Strength and Longing

by Duato, Peck, Robbins, & Wheeldon, music by Britten, Prince & Schubert
February 4, 2016 to February 7, 2016 Merriam Theater

Take an emotional journey with Pennsylvania Ballet as the Company premieres Nacho Duato’s Without Words.* Jerome Robbins’ NY Export: Opus Jazz experiments with movements to cool jazz and angst-ridden beats, reflecting the post-war era of city streets bustling with teens expressing their outlooks and attitudes. The abstract ballet is set to music with complex rhythms by Robert Prince. Justin Peck’s Chutes and Ladders is primarily an interpretation of the music, exposing details of the music through movement. Set to Benjamin Britten’s String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, this Company premiere covers a range of moods and tempos as the string quartet performs onstage with the dancers. For Four was created in California in 2006 for Kings of the Dance, an all-star showcase of top male ballet dancers. The piece displays a quartet to Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden.” The choreography makes the best use of four men dancing together.
Saturday, February 6, 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 7, 2:00 PM
*Please note that we have replaced Nacho Duato's Arenal with his ballet Without Words.

Duato, Peck, Robbins, & Wheeldon

Juan Ignacio Duato Barcia was born in Valencia in 1957. He trained at the Rambert School in London and continued his studies at Maurice Béjart's Mudra School in Brussels and at Alvin Ailey's American Dance Centre in New York. His professional career began in 1980 at the prestigious Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm, but it was at the Nederlands Dans Theater (1981), directed by Jirí Kylián, where he first came to prominence. He composed his first choreography there, 'Jardí tancat' (1983), with music by María del Mar Bonet. His ballets and choreography are part of the repertoires of the most prestigious international companies. He was artistic director of the Spanish National Lyrical Theatre Ballet in Madrid, today the National Dance Company (1990-2010). In 1999 he founded the National Dance Company 2, with the aim of training and preparing dancers for their professional life. He directs the Mikhaylovsky Theatre Ballet in Saint Petersburg.
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At 27 years old, Justin Peck has already been hailed as an important new voice in 21st-century choreography. He is currently a soloist dancer and the Resident Choreographer with New York City Ballet.  Peck moved to New York at the age of 15 to attend the School of American Ballet. In 2006, he was invited by ballet master in-chief Peter Martins to become a member of the New York City Ballet.
Since joining New York City Ballet, Peck has danced extensive repertoire, including principal roles in George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco,  The Firebird, Liebeslieder Walzer, Tschaikovsky Suite #3, La Sonnambula, The Four Temperaments, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Jerome Robbin's West Side Story, The Cage, I'm Old Fashioned, Glass Pieces, NY Export: Opus Jazz, Ives Songs; Alexei Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH; Benjamin Millepied's Plainspoken and Why am I not Where you Are; Peter Martins' Fearful Symmetries, Thou Swell, Waltz Project, Romeo and Juliet; and Christopher Wheeldon's Scenes De Ballet and Estancia. 
Although his time at City Ballet has been eminently stimulating, Peck eventually found himself itching to explore another creative interest: choreography. Since his debut as a choreographer in 2009, he has created works for the New York City Ballet, the New York Choreographic Institute, the School of American Ballet, the Miami City Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Guggenheim Museum, NY Fall For Dance, the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival, and more. In 2011 & 2013, he was nominated for a Bessie Award in the "Outstanding Emerging Choreographer" category.  In 2013, he was nominated for the International Benois De La Danse Award for new choreography.   His work was included in the New York Times year end best-of lists for 2012 and 2013.
In July of 2011, he was appointed by Peter Martins as the first active Choreographer-in-Residency of the New York Choreographic Institute for the 2011/2012 annual season - a newly created position underneath the functioning artistic umbrella of the New York City Ballet.
In 2014, Peck was appointed Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet, making him the second choreographer in the history of the Institution to hold this position.
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Jerome Robbins is world renowned for his work as a choreographer of ballets as well as his work as a director and choreographer in theater, movies and television. His Broadway shows include On the Town, Billion Dollar Baby, High Button Shoes, West Side Story, The King and I, Gypsy, Peter Pan, Miss Liberty, Call Me Madam, and Fiddler on the Roof. His last Broadway production in 1989, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, won six Tony Awards including best musical and best director.
Among the more than 60 ballets he created are Fancy Free, Afternoon of a Faun, The Concert, Dances At a Gathering, In the Night, In G Major, Other Dances, Glass Pieces and Ives, Songs, which are in the repertories of New York City Ballet and other major dance companies throughout the world. His last ballets include A Suite of Dances created for Mikhail Baryshnikov (1994), 2 & 3 Part Inventions (1994), West Side Story Suite (1995) and Brandenburg (1996).
In addition to two Academy Awards for the film West Side Story, Mr. Robbins has received four Tony Awards, five Donaldson Awards, two Emmy Awards, the Screen Directors' Guild Award, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Mr. Robbins was a 1981 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient and was awarded the French Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur. Mr. Robbins died in 1998.
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Christopher Wheeldon was born in Yeovil, Somerset, England. He began his ballet training at the East Coker Ballet School and after a few years he 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 and was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1998. As a dancer with New York City Ballet, Wheeldon performed 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 created Polyphonia, 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. A string of production followed including Carnival of the Animals, a pas de deux, set to music by Arvo Part, and in Spring 2004 he choreographed a new Swan Lake for 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), Firebird (1999), Mercurial Maneouvres (2000), Continuum (2002), VIII (2001),Tryst (2002), 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 of Polyphonia, performed by New York City Ballet dancers in the Fall of 2002, received the Olivier Award for best new dance production.
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