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Atlanta Ballet Gennadi Nedvigin | Artistic Director

Atlanta Ballet Gennadi Nedvigin | Artistic Director

Heart/Beat

Heart/Beat

Gospel, Brubeck & Rhythms of the City

Juliana Missano and Jonathan Philbert. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

February 7-15, 2020 Heart/Beat

  • Elemental Brubeck Choreography by Lar Lubovitch
  • Music by Dave Brubeck
  • Tuplet Choreography by Alexander Ekman
  • Music by Mikael Karlsson & Victor Feldman ("Fly Me to the Moon")
  • Sunrise Divine Choreography by Dwight Rhoden
  • Arrangement and Original Music by Kevin Johnson
  • Special Musical Guests Members of the Spelman College Glee Club, Golden Gate Singers, Lydia Pace, and more

The sweeping rhythms and infectious energy of jazz music intertwine the three works making their Atlanta Ballet debuts in February.


In Lar Lubovitch’s Elemental Brubeck, swaying hips, and breathtaking leaps and turns channel the iconic style of Dave Brubeck's rhythmically complex music. "A toe tapping good time, provides “a festive, knockout display, joyously evoking some of the greatest moments of American dance on film…” (The San Francisco Chronicle).

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Alexander Ekman returns with Tuplet, an explosive and inventive work. Using the dancers bodies as percussion instruments, they create their own driving tempos that, when intermixed with popular jazz standards and an original electronic track, create an immersive, multi-sensory experience.


Dwight Rhoden's world premiere contemporary ballet, Sunrise Divine, is set to beloved Negro spirituals, gospel songs, and newly composed music. Themes of faith, devotion, love and loss power the movement as the ballet explores a universal message of humanity and compassion. A collaborative new work set to music that expresses the heart and soul of the African-American experience. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Venue
    Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

    The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is the first major performing arts facility built in metro Atlanta in four decades.

    Location and Parking
    The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is located in northwest Atlanta near the junction of I-75 and I-285, at the intersection of Cobb Galleria Parkway and Akers Mill Road.  Pre-paid parking is available for $12.00 through Parking Panda and AAA Parking for performances. Please note: the pre-paid parking option allows you a parking spot in the parking deck, not necessarily an assigned space. Day of parking will still be available for $10.00 (cash or credit). Valet parking is available for The Atlanta Opera and Atlanta Ballet only for $15.00 (cash or credit card). Please do not park in the LA Fitness lot on Akers Mill Rd. This is not approved parking for the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, so your car may be booted or towed if left there. Click here for dining, hotel, and additional venue information.

    Emergency Phone Number
    The 24-hour public safety number for the Cobb Energy Centre is 770.916.2911. Please leave your seat location with your babysitter or answering service so that the house manager may find you in case of an emergency.

    Special Needs
    The venue is ADA compliant. Designated seats in various locations are available for guests with disabilities and those needing special assistance. The venue is equipped with wheelchair accessible courtesy phones, elevators, plaza ramps, wheelchair accessible ticket windows, and wheelchair accessible drinking fountains.  For more information, please call 770.916.2800.

  • Group Discounts

    Community and Corporate Group Tickets

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    Click here for details and to submit a request to Group Sales Manager Myredith Gonzales.

  • Audience Reviews

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  • Seating Chart

    Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

  • Reviews
  • Video

    Lar Lubovitch's "Elemental Brubeck" | Atlanta Ballet

    Alexander Ekman's "Tuplet" | Atlanta Ballet

    Dwight Rhoden's "Sunrise Divine" | Atlanta Ballet

  • Tuplet Choreographer & Designers

    Photo by Ann Ray.

    ALEXANDER EKMAN (Choreographer) is an international choreographer and director creating pieces for opera houses, theatres and museums. He also directs films and music videos, as well as live performances in pop-up locations. Ekman is known for his fast-paced timing, witty humor and clever transitions. He aims to create work with which the majority can relate and connect. Since 2006, he has devoted his time to creating pieces that both entertain and question the observer. He aims to transform the atmosphere in the audience and to always surprise and entertain the audience. Around 50 dance companies worldwide have performed pieces by Ekman, such as Royal Swedish Ballet, Cullberg Ballet, Compania Nacional de Danza, Goteborg Ballet, Iceland Dance Company, Bern Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance, Ballet de l’Opera du Rhin, The Norwegian National Ballet, Boston Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Sydney Dance Company, The Royal Ballet of Denmark and Vienna Ballet. He has also created for festivals such as the French Europa Danse and the Athens International Dance Festival.
    To learn more about Ekman’s work, follow him on Instagram (@Ekman) or visit alexekman.com.

    “A master of comic timing” - Financial Times

    “Playful and humane…humor, style, and charm” - The

    Village Voice

    “Silly, clever and knowing” - The Guardian

    “Brilliant!” – The New York Times

    “Witty, effervescent, playful, surreal and joyously physical” -

    The Australian

    ANA MARIA LUCACIU (Stager) was born in Bucharest, Romania. After graduating from the National Ballet School of Canada, she joined Canada’s National Ballet and went on to dance with the Royal Danish Ballet, Augsburg Ballet (Germany), The Portuguese Contemporary Dance Company (Lisbon) and, most recently, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in New York, where she danced for seven years. Lucaciu has performed and created works with contemporary dance’s foremost choreographers, including Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, Hofesh Shechter, Jiři Kylian, Alexander Ekman, Jo Stromgren, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and many others. Holder of a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from Empire State College, she collaborates and performs with a wide range of artists and companies, and she freelances as a dancer and choreographer in her own right. Lucaciu teaches ballet, contemporary and improvisation workshops at professional programs and dance companies across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Lucaciu assisted Crystal Pite on the Polaris Project at New York City Center. She currently assists Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman with new creations and stages his work around the world.

  • Elemental Brubeck Choreographer

    Photo by New York City Dance Project.

    LAR LUBOVITCH (Choreographer) is one of America’s most versatile, popular, and widely seen choreographers. He founded the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in 1968. Over the past 50 years, the company has gained an international reputation as one of America’s top dance companies. Celebrated for both its choreographic excellence and its unsurpassed dancing, the company has created more than 120 new dances and performed before millions throughout the United States and in more than 40 foreign countries. The company’s dances have also been performed by many other major companies throughout the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Joffrey Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, and many others.  For ice-dancing, Lubovitch has created works for Olympians, including John Curry, Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Brian Orser, JoJo Starbuck, and Paul Wylie, and he has created feature-length ice-dance specials for television: “The Planets” for A&E (nominated for an International Emmy Award, a Cable Ace Award, and a Grammy Award) and “The Sleeping Beauty” for PBS and Anglia TV, Great Britain.  His work for theater and film includes Sondheim/ Lapine’s Into the Woods (Tony Award nomination), The Red Shoes (Astaire Award), the Tony Award-winning revival of The King and I on Broadway and in London’s West End, Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame in Berlin, and Robert Altman’s movie The Company (American Choreography Award). In 2016, he premiered a new dance based on the Pushkin poem, “The Bronze Horseman,” for the Mikhailovsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia. Together with Jay Franke, in 2007 Lubovitch created and curated the Chicago Dancing Festival, launched in collaboration with the City of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art.  For 10 seasons, the festival presented five days of performances taking place in four major theatres in downtown Chicago, and featured a national roster of leading American dance companies. The festival was seen every August by an audience of 20,000 people and was presented entirely free to the public. In 2007, he was named Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, and in 2008 he was similarly named by Chicago Magazine. In 2011, he was designated a Ford Fellow by United States Artists and also received the Dance/USA Honors Award. In 2012, his dance “Crisis Variations” was awarded the Prix Benois de la Danse for outstanding choreography at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. In 2013, the American Dance Guild honored him for lifetime achievement, and in 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by The Juilliard School in New York City. In 2016, he received the Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement and the Dance Magazine Award; he was named one of America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures by the Dance Heritage Coalition; and he was appointed a Distinguished Professor of Dance at UC/Irvine. In honor of his company's 50th anniversary, in 2018 he was presented with the Martha Graham Award for lifetime achievement.

  • Sunrise Divine Choreographer, Designers & Musicians

    DWIGHT RHODEN (Choreographer) established a remarkably wide-ranging career, earning distinction from The New York Times as “one of the most sought out choreographers of the day.” In 1994, Rhoden co-founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet with legendary dancer Desmond Richardson. Rhoden has created over 80 ballets for Complexions, as well as pieces for numerous other companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Arizona, The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BalletMet, The Dance Theater of Harlem, Colorado Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, New York City Ballet, Ballet Nice, The Pennsylvania Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet Principals, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Rome Opera Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, The Washington Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, among others. In addition, Rhoden has also directed and choreographed performances for shows across a range of media, including “So You Think You Can Dance,” E! Entertainment’s “Tribute to Style,” Amici Dance Theatre Company, and Cirque Du Soleil’s Zumanity, “The Great Gatsby,” and various feature films. He has collaborated with and created works for a number of celebrated artists, including Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Kelly Clarkson, ELEW, David Rozenblatt, Nicholas Payton, The Drifters, Paul Simon, Billy Strayhorn, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, U2, David Bowie and Stevie Wonder. Rhoden is a recipient of various honors and awards including the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Award, and induction into the NYFA Hall of Fame, The Choo San Goh Award for Choreography and The Ailey School’s Apex Award. Rhoden recently received an honorary doctorate degree from the Boston Conservatory in recognition of his extensive contributions to the field of dance.

    CHRISTINE DARCH (Costume Designer) has designed for Complexions Contemporary Ballet since 2006. She has designed and built costumes and sets for choreographers Julia Adam, Jennifer Archibald, Marc Brew, Val Caniparoli, Alison Cook Beatty, Robert Dekkers, Jorma Elo, Nicolo Fonte, Jodie Gates, Adam Hougland, Jae Man Joo, James Kudelka, Gabrielle Lamb, Edwaard Liang, Stephen McMahon, Matthew Neenan, David Palmer, Gina Patterson, Brian Reeder, Amy Seiwert, Merian Soto and Septime Webre. Ms. Darch has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey, Astana Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Axis, Ballet Arizona, Ballet Hawaii, Ballet Memphis, Charlotte Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Houston Ballet, Imagery, Israel Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Madco, Marin Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Le Ballet Nice Mediterranee, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Post:Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, The Washington Ballet and BalletX. She lives in East Northport, N.Y., with acclaimed classical American ballet composer Matthew Pierce.

    KEVIN JOHNSON (Music Director), associate professor of music at Spelman College, is a renowned musician, composer and active clinician. He has traveled throughout the United States and Europe providing choral workshops, master classes, seminars and retreats for music educators and churches. He currently the Minister of Music at The Catholic Church of St. Gabriel in Fayetteville, Georgia. His works have resulted in performances for church and school choruses, All-State Choral festivals, Catholic Archdioceses nationwide, as well as international performances with the Spelman College Glee Club. In March 2016, Dr. Johnson led the Glee Club in performance for President Barack Obama at the White House and completed a 2019 performance with the Glee Club in Lisbon, Portugal.Dr. Johnson is an active composer, frequently writing for Catholic worship. He provides an extensive catalog, including seven mass settings, over 300 psalm settings and many sacred songs. In 2013, he completed his second compact disc recording for Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Atlanta entitled, “Reap a Harvest in Due Season: A Treasury of African American Catholic Music.” This work includes his nine compositions and other favorite songs of the church. Under his direction, the Spelman College Glee Club has recorded six compact disc recordings and over twenty recording of the Christmas Carol concert which celebrated its 92nd year in December 2018.As a professional composer, Dr. Johnson, has been commissioned to compose several works, including: “A Choice to Change the World” and We Are Christmas” (commissioned by Spelman College), “The Mass of Faith” (commissioned by Father John Adamski), “The Preacher’s Mass” (commissioned by the Dominican Friars), The Mass of St. Benedict the African (commissioned by the Archdiocese of Chicago) and “The Mass of St. Peter Claver” (commissioned by the Knights of Peter Claver). “The Mass of St. Peter Claver” premiered at an anniversary Mass where the Archbishop of Atlanta, Wilton D. Gregory, celebrated his performance.Dr. Johnson has been published under the Colla Voce, GIA Publications and Treble Clef Press. He continues to publish most of his music through his very own publishing company, Lion and Lamb Publishing. His publications include: “We Are Christmas,” “Steal Away,” “Glory to God,” “Psalms for The Church Year Volumes I, II and III” and many more.

    Golden Gate Singers

    Performers

    Soloists

    Prologue       Kevin T. Johnson

    Prologue         Ryanne Johnson

    "Deep River"   Ann-Marie McPhail

    "Steal Away"   Hanan Davis

    "Wade in the Water"     Julia Dennis

    "When the Battle is Over" Clarke Brown

    "Hallelujah'       Lydia Pace


    Quartet

    Byron Cummings, D’Angelo Crosby,  Kevin T. Johnson and Ryanne Johnson

    The Golden Gate Singers

    Nicole Boddington   Cynthia Ford

    Brittney Boykin         Ryanne Johnson

    Clarke Brown       Kevin T. Johnson

    Hanan Davis Brooke Joynes

    Julia Dennis   Ann-Marie McPhail Chatiqua Ellison   Valentine Willamson
     

    The Spelman College Glee Club

    Desirae Banks   Nadya Lopez

    Lauryn Banks           Shelby Marcee

    Avery Berkley           Elaine Ransom

    Elaina Blake     Shelby Richardson

    Bria Brumfield Faith Shannon

    Stephanie Crawford       Aiyana Thompson

    Imani Diggs           Sparkle Trotter

    Anetha Evans       Kristyn Wilkerson

    Tyler Jennings

    Band

    Conductor, Piano   Dr. Kevin P. Johnson

    Keyboards       Reginald Watkins

    Drums   Kevin Leahy

    Drums & Percussion           L’Dante Brown

    Guitar       Kevin T. Johnson

    Bass and Keyboards         Whatley

  • Program Notes

    PROGRAM NOTES

    Elemental Brubeck

    Music by Dave Brubeck
    Choreography by Lar Lubovitch

    “One of the reasons I believe in jazz is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It’s the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It’s the first thing you hear when you’re born — or before you’re born — and it’s the last thing you hear.”

    —Dave Brubeck

    That sense of oneness carries through the music and movement of Elemental Brubeck. Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times described the work as “breezy, fluid and engaging…[the dancers] seem enchanted with the easy invention of their movement.” Sulcas goes on to say that, “creating such a piece is, in fact, no mean feat; that Mr. Lubovitch can make it look so effortless says much.”

    Lar Lubovitch is a prolific and celebrated choreographer having created more than 100 dances for his company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, along with numerous works for other ballet companies including American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Canada. He was nominated for a Tony Award© for his musical staging of Into the Woods in 1987.

    Speaking to Marina Harss of The New York Times about the movement he creates, Lubovitch said, “My style of movement is very fluid. I always knew that one step had to come out of another, with a sense of inevitability. All of the movement comes out of itself and delivers the next idea.”

    The music for Elemental Brubeck is from the album “Time Changes” released in 1964 by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. The title of the album refers to time signatures, winking at Brubeck’s notoriety for exploring time signatures beyond the traditional 3/4 and 4/4. Brubeck’s most famous work, “Take Five,” was written in 5/4 time and was included on his album “Time Out,” the first jazz album to sell over one million copies.

    Brubeck was famous for being forward thinking, pushing jazz into new, polyrhythmic territory and forgoing profitable gigs in the 1950s when southern college deans refused to allow him to perform with a racially mixed band.

    Premiere:  July 5, 2005, San Francisco Ballet, Summers of Dance festival, Paris, France.

    Tuplet

    Music and Sound by Mikael Karlsson
    Choreography by Alexander Ekman

    Alexander Ekman danced with the Royal Swedish Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theatre II and Cullberg Ballet before committing full time to choreography at the age of 21. Now 15 years into his choreographic career, 50 ballet companies around the world have performed his works.

    In addition to his wry wit, Ekman is known for reshaping the space of the stage.  Whether that is through the use of platforms and squares of light, as you may have seen when

    Atlanta Ballet performed his Cacti, or if it is by constructing an actual lake on stage as he did with The Norwegian National Ballet for Swan Lake, the effect is transformative.

    In Tuplet, Ekman dives into the concept of rhythm. The score by Ekman’s longtime collaborator, Mikael Karlsson, includes the dancers using their own bodies as percussive instruments.

    Although many critics comment on the humor in his work, Ekman told Valerie Lawson of DanceTabs, “I never go into the studio trying to make a funny work. The audience laughs just as people sometimes laugh at an uncomfortable situation, or when they relate to a moment in their lives that they see on stage.”

    In another interview, Ekman spoke about what inspires him, “I think I try to create things which the majority of us can relate to as people. My goal is always to reach out to the observer.”

     Premiere:  2012, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, The Joyce Theater, New York, New York.

    Sunrise Divine

    A World Premiere
    Arrangement and Original Music by Kevin Johnson
    Choreography by Dwight Rhoden

    After an illustrious career performing with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballet Jazz De Montreal, and as a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), Dwight Rhoden co-founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet with fellow AAADT principal Desmond Richardson. Complexions Contemporary Ballet is currently celebrating their 25th anniversary. In addition to choreographing for Complexions, Rhoden has created ballets for The Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, among others.

    Sunrise Divine is Dwight Rhoden’s first work created on Atlanta Ballet. Rhoden is clear that every one of his ballets is unique to the dancers who are a part of the creation process. Thus, he has earned a reputation of being a “dancer’s choreographer.”

    For this piece, Rhoden collaborated with Dr. Kevin Johnson, associate professor and director of the Spelman College Glee Club, on the score. Dr. Johnson arranged gospel songs and composed new music for this ballet that Rhoden has called, “a dance for the soul.”

    For Sunrise Devine, 16 Atlanta Ballet dancers will share the stage with more than 20 musicians and vocalists including a special appearance by Lydia Pace of The Anointed Pace Sisters.

    Premiere:  February 7, 2020, Atlanta Ballet, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Casting
  • Previews

    Atlanta Ballet and Alvin Ailey: Different paths, common goal

    By Cynthia Perry, For the AJC

    World premiere of ‘Sunrise Divine,’ Atlanta debut of ‘Greenwood’ coincide with Black History Month

    Two major dance companies take very different approaches to the topic of race in productions debuting on Atlanta stages in February.

    In preparation, a diverse group of dancers gathered in an Atlanta Ballet studio last month as a recorded choir sang, “Hal-le-lu-jah” — each syllable a crisp note skipping down a harmonious scale. The music grew louder and faster as several men carried dancer Jessica Assef along a diagonal path, her form an arabesque with one pointe gliding boldly along the floor. With a surge in the score, they vaulted her overhead as she reached a lithe leg to the rafters. Others emerged from the gathering throng, one exultant lift bursting out of another to a driving gospel beat.

    Dance Magazine livestream (January 30, 2020) of an exclusive in-studio rehearsal with Dwight Rhoden.

    Live Rehearsal Alert! Here’s a glimpse of Dwight Rhoden - Choreographer’s world premiere of “Sunrise Divine” for Atlanta Ballet - a powerful collaboration of ballet and music with gospel songs performed by Spelman College Glee Club and other local artists.

    Atlanta Ballet to present "Heart/Beat: Gospel, Brubeck & Rhythms of the City"

    By Sally Henry

    Atlanta Ballet’s February programs will bring a rich combination of Gospel and jazz music as the company premieres Alexander Ekman’s Tuplet, Lar Lubovitch’s Elemental Brubeck, and Sunrise Divine, a unique fusion of live song and dance by Dwight Rhoden. Featuring original music by Kevin Johnson and performed live by members of Spelman College Glee Club, it also features Golden Gate Singers, Lydia Pace of the Anointed Pace Sisters and more.