanchine Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Balanchine’s work, Liang says, unites for expansive phrasing and jaw-dropping athleticism.
“You really need a certain caliber of dancer to be able to perform this piece,” Liang said. “This piece aims to showcase the quality, pyrotechnics and technique of a brave performer and dancer. This is one of those epic sprints that most dancers really need to be prepared for, because the minute you step on stage, it’s non-stop action.
Following performances of three full repertoire ballets during the BalletMet’s 2021-22 season, Director’s Choice: A Collection of Short Ballets marks the company’s return to mixed ballets which, according to Liang, are “the jewels of every ballet company”.
“I consider them a passport to the whole world,” Liang said. “It’s like going to the theater and taking a trip with the ballet.”
BalletMet plays Director’s Choice: A Collection of Short Ballets Thursday, May 26 through Saturday, May 28 at the Davidson Theater at the Verne Riffe Center for Government and the Arts. Tickets and information are available here.