Re/ActionMay 11, 2017 to May 14, 2017 Academy of Music
RUSH // BY CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON // MUSIC BY BOHUSLAV MARTINU
Packed with fast-paced action accentuated by bold costume and lighting selections, the centerpiece of this performance is a darkly elegant pas de deux.
GEORGE BALANCHINE'S DUETS // BY GEORGE BALANCHINE
SYLVIA PAS DE DEUX // MUSIC BY LEO DELIBES
Featuring a pizzicato solo the is designed to show off the farthest reaches of a ballerina's technical achievements.
TCHAIKOVSKY PAS DE DEUX // MUSIC BY PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
Breathtaking choreography challenges the range of the dancers' abilities in this virtuosic display of amazing agility and technique.
TARANTELLA // MUSIC BY LOUIS MOREAU GOTTSCHALK / HERSHY KAY
A dazzling display of exceptionally high speed, nimble steps, and rapid changes in direction that astonish from start to finish.
MATTHEW NEENAN WORLD PREMIERE // BY MATTHEW NEENAN
An all-new work from Matthew Neenan, internationally acclaimed Choreographer in Residence at Pennsylvania Ballet and co-founder of BalletX.
Christopher Wheeldon, George Balanchine, Matthew Neenan
Christopher Wheeldon was born in Yeovil, Somerset, England. He began his ballet training when he was eight years old at the East Coker Ballet School. At the age of eleven, Wheeldon enrolled at The Royal Ballet School where he trained until he was 18. He joined England’s Royal Ballet in 1991, where he danced in works by Ashton, MacMillan and Balanchine. That same year, he won the Gold Medal at the Prix de Lausanne competition. In 1993, Wheeldon was invited to become a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet. Wheeldon was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1998. As a dancer with New York City Ballet, Wheeldon appeared in many works in the repertory, dancing featured roles in George Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperaments, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Nutcracker and Jerome Robbins’ The Concert, Dances at a Gathering and The Goldberg Variations.
Wheeldon retired from dancing at the end of the Spring 2000 season to concentrate on his choreographic work. Chosen to be New York City Ballet’s first Artist in Residence, he createdPolyphonia, set to piano music by Györgi Ligeti, which was given its world premiere in May 2001. That same month, Wheeldon was named Resident Choreographer for New York City Ballet.Morphoses, also set to Ligeti music, premiered in June 2002 as part of the tenth Diamond Project festival, and Carousel (A Dance), set to music by Richard Rodgers, premiered in November 2002. In Spring 2003, Wheeldon created two ballets:Carnival of the Animals, set to the score by Camille Saint-Saens with verse by John Lithgow, andLiturgy, a pas de deux, set to music by Arvo Part. In Spring 2004 he choreographed a new Swan Lakefor the Pennsylvania Ballet.
As a choreographer, Wheeldon has also created works for Boston Ballet, The Colorado Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Royal Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet, The Hamburg Ballet, The Australian Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet. Some of Wheeldon’s other choreographic credits include:Slavonic Dances (1997), Scènes de Ballet (1999) and Mercurial Maneouvres (2000) for New York City Ballet; Firebird (1999) for Boston Ballet; Sea Pictures (2000) and Continuum (2002) for San Francisco Ballet; VIII (2001) for The Hamburg Ballet;Tryst (2002) for The Royal Ballet, as well as the ballet sequence for the Columbia Pictures feature film Center Stage. Wheeldon made his Broadway choreographic debut in March 2002 with the stage version of the film Sweet Smell of Success.
In 1996, he received the Mae L. Wien Award from the School of American Ballet for choreography and, in 1997, the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center for promising newcomer in choreography, the London Critics’ Circle Award for best new ballet for Polyphonia and the American Choreography Award for best choreography for the movie Center Stage. A production ofPolyphonia, performed by New York City Ballet dancers in the Fall of 2002, received the Olivier Award for best new dance production.
-Source: ABT Website, http://www.abt.org/education/archive/choreographers/wheeldon_c.html
Born on January 22, 1904, in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine studied ballet and music in Russia before making his way to America. He gained notoriety as a young choreographer and co-founded the American Ballet. Balanchine was the co-founder, artistic director and chief choreographer of the New York City Ballet, and nearly every ballet company in the world has performed his work. He died in New York City in 1983. George Balanchine began his training at the Mariinsky Theatre’s ballet school and after graduating he attended the Petrograd State Conservatory of Music. In 1922, George Balanchine married a 15-year-old ballet student named Tamara Gevergeyeva. This was the first of four separate marriages to dancers, and for each of his wives, Balanchine would make a ballet. In 1924, Balanchine was invited to tour Germany as part of the Soviet State Dancers. A year later, the young choreographer joined Serge Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. At just 21 years old, Balanchine took over as choreographer for the group, one of the most renowned ballet companies in the world. After the Ballet Russes collapsed, Balanchine created the company Les Ballets in 1933. Following a performance, American dance aficionado Lincoln Kirstein approached Balanchine about collaboration and the two began a 50-year creative partnership, co-founding the School of American Ballet in 1934. The following year, the professional company known as the American Ballet emerged, becoming the official company of New York's Metropolitan Opera until 1936. In 1946, Kirstein and Balanchine co-founded a company that would become the New York City Ballet. Balanchine served as artistic director of the company, based out of New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. He produced more than 150 works for the company, including "The Nutcracker." While money was tight, Balanchine presented the dancers in practice clothes instead of ornate costumes. In addition to ballet, George Balanchine choreographed Hollywood movies and Broadway musicals. He is known for his connection to Igor Stravinsky; Balanchine created many ballets to his work, some in collaboration with the composer. He made more than 465 works, which have been performed by nearly every ballet company in the world. Balanchine created plotless ballets, where the dancing upstaged glitz and storytelling. His work never featured a star, as he believed the performance should outshine the individual. He is credited with developing the neo-classical style distinct to the 20th century. Balanchine served as the artistic director of the New York City Ballet until his death, on April 30, 1983, in New York City.
-Source:http://www.biography.com/people/george-balanchine-9196284.With edits made.
Matthew Neenan began his dance training at the Boston Ballet School and with noted teachers Nan C. Keating and Jacqueline Cronsberg. He later attended the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts and the School of American Ballet in New York. From 1994-2007, Mr. Neenan danced with Pennsylvania Ballet where he danced numerous principal roles in works by George Balanchine, John Cranko, Paul Taylor, Peter Martins, Val Caniparoli, Jorma Elo, Lila York, Meredith Rainey, Christopher Wheeldon, and Jerome Robbins. In October 2007, Mr. Neenan was named Choreographer in Residenceat Pennsylvania Ballet. Mr. Neenan’s choreography has been featured and performed by Pennsylvania Ballet (totaling 14 commissions), BalletX, The Washington Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Milwaukee Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Tulsa Ballet, Juilliard Dance, New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, Sacramento Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Indiana University, Opera Philadelphia, and LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts (NYC), among others. He has received numerous awards and grants for his choreography from the National Endowment of the Arts, Dance Advance funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Choo San Goh Foundation, and the Independence Foundation. In 2006, Mr. Neenan received the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute’s Fellowship Initiative Award. Mr. Neenan’s Carmina Burana, As It’s Going, and 11:11 were performed by Pennsylvania Ballet at New York City Center in 2006 & 2007. In 2008, he received a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. This marks his fourth time receiving the PCA fellowship. In October 2009, Mr. Neenan was the grand-prize winner of Sacramento Ballet’s Capital Choreography Competition and was also the first recipient of the Jerome Robbins NEW Program Fellowship for his work At the border for Pennsylvania Ballet. In 2005, Mr. Neenan co-founded BalletX with fellow dancer Christine Cox. BalletX had its world premiere at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival in September 2005 and is now the resident dance company at the prestigious Wilma Theatre. BalletX has toured and performed Neenan’s choreography in New York City at The Joyce Theater, The Skirball Center, Symphony Space and Central Park Summerstage, Vail International Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, The Cerritos Center, Laguna Dance Festival, Spring to Dance Festival in St.Louis, and internationally in Cali, Colombia and Seoul, Korea. In 2010, Mr. Neenan became a trustee member for DanceUSA.
- Source: Pennsylvania Ballet Website, http://paballet.org/matthew-neenan