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NEW YORK THEATRE BALLET brings ballets by Antony Tudor & Martha Clarke to the 92Y Harkness Dance Festival, Feb. 24-25

by Michelle Tabnick
January 7, 2017
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10128
(212) 415-5552

Featured Dance Company:

New York Theatre Ballet
New York Theatre Ballet/Ballet School NY (office)
30 East 31st Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016

New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB) brings its highly acclaimed Legends & Visionaries series to the 92Y Harkness Dance Festival from February 24-25, 2017 at the The 92Y, located at 1395 Lexington Avenue, NYC 10128. This year's program features three ballets from the legendary Antony Tudor: Soirée Musicale (1938), the Pas de Deux from Romeo & Juliet (1943) and Les Mains Gauches (1951); presented alongside two ballets from his mentee, Martha Clarke: Nocturne (1978) and The Garden of Villandry (1979). Performances are February 24, 2017 at 8pm and February 25, 2017 at 4pm and 8pm.
and can be purchased at https://www.92y.org/Event/Legends-and-Visionaries.aspx

The Legends & Visionaries Program at the 92Y
Antony Tudor's Soirée Musicale (1938) is a charming divertissement set to Benjamin Britton's suite based on pieces by Rossini. Legend has it that in conceiving the choreography, Tudor had in mind four of the great ballerinas of the Romantic period: Lucille Grahn for the Canzonetta, Marie Taglioni for the Tirolese, Fanny Elssler for the Bolaro and Fanny Cerrito for the Tarantella. The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing was an organization that supervised the quality of dance teaching in England. Tudor himself had several certificates from them, and these permitted him to teach certain grades of ballet and character dance. He explained that Soirée was not created as a ballet: “It was done as a demonstration piece for the Cecchetti Society (Imperial Society of Dancing) for an annual meeting.” Tudor's 1951 Les Mains Gauches revolves around the issue of a man’s and woman’s fate. She receives a rose that represents love, and he receives a noose that symbolizes death. In an ironical ending, she discovers that he is not her love, and he realizes that she was not his death. Set to Delius' “Walk to the Paradise Garden” (as opposed to the far more familiar Prokofiev composition), Tudor's 1943 Romeo and Juliet (from which the pas de deux was revived by NYTB for the first time in 2004) tells an honest story of young love “communicated through unstressed small gestures in performances of heart-rending simplicity and delicate precision by Elena Zahlmann and Kyle Coffman. There are no big, ardent lifts and no roaring about the stage, capes fluttering. Instead everything is said through such moments as Juliet touching her eyes with the hem of her dress and Romeo resting his head tenderly in her lap. Shakespeare’s lovers were children, and Tudor remembers that.” - The New York Times, 2008

Martha Clarke's Nocturne (1978) is a poetic and theatrical solo piece – a poignant portrait of an aging ballerina that churns the notions of aging and impending death. The Garden of Villandry (1979), set to Franz Schubert's “Trio No. 1 in B flat, Op.99,” paints the story of love entangled: a ménage à trois that leaves the spectators wondering which was the husband and which the lover.

Antony Tudor is generally accepted as one of the great originators of modern dance forms – a principal transformer of ballet into a modern art. His work is usually considered as modern “psychological” expression, but of austerity, elegance, and nobility – remarkably using primarily classical forms. Mikhail Baryshnikov said, “We do Tudor's ballets because we must. Tudor's work is our conscience.” Tudor began dancing professionally with Marie Rambert in 1928, becoming general assistant for her Ballet Club the next year. A precocious choreographer, at age twenty-three he created for her dancers Cross Garter'd, then Lysistrata, The Planets and other works at the little Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill Gate, and his two most revolutionary, Jardin Aux Lilas (Lilac Garden) and Dark Elegies, before the age of thirty, dancing the main roles himself. In 1938, he founded the London Ballet with Rambert members, including his future life partner, Hugh Laing, Andrée Howard, Agnes de Mille, Peggy van Praagh, Maude Lloyd and Walter Gore. With the onset of World War II, in 1940 he was invited with them to New York, joining Richard Pleasant's and Lucia Chase's reorganized Ballet Theater. Chase's company was later to become the American Ballet Theatre, with which Tudor was closely associated for the rest of his life. He was a resident choreographer with Ballet Theater for ten years, re-staging some of his earlier works but also creating new works, his great Pillar of Fire (1942), Romeo and Juliet, Dim Lustre and Undertow, on that company by the end of the war. Retiring from dancing in 1950, he headed the faculty of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School, taught at the Juilliard School recurrently from 1950 onwards, and was artistic director for the Royal Swedish Ballet from 1963-64. He choreographed three works for the New York City Ballet. Tudor continued his teaching career as Professor of Ballet Technique at the Department of Dance, University of California, Irvine from 1973 (work curtailed by a serious heart condition), while rejoining American Ballet Theatre in 1974 as associate artistic director, creating The Leaves Are Fading and Tiller In the Fields, his last major work, in 1978. With Laing, he continued seasonal residence in Laguna Beach, California. Tudor was awarded a creative arts medal by Brandeis University, the Dance Magazine and Capezio awards, New York City's Handel Medallion, and both Kennedy Center and Dance/USA National Honors.[2] Tudor was inducted into the Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in 1988.

Martha Clarke is an American theater director and choreographer noted for her multidisciplinary approach to theatre, dance, and opera. A founding member of Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Crowsnest, Martha Clarke has choreographed for Nederlands Dans Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, and The Martha Graham Company, among others. As a director Ms. Clarke’s many original productions include Garden of Earthly Delights; Vienna: Lusthaus; Miracolo d’amore; Endangered Species; An Uncertain Hour; The Hunger Artist; and Vers La Flame. She directed the premiere of Christopher Hampton‘s Alice’s Adventures Underground at the Royal National Theatre in London. In opera, Ms. Clarke has directed The Magic Flute for the Glimmerglass Opera and the Canadian Opera Company; Cosi Fan Tutte for Glimmerglass; Tan Dun‘s Marco Polo for the Munich Biennale, the Hong Kong Festival, and the New York City Opera; and Gluck’s Orfeo and Eurydice for the English National Opera and New York City Opera. She directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream for The American Repertory Theatre and a new music/theatre work, Belle Epoque, based on the life of Toulouse-Lautrec at Lincoln Center Theatre. Kaos, an evening of Pirandello’s short stories presented at New York Theatre Workshop, was granted the first Tony Randall Foundation Award in 2006. Ms. Clarke is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Award in addition to fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation. She has received the Drama Desk Award, two Obie Awards and the LA Critics Award. In 2007, she received an NEA grant to re-envision Garden of Earthly Delights under a program dedicated to the remounting of American masterworks. It opened at the American Dance Festival and ran five months Off-Broadway. In 2010, Ms. Clarke received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement. Angel Reapers, a collaboration with Pulitzer prize-winner Alfred Uhry, toured New England with performances at The Joyce Theater in 2011. She created the full-evening work L’altra metá del cielo spring 2012 at La Scala Opera in Milan, Italy. She is the recipient of the 2013 Dance Magazine Award.

In 1935, what became 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Center provided a home to the fledgling American modern dance movement and its leader, Martha Graham. In the decades that followed, every great American dancer and choreographer – visionaries including Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille, Robert Joffrey and Donald McKayle – spent time at 92Y, building the foundation for modern dance as we know it. Through the generous support of the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Dance Center continues this proud tradition of dance teaching, creation and performance, serving the professional world and the community at large. Technique classes range from ballet and modern dance to hip-hop and Flamenco. Rounding out the program are several performance programs including the annual 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Festival; a professional development program for dance educators; and several teen dance troupes. For more information, please visit http://www.92y.org/dance.

92nd Street Y is a world-class nonprofit community and cultural center that connects people at every stage of life to the worlds of education, the arts, health and wellness, and Jewish life. Through the breadth and depth of 92Y’s extraordinary programs, we enrich lives, create community and elevate humanity. More than 300,000 people a year visit 92Y’s New York City venues, and millions more join us through the Internet, satellite broadcasts and other digital media. A proudly Jewish organization since its founding in 1874, 92Y embraces its heritage and enthusiastically welcomes people of all backgrounds and perspectives. For more information, visit www.92Y.org.

Now in its 38th Season, and invigorated by a recent move to St. Marks’ Church in-the-Bowery, NYTB has reinvented itself as New York’s downtown ballet company. With its ever-expanding repertory, NYTB's cutting edge programming brings fresh insight to classic revivals paired with the modern sensibilities of both established and up and coming choreographers. The diversity in repertory explores the past while boldly taking risks on the future. Performing in more intimate spaces, often to live music, brings the audience and the dance together for a personal experience. When reflecting on NYTB’s first season at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery in 2015, The New York Times said, “The members of Theater Ballet are not only refined dancers but also unaffected actors… they draw you in. The intimacy of the space only helped; the amplitude and honesty of their dancing has found its match in St. Mark’s Church.”

NYTB’s 2016-17 season will continue with:

New York Live Arts: Legends & Visionaries
219 W. 19th Street, NYC
Box Office: 212-924-0077, www.newyorklivearts.org
March 1-3, 2017 at 7:30pm, March 4 at 2pm and 7:30pm
The evenings include Nijinsky’s L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune staged by Ann Hutchinson Guest and danced by Steven Melendez. After seeing Mr. Melendez in performance, Ms. Guest thought he would be a perfect Faun and the ballet is being specially recreated for him.

Schimmel Center: Legends & Visionaries
Box Office: 212-346-1715, www.SchimmelCenter.org
April 28 and 29, 2017 at 7:30pm
Tickets: $29
The evenings will include a restaging of former NYTB resident choreographer Edward Henkel’s Revision, created in 1986 and the World Premiere of Misfit Movement Makers by Broadway choreographer Chase Brock set to indie-folk and folk-pop music with lyrics. “I see this new ballet as a millennial folk dance, a dance that will feel current without feeling contemporary,” said Mr. Brock.
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