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Atlanta Ballet ends season with 'Love Stories' | Arts & Culture

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Atlanta Ballet ends season with 'Love Stories'
Arts & Culture
Atlanta Ballet ends season with 'Love Stories'

ATLANTA – For its 12-13 season finale, Atlanta Ballet explores the theme of love through both classic and innovative choreography. Highlighting the athleticism and passion of Atlanta Ballet’s dancers, these performances find new meaning in the world’s greatest love stories. Love Stories will feature the Atlanta Ballet premiere of “Requiem for a Rose” by choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and the return of “Prayer of Touch” by Atlanta Ballet’s new resident choreographer Helen Pickett. The program will also feature the White Swan pas de deux from choreographer Matthew Bourne’s revolutionary “Swan Lake” – regarded as a modern day classic since its world premiere in 1995.

Atlanta Ballet Premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “Requiem for a Rose”  - Music by Franz Schubert

In the tradition of introducing its audiences to the pioneers and trailblazers in dance, Atlanta Ballet brings another strong choreographic voice to its stage with the premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “Requiem for a Rose.”

Set to an achingly romantic and longing adagio by Schubert, “Requiem for a Rose” is a zealous work that explores the transient nature of love. The dynamic piece envisions 12 dancers as a bouquet of roses, with bold and fluid movement hinging on a single heartbeat. Dance ViewTimes described the ballet as a piece filled with “tender” moments that is “deftly and honestly crafted.”

The Belgian-Colombian choreographer began her dance making career in 2003 after 12 years as a professional dancer for Holland’s Scapino Ballet. In that same year she was hailed as a “rising star of the Dutch dance scene” (NRC newspaper) and, only 7 years later, the Temecula Performing Arts Examiner wrote: “Ochoa is truly a masterful choreographer with an edge for what dance can and should be in this constantly changing industry.”

Encore Presentation of Helen Pickett’s “Prayer of Touch” – Music by Felix Mendelssohn

Atlanta Ballet’s new resident choreographer Helen Pickett will present an encore presentation of her “Prayer of Touch” after an overwhelming response to its world premiere last season. “’Prayer of Touch’ is one of the most exciting new ballet works I have seen lately, and should appeal to anyone who likes to watch dance,” said Backstage Beat writer Amy Howton. “Pickett’s choreography is expertly crafted, clever, smart, whimsical, witty, daring, and humorous.” Creative Loafing reviewer Andrew Alexander also praised Pickett’s “Prayer:” “Helen Pickett… gives outrageously dramatic and humorous life to Mendelssohn violin music in ‘Prayer of Touch.’”

Wedding Night Pas de Deux from Stanton Welch’s “Madame Butterfly” – Music by Giacomo Puccini

One of the most romantic, heart-stopping duets from Australian choreographer Stanton Welch’s “Madame Butterfly” will also be included on Atlanta Ballet’s Love Stories program. Named a “showstopper” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the pas de deux, set to the rich score of Giacomo Pucinni, is the romantic climax of one of the world’s greatest tragic love stories – the tale of a young geisha’s love for an American naval officer and his ultimate betrayal.  The Telegraph called the piece “sexy and stunningly challenging.” The full work was premiered by Atlanta Ballet in 2002.

Atlanta Premiere of Matthew Bourne’s White Swan Pas de Deux from his Blockbuster, All –Male “Swan Lake” – Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Performed by Guest Artists Dominic Walsh and Domenico Luciano)

For the first time ever, Atlanta audiences will have the opportunity to witness one of the biggest sensations in modern dance – the centerpiece duet from British choreographer Matthew Bourne’s Tony Award-winning “Swan Lake.”

Bourne, who is widely praised as the UK’s most popular and successful choreographer, debuted the almost all-male “Swan Lake” in 1995 – eschewing tradition and turning the ballet world on its head. The ballet has toured steadily since, playing to more people than any other ballet in modern stage history. It’s the longest running ballet on Broadway, and in 2011 it reached an even broader audience when it was released in select theaters as a 3-D movie.

Bourne’s avant-garde interpretation of “Swan Lake” tells the timeless story of ill-fated, forbidden love with dynamic modern day flair. New York Times dance critic Gia Kourlas described the ballet as “a painterly exploration of desire told through dance.” The ballet was called "a miracle" in a Time Out New York review. 

For Atlanta’s premiere, the White Swan pas de deux will be performed by guest artists Domenico Luciano and Dominic Walsh of Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre (DWDT) in Houston, TX. DWDT first performed the duet in 2009 and is the only company outside of Bourne’s own that has been permitted to perform the work.

“Experiences like these are what we live for at Atlanta Ballet,” said Atlanta Ballet artistic director John McFall. “Matthew Bourne’s ‘Swan Lake’ is a choreographic masterpiece. It’s astoundingly inventive and quite simply genius, and we are lucky to have the chance to present a moment of this work to our audiences. We look forward to this opening the door to bring more of Bourne’s work to Atlanta.”

Atlanta Ballet’s Love Stories runs for four performances Mother’s Day weekend, Friday, May 10 through Sunday, May 12, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre - 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339. Tickets start as low as $20 and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit www.atlantaballet.com or call 404-892-3303.

Arts & Culture