Charlotte, N.C. – North Carolina Dance Theatre celebrates its 40th Anniversary with Director’s Choice, March 10-12 at the Knight Theater. For Director’s Choice Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux chose Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by legendary choreographer and Bonnefoux’s teacher and mentor George Balanchine, Satto by former Dance Theatre Artistic Director Salvatore Aiello, and Le souffle de l'esprit by Czechoslovakian dancer turned choreographer Jiri Bubenicek. Coordinating with the centennial celebration of Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden, Resident Choreographer Dwight Rhoden presents a world premiere inspired by the life and work of Bearden.
“Dwight is always full of many great ideas and continues to surprise me,” said Bonnefoux. “I’m looking forward to the ballet he’s creating for Director’s Choice and the creative ways he will bring Bearden’s artwork to life.”
Director’s Choice tickets start at $25 and may be purchased at 704.372.1000, ncdance.org and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Box Office.
Director’s Choice includes:
Dwight Rhoden World Premiere
Coordinating with the centennial celebration of visual artist and Charlotte native Romare Bearden, Resident Choreographer Dwight Rhoden will present a world premiere inspired by the life and work of Bearden. Bearden, whose work is displayed in Charlotte at The Mint Museum and Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, is known for textured collages depicting scenes of social customs in modern African American society. Rhoden will use Bearden’s influence, blending both artists’ vision and technique, to choreograph his world premiere.
Rhoden plans to use the entire company in his new ballet, which is still in the creation phase. He says he wants the ballet to be a “celebration of the depth and prolific nature of Bearden’s mind and work.” The piece will begin with a brisk retrospective of Bearden’s artwork spanning from the 1940’s to the 1980’s. Projections of Bearden’s art will be used throughout the ballet, and he plans to use jazz music by such artists as Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.
A former dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Rhoden joined NC Dance Theatre as resident choreographer in 2006 and travels to Charlotte several times a year to work with the Company. Rhoden was hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most sought out choreographers of the day.” He has choreographed ballets for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company, Dance Theater of Harlem, Miami City Ballet and New York City Ballet/Diamond Project. His choreography has also been featured on the hit Fox television show, “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Dwight Rhoden’s World Premiere is commissioned by the Bernstein family in honor of Mark Bernstein's 80th Birthday.
Jiri Bubenicek’s Le souffle de l'esprit
Czechoslovakian dancer turned choreographer Jiri Bubenicek is working with Dance Theatre for the first time staging his ballet Le souffle de l'esprit (the breathe of the spirit). "Jiri Bubenicek is a rising star, and dance companies all over the world are beginning to show great interest in his choreography," said Bonnefoux. "Dance Theatre is proud to be the first American company, after New York City Ballet, to work with him."
First performed by the Zurich Ballet, Le souffle de l’esprit is inspired by the work of Leonardo da Vinci. The Zurcher Oberlander wrote, “The music follows these wide-reaching guidelines and ranges from Bach to the composition of his twin brother Otto. Da Vinci’s universal visual language, in which the dream of flying, the beauty and charm of humankind is contained along with the destructive power of war machinery, is translated into dance in front of sepia colored, quietly smiling pictures of the Virgin Mary with a precision beyond comparison, with wit and ironic references to the classic language of ballet. With Le souffle de l'esprit Bubenicek has created a ballet which captivates with its power, its soulfulness and its intensity.”
Bubenicek, a Czech citizen, studied dance at the Prague Dance Conservatory. He made his professional debut in 1993 with John Neumeier's Hamburg Ballet. In 2006 Bubenicek became a principal dancer in Dresden SemperOper Ballet, and in 2009 Bubenicek and his twin brother Otto created “Bubenicek and Friends,” which performed at the National Theatre in Prague. As a choreographer Bubenicek has created ballets for New York City Ballet, Zurich Ballet, Hamburg Ballet and others.
This performance of Le souffle de l'esprit is underwritten by Bob Benson.
George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
First performed in 1960 by New York City Ballet, George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de
Deux is an eight-minute display of ballet bravura and technique. The work features music Tchaikovsky belatedly created for Act III of Swan Lake.
Associate Artistic Director Patricia McBride, former New York City Ballet dancer, restages the work for NC Dance Theatre dancers Alessandra Ball and Addul Manzono. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux is the first ballet McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, her now husband, performed together. They performed the piece in 1970 as dancers with New York City Ballet. Bonnefoux says the ballet depicts the essence of Balanchine’s musicality and sense of tradition.
When the company performed the piece in Chautauqua, N.Y., this past summer, reviewer Anthony Bannon wrote, “(Alessandra) Ball sends out, like a personal message to each audience member, a charisma conveyed through confidence and visceral connection, magnetizing her audience to join her in the act of creation.
This performance of Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux is underwritten by Ed and Joan Anderson.
Salvatore Aiello’s Satto (Wind Dance)
In Satto (Wind Dance) the intensity of the dancers’ sensual movements celebrates powerful elements in nature that come together harmoniously. Delicate, precise partnering creates an atmosphere that represents a dance between the wind and a leaf. With a distinctive Japanese style, the pas de deux is propelled by the music of Katsutoshi Nagasawa and Chip Davis.
Salvatore Aiello, former Dance Theatre Artistic Director, premiered Satto in 1983, and since then the company has performed the work numerous times, with the last performance in 2005. Aiello began placing his unique and lasting imprint on Dance Theatre in 1979 when he joined the company as associate artistic director and resident choreographer. From 1985 to 1995, he served as Dance Theatre’s artistic director.
This performance of Satto is underwritten by Amy & Philip Blumenthal.
About North Carolina Dance Theatre
NC Dance Theatre was founded in 1970 by Robert Lindgren, the former dean of dance at Winston-Salem’s University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The Company toured both internationally and nationally and received the National Endowment for the Arts distinction as the nation’s highest rated touring company in 1982. Salvatore Aiello became Artistic Director in 1985 and moved the Company to Charlotte in 1990.
Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux took over as artistic director in 1996, with Patricia McBride as associate artistic director. Since then they have added new works to Dance Theatre’s repertoire, attracted talented dancers from all over the world, grown the School of Dance and championed the effort to build a new facility for Dance Theatre. The Patricia McBride & Jean-Pierre Center for Dance opened in uptown Charlotte in June 2010. The Center houses the Company’s rehearsal facilities, School of Dance, administrative offices and a performance venue.