The unsigned editorial from the performance program notes.
“It seems extraordinary now, when every town has a ballet school and every little girl has a tutu in her dress-up drawer, that there was a time when ballet was largely unknown in America.”
Early in her beautiful book, Victoria Tennant makes this observation in a section that recounts her mother’s teenage journey as a Russian artist touring in America.
Then, toward the end of the book, packaged alongside a picture of an aged-but-still-stunning Baronova posing with a tutu-and-tiara-clad young girl, comes these words from Baronova herself.
“It gives me, personally, a lot of satisfaction to feel that my work helped introduce audiences to ballet and made them like it. So, there is a piece of me in all the companies that have since sprung up. The work was not in vain. I achieved something, not just for myself, but for the Art that I love and for the future generations of youngsters coming after me.”
Victoria’s book is not only a loving testament to the life of an artist, a daughter’s tribute to the mother who inspired her, but an incredibly important record of an essential evolution in the art of performance, documenting a significant time period in the history of dance in this country and abroad.
She’s an exceptional storyteller. And tonight, we have the extreme pleasure of welcoming her to the stage to share her stories with us.
Victoria will immerse us in her mother’s journey and her own journey of discovery as she embarked upon the creation of this book, mining a treasure trove of images, stories and memories carefully preserved and left behind by her famous mother.
Many programs on our season this year explore this notion of the art of archive, the potency and beauty there is to be found in the words and images from the past.
The story behind the story, Victoria’s tale, is as powerful as the story of her mother’s incredible life and work.
We’re very proud to have her with us, to share personal and vivid memories of a woman beloved by the public, and to remind us of the great spirit, tenacity, generosity and lasting influence of an artist who came before.
Two nights, four choreographers and one thrilling dance company.
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet wowed UCLA Live audiences in 2009 and we’re bringing this leading modern dance company back for two very special programs.
The company is known not just for its dancers’ daring, athletic movement but for its ongoing commitment– led by Artistic Director Benoit-Swan Pouffer– to seek out, commission and perform work from the most accomplished and interesting choreographers working today.
We’re pleased to present West Coast premieres of new pieces created for the company by some of the brightest stars in contemporary dance—Regina Van Berkel, Crystal Pite and Alexander Ekman. The company will also perform a work Hofesh Shechter created for Cedar Lake in 2010 and another Ekman work.
REGINA VAN BERKEL—Cedar Lake brings Simply Marvel from the Netherlands-based choreographer, who received her ballet training at Nederlands Dans Theater and danced from 1993 to 2000 with William Forsythe as a permanent member of his Ballett Frankfurt. Since then she has created original ballets for such companies as Pretty Ugly Ballet of Freiburg, Tanz Performance of Cologne, Nederlands Dans Theater, Göteborg Ballet and more, including commissions from Holland Dance Festival, Steps Festival and Weimar Arts Festival.
Simply Marvel is a contrasting work. Poetic duos and trios of dancers traverse chaotic movement and cautious transitions. The piece pairs van Berkel with her frequent collaborator Dietmar Janeck in lighting and set design. Van Berkel, as with all her work, is also the costume designer.
Cedar Lake will perform Simply Marvel on both Friday April 27 and Saturday April 28.
CRYSTAL PITE— Cedar Lake premiered the acclaimed Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue in 2008 (including a performance on the UCLA Live season) and now presents the West Coast debut of Pite’s newest work created for the company, Grace Engine.
Set in a narrative framework, Pite approaches the human experience as a series of movements along a timeline. The dancing contains flashes of recognizable narrative, as if the body itself is a cinematic device, capable of jump cuts, flashbacks and montage.
Pite’s home company in Vancouver, Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM is the resident company of Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt, Germany. She is a former company member of Ballet British Columbia and Ballett Frankfurt and was resident choreographer at Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal from 2001-2004.
Cedar Lake performs Grace Engine on the Friday April 27 program.
ALEXANDER EKMAN—Ekman’s approach to modern choreography layers spoken word into his creative m ix. That was the case with his 2010 work for Cedar Lake, Hubbub and also with his new piece, Tuplet. The company presents the West Coast premiere of Tuplet on Saturday April 28 and will also perform Hubbub on Friday April 27.
Swedish-born Ekman, who began his career at age 16 dancing with the Royal Swedish Ballet, is known for his clever ideas, fast-paced choreography and the abundance of humor he infuses into his work. For Tuplet, the award-winning choreographer also developed a music score created in collaboration with the dancers rhythmic impulses and using their own bodies as percussion instruments–the sound integrated with original electronic music by Mikael Karlsson. It is a swift and pulsating work for six dancers.
Ekman says he created the dance in a style specific to the agile and forceful Cedar Lake dancers.
“The dancers move fast, the creation came fast, and the overall velocity of this company shaped the power, drive and rhythm of the piece,” he says.
HOFESH SHECHTER—Saturday April 28 Cedar Lake reprises its second commissioned work from the London-based, Israeli-born rising star of dance, Hofesh Shechter. In Violet Kid Shechter continues his unique examinations of man’s struggle for harmony within a complex and sometimes horrifying universe, set to profound and precise movement and a score composed by the choreographer.
Batsheva alum and winner of the Critic’s Circle National Dance Award for Best Choreography (modern) in 2008, Hofesh Shechter is fast becoming recognized as one of the U.K.’s most exciting artists.
Shechter thrilled and challenged UCLA Live audiences earlier this year with the U.S. debut of his explosive work, Political Mother.