Choreographer in Residence Update from Helen Pickett

I am so excited to write to lovers of this amazing art form about upcoming events.

Let’s start with The Exiled, which will premiere on May 16 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. This piece is a departure for the company, and me, in that it will feature text. The script, embedded within the ballet, will help tell the story of two individuals, The Reckoners, who have decided to take matters of justice into their own hands. They seek revenge on three individuals who must pay the price for their criminal actions. The justice handed down: an eternity spent in an unrelenting cycle of turmoil. They are The Exiled! (There will be more clues in the program notes!)

As the voyeurs, we, the audience, get a 25-minute glimpse of their ongoing, sometimes humorous, downward spiral. As the Reckoners say, “Perhaps it is a cautionary tale.”

The dancers, artistic staff, and I had a wonderful time making this piece. We worked on the text together, and, as always, the collaborative air gave breath to each and every role. The time I spend with Atlanta Ballet dancers is important for developing personal relationships so the art may flourish further. That is one of the great luxuries of being resident choreographer; the relationships unfold and fold in further every time we create together. This also marks my first collaboration with the famed lighting designer David Finn and our own very talented costume designer Tamara Cobus.

Later this month I will lead our first Choreographic Essentials Workshop in collaboration with Atlanta Ballet and Kennesaw State University. This educational workshop is an important aspect in my life because I seek to nurture future independent, freethinking, choice-making artists. The workshop focuses on developing a choreographic language and Forsythe Improvisation Technologies. The weeklong intensive results in a showing of participants’ work.

In March 2015, we will bring the curtain up on Camino Real, a ballet based on the play by Tennessee Williams. I have been working on this ballet for two years; researching and collaborating with the amazing team that will realize this ballet with me. This is my first full-length ballet, and I am thrilled to create it with Atlanta Ballet. One of the aspects I am most excited about is the creation of an original score by English composer Peter Salem! Peter joins three of the best in their fields: Sandra Woodall, costume designer; David Finn, lighting designer; and Ben Phillips, stage designer. Williams’ play is out of this world, literally, so pick up a copy.

Well, that is all from the front. I look forward to being in Atlanta again, my second home, and seeing all your faces in the audience. I wish you all wonderful days ahead. Please remember how enriched you are by the ballet and spread the word. We are all better people with dance in this world. And all of this would not be possible without John McFall, so many thanks to him!

My very best,

Helen Pickett
Choreographer in Residence
Atlanta Ballet

Helen Pickett and Company dancer John Welker. Photo by Charlie McCullers.