The rotations and revolutions of the heavenly bodies have been called “the cosmic ballet,” so as the Earth moves and we proceed away from summer and into fall, it’s fitting to consider the OKC Ballet (no strangers to rotations) as they begin a new season of their own … one that’s concerned with turning pages. Literary classics leap (or jete) to life beginning this month as artistic director Robert Mills leads his troupe through a quartet of productions that turn stories “From the Page to the Stage.”
“All the ballets this season (except my Nutcracker) are new to Oklahoma and three are world premieres. Yes, I think there is allure to the new, but I know for a fact there is even greater audience allure to stories,” says Mills.
THE 2013-’14 SEASON
Mowgli: The Jungle Book Ballet
A new season begins with a new experience for viewers: In fact, this is only its second staging ever. Adventure and discovery lie in wait in this feast for the eyes and ears, featuring choreography by Toni Pimble, richly detailed sets and immense puppets designed by Emmy-winner Gregory Crane, gorgeous masks and costumes by Jonna Hayden and Lynn Bowers and intoxicating rhythm and movement from the OKC dancers in this engrossing adaptation of Kipling’s classic tales of the jungle boy and his animal brethren.
December 13-15 and 20-22
Entire volumes have been written about the E.T.A. Hoffmann story of a wooden toy and the immensely popular ballet that it inspired – suffice it to say that Clara’s dream journey is the best kind of holiday tradition, perennially fresh and familiar at the same time. Especially with the OKC Philharmonic expertly providing the marvelous Tchaikovsky score.
Carmen et al. – A Triple Bill
A brand-new production of Prosper Mérrimée’s gypsy revels – choreographed by the OKC Ballet’s own Jacob Sparso – is the linchpin of an evening that also provides a duet of additional delights: The Oklahoma premiere of the glittering work “Rubies,” a collaboration between Stravinsky and Balanchine, and the world premiere of an as-yet-unknown piece by contemporary choreographer Matthew Neenan.
Beauty and the Beast
The tale as old as time (or at least the 1740 story of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve) is new again; the OKC Philharmonic will perform a score composed by Kermit Poling to accompany Robert Mills’ choreography in a world premiere production that showcases a kind woman, a cursed prince and the romance they forge almost despite themselves. And they all danced happily ever after.
All the shows on the OKC Ballet’s plate will unfold at the OKC Civic Center – and tickets are likely to remain in high demand (the more so during this season’s new option of Friday night shows). Don’t tiptoe around the issue; call 848.TOES or visit okcballet.com for more information and personal reservations.