CCB’s spring ballet, April 24-25th, features the Fort Collins Symphony with two brand new choreographies to the iconic work of Aaron Copland and Antonín Dvořák. Conducted by Maestro Wes Kenney and directed by artistic director, Alicia Laumann, the evening is sure to enchant and enrich audiences.
In 1942, Aaron Copland began work on his Pulitzer Prize winning piece, Appalachian Spring. It was a work commissioned by dance giant Martha Graham who had previously worked with the composer and who wanted to choreograph a ballet on the American experience. Martha’s ballet tells the story of a sparsely populated religious pioneer town and is set in designer Isamu Noguchi’s highly distilled yet evocative pioneer scene.
Though Copland’s score is indelibly linked to Graham’s ballet, the score itself has gone on to widespread and enduring popularity. The score, with only 13 instruments, invokes an early morning sunrise, a simple hymn-like melody and a country fiddle dance. Local choreographer, Judy Bejarano, founder and director of IMPACT dance, has been commissioned to set a brand new work to this score for CCB’s spring concert, accompanied by the FCSO. It will include a core cast of 10 dancers. In it, Bejarano acknowledges the American themes of Copland’s score working through meta ideas of arrival, assimilation and settling. When asked about the commission, Alicia Laumann, writes: “Being quite familiar with Judy’s grounded yet lush modern movement vocabulary, which she often combines so eloquently with discreet and communicative gesture, I knew that she was the perfect choreographer to take on Copland’s score.”
The second half of the program will again be accompanied by the FCSO. Ms. Laumann’s new work is set to Antonín Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22. The score was composed by an optimistic, young husband and father in 1875. In fact, he composed it in just 14 days! The piece is alternately charming and joyful, passionate and dreamy and concludes with an hommage to his native Bohemian folk music. Laumann’s piece, simply titled “Dvořák’s Serenade,” features 27 dancers arrayed in ruby red, jeweled dresses in honor of CCB’s 40th anniversary. Laumann says about her new work, “My piece is a celebration of Dvořák’s music through color, vibrant neoclassical vocabulary and a few of my own little hommages to Slavic folk dance which typically includes intricate footwork and inventive hand holds. My hope is that it will be a feast for the eyes and ears.”