ONE/end/ONE (2011) Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 4 Costume Design by Holly Hynes Lighting Design by Christina R. Giannelli Choreography by Jorma Elo
ONE/end/ONE was created for Houston Ballet by Jorma Elo in 2011. It features four couples who employ the choreographer’s quirky and unexpected movements to create an atmosphere of playfulness. Mandy Oaklander, dance critic for the Houston Press (June 23, 2011) described the ballet as “Arresting and absolutely unpredictable . . . both technically and innovatively, this piece shines.” Dance writer Nichelle Strzepek stated, “Jorma Elo, resident choreographer at Boston Ballet, is clearly winning throughout the ballet world with a characteristically playful, always satisfying catalog that now includes ONE/end/ONE, created for and on Houston Ballet. To be the instrument and focus of Elo’s creativity is a rather victorious notch in the HB belt, as well.” (Dance Advantage, June 4, 2011).
“When I observed Jorma choreographing, I instantly loved his vocabulary as a dancemaker,” observed Mr. Welch. “His choreographic style is unique, reflecting influences ranging from classical ballet to Mats Ek.”
Mr. Elo’s ONE/end/ONE features beautiful costumes by Holly Hynes. “This is my fourth original Elo ballet. We collaborated before on Slice to Sharp, Double Evil, and Pur ti Miro,” comments Ms. Hynes. “Working with Jorma feels like bringing home a friend to meet the family.”
MURMURATION (2012) Music by Ezio Bosso, Violin Concerto No. 1 “Esoconcerto” Choreography by Edwaard Liang Costume Design by Edwaard Liang and Laura Lynch Lighting Design by Lisa J. Pinkham
Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration employs the choreographer’s signature seamless movements and emotional spirituality. The work showcases eight couples and one male dancer. Mr. Liang explains his inspiration for the piece by saying, “Murmuration is a phenomenon in Europe where starling birds flock together and make beautiful shapes and patterns in the sky. Scientists have no idea how they come together to make these shapes, but the birds never crash into one another.”
Amanda Jennings reviewed the ballet for Dance Europe, “[Murmuration] refers to the swirling patterns made by flocks of birds in flight, turning and swooping this way and that without colliding, and this is exactly the effect Liang has conjured up on stage, the seventeen dancers leaping and swirling, forming striking interweaving patters.” (April 2013). Dance critic David Clarke observed, “The striking, stirring, and highly athletic choreography by Edwaard Liang is raw, visceral, intense, and extremely passionate” (Broadway World, April 2013).
Mr. Liang’s Murmuration is set to Ezio Bosso’s Violin Concerto No. 1 “Esoconcerto”. “I had to wait a few years for this music; I wanted to use it for a long time,” Mr. Liang explains. “It seems very minimal at first but it continues to increase in soul and depth. It’s big music.”
Murmuration wasMr. Liang’s first ballet to enter Houston Ballet’s repertoire. Mr. Welch first saw his choreography at The Joffrey Ballet and knew he had to bring Mr. Liang to Houston. “Edwaard has a unique mix of influences inspiring his work, ranging from George Balanchine to Jiří Kylián, two choreographers with whom Houston Ballet’s dancers are intimately familiar because they have performed many of their works,” explains Mr. Welch.
Mr. Liang has choreographed a number of works, starting in 2003 with Nederlands Dans Theater workshop, Flight of Angels, which has since been staged for many companies. Mr. Liang has also created ballets for New York City Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Shanghai Ballet, among others. Mr. Liang was named one of the “Top 25 to Watch” for 2006 by Dance Magazine for choreography, winner of the 2006 National Choreographic Competition, and invited to be a part of the 2007 National Choreographers Initiative. In 2013, he was named artistic director of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio.
PAQUITA (created 1846, Welch version performed in 2013) Choreography by Stanton Welch, after Marius Petipa Music by Ludwig Minkus (1826-1917) Lighting Design by Lisa J. Pinkham
Rounding out the program is the third act of Paquita, a dazzling classical showpiece staged by Stanton Welch that debuted at the 2013 Jubilee of Dance in December 2013. Paquita was premiered by the Paris Opera in 1846, and Marius Petipa produced the ballet in 1847 for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg as his debut production. Although originally a full-length narrative work, by the twentieth century only a portion of the third act of the ballet, a dazzling classical showpiece was being performed.
Paquita presents an opportunity for Houston Ballet’s dancers to display their sparkling technique. “With Paquita, I hoped to challenge our dancers with demanding classical ballet choreography and the rigors of a historically significant work. I also wanted to showcase the company’s high level of classical technique,” comments Mr. Welch.