Tulsa Ballet to present American premiere of PreSentient
BY JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
Sunday, September 09, 2012
9/09/12 at 3:14 AM
Related story: Final steps: Tulsa Ballet’s Alfonso Martin prepares for his last season.
When it comes to people who create dance, the British choreographer Wayne McGregor is the man of the moment.
The Times of London calls him the "artist who has defined the decade," while the New York Times says he is "doing some of the most exciting work in ballet on the planet."
In addition to his work with his own company, Random Dance, and as the resident choreographer for the Royal Ballet of England, McGregor has also created dance works for the 2012 Olympics and the movie "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
"Everyone wants one of his ballets," said Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini.
The problem is, McGregor is particular about who he allows to dance his ballets.
In fact, between now and May 2013, only six dance companies in the world will be doing McGregor's sinuous and cerebral ballets. These are the Royal Ballet of England, the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, the Royal Danish Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet ... and Tulsa Ballet.
"When I first sent Wayne an email about doing a piece of his," Angelini said, "he responded that he was surprised that someone who runs a medium-sized company in the middle of the United States would have 'the guts' to ask him for a ballet."
McGregor asked Angelini to meet him in San Francisco for a conversation "that felt a little bit like a job interview," Angelini said. "He was impressed by the repertoire the company has done, but he was very interested in how I thought his work would fit into my vision for Tulsa Ballet."
In the end, McGregor did not simply allow Tulsa Ballet to perform one of his ballets - he gave Tulsa Ballet "PreSentient," a work that has only been performed by the Rambert Ballet in England.
"So this is an American premiere of a Wayne McGregor ballet," Angelini said.
"PreSentient" is part of Tulsa Ballet's opening production that includes the encore of Jorma Elo's "Slice to Sharp" and "Age of Innocence," a ballet by Edwaard Liang, who created Tulsa Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" last season.
" 'Age of Innocence' is the ballet I saw that made me want to work with Edwaard," Angelini said. "And it's been the exclusive property of the Joffrey Ballet until now. So, as with McGregor's 'PreSentient,' we are only the second company in the world to do this ballet."
That Tulsa Ballet is opening its season with a triple-bill rather than a full-length story ballet is a break with tradition.
However, Angelini said, "We've noticed that ticket sales for the first show of the fall have been decreasing over time. Last season's opener, 'The Merry Widow' - which sold out four years straight when American Ballet Theatre did it - had the worst single ticket sales ever for a full-length. It sold only 600 single tickets, whereas 'Romeo and Juliet' in February sold 3,800 single tickets.
"So we decided to switch things around," he said. "Another reason is that we wanted 'Dracula' to take place around Halloween, so we decided to make our opening production something for ballet fans, the people who come to see what we're doing regardless."
" 'Slice to Sharp' is about joy - it's fast and light," he said. "Edwaard's 'Age of Innocence' is so wonderfully dramatic. ... There is no story, yet it has a deep emotional power.
"And 'PreSentient' is a piece that is going to make you think," Angelini said. "McGregor is a genius at transforming deep, intellectual ideas about things that have little to dance into fascinating movement."
Original Print Headline: Tulsa Ballet to offer American premiere
James D. Watts Jr. 918-581-8478
Tulsa Ballet principal dancers Sofia Menteguiaga and Alfonso Martin perform a scene from Edwaard Liang's "Age of Innocence," one of three ballets that will open Tulsa Ballet's 2012-2013 season. Courtesy