Tulsa Ballet honors founders Moscelyne Larkin and Roman Jasinski with 'A Ballets Russes Evening'

Mar 8, 2012 in 11-12 Season Releases


Featuring George Balanchine Apollo, Adam Hougland’s Rite of Spring
and Michel Fokine’s Le Spectre de la Rose

TULSA, Okla. – March 8, 2012 – From March 30 – April 1, 2012, Tulsa Ballet presents A Ballets Russes Evening celebrating the legacy of founders Moscelyne Larkin and Roman Jasinski. The performance includes George Balanchine’s Apollo, Adam Hougland’s Rite of Spring and Michel Fokine’s Le Spectre de la Rose. All performances are at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. For tickets please call (918) 749 – 6006 or visit us online at www.tulsaballet.org.

“With this evening I want to celebrate both the legacy and the heritage of these three works that make up the core of the Ballet Russe,” Artistic Director Marcello Angelini said. “We will celebrate their legacy with Apollo and Le Spectre de la Rose, two remarkable pieces that illustrate the range of repertory of the Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe. Adam Hougland’s Rite of Spring will exemplify how these works continue to influence dance makers a century later. But mostly, this evening is dedicated to the two people that, following the philosophy of creativity of their Alma Mater, created a company here in Tulsa destined to become a leader in the field – Roman Jasinski and Moscelyne Larkin. The energy from which the company was born continues to propel it forward. Their passion for dance continues to influence all of us at Tulsa Ballet.”

For this special performance honoring Tulsa Ballet's rich heritage with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo and the legacy of Roman Jasinski and Moscelyne Larkin, our pre-performance talks will begin at one hour before curtain. Talks will feature rare video footage of our founders as well as the biography Roman Jasinski: A Gypsy Prince from the Ballet Russe that will be available for purchase in the lobby.

Apollo premiered in 1928 Paris and is one of the oldest surviving works choreographed by Georgia Balanchine, one of the most notable choreographers of the Ballet Russe and is still the one of the most recognized choreographers today. Apollo, god of song and music, is visited by three muses – Calliope, the muse of poetry; Polyhymnia, the muse of mime; and Terpsichore, the muse of dance and song. The final scene depicts Apollo and the muses ascending to Mount Olympus.

At the age of 24, this was Balanchine’s first ballet to music by Igor Stravinsky. The creation of Apollo was a significant moment in not only Balanchine’s career, but dance history as well. Writing in The International Dictionary of Ballet, Jody Leader has noted, "With Apollo, Balanchine began to strip down ballet, clearing away the multiple choices to the one choice that was inevitable, unique to each piece. He was influenced by Stravinsky, who believed the highest expression in dance was absolute purity - dancing with no meaning apart from itself....All the choreography he did after Apollo was affected by this realization."

"I look back upon Apollo as the turning point in my life," Balanchine said.
Victoria Simon, a Ballet Mistress for the George Balanchine Trust, staged Tulsa Ballet’s production of Balanchine’s Apollo. As a former soloist with New York City Ballet, Simon is one of the few dancers selected by George Balanchine to stage his ballets. She has staged his works for more than 80 companies reaching every continent.

“When it comes to staging Mr. Balanchine’s works, Vicky is the authority,” Angelini said. “I learned most of the Balanchine’s works I danced from her and learned to love the genius of Mr. B through the care and passion of Vicky’s stagings. Watching her work with the dancers makes me want to dance again.”

Rite of Spring
Another landmark work in the history of dance, Rite of Spring, shocked audiences and nearly started a riot at the 1913 premiere with its unconventional music by Igor Stravinsky, modern choreography by Vaslvav Nijinsky and provocative storyline about a young woman chosen by her tribe to be a sacrifice.

"The impact of Stravinsky's magnificent score and the ballet's universal theme of the cycle of life, death and rebirth has gone far beyond 1913," writes Jody Leader in The International Dictionary of Ballet. "Rite of Spring became a touchstone of orchestral virtuosity in the latter half of the twentieth century, as well as a continuing challenge to choreographers."

While Nijinsky was the original choreographer, Adam Hougland has reinvented the ballet into a more abstract interpretation. With sets and costumes designed by Marion Williams the plot is very similar to Nijinsky’s vision: one woman representing beauty and life must go through a “rite of passage” orchestrated by the “soulless” group of people until the woman finally sacrifices herself to break away from the madness.
Hougland is an alumnus of The Julliard School and his works have been performed with prestigious companies such as Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Cedar Lake Ballet, American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company, The Washington Ballet and The New York Choreographic Institute at New York CIty Ballet. His awards include The Princess Grace Award for Choreography, The Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography, a New York State Council for the Arts Commissioning Grant, Pointe Magazines' 10 VIP's of 2006 and Dance Magazine’s 25 to watch for 2011.

“Adam’s Rite of Spring is one of those works that grabs your attention from the first note of the score till the closing of the curtain,” Angelini said. “Creating a new Rite of Spring is not an easy task. The score is so powerful that often the choreography is overshadowed by Stravinsky’s music. This is not the case in Adam’s rendering. I am so thrilled to share this work with our audience.”

Le Spectre de la Rose
Based on a poem by Théophile Gautier, Le Spectre de la Rose depicts the story of a young girl who has returned from her first ball, falls asleep in her chair and dreams that the rose she holds in her hand comes to life and dances with her. She awakens from her dream, just as the rose disappears through the window.

Choreographed by Michel Fokine, Le Spectre de la Rose was first presented in 1911 featuring Tamara Karsavina as the young girl and Vaslav Nijinsky as the rose. Danced to Carl Maria von Weber’s Invitation to Dance, Le Spectre de la Rose demonstrates Fokine’s inspiration of drama and expression to dictate his choreography.

Angelini has staged Le Spectre de la Rose for Tulsa Ballet’s production, keeping close to the original choreography.

Spectre is the quintessential work of the Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe,” Angelini said. “A century later, this piece of art has the ability to take us back to the culture of the early 20th century with its aesthetics and sublime, yet very simple, storyline. But don’t be fooled, this piece requires an incredible physical stamina and technical expertise of its interpreters, especially by the male dancer. It was created for Vaslav Nijinsky, the most famous superstar of the first half of the past century. In spite of the technical progress dance has achieved since it was first performed, Spectre is still the ultimate challenge for male dancers.”