Scottish Ballet in Motion of Displacement. Photo by Andy Ross

Scottish Ballet makes New York debut for Scotland Week

Hot on the heels of this year’s Scotland Week in the US, Scottish Ballet is bringing a vibrant triple bill to New York as they perform in the Big Apple for the first time. Scottish Ballet, the national ballet company of Scotland, have had a long and fruitful relationship with the United States and have become a regular visitor to the country. Since their inception, they have become increasingly known stateside for their innovative productions. This New York debut builds on this trend.

Their first appearance in New York has attracted the very highest level of interest. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will attend a reception during Scotland Week in which she will formally welcome the company to New York. Her speech will also recognise and celebrate the many successes of Scottish Ballet. This will tie in with broader themes around cultural links between Scotland and the US, as well as Scotland’s continued commitment to the arts.

The Joyce Theater, situated in the heart of Chelsea, will play host to this historic ‘New York Triple Bill’. For the company’s debut, Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, brings a snapshot of the company’s versatile and expressive dancers, with works that all have distinct American connections. The triple bill will run from April 11th – April 16th, and includes Hampson’s own Sinfonietta Giocosa and Christopher Bruce’s Ten Poems. These pieces will be performed alongside New York native Bryan Arias’ Motion of Displacement.

The Three Premieres

Sinfonietta Giocosa was originally created by Christopher Hampson for the Atlanta Ballet in 2006, and made its UK debut with the English National Ballet in 2007. This will mark the first time that Scottish Ballet has performed the piece, giving US audiences the first glimpse of their interpretation. Hampson has said that he was greatly inspired by the energy and attack of the American classical technique. What follows is a dynamic response to Bohuslav Martinů's rhythmically complex score, which itself was premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1942, completing a trifecta of US connections.

Following this is Ten Poems which boasts three distinctive voices. Christopher Bruce's unique choreographic language is coupled with Richard Burton's impassioned reading of Dylan Thomas’ poetry. Both Richard Burton and Dylan Thomas have strong and well-documented connections to New York. Ten Poems is a beautifully crafted work focusing on humanity, loss, war and peace, all told with Bruce's unique charm and reverence.

Watch The Making of Ten Poems with choreographer Christopher Bruce:

The triple bill is completed by a piece from New York’s own Bryan Arias. Arias created Motion of Displacement for Scottish Ballet in 2015 as an exploration of the causes and effects of storytelling in a wonderful fashion. The piece is directly inspired by Arias’ own childhood memories, and details his mother’s journey from her native land to America in the pursuit of love. Arias’ work uses the dancers’ bodies to show the time elapsing and the humanity of support in the form of linking and breaking of chains of movements.

New York and Beyond

The New York shows are not the only performances that Scottish Ballet will be undertaking in the US this spring. Their New York stint will be book-ended by two other shows across the country, in Minnesota and California as they embark upon an ambitious American tour.

On April 8th, prior to their New York engagements, they will take to the stage in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a one-night-only performance of Highland Fling. Produced by Olivier Award-winner Matthew Bourne, Highland Fling is touted as a “romantic wee ballet”. The show follows the antics of James – a young Scot with nothing but sex, love and rock and roll on his mind. Highland Fling is an imaginative reworking of the classic romantic ballet La Sylphide, with a wry Scottish twist.

Following their New York shows, the company will then travel to California. There they will perform A Streetcar Named Desire, with three nights in Berkeley and three nights in Los Angeles. The performance coincides with the 70th anniversary of Tennessee Williams’ legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning play. This vibrant take on the classic tale was born through collaboration with director Nancy Meckler and choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and is a powerful infusion of drama and dance. Read more about Scottish Ballet's last tour of A Streetcar Named Desire

This new US tour shows the strength of Scottish Ballet, as well as its continued success stateside. The company is known for performing with a strong classical technique at the root of its work. Its broad repertoire includes both classical and fiercely contemporary works. This includes seminal pieces from the 20th century, signature pieces and new commissions for contemporary choreographers, and full-length story ballets reimagined with fresh relevance for a modern audience, creating a unique artistic identity.

Buy tickets to see 'New York Triple Bill'

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Last updated 3 Apr 2017