Boston Ballet opens its 60th Season with all-modern FALL EXPERIENCE

Boston Ballet opens its 60th Season with FALL EXPERIENCE-  a program of 4 unique modern ballets.

The Company has been known for its work with  leading modern choreographers from different parts of the world, but I feel that this program is its most unique  to date.  The evening went by in the blink of an eye.

It started with most “classical” of the four-  Bach Cello Suites and  culminated with the most artistic chaos of the final scenes of the Vertical Road – the 4th piece of the evening.

Bach Cello Suites  (created by Boston Ballet’s resident choreographer Finnish-born Jorma Elo in 2018) is built on classical foundation; it features 10 dancers and a solo cellist performing onstage (a very accomplished Sergey Antonov).

Boston Ballet in Jorma Elo’s Bach Cello Suites, photo by Theik Smith, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Second piece– Trois Gnossiennes (by “grand master” Hans van Manen) is a  pas de deux   –  with a pianist on stage (Alex Foaksman)  performing Eric Satie’s work by the same name. It is arguably the most  “musical” piece of the evening (my favorite sound of the evening for sure), with clean and clear lines showcasing a “raw” interplay between music and movement.

Ji Young Chae and Patrick Yocum in Hans van Manen’s Trois Gnossiennes, photo by Theik Smith, courtesy of Boston Ballet

In the  first intermission of the Opening Night I had a chance to chat briefly with (Principal Dancer) Viktorina Kapitonova who danced in Bach Cello Suites (on Friday night she also danced in Trois Gnossiennes)-(follow this link for full casting details).

Viktorina acknowledged a great physical challenge of modern ballet’ “larger and deeper movements”.  “Dancing in different styles enriches and gives [dancer] an opportunity to grow”.  In Cello Suites, “Music and choreography become one for me, but sometimes it is a play [of these elements] with each other”.  “Each time [I perform it] I feel differently and my dance gets different color of the same choreography”,  she noted, still very visibly inspired by the performance

Chatting with Principal Dancer Viktorina Kapitonova during intermission

Third piece is a world premiere of Form and Gesture by Boston Ballet’s artist My’kal Stromile – it follows a pause (not a full intermission) and I feel like nothing can fully “prepare” the audience for what’s to come (except that the Company dancers are quite ready to take you there!).   This ballet is about the interplay of FORM (physicality) and GESTURE (expression) – with the help of innovative stage design and  creative costuming.

For this debut piece, I wanted to create something that was both bold and accessible, that would challenge the audience while still allowing them to connect emotionally with the dancers and the music. I have drawn on a range of influences, from classical ballet to contemporary dance, to create a style that is uniquely my own,” said Stromile.

Chisako Oga and Derek Dunn in My’Kal Stromile’s Form and Gesture, photo by Theik Smith, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Final ballet – Vertical Road (Reimagined) is also a premiere (by Akram Khan) (Boston Ballet is the first American company to dance his work).  This piece has more of a story line: in his exploration of human nature and rituals, Khan was inspired by Persian poet and philosopher Rumi.   “It is about ritual, it is about process, it is about the labor of human movement to try and reach a place, where the movement eventually arrives at stillness. Because in stillness, the real movement begins, which calls upon the inner movement of our soul,” said Khan.

Each of 12 cast members has been dedicated to this piece (and no other rehearsal work) for over 6 weeks of rehearsals to promote greater connection with it.

Vertical Road is truly mesmerizing to watch, you can’t take your eyes off the stage as you are being led into some unusual places of your imagination; but wait… for the final accords…(not spoiling!)

Boston Ballet in Akram Khan’s Vertical Road (Reimagined) 2023, photo by Theik Smith, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Fun fact: Akram Khan choreographed and danced (with his company) at the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Fun fact 2: My’kal Stromile is dancing in Bach Cello Suits (follow this link for full casting details).

All performances of Fall Experience take place at the Citizens Bank Opera House. There are two intermissions. For tickets and other information go toBoston Ballet’s site (use code BBTIX40 for $40 tickets for all programs this season). 

Remaining Performances:

Thursday, Oct 12 at 7:30 pm
Friday, Oct 13 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, Oct 14 at 1:30 and 7:30 pm
Sunday, Oct 15 at 1:30 pm


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