The Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre (ABT) have joined forces in presenting the new dance project Uniting In Movement with works by Jessica Lang, Lauren Lovette, and Darrell Grand Moultrie to be performed before a live audience on Sunday, April 25, 2021. Tickets start at $50 and seating is limited as required by state and federal health guidelines. Uniting In Movement, will also be recorded on April 23 & 24, 2021 and made available for on-demand viewing May 12-26, 2021 for $25 per household. Details below.
This performance will be the first in Segerstrom Hall since the shutdown of all live theater in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ironically, this followed just one week after the world premiere of ABT’s new production of Alexei Ratmansky’s Of Love and Rage.
ABT has been in residence at Segerstrom Center since the 22nd of March. In what has been called a “Ballet Bubble” the company has been rehearsing with three contemporary choreographers, each of whom has their own unique style and choreographic vision. The entire ensemble of choreographers, dancers and ABT artistic staff have been living and rehearsing while isolating themselves in a hotel across the street from the Center, the Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. Following an initial quarantine and testing period, everyone has ventured outside only to rehearse in the Center’s studio which adhered to strict medical and safety guidelines.
The three contemporary ballets include: Brimming with poetry, wit, nuance and power, La Follia Variations, choreographed by New York City Ballet principal ballerina Lauren Lovette to music by 18th century Italian composer Francesco Geminiani; a vibrant, energetic pas de deux blending ballet and jazz vocabulary, Let Me Sing Forevermore, was created by prominent American choreography Jessica Lang to three songs performed by Tony Bennett; American dancer/choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie‘s Indestructible Light is a work for eight dancers which celebrates the resilience of artists despite impossible odds, created to music by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Neal Hefti, and Billy Strayhorn.
Also on the program is Grand Pas Classique, considered to be a virtuosic showcase of ballet technique, choreographed by Victor Gsovsky to music by Daniel-Francois Auber. Grand Pas Classique was premiered by Les Ballets des Champs-Elysees on November 12, 1949 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysees.
“These creations reflect a time of recalibration on how we create and deliver new work, reinvent how to gather together to create, and what it means to use this art form to lift us all, artist and audience alike,” said Kevin McKenzie, ABT Artistic Director. “Lauren’s use of classical vocabulary for dynamic effect of empowerment, Darrell’s facile use of classical technique fused with classic jazz, and Jessica’s joyous, reverent nod to Tony Bennett’s fabulous voice, contrasted with a classic pas de deux, exemplify the vibrant spirit of American Ballet Theatre.”
Segerstrom Center President Casey Reitz said, “As you can imagine, Uniting in Movement is a complex project requiring the combined, or uniting, resources and experience of both the Center and ABT, particularly during this period of quarantine. The project aligns with the mission of our Center for Dance and Innovation, which was established to support and advance the creative and sometimes even experimental process of developing new works by talented artists. The Center and ABT have a long history of producing extraordinary dance projects, including new productions, world premieres, and two projects that were broadcast on Great Performances: Dance in America. We are especially proud of how Uniting in Movement so beautifully confirms the resilience and indomitable spirit of the arts and artists.”
Uniting In Movement Program Information
LA FOLLIA VARIATIONS
Choreography by Lauren Lovette
Music by Francesco Geminiani
Costumes by Victor Glemaud
Lighting by Brad Fields
Music performed by East Coast Chamber Orchestra
Dancers: Emily Hayes & Jonathan Klein; Abbey Marrison & João Mengussi; Kiely Groenewegen & Tyler Maloney; and Chloe Misseldine & Jose Sebastian
“The progression of steps is one of my favorites among the classical ballet style. These dancers give me hope for the future of dance, and this piece of choreography is a celebration of that hope.” – Lauren Lovette
GRAND PAS CLASSIQUE
Choreography by Victor Gsovsky
Music by Daniel-Francois Auber
Lighting by Brad Fields
Dancers: Catherine Hurlin and Sung Woo Han
Grand Pas Classique represents the epitome of classical purity and precision, allowing dancers to demonstrate their energy, endurance, and musicality through Victor Gsovsky’s brilliant and exacting choreography.
LET ME SING FOREVERMORE
Choreography by Jessica Lang
Songs performed by Tony Bennett
Songs: “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” “Fly Me to the Moon (in other words)” and “I Got Rhythm”
Costumes by Bradon McDonald
Lighting by Brad Fields
Dancers: Devon Teuscher and Cory Stearns
Let Me Sing Forevermore received its World Premiere in Ontario, Canada in 2019.
Choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie
Music by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Neal Hefti and Billy Strayhorn
Songs: “Battle Royal,” “Little Pony,” “Tricky’s Licks,” and “The Star-Crossed Lovers”
Costumes by Mark Eric
Lighting by Brad Fields
Dancers: Betsy McBride & Jacob Clerico; Anabel Katsnelson & Melvin Lawovi; Hannah Marshall & Duncan McIlwaine; and Scout Forsythe & Joseph Markey
“Indestructible Light is inspired by where we are now in our lives and how important it is to stay connected to hope, love, and joy. I wanted the great music of American composers Duke Ellington, Neal Hefti, Billy Strayhorn, and Count Basie to serve as the foundation to take the dancers on an exciting, physical journey that resonates with audiences. I’m always excited about finding ways to use great music and the dancers’ bodies to bring inspiration to people. No matter what’s happening around us, we must always remember here’s a light within that can never be shut off.”
Complete performances will be recorded on Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24, and streamed on-demand May 12 – 26. Tickets are $25 per household. ABT will give a final performance of Uniting in Movement before a live audience on Sunday, April 25 at 1:30 pm. Seating will be limited and available in two-person, safely distanced pods. Ticket prices start at $50. Complete information and tickets for on-demand access and the live performance are available now online at www.SCFTA.org or by calling the box office at (714) 556-2787 weekdays between 10am and 2pm Pacific Time.
To learn more about one of the world’s greatest dance companies, American Ballet Theatre, click HERE.
To learn more about the acclaimed arts institution Segerstrom Center for the Arts, click HERE.
Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Lauren Lovette (center) with the cast of her La Follia Variations – Photo by Carlos Lopez