Miami City Ballet is one of the few ballet companies in the United States that is dedicated to preserving the work of George Balanchine, as well as other essential choreographic masters of the 20th century, such as Jerome Robbins and Paul Taylor. With his mission to stay true to his classical repertoire, director Edward Villella is also highly tuned to keeping the company fresh by presenting new choreographic work created by some of the most important artists of today.
With a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and support from the Knight Foundation, MCB has commissioned a new work by Britain’s Liam Scarlett, which will premiere in January 2012. The youngest choreographer ever to be commissioned by the Royal Ballet, Scarlett has created a piece for MCB to the Piano Concerto #1 by contemporary composer, Lowell Libermann. A many layered piece of music, Scarlett was inspired by the complexities inherent in the three main sections, which he says are raw, physical, and “blood-driven.” His work is entitled Viscera, and is a reflection of the energy and musicality of the dancers with whom he is working.
According to Scarlett, the pleasure of creating new work for MCB allowed him to complete the piece in a mere ten days due to the open dialogue and collaboration that was so easily established with the dancers. Clearly they were inspired to work with the boyish energy and fresh talent of this intelligent choreographer, relishing the fact, as all dancers do, that new work was being created specifically for them.
Choreography requires an intense sympathy with the nuances of a score. Scarlett uses the urgency of the first section of Piano Concerto #1 to contrast with the more sensual second movement, creating as he puts it “the calm before the storm,” which comes in the sinister energy of the final movement. One can only imagine how Scarlett’s movement vocabulary along with the receptivity and honed abilities of the dancers will reveal his vision.
Scarlett has also designed the costumes for Viscera, which keeps the work all of a piece. With his penchant for revealing the shape and tone of a dancer’s body, the costumes are sleek and simple, allowing the movement to shape the performance without interference.
In 2012 “Viscera” premieres in South Florida at the following venues:
Jan 6-8: Adrienne Arsht Center, Ziff Ballet Opera House, Miami
Jan 27 – 29: Kravis Center, Dreyfoos Hall, West Palm Beach
Feb 3 -5: Broward Center, Au-Rene Theater, Fort Lauderdale
Tickets are on sale now at: (305) 929-7010 or toll-free (877) 929-7010
For more information: www.miamicityballet.org