Spotlight: Howard Sayette | Les Noces

Ballet West is so excited to have Howard Sayette with us helping our dancers with Les Noces (The Wedding), choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska. (Les Noces premieres in just over three weeks as part of Ballet West’s triple-bill The Wedding, playing from April 14-22!)

Howard Sayette has had a distinguished career as a dancer, teacher, and ballet master. In 1972, Sayette began a 25-year association as ballet master for the Oakland Ballet Company, one of the few companies in the world to revive and maintain many of the great ballets of the Diaghilev repertoire. Among those works were five ballets by Nijinsky’s sister, Bronislava Nijinska, with whom he worked as guest artist for the Buffalo Ballet in 1969. He has since staged Nijinska’s Les Noces and Les Biches for many companies around the world.

Artists of Ballet West and Howard Sayette | Photo by Beau Pearson

While working with the Ballet West, Sayette said Company dancers are learning quickly, even though Les Noces is challenging. “This ballet is so unique, so different than any other vocabulary for dancers,” said Sayette. “It’s hard to get the classicism out of their bodies and get into the ground and know that you don’t do anything in this ballet with the legs rotated out, even though the girls are on pointe.”

“The score is extremely difficult,” he continues. “It’s four pianos, percussion instruments, four solo singers, and a chorus, in the score of Stravinsky. Hardly any series of measures are the same . . . and there’s no melody for the dancers to follow.”

Thanks for joining us, Howard!

Ballet West II Dancer Anderson Duhan and Corps Artist Loren Walton with Howard Sayette | Photo by Beau Pearson