In 2009, ballet companies around the world are celebrating the the 100th anniversary of the first performance by Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. The Indiana University Ballet Theater presents their Diaghilev Tribute on Friday and Saturday, October 9-10, 2009. There's choreography by Balanchine, Department chair Michael Vernon and Bronislava Nijinska.
Veteran dancer, choreographer and stage director Howard Sayetteis staging Les Noces with music of Stravinsky.
"I was very fortunate during my career to work with the Ballet Russes and so to learn this repertoire with the company that did the original performances. I should tell you right at the beginning that Les Noces is a very difficult piece. "
"For one thing the physical requirements are a bit daunting. It takes four pianos, a battery of percussion a substantial chorus and some very accomplished solo singers. Often companies run into problems simply with the difficulty of moving the instruments into place without an extensive delay."
"Then there's the music itself. Stravinsky's setting is a very demanding one and it takes very skilled musicians. I've been very impressed with our conductor Carmen Helena Téllez and very pleased that she took time to come to some of the dance rehearsals to get an even better feel for the meshing of music and dance."
"And if these two difficulties weren't daunting enough, there's the choreography. Bronislava Nijnska made her dance in dance moves not in musical measures or bars. The dancers are frequently working with moves that don't really have direct support from a beat or pulse. Fortunately, the Indiana University dancers are also all music students. Without that background, we wouldn't have the success that we're having."
Valse Fantasie by Mikhail Glinka/ Balanchine
Jeux by Claude Debussy/ Michael Vernon
Les Noces by Igor Stravinsky/Bronislava Nijinska
October 9 and 10, 2009