Learn more about spring program, “The Shakespeare Suite”

Three elegant and dynamic works grace the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre stage from April 13-21 for the Company’s spring repertory program. For his tenth anniversary, Artistic Director Adam Sklute has picked significant works that have shaped his career and love of ballet. The program opens with Jiří Kylián’s emotional and athletic Return to a Strange Land, followed by Merce Cunningham’s modern masterpiece, Summerspace. The program is headlined by David Bintley’s brilliant and comedic The Shakespeare Suite.

“This program is really a ‘Director’s Choice.’ The three works I am presenting are unexpected favorites that are theatrically and artistically brilliant in unique ways. A little gem, Return to a Strange Land was one of my favorite ballets to dance; Summerspace is a supreme collaboration of art, music, and dance; and The Shakespeare Suite delighted me from the moment I first saw it performed in England.”

After the great choreographer John Cranko’s premature death during a U.S. tour, Kylián and the Stuttgart Ballet described their arrival home without their mentor as a “return to a strange land.” The rumination became the title of Kylián’s tribute to his mentor featuring six dancers and a stage strewn with fallen leaves. The heart-rending work is set to a solo piano written by Czech composer Leoš Janáček.

Merce Cunningham frequently collaborated with visual artists, architects, designers, and musicians.  From Lichtenstein to Warhol, Cunningham worked with some of the most cutting-edge innovators of the 20th century. In 1958, he created Summerspace, which became indicative of his unique collaborative method. American painter and graphic artist Robert Rauschenberg designed the costumes and set, and Morton Feldman, one of America’s most important experimental composers, wrote the music. The three men worked entirely independent of one another, only seeing the ballet put together on the night of its premiere in New London, Connecticut. Ballet West becomes one of very few companies in the world to produce this fascinating exploration into movement, music, and art.

The program ends on a joyous note with British choreographer David Bintley’s The Shakespeare Suite. Intense, funny, and dynamic, the ballet is a series of pop-culture vignettes of Shakespeare plays, including Othello, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. The groundbreaking work is accompanied by an exuberant Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn jazz score.

With only seven performances of The Shakespeare Suite, tickets will sell quickly.  They are now available starting at just $20 online, at www.balletwest.org or by calling the Ballet West ticket office at (801) 869-6900.