The return visit of Boston Ballet to our stage is long overdue. One of the world’s leading ballet companies, it continues to both uphold the classics and forge new projects under the inspired leadership of Mikko Nissinen. Mikko, who has a lovely Canadian connection in his illustrious career as former Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet, worked closely with us to develop this eclectic triple bill, one that showcases the dancers’ incredible range and talents alongside a spectrum of fantastic music.
Enjoy the world of NAC Dance!
Fancy Free (35 minutes)
Intermission (20 minutes)
ELA, Rhapsody in Blue (19 minutes)
Intermission (20 minutes)
Blake Works I (35 minutes)
Since 1963, Boston Ballet’s internationally acclaimed performances of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary ballets, combined with a dedication to world-class dance education and community initiatives, have made the institution a leader in its field.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Executive Director Meredith (Max) Hodges, the Company, made up of 69 dancers and 11 nationalities, performs a diverse and acclaimed repertoire ranging from full-length classical ballets, to masterworks by George Balanchine, and new works and world premieres by today’s finest contemporary choreographers including Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo, as well as William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, and Helen Pickett. Boston Ballet’s award-winning The Nutcracker, choreographed by Nissinen, is a tradition in New England.
In 2009, The New York Times hailed Boston Ballet’s repertoire as “one of the most eclectic in the country,” and in 2010 as having dancers that are “striking by national and international standards.” In 2016, Boston Ballet announced a long-term partnership with internationally-renowned choreographer William Forsythe and presented Forsythe’s full-length Artifact in February 2017 and the world premiere of Playlist (EP) in 2019.
The company performs its full season at the historic, 2,500-seat Citizens Bank Opera House and resides in a state-of-the-art facility in Boston’s South End designed by architect Graham Gund. Boston Ballet also has national and international touring engagements, including Paris, France (2019); Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center (2014); London, England (2013); Helsinki, Finland (2012); Spain (2010 and 2007); Ottawa, Canada (2010); and Seoul, Korea (2008).
Boston Ballet’s achievements, coupled with the generous and prestigious support of local and national funding sources, have brought Boston Ballet to the forefront of the international dance scene.
Boston Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following institutional partners:
Boston Cultural Council
The Boston Foundation
Klarman Family Foundation
Massachusetts Cultural Council
National Endowment for the Arts
With the NAC Orchestra
World Premiere: April 18, 1944, Ballet Theatre (now American Ballet Theatre)
Boston Ballet Premiere: May 10, 2012
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Music: Leonard Bernstein*
Scenic Design: Oliver Smith
Costumes: Kermit Love
Staging: Jean-Pierre Frohlich
Lighting Design: Les Dickert (based on original concepts by Ronald Bates)
Premiering in 1944, Fancy Free was the first ballet Jerome Robbins choreographed and his first collaboration with then up-and-coming composer Leonard Bernstein. The ballet depicts sailors on shore leave in New York City during the 1940s. Fancy Free immediately became a runaway hit and inspired their Tony Award-winning full-length musical On the Town. Boston Ballet premiered Fancy Free in 2012, which Karen Campbell of The Boston Globe described as “full of comic flair and brilliant choreography.”
* By arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Sole Agent for Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company LLC, publisher and copyright owner.
With the NAC Orchestra
World Premiere: Boston Ballet, May 16, 2019
Music: George Gershwin
Choreography: Paulo Arrais
Costumes: Mikko Nissinen
Lighting Design: Brandon Stirling Baker
Principal Dancer Paulo Arrais’ ELA, Rhapsody in Blue made its world premiere in 2019. Featuring a cast of 14 men and one central female dancer, the work is set to a jazzy and sultry score by George Gershwin with scenic and costume design by Nissinen. Inspired by his mother and other female influences, the ballet tells a deeply personal story of one woman’s experience of defying expectations and rising against the odds. Arrais hopes this ballet will generate conversation while celebrating powerful women everywhere.
World Premiere: July 4, 2016, Paris Opera Ballet, Palais Garnier, Paris, France
Boston Ballet Premiere: March 7, 2019
Choreography: William Forsythe
Music: James Blake*
Stage Design: William Forsythe
Costumes: William Forsythe and Dorothee Merg
Lighting Design: William Forsythe and Tanja Ruehl
Sound Design: Neils Lanz
Staging: Christopher Roman, Stefanie Arndt and Jill Johnson
Blake Works I is a work for 21 dancers set to music from GRAMMY®-nominated British musician James Blake’s album The Colour in Anything. According to Forsythe, the ballet is dedicated to all the teachers who have enabled us to see the joy in rigor. Premiered in 2016 for Paris Opera Ballet, Blake Works I was described as “sheer joy” by Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times.
* Performed by permission of The Robbins Rights Trust.
A Lasting Legacy
This performance is dedicated in memory of the late Patricia (Pat) Cordingley. Pat had a lengthy career in Global Affairs and travelled the world, but considered Ottawa her home. When she retired, Pat actively supported local and national cultural organizations – including the National Arts Centre Foundation – in the spirit of giving back for the opportunities she had during her lifetime.
Pat left a generous charitable gift in her Will to the National Arts Centre Foundation in support of the performing arts. The NAC is grateful for Pat’s legacy gift which will support performance, creation and learning well into the future.