On location, Tulsa Ballet takes a bite out of the Big Apple.
It’s been 25 years since its last New York City performance, but Tulsa Ballet returned to the Big Apple this summer for a much-anticipated debut at Manhattan’s Joyce Theater Aug. 10-15.
Mayor Kathy Taylor, Gov. Brad Henry and First Lady Kim Henry, alongside other local and national dignitaries, attended the company’s opening night performance and Patron Gala. Located in the heart of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the Joyce Theater hosted all seven performances within the troupe’s Big Apple Tour. Special events were planned throughout the week for Tulsa Ballet patrons and supporters. The tour is sponsored in part by the Tulsa Metro Chamber and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
The troupe performed a program featuring a compilation of the works “Elite Syncopations” by Kenneth MacMillan, “Por vos Muero” by Nacho Duato and “This is Your Life” by Young Soon Hue.
Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini selected and implemented these particular pieces because he says that together they encompass the company’s eclectic repertoire and highlight its noted ability to excel in many differing styles of dance.
“The decision for the New York program has been a complex one because our performance had to depict the primary quality of our troupe: versatility,” Angelini says.
Beginning the program, “Elite Syncopations ” — featuring a score written by Scott Joplin and other contemporaries of American music — showcases the company’s classical technique as well as the dancers’ sense of humor. “Por Vos Muero” follows. Featuring Spanish music of the 15th century coupled with mesmerizing choreography, the work portrays the company’s contemporary dancing ability.
The last piece, “This is Your Life,” was commissioned by Tulsa Ballet in 2008 and has been performed by the Aalto Theater in Essen, Germany, and the National Ballet of Ankara, Turkey. One of the first works to be presented in the company’s new Studio K theater, the work is based loosely on the concept of the same-named 1950s television show. “This is Your Life” combines dramatic and humorous elements; acting; and, of course, dancing to tell the story of its characters.
“I think one of the appealing assets of our company is that our scope is extremely wide, going from the first-known classical ballet of the 19th century, dating back to 1836, to leading-edge works created in Tulsa for our audience and meant to share with the rest of the world,” Angelini says. “The New York program is meant to showcase this versatility.”
The 2009-2010 Tulsa Ballet season begins in October with the Oklahoma premiere of Ben Stevenson’s “Dracula,” to be performed in Tulsa and Oklahoma City during the Halloween season. Subscription packages can be purchased by calling the Tulsa Ballet box office at 749-6407. For more information about Tulsa Ballet, visit www.tulsaballet.org.