FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 20, 2013
Contact: Meghan McNamara
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Presents Unspoken at the August Wilson Center
Mixed Repertory Program Features Three Great Masters March 8-17
(Pittsburgh, PA) – Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre returns to the intimate theater setting of the August Wilson Center for an eclectic mixed repertory program featuring master choreographers George Balanchine, Antony Tudor and Mark Morris in Unspoken, onstage for seven performances March 8-17, 2014.
Spanning works by 20th Century contemporaries George Balanchine and Antony Tudor to present-day dance force Mark Morris, the Unspoken program features Tudor’s evocative Jardin Aux Lilas (Lilac Garden), Balanchine’s classical Serenade and Morris’ joyful Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.
Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Staged by: Sandra Jennings
Music: Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48
Composer: Peter I. Tchaikovsky
Original Costume Design: Karinska; Costumes built in the PBT Costume Shop
A signature of Balanchine repertoire, Serenade premiered in 1935, and holds the distinction as the first ballet that Balanchine choreographed in America. Serenade features 28 dancers in a work of pure musicality and emotional energy created for Tchaikovsky’s soaring Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48. Although Serenade is an abstract ballet based in the beauty of the movement and its musicality, the emotion of the music and interplay of the dancers suggest an underlying storyline. Balanchine originally choreographed Serenade to prepare his advanced ballet students for the stage in the early years of the School of American Ballet by translating the disciplined technique of ballet class to a sophisticated stage quality. It remained one of Balanchine’s favorite ballets throughout the years and has been transformed and staged for the world’s leading ballet companies and highly-trained professional dancers.
Jardin Aux Lilas (Lilac Garden)
Choreography: Antony Tudor
Staged by: Donald Mahler
Music: Ernest Chausson
Costume Design: Raymond Sovey after sketches by Hugh Stevenson
Scenery & Lighting Design: Tom Lingwood
Despite its brief 18-minutes, Jardin Aux Lilas (Lilac Garden) is a true story ballet, binding audiences to the bittersweet farewell of two lovers and the music of Ernest Chausson’s Poeme for violin and orchestra Opus 28. Free from mime and extraneous gestures, the story is held solely in the steps as Caroline, on the eve of her marriage to the man she does not love, parts from her lover at a garden reception. Perfumed by lilac blossoms, the party encapsulates the repressed emotion of the characters amid the societal restraints of the Edwardian Era. At the time of its 1936 world premiere, Jardin Aux Lilas broke with balletic conventions by placing dancers in colloquial Edwardian dress and society rather than the more fanciful costumes and settings of the classical story ballets. Rooted in pure, classical style, Tudor distinguished his choreography with emotional exploration of realistic situations that challenged dancers to project the ballet’s meaning through clear intention in each step. The ballet is brimming with rich details and meaning, beginning with Caroline’s quiet intake of breath and ending with her exhalation in the last movement. According to repetition Donald Mahler, who set the piece on PBT dancers, the essence of Tudor’s ballets is that “the people and motivations are real — there is an honesty in doing Tudor.”
Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes – Pittsburgh Premiere
Composer: Virgil Thomson
Music: Etudes for piano (Repeating Tremolo, Fingered Fifths, Double Glissando, Oscillating Arm, Pivoting on the Thumb, Alternating Octaves, Double Sevenths, Broken Arpeggios, Parallel Chords, Ragtime Bass, For the Weaker Fingers, and Tenor Lead)
Costume Design: Santo Loquasto
Lighting Design: Phil Sandstrom
Set to 13 piano etudes by American composer Virgil Thomson, Mark Morris’ Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyespresents a refreshing and inventive interpretation of classical ballet vocabulary. Described as “undeviating in his devotion to music,” Morris’ Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes is no exception, immersing dancers in a joyful exploration of Thomson’s playful score, which will be played live at the August Wilson Center by PBT Company Pianist Yoland Collin. The title of the ballet is taken from Ben Jonson’s 1616 poem To Celia, which was set to music sometime after 1770 and remains a popular traditional English folk song. Thomson uses the tune in the piano etudeTenor Lead, which is the last etude in the ballet. Thomson is one of several composers associated with the development of the “American sound” in classical music, and his work has been described as marked by clarity, simplicity and humor, and rooted in American “hymnbook harmony.” Originally created for American Ballet Theatre in 1988, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes evokes a sense of ease and naturalness among dancers and moments of humor, tenderness and congeniality.
Tickets for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Unspoken range in price from $25.75-68.75 and can be purchased online atwww.pbt.org or by calling 412-456-6666.
About the Choreographers
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Mr. Balanchine (1904-1983), was undoubtedly the most brilliant choreographer of our generation. George Balanchine's gifts to ballet are legion. He stretched the dance and dancer beyond their established limits, and along the way created a vocabulary and an aesthetic that changed the way we look at dance. He emphasized increased turnout, batterie, port de bras and fast movement, as well as higher extensions and softer, lighter landings from jumps. In short, he got people dancing bigger and faster than ever before. The celebrated Balanchine style has influenced the technical training of ballet dancers and choreographers throughout the world. Mr. Balanchine created more than 400 dance works. His ballets are in the repertoires of the world's major ballet companies.
Antony Tudor (1908-1987), was one of the giants of twentieth century choreography. He began dancing professionally in 1927 when he joined Marie Rambert's company, where he choreographed and danced such works as The Planets and Lilac Garden. In 1940 he moved to New York City, joining American Ballet Theatre, for which he created many of his signature “psychological” ballets, including Pillar of Fire and Shadow of the Wind. In these works he sought to convey emotional conflict and aspects of character and motivation. In 1986, Tudor was a recipient of the Capezio Award, and in May 1986, with the Handel Medallion, New York City’s highest cultural honor. In December of the same year he was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.
Mark Morris was born on August 29, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, where he studied with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980, and has since created more than 140 works for the company. From 1988-1991, he was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Much in demand as a ballet choreographer, Morris has created eighteen ballets since 1986 and his work is in the repertory of companies worldwide. He also works extensively in opera, directing and choreographing at the Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, among others. Morris is currently serving as music director of the 2013 Ojai Music Festival.
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