Join us as we explore the theme of love through classic and innovative choreography that highlight the athleticism and passion of Atlanta Ballet’s dancers.
White Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake by Matthew Bourne
Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performed by guest artists Domenico Luciano and Dominic Walsh
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. 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.” 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. 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.
Wedding Night Pas de Deux from Madame Butterfly by Stanton Welch
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Arrangement by John Lanchbery
Atlanta Ballet is thrilled to present the quixotic wedding night pas de deux from Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly. Named a “showstopper” by AJC, the pas de deux is the romantic climax of one of the world’s greatest tragic love stories. The Telegraph called the piece “sexy and stunningly challenging.”
Prayer of Touch by Helen Pickett, Atlanta Ballet’s New Resident Choreographer
Music by Felix Mendelssohn
Making its world debut last season with Atlanta Ballet, Prayer of Touch was a crowd favorite that left audiences breathless with anticipation. According to Creative Loafing, “Helen Pickett… gives outrageously dramatic and humorous life to Mendelssohn violin music in Prayer of Touch.” Throughout the work, the dancers “struggle between the desire to touch and the fear of being touched, like flipped magnets, in a dance of attraction and repulsion” (ArtsATL).
Requiem for a Rose by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Music by Franz Schubert
Set to an achingly romantic and longing adagio by Schubert, Requiem for a Rose is passionate piece that blends contemporary staging with classical dance. Become mesmerized by the movements as the dancers are transformed into a garden of blossoming roses. Netherlands-based choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa presents a piece filled with “tender” moments that is “deftly and honestly crafted” (Dance View Times).
Images: White Swan pas de deux from Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. Performed by Domenico Luciano and Domenic Walsh. Photo courtesy of Domenic Walsh Dance Theater (dwdt.org).
Stanton Welch's Madame Butterfly. Featuring Tara Lee and Joe Roesner. Photo by Charlie McCullers.
Helen Pickett's Prayer of Touch. Featuring Peng-Yu Chen, Tara Lee, Jesse Tyler, and John Welker. Photo by Charlie McCullers.
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Requiem for a Rose. Performed by Ballet Austin. Photo by Tony Spielberg.
MATTHEW BOURNE (Choreographer, Swan Lake) is widely hailed as the UK’s most popular and successful choreographer/director. He is the creator of the world’s longest running ballet production, a five-time Olivier Award winner, and the only British director to have won the Tony Award for both Best Choreographer and Best Director of a Musical. Matthew started training to be a dancer at the comparatively late age of 22. He studied dance theatre and choreography at The Laban Centre, graduating in 1985 but spending a further year with the college’s performance company, Transitions. Matthew danced professionally for 14 years, creating many roles in his own work. In 1999, he gave his final performance playing The Private Secretary in the Broadway production of Swan Lake. Matthew Bourne was the artistic director of his first company, Adventures in Motion Pictures, from 1987 until 2002. During those 15 years AMP became the UK’s most innovative and popular dance/theatre company, creating an enormous new audience for dance with its groundbreaking work both at home and internationally. In 2002, Matthew launched hislatest company, New Adventures, with two highly successful productions. Play Without Words premiered as part of the National Theatre’s transformation season and went onto win Best Entertainment at that year’s Olivier Awards. It then embarked on a world tour and premiered in New York, Los Angeles, and Moscow in 2005. Matthew Bourne’s new production of Nutcracker! also premiered at Sadler’s Wells in 2002 and became an instant hit with audiences and critics, returning the following year for a second sell-out season. It became the first ballet to be screened by BBC1 in over 20 years and also embarked on a world tour. Other theatre and dance work includes As You Like It (RSC/John Caird), Children of Eden (West End/John Caird), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Aix en Provence/Robert Carsen), The Tempest (NYT), Show Boat (Malmo Stadsteater, Sweden), Peer Gynt (Barbican/Yukio Ninagawa), Watch With Mother (NYDC), Boutique and The Infernal Galop (Images of Dance), Watch Your Step (Irving Berlin Gala), French and Saunders Live in 2000 (UK tour), and Dearest Love (Ballet Boyz). To learn more about Matthew Bourne’s accomplishments, please visit new-adventures.net.
ANNABELLE LOPEZ OCHOA (Choreographer, Requiem for a Rose), half-Colombian, half-Belgian, completed her dance education at the Royal Ballet School of Flandersin Belgium. After a 12-year long professional dance career where she danced as a soloist for the Scapino Ballet, she decided in 2003 to focus her creative energies entirely on choreography. In that same year she was hailed “rising star of the Dutch dance scene” by 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.” Annabelle has so far created works for the Scapino Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Djazzex, Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Gothenburg Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, BalletX, BJM-Danse Montreal, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Ballet National de Marseille, Saarbrucken Ballet, Jacoby & Pronk, Chemnitzer Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Whim W’Him, IncolBallet de Colombia, Finnish National Ballet, CND Madrid, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Nacional Dominicano, Ballet Austin, and Augsburg Ballet. Ms. Lopez Ochoa has won several choreography awards in 2002 at the Hannover’s Choreographers Competition and in 2003 the First Prize and Public’s Prize with Replay at the International Choreographer’s Competition of Bornem. In the fall of 2007, she was selected to participate with the prestigious New York Choreographic Institute. Her production, A Streetcar Named Desire, which she created with theater director Nancy Meckler for the Scottish Ballet, was awarded with Best Classical Choreography by the Circle of Critics of the National Dance Award UK and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards for Best New Production and was nominated for a 2012 Olivier Award.
HELEN PICKETT (Choreographer, Prayer of Touch), born in San Diego, danced with William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt for 11 years. In 2005, Helen received her first choreographic commission, Etesian, from Mikko Nissinen, director of Boston Ballet. She was awarded the Fellowship Initiative Grant by New York Choreographic Institute in 2006. In the same year and through 2008, Helen choreographed for Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Louisville Ballet, and Ballet X. In 2007, Dance Magazine named Helen one of “25 to Watch.” From 2009 through 2011, Helen created new ballets for Royal Ballet of Flanders, Ballet West, Boston Ballet (two premieres), Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. In 2012 and 2013, her commissions include Atlanta Ballet, Dresden Ballet, Vienna State Opera, and Smuin Ballet. In 2009, Helen was one of the first choreographers to receive the Jerome Robbins Foundation’s New Essential Works Grant. As an actress and choreographer, she has collaborated with The Wooster Group and with installation video artists and filmmakers who include Eve Sussman, Toni Dove, and Laurie Simmons. In 2011, Helen earned a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Hollins University. 2012 marked the beginning of Helen’s choreographer in residence position with Atlanta Ballet! Please visit helenpickett.com for a full biography.
STANTON WELCH (Choreographer, Madame Butterfly), an acclaimed Australian choreographer, assumed the leadership of Houston Ballet, America’s fourth largest ballet company, as artistic director in July 2003. Since his arrival, Mr. Welch has transformed Houston Ballet by raising the level of classical technique, infusing the company with new energy, drive, and vision; introducing new works by distinguished choreographers to the repertoire; and attracting some of the world’s best coaches to Houston. He has created works for such prestigious international companies as Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet. In 1986 he began his training at the late age of seventeen, quickly winning a scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School. In 1989, he was engaged as a dancer with The Australian Ballet, where he rose to the rank of leading soloist, performing such principal roles as Des Grieux in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, Lensky in John Cranko’s Onegin, and many more. He has also worked with internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Jiří Kylían, Nacho Duato, and Maurice Béjart. In 1990, he received his first choreographic commission from the company, marking the beginning of a series of commissioned works over the next fourteen years and developing his diverse choreographic style. In 1995, Mr. Welch was named resident choreographer of The Australian Ballet. Mr. Welch has been extremely active internationally, receiving numerous commissions from the world’s leading companies. For Houston Ballet, he has choreographed fifteen works, including a spectacular new staging of Swan Lake (2006) and Rite of Spring (2013). He also has commissions from San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, BalletMet, Joffrey Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Moscow Dance Theatre, and Atlanta Ballet. Mr. Welch has also staged works for Colorado Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, The Royal Ballet School, Singapore Dance Theatre; Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Fugate/Bahiri Ballet NY.
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. 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.
DOMENICO LUCIANO (Guest Artist, Swan Lake), of Naples, Italy, joined Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in 2005. Having made his American debut with Tulsa Ballet in 2004, Mr. Luciano studied at the Teatro di San Carlo Ballet School in Naples and danced with various companies in Europe as a principal dancer, including Europadance in France, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Germany, Teatro Comunale in Florence, Teatro Dell’Opera in Rome, and Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. His repertoire includes many classical principal leads such as Romeo, Paris, and Benvolio in both Sir Kenneth MacMillan and John Cranko’s Romeo & Juliet; Solor in La Bayadere, The Prince in The Nutcracker, and Albrecht in Giselle, all by Derek Dean; In the Night by Jerome Robbins; Onegin in John Cranko’s Onegin; and Don Jose in Roland Petit’s Carmen with the National Ballet of China. Mr. Luciano also excels in his contemporary repertoire, which includes George Balanchine’s La Valse; Nacho Duato’s Jardi Tancat and Without Words; Carole Armitage’s Orfeo ed Euridice; and Mauro Bigonzetti’s Mediterranea. Also with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, he performed the American premiere of Bigonzetti’s Pression, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s Dicese, Jirí Kylián’s Double You and 27’52” (gala version), and Mats Ek’s Pas de Dans. In 2003, he received the Leonide Massine Award in Italy for Best Male Dancer of the Year, and, in October 2008, the Houston Press named him “Best Dancer.” Mr. Luciano was named one of 12 standout performers in 2009 by Pointe Magazine for his portrayal of the White Swan in the White Swan pas de deux from Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. He also received the “Young Italian Talent Award” in Florence in 2010.
DOMINIC WALSH (Guest Artist, Swan Lake), a principal dancer with Houston Ballet for over a decade, has received national and international praise for his interpretations of both classical and contemporary roles. Walsh burst onto the choreographic scene when he won the prestigious Choo-San Goh Award in 1998, and he is now hailed as a leading choreographer who is pushing the boundaries of ballet into new realms. He won a second Choo- San Goh Award in 2007 and received a 2008 Princess Grace Award. Walsh was recently named a winner of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s 2010 National Choreographic Competition, and he was the Audience Choice and Judge’s Award winner in Ballet Austin’s 2010 New American Talent Choreographic Competition. Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, launched by Walsh in 2002, is also racking up accolades and honors and was named “Best Dance Company” by the Houston Press. Dominic Walsh Dance Theater has built a stellar reputation for taking the techniques and skills of classical ballet into more inventive territory. The company’s diverse repertoire features works by Walsh and such iconic choreographers as Mauro Bigonzetti, Jiří Kylián, Matthew Bourne, and Mats Ek, and its roster includes dancers of the highest caliber. In addition to producing a Houston season of performances and educational programs that enliven the senses, the company tours the U.S. and Europe. With its unique mix of innovation and collaboration, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater is one of this country’s leading contemporary ballet companies.