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Last modified: Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Indiana University Ballet Theater begins new era with Fall Ballet

From Balanchine to Baker: An International Evening of Dance

Sept. 28, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Ballet Theater begins a new era Oct. 6 and 7 as it opens its 2006-07 season with the Fall Ballet "From Balanchine to Baker: An International Evening of Dance" at the Musical Arts Center. The program will mark Michael Vernon's official debut as the newly appointed chair of the IU Jacobs School of Music's Ballet Department, while his ballet Cathedral also makes its Bloomington debut the same weekend.

"Even though I am only partially responsible for this program, I am so pleased that five very different nationalities are represented by the five choreographers involved. For ballet is not only a language, it is an international one -- a language that knows no barriers -- a language that has the ability to speak to everyone regardless of race, origin, belief or social status. Through movement and gesture we are able to convey emotions and ideas that words sometimes cannot," said Vernon.

An internationally renowned choreographer and pedagogue, Vernon plans to carry on the tradition of excellence and high professional standards that have become synonymous with IU Ballet Theater, while developing a style unique to the company and recognizing the constant evolution of the art form.

Enhancing its eclectic theme, "An International Evening of Dance" will feature the world premiere of a new work by visiting faculty member Guoping Wang, as well as guest artists Julie Kent, principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, and Damian Woetzel, principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.

Works will include:

Allegro Brillante

  • Choreography: George Balanchine
  • Music: Peter I. Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 75
  • Staging: Russell Kaiser and Margaret Tracey
  • Musicians: Jayoung Kim and Joy Reeder, piano
  • Premiere: March 1, 1956; New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama
  • Original Cast: Maria Tallchief, Nicholas Magallanes (Lead Couple)

Allegro Brillante is an excellent example of George Balanchine's neo-classical choreography. He said of this piece, "It contains everything I know about the classical ballet, in 13 minutes." Tchaikovsky's Third Piano Concerto was originally written as a symphony, but as it was nearing completion, Tchaikovsky was dissatisfied with it and converted the first movement into a concert piece for piano and orchestra. For this production, it will be performed with two pianos.


  • Choreography: Michael Vernon
  • Music: Agustín Barrios Mangoré: Cathedral
  • Musician: Espen Jensen, guitar
  • Premiere: June 28, 2006 ; Chautauqua Amphitheater, Dance Solon

Born in 1885, Paraguayan composer Agustín Pio Barrios Mangoré was recognized as a guitar prodigy by the age of 13 and given a scholarship to the Colegio Nacional de Asuncion, where, in addition to music, he distinguished himself in mathematics, journalism and literature.

Cathedral consists of three movements: Andante Religioso, Allegro Solemne, and the Prelude (the first movement), which was written 19 years after the other two movements. Lore tells us that Barrios based this piece on an experience he had entering the Cathedral of San José in Montevideo; the broad, horizontal chords of the andante represent his impressions of the organist playing Bach in the cathedral. The ensuing allegro represents his leaving the calm, spiritual atmosphere of the cathedral and entering out into the street, where the hustle and bustle of the real world is represented by incessant 16th note arpeggio figures. Cathedral also portrays elements of Bach counterpoint. This work is one of his finest, exploring deep emotion and virtuosic technique.

Other Dances

  • Choreography: Jerome Robbins
  • Music: Frédérik Chopin: Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, #4; Mazurka in B Major, Op. 41, #3; Waltz in A flat, Op. 64 #3; Mazurka in F minor, Op. 63, #2; Mazurka in D Major, Op. 33, #2
  • Guest Artists: Julie Kent (American Ballet Theatre) and Damian Woetzel (New York City Ballet)
  • Guest Musician: David LeMarche, piano
  • Premiere: May 9, 1976; Metropolitan Opera House, New York
  • Original Cast: Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov

A ballet for two dancers, Other Dances is a relaxed piece with a glorious flow, combining some character-dance moments, as well as instances of humor. This piece embraces the delicacies of Chopin, as well as the beauty of movement between a man and a woman. It was created especially for a gala benefit for the Library of Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. The program notes for that occasion read: "The title of this series of dances reflects their relationship to Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. There was so much of Chopin's music that Mr. Robbins wished to choreograph that he used this opportunity to devise for Miss Makarova and Mr. Baryshnikov these Other Dances -- a waltz and four mazurkas."

Fire of Life

  • * World Premiere
  • Choreography: Guoping Wang
  • Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff: Suite #2, Op. 17 (Movements 1 and 2)
  • Musicians: Matthew Gianforte and Meeyoun Park, piano

Fire was an important factor in the start of civilization, allowing people to see in the dark. Fire helped people to be unafraid of darkness; its brightness brought hope to the future of humanity.

Screemin' Meemies

  • * World Premiere
  • Choreography: Jacques Cesbron
  • Music: David Baker: From Concerto for Cello and Jazz Band, Suite for Cello and Jazz Trio, Time Landscapes, Screemin' Meemies
  • Conductor: Wilbur England

"The choreography of Screemin' Meemies is set to four of David Baker's compositions," said choreographer Jacques Cesbron. "The kinetic nature of the music makes it ideal for dance. I was inspired by the variety of moods in the music, sometimes touching, and often bursting, with energy. Contrasting rhythms and dynamics always guided my choice of movement. I hope this fusion of music and dance will reflect the great joy of the collaboration with David Baker. This ballet is dedicated to him, his music and the creativity he inspires."

Indiana University Ballet Theater is considered one of the world's premier dance programs, with approximately 90 percent of alumni becoming professional dancers, many with the world's foremost dance companies. Others excel as choreographers, teachers, critics, administrators and advocates of the arts.

Tickets are available at $12 to $20 for the general public and $8 to $16 for students. They may be purchased at the Musical Arts Center Box Office (Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) or by phone through Ticketmaster (812-333-9955).

Click here for the IU Ballet Theater Web site