BALLET SAN JOSE’S PROGRAM TWO IS AN “ALL PREMIERE PROGRAM”, APRIL 13-15

Alexsandra Meijer in Jessica Lang’s SPLENDID ISOLATION III. Photo by Chris Hardy

BALLET SAN JOSE’S PROGRAM TWO IS AN “ALL PREMIERE PROGRAM”, APRIL 13-15

Alexsandra Meijer in Jessica Lang’s SPLENDID ISOLATION III. Photo by Chris Hardy
Alexsandra Meijer in Jessica Lang’s SPLENDID ISOLATION III. Photo by Chris Hardy

Ballet San Jose’s PROGRAM OF PREMIERES includes four Company Premieres (two of which are also Bay Area Premieres), April 13-15 at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts in downtown San Jose. Jessica Lang’s pas de deux, Splendid Isolation III, and Stanton Welch’s Clear will be making their first appearances on the Bay Area stage. Joining them as Ballet San Jose Company Premieres is George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1. The short, four-performance run plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1:30pm. Tickets are $30 – $100 with discounts for students, seniors and groups. The Saturday afternoon program is a Discount Matinee priced at $20 – $70. Tickets are available at the Ballet Box Office at 40 North First Street in downtown San Jose or by calling 408.288.2800 during regular business hours, M-F, 9am to 5pm. Tickets are always available online.

Maykel Solas and Junna Ige in George Balanchine’s ALLEGRO BRILLANTE. Photo by Chris Hardy.
Maykel Solas and Junna Ige in George Balanchine’s ALLEGRO BRILLANTE. Photo by Chris Hardy.

PROGRAM OF PREMIERES (April 13-15, 2012)

Theater: San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Boulevard (corner of Park Avenue) in downtown San Jose
Performances: Friday (4/13) and Saturday (4/14) at 8pm. Saturday (4/14) and Sunday (4/15) at 1:30pm
Prices: $30 – $100. (Saturday Discount Matinee: $20 – $75)
Box Office: 40 North First Street in downtown San Jose. 408.288.2800 or online at Ballet San Jose’s website
Group Discounts: 408.288.2820 x 219

THE BALLETS:

Allegro Brillante  (Company Premiere)
Choreography: George Balanchine
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Music: Unfinished Piano Concert No. 3 in E flat, Opus 75
World Premiere: New York City Ballet at the City Center, New York, March 1, 1956.
Original Cast: Maria Tallchief and Nicholas Magallanes; Carolyn George, Barbara Fallis, Barbara Millberg, Barbara Walczak, Arthur Mitchell, Richard Rapp, Jonathan Watts, and Roland Vasquez.

SHORT BYTE: A work of expansive Russian romanticism, Balanchine said of Allegro Brillante, “It contains everything I know about the classical ballet in 13 minutes.” The ballet requires strong dancing, precise timing, and breadth of gesture. The piece is arranged for two principals and an ensemble and has no narrative idea, Balanchine only “wishing to have the dancers complement the music.” It is set to the last music Tchaikovsky ever composed.

Splendid Isolation III  (Company and Bay Area Premiere)
Choreography: Jessica Lang
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Music: Adagietto
Costumes: Elena Comendador
World Premiere: Splendid Isolation III was originally created for NBA Ballet’s Golden Ballet Co-Star Gala and was given its world premiere at Mielparque Hall, Tokyo, Japan on August 4, 2007.
Original Cast: Maria Riccetto and Koichi Kubo.

SHORT BYTE: A pas de deux of high theatricality with a woman in a luminous white gown that is a symbol of perfection and imprisonment.

Clear (Company and Bay Area Premiere)
Choreographer: Stanton Welch
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Music: Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor and the first and second movements from the Violin Concerto in G minor
Staged by: Dawn Scannell
World Premiere: October 25, 2001 at City Center in New York City.
Original Cast: Julie Kent, Angel Corella, Maxim Belotserkovsky and Marcelo Gomes.

SHORT BYTE: Inspired by the tragedy of 9/11, Clear is an abstract study of life’s connections. A showcase for male dancers (and one woman) Welch began choreographing Clear for American Ballet Theatre two weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan. Noted New York fashion designer Michael Kors created the costumes.


Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1  (Company Premiere)
Choreography: Clark Tippet
Composer: Max Bruch
Music: Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin, Op. 26
Costumes: Dain Marcus
World Premiere: Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, CA December 1, 1987. Commissioned for American Ballet Theatre
Original Cast: Leslie Brown, Susan Jaffe, Cheryl Yeager, Amanda McKerrow, John Gardner, Ricardo Bustamante, Wes Chapman, Clark Tippet

SHORT BYTE: Clark Tippet’s second ballet (following Enough Said) resembles a conventional plotless tutu ballet in the classical mode, but highly experimental in its use of classical technique to comment on ballet conventions from a contemporary perspective. Set to the familiar concert work by Max Bruch with four principal couples and a corps of eight more couples, it has been called “an extended essay on the brisk, abstract, neo-classical style perfected by George Balanchine…full of perfectly timed canons and complex, stage-crossing patterns.”

Cupcakes & Conversation with Michele Wiles, Principal, American Ballet Theatre

a tray of white iced cupcakes
Primrose Bakery supports Ballet News

 Cupcakes & Conversation with Michele Wiles, Principal, American Ballet Theatre

dancer headshot
Michele Wiles

What motivates you at 8am on a Tuesday morning ?

 Tuesday is the first day of work for ABT. My husband, James McCullough, is usually up by 6. He makes the coffee and gets me up, so I can be in class by 10 am.

What are you looking forward to dancing this year ?

I am looking forward to the classics, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle. I am also looking forward to performing in Ratmansky’s new ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House in May.

Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?

It would be wonderful to have a ballet created for me. I always love to dance with my fellow American Ballet Theatre principals including my current partner for Swan Lake Cory Stearns.  Roberto Bolle and I had a fantastic time dancing Sylvia at the MET and I hope to partner again with him.  New York City Ballet principal Charles Askegard is another of my favorites and one of the best partners I have had in my career. Mauro Bigonzetti would be my top choice to do the choreography. 

If you could dance anywhere, where would you choose ?

 If I could dance anywhere, I would dance on the moon because I wouldn’t have to fight gravity anymore!

dancer on pointe
Michele in the Sylphide section in Etudes Photograph : Rosalie O'Connor

How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?

Recently, I have switched pointe shoes. Now, I wear Freed shoes and sew ribbons and elastics on them.

What is your daily routine at the moment ?

My routine is class at 10, rehearsals at American Ballet Theatre, some exercises to strengthen weak muscles, then home or performance. This happens six days a week.

You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?

I would invite Billy Jean King, Hilary Clinton, Bill Moyers, Bill Maher, Anna Pavlova, and Sergei Diaghilev.

What would surprise people about you ?

People would be surprised to know that I am a huge fan of Bill Moyers.

two dancers in arabesque
Michele Wiles as Sylvia and Roberto Bolle as Aminta PHOTO MIRA

Who inspired you to dance ?

At first, music inspired me to dance. Then I was inspired to be a ballerina when I saw Gelsey Kirkland, Natasha Makarova, Cynthia Gregory, Susan Jaffe, and Amanda Mckerrow.

What is your best piece of advice ?

To believe in yourself and keep going.

How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?

Hours before the show I like to eat a good meal and take a nap. The work is done, now I can enjoy the show!

Which role has tested you the most & how ?

Swan Lake has tested me the most because in one ballet you have to have both a lyrical and bravura technique and on top of that you have to be romantic and seductive. To achieve this you need many performances and lots of rehearsal!

dancer in Swan lake tutu
Michelle in Swan Lake Photograph : Rosalie O'Connor

If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?

I don’t know what costume I would design, but I know I would have to experiment a lot!

What do you look for in a dance partner ?

In a dance partner I look for openness, a personal connection and a willingness to take risks.

What is your favourite quote ?

“This too shall pass”.

Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you ?

I don’t think any dance step has come naturally to me, but I have worked really hard to make the dance steps look natural.

A phrase I use far too often is … ?

Snap!

What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?

My best on stage moment was Sylvia with Roberto Bolle in 2009.

Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?

I’ve never admitted this before, but I really enjoy doing the laundry. My husband does all of the cooking.

Michelle with Marcelo Gomes in Le Corsaire Photograph : MIRA

In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?

In a year from now I hope to be digging even deeper into my roles. I also hope to bring an awareness of the art to a younger generation and hopefully spark the interest of people who normally wouldn’t go to the ballet.