Boston Ballet unveils World Premiere – Elo Experience

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On March 24, 2011 Boston Ballet will unveil a world premiere presentation, Elo Experience, a full program by Boston Ballet Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo. This full-length exposition of Elo’s contemporary vision will be presented March 24 – April 3, 2011 at The Boston Opera House.

Elo Experience is Jorma Elo’s seventh commission for Boston Ballet. The production was conceived of as a world premiere presentation in two parts. Seven ballets created by Elo for Boston Ballet and other companies both nationally and internationally, will be woven into the production with a world premiere work. The complete production will be a true hybrid, incorporating a sophisticated sound and lighting design and narrative elements spoken by two dancers.

“I can’t wait to see the response from audiences to Elo Experience,” said Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. “I consider Boston Ballet as a ballet company of the future – presenting works that are relevant and real to the audience. Jorma’s work will share with audiences a beautiful living, breathing masterpiece that anyone can experience and enjoy.”

“I hope audiences come to the theatre with no expectations,” said Elo. “I want them to arrive at the theatre with open hearts and open minds. The vision for this program has come from my experiences with the music and the dancers themselves. With those two elements at the center of the production, there is sure to be magic on stage.”

Elo Experience will be propelled by Elo’s trademark energy and inventive use of music from the Baroque era through the mid-20th century. The overall effect of the production will be to trace the choreographer’s journey over the last decade. The presentation will draw on Elo’s various experiences as guest artist in the U.S. and Europe, as well as the creative output of his residency with Boston Ballet, which he considers his artistic home in America. The production will include works created for Boston Ballet; Brake the Eyes, Plan to B, and In On Blue, as well as a world premiere work. Elo Experience will also include Double Evil, created for San Francisco Ballet, Lost on SLOW, created for The Royal Danish Ballet, Lost by Last, created for the Royal Ballet of Flanders, and Slice to Sharp, created for New York City Ballet.

Elo, who danced with Netherlands Dans Theater for 15 years, became Boston Ballet’s Resident Choreographer in 2005 where he has created six new works. These include Sharp Side of Dark (2002), Plan to B (2004), Carmen (2006), Brake the Eyes (2007) In on Blue (2008) and Sacre du Printemps (2009). He has also choreographed new works for New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater and Finnish National Ballet, among others. In 2005, Elo won the Helsinki International Ballet Competition choreographic prize and he is a recipient of the Prince Charitable Trust Prize and the 2006 Choo-San Goh Choreographic Award. The New York Times has written of Elo, “he knows classical technique and how to use it in new ways, how to transform it. This is not modern dance and ballet: it is modern ballet.”

Elo’s works have been performed by Boston Ballet at engagements including The Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, Ballet Across America in Washington, D.C., Fall for Dance in New York City, The National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada, and most recently on the company’s 2010 tour to Spain.  When Boston Ballet performed Elo’s work in Spain, Granada’s IDEAL newspaper wrote, “Boston Ballet showed an indisputable new category and found new expression in the perfect choreography of Jorma Elo.”

Elo Experience will include Plan to B first premiered with Boston Ballet in 2004. At the time of its creation, Plan to B was titled to reflect Elo’s experience with making a career change, moving from dancer to choreographer. He explained, “I try to imply the nervousness that results from entering a new phase of life and career in this piece.” Set to music of Heinrich Ignaz von Biber, the electric Plan to B features six dancers in muted tones of blue and gray. The work has been described by DANCE Magazine as “a spectacle of ricochet lighting and solo virtuosity.”

Brake the Eyes, Elo’s 2007 world premiere work, and In On Blue, his 2008 commission, will also be featured in Elo Experience.  Elo has described the inspiration for Brake the Eyes as sprouting from the desire to deconstruct the music of Mozart. The work features a unique soundscape with a spoken narrative by a female dancer. The Boston Globe described it as “surreal” and “like stepping into someone else’s strange dream.”  Elo’s In On Blue premiered with Boston Ballet in 2008. In On Blue features three women and ten men and was inspired by Elo’s experience making a dance film in Finland and working with dancers in a blue screen studio for hours at a time. The ballet, set to music by Eugene Ysaye and Bernard Herrman, has a surreal and suspenseful effect.

Elo Experience also incorporates excerpts from four works created by Elo for New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Slice to Sharp, a work created in 2006 for New York City Ballet, features four couples set to the music of von Biber and Vivaldi. The New York Times described the work as “a musical blast of unstoppable energy [that] provoked the loudest cheering and the longest string of curtain calls seen at The New York State Theater in some time.” Elo’s Double Evil, premiered with San Francisco Ballet in 2010, is set to music by Philip Glass and Vladimir Martinov and features four women and four men. The San Francisco Chronicle described it as “seamlessly integrating classical and modern lexicons in a forceful yet fluid style.” Lost on SLOW premiered with the Royal Danish Ballet in 2008. The work is set to Vivaldi. It was described by DANCE Magazine as “a sophisticated macabre dialogue of tongue-in-cheek mime, modern dance, and human puppetry.” Finally, Lost by Last, a work for the Royal Ballet of Flanders featuring ten dancers set to Bernard Herrmann, premiered in Antwerp in 2007.

Elo Experience will weave together these works together into one theatrical journey. The narrative element, spoken by two dancers, will be a thread running throughout the presentation. Elo considers the speakers as expressing his vision, and dramatizing the discoveries he has experienced in his own artistic journey, to create a complete picture for the audience. Nancy Euverink and Christophe Dozzi worked as assistants to the choreographer on Elo Experience. Charles Heightchew, Boston Ballet Manager of Costumes and Wardrobe, designed new costumes for the production.


VIDEO: Meet Jorma Elo

In the next video of Boston Ballet’s web series, Faces of Boston Ballet, spend a day in rehearsals with Jorma Elo and Boston Ballet company dancers and artists, as they prepare for Elo Experience.

Conversation with Mikko

Boston Ballet will present Conversation with Mikko, a post-curtain Q&A session with Boston Ballet’s Artistic Director, following the Sunday, March 27, 2:00pm performance of Elo Experience.


Join Boston Ballet following the March 31, 7:00pm performance of Elo Experience 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.

Pre-Curtain Talk

Boston Ballet’s Pre-Curtain Talk series continues prior to the April 1, 7:00pm performance of Elo Experience. These informational discussions are free for all ticketholders and begin one hour prior to curtain. 

For more information about these and other events visit Boston Ballet’s website.

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 Boston Ballet’s website 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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