THE WASHINGTON BALLET PRESENTS The Jazz/Blues Project

December 23, 2013

Press Releases

THE WASHINGTON BALLET PRESENTS  The Jazz/Blues Project

At The Harman Center

 Program includes Trey McIntyre’s Blue until June, Val Caniparoli’s Bird’s Nest and the world premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s PRISM 

E. Faye Butler and the Howard University Jazz Ensemble to perform

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Ballet (TWB) continues soaring through the 2013.2014 season with The Jazz/Blues Project, a mixed repertory program that will pay homage to the Jazz era and includes Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June, Val Caniparoli’s Bird’s Nest and the world premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s PRISM along with guest appearances by E. Faye Butler and the Howard University Jazz Ensemble. The Jazz/Blues Project opens with a preview January 29 and runs January 30 through February 2, 2014 at the Sidney Harman Hall of The Harman Center. 

Trey McIntyre’s sultry Blue Until June is an eye-opening one-act ballet that captures the innate desperation of the blues and showcases exaggerated body language, spirited performing and great technical aptitude. TWB premiered Blue Until June in 2000 and showcased the work on the company’s signature trip to Havana, Cuba in October of the same year. Throughout McIntyre’s work, one can expect exhilarating and intense choreography fixed against the poignant and wrenching vocals of Etta James, as performed by E. Faye Butler. The work includes aggressive and passionate duets between the men and women who often seemingly turn against each other. Trey McIntyre’s work “tells the story of life’s struggle, and the ultimate and touching triumph of the human spirit,” according to Artistic Director Septime Webre.

Blue Until June, set to the soulful songs of Etta James, explores how our ideas of love are influenced by the American songbook. Etta James is said to have bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll. Jazz great and Helen Hayes Award winner E. Faye Butler, who was referred to by The Washington Post as “the unrivaled showstopper” when she performed in TWB’s The Great Gatsby, will perform the songs of Etta James, including St. Louis Blues, At Last, One For My Baby and Fool That I Am. 

Val Caniparoli’s Bird’s Nest, set to the electric and energized music of Charlie “Bird” Parker who ushered in the modern Jazz Era, will also be performed live by the Howard University Jazz ensemble. With tones ranging from clean and powerful to melodious and somber, Charlie “Bird” Parker’s bebop was characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique, and improvisation that developed revolutionary harmonic ideas. Full of high energy and post-war edge, Bird’s Nest was premiered by TWB in 2000. According to Artistic Director Septime Webre, Val Caniparoli’s Bird’s Nest wonderfully captures the “age of anxiety and buoyant energy of the post-war bebop era that was known for its musical geniuses improvising in the New York City clubs at four o’clock in the morning.”

Val Caniparoli has created works for more than thirty-five dance companies and is one of the most sought after American choreographers. He creates works that are rooted in classicism whilst being influenced by all forms and styles of movement. “I am excited about the return of Bird’s Nest for The Washington Ballet. Bird’s Nest, with music by Charlie Parker, was commissioned for the Vail International Dance Festival in 2000 and premiered by The Washington Ballet,” said Caniparoli.

Along with the works of Trey McIntyre and Val Caniparoli, The Jazz/Blue’s Project will include the world premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s PRISM.  Last season, Ochoa’s Sueño de Mármol had audiences and critics alike reaching for superlatives last spring. Ever since becoming the “it-girl” of the ballet world in Columbia and Belgium, Ochoa’s choreographic career has taken off. PRISM is set to jazz pianist’s Keith Jarrett’s famous 1975 Köln concert improvisations. Ms. Ochoa said that her inspiration was “Jarrett himself…a vibrating energy that surrounds us.” She described the ballet as “neoclassical with a jazzy tint” and that “The Washington Ballet dancers had fun getting loose and grooving.”

The Jazz/Blues Project’s program that includes Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June, Val Caniparoli’s Bird’s Nest and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s never-before-seen world premiere of PRISM promises to be the most exhilarating dance event in DC.

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

TREY MCINTYRE (Choreographer) is a professionally-trained dancer and is one of the most-sought after choreographers working today. Born in Wichita, Kansas, Mr. McIntyre studied at North Carolina School of the Arts and later with Houston Ballet Academy. In 1989, he was named Choreographic Apprentice to Houston Ballet; a position created specifically for him by Artistic Director Ben Stevenson. Mr. McIntyre has since created a canon of over 70 works for companies domestically and abroad. He has served as Resident Choreographer for Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet Memphis, and The Washington Ballet. From 1995 until 2007, he was Choreographic Associate for Houston Ballet. Mr. McIntyre has received numerous prestigious grants and awards, including two choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Choo-San Goh Award for choreography. In 2003, he was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch.” In 2004, he established his critically-acclaimed Trey McIntyre Project (TMP), a dance company that has allowed him to continue his artistic and creative relationships with a select group of high-caliber dancers.

 

VAL CANIPAROLI (Choreographer)  Val Caniparoli’s versatility has made him one of the most sought after American choreographers in the United States and abroad. He has contributed to the repertories of more than thirty-five dance companies, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ballet West (Resident Choreographer 1993-97), Washington Ballet, Israel Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, State Theatre Ballet of South Africa and Tulsa Ballet, where he has been resident choreographer since 2001. Val Caniparoli is most closely associated with San Francisco Ballet, his artistic home for over thirty years.

Val Caniparoli began his career under the artistic directorship of Lew Christensen, and in the 1980s was appointed resident choreographer of San Francisco Ballet. He continues to choreograph for the company under Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson. Val Caniparoli has created a body of work that is rooted in classicism but influenced by all forms of movement. His extensive knowledge and appreciation of music is reflected in the range of composers that have inspired his choreography: Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (Béla Bartók), Gustav’s Rooster (Hoven Droven), The Bridge (Dmitri Shostakovich), boink! (Juan Garcia Esquivel), Aria (George Frederic Handel), Open Veins (Robert Moran), Prawn watching (Michael Nyman), Torque (Michael Torke), Jaybird Lounge (Uri Caine), Hamlet and Ophelia, Pas de Deux  (Bohuslav Martinu), Bird’s Nest (Charlie Parker), Death of a Moth (Carlos Surinach), Going for Baroque (Antonio Vivaldi), Aquilarco (Giovanni Sollima), Book of Alleged Dances (John Adams), Aubade (Francis Poulenc), Slow (Graham Fitkin), Djangology (Django Reinhardt), Vivace (Franz Schubert), and his signature work, Lambarena (Johann Sebastian Bach and traditional African rhythms and music), which is performed by 16 companies and has become an international sensation. His latest work for the San Francisco Ballet, Ibsen’s House, is a profound ballet on Henrik Ibsen’s plays. Lady of the Camellias, choreographed in 1994 and co-produced by Ballet Florida and Ballet West, was Caniparoli’s first full-length work. He has also choreographed The Nutcracker (2001) for Cincinnati Ballet and for Louisville Ballet (2009), as well as A Cinderella Story, danced to themes by Richard Rodgers, for Royal Winnipeg Ballet (2004).

The recipient of ten grants for choreography from the National Endowment for the Arts, Caniparoli was also awarded an artist fellowship from the California Arts Council in 1991. He has twice received the Choo-San Goh Award from the Choo-San Goh and H. Robert Magee Foundation: in 1994 for Lambarena, choreographed for San Francisco Ballet, and in 1997 for Open Veins, created for Atlanta Ballet. Lambarena was also nominated for the Benois de la Danse Award from the International Dance Association at a gala at the National Theater of Warsaw, Poland, in 1997. Dance Bay Area acknowledged Caniparoli’s contributions to the local dance scene with an Isadora Duncan Award (or Izzy – and twice for Outstanding Choreography) for Sustained Achievement in 1996. He was also honored to have been selected to choreograph a pas de deux for Evelyn Hart and Rex Harrington for the Royal Jubilee Gala for Queen Elizabeth in Toronto. Born in Renton, Washington, Caniparoli opted for a professional dance career after studying music and theatre at Washington State University. In 1972, he received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to attend San Francisco Ballet School. He performed with San Francisco Opera Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet in 1973. He continues to perform with the company as a principal character dancer.

 

ANNABELLE LOPEZ OCHOA (Choreographer), half Columbian and Belgian, completed her dance education at the Royal Ballet Academy of Antwerp in Belgium. After a 12-year long professional dance career in which she danced as a soloist for the Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, she decided in 2003 to focus her creative energies entirely to choreography. Since then, she has created works for the Scapino Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Djazzex, Geneva Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Gran Canaria Ballet, Gothenburg Ballet, State Modern Ballet Ankara, Pennsylvania Ballet, BalletX, BJM-Danse Montreal, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Ballet National de Marseille, Saarbrucken Ballet, Jacoby & Pronk, Chemnitzer Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Whim W’Him, IncolBallet de Colombia, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, CompaniaNacional de Danza and Scottish Ballet. A versatile choreographer, Ms. Lopez Ochoa works regularly within the dance field as well as theatre, opera, musical theatre and recently, for the celebrated Dutch fashion designer Viktor & Rolf’s project at the Van Gogh Museum. Ms. Lopez Ochoa has won several choreography awards; 3rd prize in 2002 at the Hannover’s Choreographers Competition, 1st prize and Public’s prize at the 2003 International Choreographers Competition of Bornem and in 2007 she was selected to participate with the prestigious New York Choreographic Institute. Both her pieces Zip Zap Zoom (BJM-Danse Montreal) and Nube Blanco (Luna Negra Dance Theater) were included in the list of the 10 best dance highlights of 2009 in San Diego and Chicago.

E. FAYE BUTLER (Vocalist), has performed with The Washington Ballet in Blue Until June, The Great Gatsby, Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises and on the Company’s 2000 tour to Cuba. Washington, DC theatre credits include Arena Stage’s Trouble in Mind, Oklahoma, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Polk County, and Dinah Was; Signature Theatre’s Saving Aimee and Gospel According to Fishman; Baltimore Centerstage’s Trouble in Mind, Caroline or Change, Ma Rainey and Once On This Island; Strathmore Music Center’s Take Joy. Regional credits include Broadway Playhouse; Goodman Theatre’s Crown, Purlie and A Christmas Carol; Steppenwolf Theatre’s Crumbs From The Table of Joy; Northlight Theatre’s Black Pearl Sings; Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre’s Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors and The Wiz; Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Ma Rainey and Dinah Was; Pasadena Playhouse’s Purlie and Could It Be Magic (Barry Manilow Songbook); Sacramento Music Theatre’s Showboat; Chicago Shakespeare’s Suessical the Musical; Drury Lane’s Sophisticated Ladies, Hot Mikado and Hello Dolly; Dallas Theatre Center’s Ella and Dinah Was; National and regional tours include Mamma Mia, Dinah Was, Nunsense, Nunsense 2 and Ain’t Misbehavin’. Ms. Butler is the recipient of two Helen Hayes Awards, a Sarah Sidon Award, six Joseph Jefferson Awards; three Black Theatre Alliance Awards, John Barrymore Awards, RAMI Awards, and an Excellence in the Arts Ovation Award. She has recently released a CD, A Circle of Firsts.

 

HOWARD UNIVERSITY JAZZ ENSEMBLE (HUJE) was founded in 1975 by its director, Fred Irby, III. Outstanding performances in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean have caused it to be recognized as one of the foremost college jazz ensembles. HUJE has been heard on radio and television as well as in concert, often appearing with celebrated performers. Members of the HUJE have won awards as performers and composers/arrangers, and the ensemble includes among its alumni several practicing jazz artists. Additionally, the HUJE was featured during the 1992, 1996 and 2005 Kennedy Center Honors Gala (CBS-TV). The HUJE has released thirty-four recordings in a distinguished series that began in 1976.

 

Tickets for The Jazz/Blues Project, priced from $35 to $125, are available online or via  shakespearetheatre.org or by calling 202.547.1122. The Harman Center is located at 450 7th Street Northwest, Washington, DC, between 6th Street and F Street, NW.

 

The Jazz/Blues Project

TWB returns to Sidney Harman Hall at The Harman Center with The Jazz/Blues Project opening January 29 with performances through February 3. This mixed repertory program will pay homage to the Jazz era and includes Blue Until June by Trey McIntyre, Bird’s Nest by Val Caniparoli and  the world premiere  of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s PRISM. Set to soulful songs of Etta James, Blue Until June explores how our ideas of love are influenced by the American songbook. Jazz great E. Faye Butler, who was referred to by The Washington Post as “the unrivaled showstopper” when she performed in The Great Gatsby, will perform the songs of Etta James in Blue Until June. Val Caniparoli’s Bird’s Nest, set to the music of Charlie “Bird” Parker who ushered in the modern Jazz Era, will also be performed live.   Annabelle Lopes Ochoa’s PRISM is set to the famous improvisational recording of Keith Jarrett’s 1975 Köln Concert.

 

Wednesday, January 29, 7:30PM (Preview)

Thursday, January 30, 7:30PM (Opening)

Friday, January 31, 7:30PM

Saturday, February 1, 1:30PM & 7:30PM

Sunday, February 2, 1:30PM & 6:30PM

Performed at The Harman Center, Sidney Harman Hall

 

Blue Until June (2000)

Music: Etta James

Choreography: Trey McIntyre

Set Design: Sandra Woodall

Costume Design: Sandra Woodall

Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor

 

Birds Nest (2000)

Music:  Charlie “Bird” Parker

Choreography:  Val Caniparoli

Set Design: Sandra Woodall

Costume Design: Sandra Woodall

Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor

 

TBA (World Premiere)

Music: Keith Jarrett

Choreography:  Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

Costume Design: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

Lighting Design: TBD

 

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON BALLET

Originally founded as The Washington School of Ballet in 1944 by legendary ballet pioneer Mary Day and incorporated as a professional company in 1976, The Washington Ballet (TWB) is one of the pre-eminent ballet organizations in the United States.  TWB built an international reputation presenting bold works by choreographers from around the world, including Choo-San Goh, Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Nacho Duato, as well as Neoclassical masterworks and fresh stagings of 19th century classics. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Septime Webre, School Director Kee Juan Han and Managing Director Arthur Espinoza, TWB has embraced a three-part mission: ensuring excellence in its professional performance company; growing the next generation of dancers through its Washington School of Ballet; and serving the community in which it resides through robust community engagement programs.

Amtrak is the official passenger rail service of The Washington Ballet.

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