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BOSTON, MA – April 12, 2011 – Boston Ballet presents Bella Figura, a program headlined by the American premiere of Jiří Kylián’s Bella Figura, a Company premiere of William Forsythe’s The Second Detail, and three works by Helen Pickett. Bella Figura showcases the world’s finest contemporary ballet on stage at The Boston Opera House, April 28 – May 8, 2011.  

Bella Figura will have audiences rethinking everything they know about ballet,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. “The program features the work of three contemporary choreographers, all exceedingly relevant, significant and alive. Seeing Jiří Kylián’s Bella Figura was one of the most spectacular theatre experiences I have ever had. From that time forward, I have always wanted to bring this work to Boston. I’m pleased to present it with a work by another dance giant, William Forsythe. The Second Detail is an impeccable Forsythe ballet, an explosive, mind-bending work.  Helen Pickett’s three beautiful, miniature pieces, dedicated to and inspired by the music of Arvo Pärt, complete the program.”

Bella Figura is headlined with the work of the same title by Jiří Kylián, Resident Choreographer at Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT). Bella Figura, premiered in 1995 with NDT, is set to a selection of Baroque music, including selections by Lukas Foss, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Alessandro Marcello, Antonio Vivaldi, and Giuseppe Torelli. The work displays Kylián’s inventive combination of lyricism and comedy. Kylián has described the work as “a journey in time – light and space, addressing the ambiguity of aesthetics – performances and dreams. Finding beauty in a grimace – in a knot of the mind – or in a physical contortion. It is like standing on the edge of a dream. Standing in darkness and staring into a sharp light with eyes closed – doubting every bit of our so-called reality.”

Bella Figura has not yet been performed by any other American company and will make its American premiere with Boston Ballet. The Los Angeles Times wrote of it, “in an increasingly dark world, [Kylián’s] dancers are beautiful enough to give almost anyone renewed faith.” DANCE Magazine wrote, “Kylián integrates the stage machinery in his choreography, lowering curtains, making them fly away or move sideways, always revealing yet another dancing hero.”  Bella Figura will be an addition to Boston Ballet’s Kylián repertoire, which includes the five-ballet Black and White program presented by the Company in 2009 to rave reviews and again in 2010. Ken Ossola has staged Bella Figura for Boston Ballet. Portions of this work contain partial nudity.

The Bella Figura program also features William Forsythe’s The Second Detail, a Company premiere. The work, created for the National Ballet of Canada in 1991, is an electrifying display of classicism and physicality for an ensemble. The work is noted for Forsythe’s use of crisp movement and playful spirit. The work is set to the driving music of Thom Willems. Forsythe, one of the preeminent American dancers and choreographers, has created ground-breaking, exhilarating works which have been performed by the world’s finest ballet companies. DANCE Magazine wrote of The Second Detail, “activity [is] everywhere on stage. The dancers get down to the work of pushing the extreme angles of those hyper extended fourth positions and speedy shifts of weight. All of the flying body parts imply the frantic, barely controllable energy of the modern world.” Jill Johnson has staged The Second Detail for Boston Ballet. The Company’s Forsythe repertoire includes In the middle, somewhat elevated, last performed in 2005, Love Songs, and excerpts from Vile Parody of Address, performed in Boston Ballet’s 2009 Night of Stars.

Helen Pickett presents three works, PART I, II and III. The trio of works is dedicated to and inspired by the music of Arvo Pärt.  PART I, LAYLI O MAJNUN, will be inspired by the centuries-old story of star-crossed Persian lovers. It received a preview in 2010 at Boston Ballet’s Night of Stars by principals Larissa Ponomarenko and Lasha Khozashvili. Set designs include calligraphy by Persian artist Bahman Panahi. PART II, 月夜 Tsukiyo, is a sensual pas de deux, first premiered with Boston Ballet in 2009. PART III, Tabula Rasa will be a world premiere work for an ensemble. Pickett studied dance at the San Francisco Ballet School and performed with San Francisco Ballet. For over a decade, she danced and acted with Ballet Frankfurt under the direction of William Forsythe. She later performed with The Wooster Group and is a founding member of The Rufus Corporation. Pickett has created two other commissioned works for Boston Ballet, Eventide in 2007 and Etesian in 2005, as well as works for Royal Ballet of Flanders, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and Ballet West.


Pre-Curtain Talk

Boston Ballet’s Pre-Curtain Talk series continues prior to the Saturday, April 30, 7:00pm performance of Bella Figura. These informational discussions are free for all ticketholders and begin one hour prior to curtain. 

Conversation with Mikko

Boston Ballet will present Conversation with Mikko, a post-curtain Q&A session with Boston Ballet’s Artistic Director, following the Thursday, May 5, 7:00pm performance of Bella Figura.


Join Boston Ballet following the Thursday, May 5, 7:00pm performance of Bella Figura at BiNA Osteria for OFFSTAGE. OFFSTAGE is Boston Ballet’s post-performance event series for young professionals and arts enthusiasts every second Thursday of each performance run. A performance ticket is all you need for entry to this free event featuring specialty cocktails and complimentary appetizers.

For more information about these and other events visit

2010-2011 Season Tickets

Subscriptions and individual tickets are on sale now. Subscriptions and all tickets will be available for sales online 24 hours a day at or by phone at 617.695.6955 or in person at the box office at 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, Mon–Fri, 9:30am-5pm and on performance days on Sat and Sun, 11am – 4pm.  Prices for season ballets start at $25.  Tickets to The Nutcracker start at $35.  Discounted group tickets (10 or more for season ballets and 20 or more for The Nutcracker) are available by calling the box office at 617.695.6955.

About Boston Ballet

Since 1963, Boston Ballet has been one of the leading dance companies in the world on stage, in the studio and in the community.  Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Executive Director Barry Hughson, the Company maintains an internationally acclaimed repertoire and the largest ballet school in North America, Boston Ballet School.

Boston Ballet maintains a repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to new works by some of today’s finest choreographers. Boston Ballet’s second company, Boston Ballet II, is comprised of dancers who gain experience by performing with the Company and independently, presenting special programs to audiences throughout the Northeast. 

Boston Ballet School, the official school of Boston Ballet, has a long-standing dedication to excellence and access and reaches more than 10,000 students ages 2-adult each year through Boston Ballet School classes, Summer Dance Workshop, Summer Dance Program, Citydance, Taking Steps, and Adaptive Dance.  The wide array of dance programs are held at three studio locations in Boston, Newton, and Marblehead with additional programs throughout New England, as well as community centers and in Boston Public Schools.

Boston Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following institutional partners:

State Street Corporation, 2010 Presenting Sponsor, The Nutcracker, The Boston Foundation, Jane’s Trust, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts

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