Apollo & Night & The Sea Above, The Sky Below & Paquita Primer
by Karen Kain
March 1, 2019
The premiere of Apollo in 1928 by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes changed the art form forever. It established a new aesthetic that brought the language of classical ballet into a modern context, merging the past with the future. Considered one of George Balanchine’s greatest masterpieces, the ballet has lost none of its power over the past 90 years. The title role demands exquisite restraint and clarity. This season marks the debut of several new Apollos – Principal Dancers Francesco Gabriele Frola, Harrison James and Evan McKie, First Soloist Brendan Saye and Second Soloist Félix Paquet. Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté returns to this celebrated role, as he marks his 20th anniversary with the company.
I am so pleased to present the company premiere of Night by Julia Adam. Julia was a dancer with the company during Erik Bruhn’s artistic directorship and went on to be a Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet. She is now an acclaimed choreographer with her own company, Julia Adam Dance. Following its success in San Francisco, London and Paris, we both agreed Night would be the perfect choice for her homecoming! The work is a glorious dreamscape inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall. For the National Ballet premiere Julia has made an interesting change – she has cast two men in the lead rather than the original cast of one man and one woman.
The Sea Above, The Sky Below
Choreographic Associate Robert Binet created this beautiful piece for our gala last year and I am so pleased to bring it back for a wider audience on this programme. Set to music by Gustav Mahler, The Sea Above, The Sky Below is an intricate pas de trois that has a lovely expressive quality seen in much of Robert’s work.
To close the programme, Associate Artistic Director Christopher Stowell brings us a dazzling new adaptation of Paquita, based on the famous 1881 version by Marius Petipa. An unabashed celebration of classical technique, Paquita is a great showcase for the dancers, full of colour and panache. The company has not performed this classic since 2002, so it will be great to see a new generation of dancers take on the demanding choreography.
Apollo & Night & The Sea Above, The Sky Below & Paquita are onstage March 1 – 3 and March 20 – 21, 2019.