From Houston To The World: Houston Ballet Features Choreographic Mix

“From Houston To The World Preview”

[Houston, TX] – From September 18-28, 2014, Houston Ballet offers up its fall mixed repertory program titled From Houston to the World with ballets choreographed for Houston Ballet dancers. Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo brings wit and humor to the extreme virtuosity that he demands in ONE/end/ONE. Edwaard Liang’s deeply spiritual ballet Murmuration also returns. Closing the program is Stanton Welch’s vivid and exciting interpretation of the third act of Paquita, showcasing a breathtaking display of technique and classical skill. Houston Ballet will give six performances of From Houston to the World at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston. Tickets start at $20, and may be purchased at www.houstonballet.org, or by calling 713 227 2787.

ONE/end/ONE was created for Houston Ballet by Jorma Elo in 2011. It features four couples who employ the choreographer’s quirky and unexpected movements to create an atmosphere of playfulness. Mandy Oaklander, dance critic for the Houston Press (June 23, 2011) described the ballet as “Arresting and absolutely unpredictable . . . both technically and innovatively, this piece shines.” Dance writer Nichelle Strzepek stated, “Jorma Elo, resident choreographer at Boston Ballet, is clearly winning throughout the ballet world with a characteristically playful, always satisfying catalog that now includes ONE/end/ONE, created for and on Houston Ballet. To be the instrument and focus of Elo’s creativity is a rather victorious notch in the HB belt, as well.” (Dance Advantage, June 4, 2011).

“When I observed Jorma choreographing, I instantly loved his vocabulary as a dance maker,” observed Mr. Welch. “His choreographic style is unique, reflecting influences ranging from classical ballet to Mats Ek.”

Mr. Elo, who has created pieces for American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, and New York City Ballet, among others, is currently the resident choreographer at Boston Ballet. He trained at the Finnish National Ballet School and The Kirov Ballet School. From 1978-1984 he danced with Finnish National Ballet, with Cullberg Ballet from 1984-1990, and in 1990 he joined Netherlands Dance Theatre. Mr. Elo worked with renowned choreographers such as Hans van Manen, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, Jiří Kylián and William Forsythe. In 2005 he was awarded the choreographic prize at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition.

Mr. Elo’s ONE/end/ONE features beautiful costumes by Holly Hynes. “This is my fourth original Elo ballet. We collaborated before on Slice to Sharp, Double Evil, and Pur ti Miro,” comments Ms. Hynes. “Working with Jorma feels like bringing home a friend to meet the family.”

Created in 2013, Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration employs the choreographer’s signature seamless movements and emotional spirituality. The work showcases eight couples and one male dancer. Mr. Liang explains his inspiration for the piece by saying, “Murmuration is a phenomenon in Europe where starling birds flock together and make beautiful shapes and patterns in the sky. Scientists have no idea how they come together to make these shapes, but the birds never crash into one another.”

Writing in the Houston Chronicle on March 8, 2013, dance critic Molly Glentzer observed, “Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration is the most kinetically thrilling new work the company has commissioned in some time – a rhapsodic evocation of birds in flight set to Ezio Bosso’s new ‘Violin Concerto No. 1, Esoconcerto.’ The score, reminiscent of Philip Glass but more emotional, was given a virtuosic first run by violinist Denise Tarrant. With eight couples and one man, this is the kind of dance that makes you wish you could hit the rewind button on a live performance. Seas of fluid bodies swirl and swoop around the stage in swift circles, changing direction rapidly or lining up in vividly interlocked patterns. A complex canon sequence near the end is pure rapture. “

Dance critic David Clarke observed, “The striking, stirring, and highly athletic choreography by Edwaard Liang is raw, visceral, intense, and extremely passionate” (Broadway World, April 2013).

Mr. Liang’s Murmuration is set to Ezio Bosso’s Violin Concerto No. 1 “Esoconcerto”. “I had to wait a few years for this music; I wanted to use it for a long time,” Mr. Liang explains. “It seems very minimal at first but it continues to increase in soul and depth. It’s big music.”

Rounding out the program is the third act of Paquita, a dazzling classical showpiece staged by Stanton Welch that debuted at the 2013 Jubilee of Dance in December 2013. Paquita was premiered by the Paris Opera in 1846, and Marius Petipa produced the ballet in 1847 for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg as his debut production. Although originally a full-length narrative work, by the twentieth century only a portion of the third act of the ballet, a dazzling classical showpiece was being performed.

Paquita presents an opportunity for Houston Ballet’s dancers to display their sparkling technique. “With Paquita, I hoped to challenge our dancers with demanding classical ballet choreography and the rigors of a historically significant work. I also wanted to showcase the company’s high level of classical technique,” comments Mr. Welch.

For more information on Houston Ballet visit www.houstonballet.org.

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