Newport Beach

Volume 6, Issue 29  | April 9, 2021

Segerstrom Center for the Arts and ABT partner for new dance project

Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre have announced Uniting in Movement, an exciting project bringing 18 dancers together for safe collaboration and exhilarating performance. ABT, America’s National Ballet Company®, began a five-week residency at the Center on March 22 to rehearse and introduce a new program in Segerstrom Hall. The residency runs through April 25 with the performance streaming on the Center’s site in early to mid-May (dates to be announced). Uniting in Movement will include three works by contemporary choreographers, each with very personal and unique visons for the future of ballet: Jessica Lang, Lauren Lovette and Darrell Grand Moultrie. The program will also pay homage to ABT’s classical heritage with Grand Pas Classique, a virtuosic showcase of ballet technique. The performances will be the first in Segerstrom Hall since the shutdown of all live theater in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Segerstrom Center Lang

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Photos courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts and ABT

Jessica Lang

The choreographers, dancers and ABT artistic staff created a quarantined “bubble,” isolating themselves at the Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel across the street from the Center, venturing out only to rehearse in the Center studios and, ultimately, to perform in Segerstrom Hall. All rehearsal and performance activity adhered to strict medical and safety guidelines with a quarantine and testing period prior to the start of ABT’s residency.

Segerstrom Center Lovette

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Lauren Lovette

According to Wincome Hospitality CEO Paul Sanford, “Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel and Wincome Hospitality, is proud to work with Segerstrom Center for the Arts and be the host hotel for American Ballet Theatre. Their mission of wanting to preserve the classics of the past for modern audiences and foster innovation in the world of ballet should be lauded. We’re excited to help the Center bring ABT to Costa Mesa for Southern Californians to enjoy what will surely be very beautiful, emotionally moving and entertaining performances.”

 Lang’s Let Me Sing Forevermore, set to songs sung by Tony Bennett, is a vibrant, energetic pas de deux blending ballet and jazz vocabulary. Lovette’s work, La Follia Variations, is set to music of the same name by Francesco Geminiani. With costumes by fashion designer Victor Glemaud, La Follia Variations brims with poetry, wit, nuance and power. Moultrie’s Indestructible Light, set to music by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Neal Hefti and Billy Strayhorn, is an expansion of his earlier work for the Company created in an East Coast bubble in fall 2020. Indestructible Light is a work for eight dancers and celebrates the resilience of artists despite impossible odds.

Segerstrom Center Moultrie

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Darrell Grand Moultrie

“These creations reflect a time of recalibration on how we create and deliver new work, reinvent how to gather together to create, and what it means to use this art form to lift us all, artist and audience alike,” said Kevin McKenzie, ABT artistic director. “Lauren’s use of classical vocabulary for dynamic effect of empowerment, Darrell’s classicism fused with classic jazz and Jessica’s joyous, reverent nod to Tony Bennett’s fabulous voice, contrasted with a classic pas de deux, all add up to exemplify the vibrant spirit of American Ballet Theatre.”

“As you can imagine, Uniting in Movement is a complex project requiring the combined, or uniting, resources and experience of both the Center and ABT, particularly during this period of quarantine,” said Segerstrom Center President Casey Reitz. “The project aligns with the mission of our Center for Dance and Innovation, which was established to support and advance the creative and sometimes even experimental process of developing new works by talented artists. The Center and ABT have a long history of producing extraordinary dance projects, including new productions, world premieres and two projects that were broadcast on Great Performances: Dance in America. We are especially proud of how Uniting in Movement so beautifully confirms the resilience and indomitable spirit of the arts and artists.”

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