Pillar of fire
Choreographer(s) : Tudor, Antony (United Kingdom)
Pillar of fire
Pillar of Fire is a 30-minute dramatic ballet choreographed by Antony Tudor to Arnold Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4.
The work was first produced by Ballet Theatre (now the American Ballet Theatre) at the Metropolitan Opera House on 8 April 1942. The opening-night cast included Nora Kaye as Hagar, Antony Tudor as the Young man, Hugh Laing as the Man in the house across the way, Lucia Chase as the Eldest Sister, Annabelle Lyon as the Youngest Sister, Maria Karnilova, Charles Dickson, Jan Davidson, John Kriza, Virginia Wilcox, Wallace Seibert, Jean Hunt, Barbara Fallis, Sono Osato, Rosella Hightower, Muriel Bentley, Jerome Robbins, Donald Saddler, Frank Hobi, Balina Razoumova, and Roszika Sabo.
American Ballet Theatre describes it in full extensive detail in its archives. The setting is a small country town in 1900 (perhaps in Schoenberg's Austria). Hagar, the middle of three sisters, whose elder sister is a spinster, foresees the same fate for herself. Hagar is surrounded on the one side by the prude and judging neighboring women of the small town, and on the other by licentious men and their hedonistic women. The man she unrequitedly loves seems to show preference for her flirtatious younger sister.
Hagar in desperation gives herself sexually to one of the licentious men, whom she definitely does not love, and who then immediately leaves her abandoned. Afterwards she is shunned by the prude and judging women and is totally distraught by what she has done. This resulting crisis, however, unites her with the one she really loves - the man she loves comes to her, and they dance together rapturously.
The ballet is set in the period around 1900 because it was then that Schoenberg composed its music Verklärte Nacht. The story plot is based on several traditional text versions - in some versions Hagar becomes pregnant before her true love finally comes to her.
Source : Wikipédia
Antony Tudor, original name William Cook, (born April 4, 1908, London—died April 20, 1987, New York City), British-born American dancer, teacher, and choreographer who developed the so-called psychological ballet.
He began his dance studies at 19 years of age with Marie Rambert and for her company choreographed his first ballet, Cross-Gartered (1931), based on an incident in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. In 1938 he founded his own company, the London Ballet, but left the following year to join the newly formed Ballet Theatre (later the American Ballet Theatre) in the United States as dancer and choreographer for 10 years. In 1950 he became associated with the ballet and ballet school of the Metropolitan Opera, and in 1952 he became a faculty member of the dance department of the Juilliard School of Music. He served as an artistic director for the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1963 and 1964.
Tudor’s choreography ranges from the tragic Dark Elegies (1937) to the comic Gala Performance (1938). His reputation, however, rests chiefly on his dramatic psychological ballets, the majority of which were composed in the United States. Jardin aux Lilas (created for England’s Ballet Rambert in 1936; later retitled The Lilac Garden), Pillar of Fire (1942), Romeo and Juliet (1943), Undertow (1945), Nimbus (1950), Knight Errant (1968), The Leaves Are Fading (1975), and Tiller in the Fields (1978) explored such themes as grief, jealousy, rejection, and frustration. Although limiting himself to classical techniques, he sought to convey states of emotional conflict and aspects of character and motivation by such means as the elimination of purely decorative choreography, a subtle and painstaking use of gesture, and the symbolic as well as narrative use of the corps de ballet. Tudor danced in several of his own ballets, especially those choreographed in England. Many artists rose to prominence in his works, most notably the ballerina Nora Kaye in his first American-made ballet, Pillar of Fire, and the dramatic danseur Hugh Laing. In 1974 Tudor was appointed associate director of the American Ballet Theatre and in 1977 was joined in that position by Kaye.
Source: Encyclopaedia Brittanica
Colorado Ballet consists of 31 professional dancers with diverse backgrounds. The dancers come from all over the world, including Japan, Russia, Cuba, Canada, France, Ireland, Brazil, Italy, Ecuador, Mexico and the United States. Additionally, the Company has more than 25 members of the Studio Company, which provides young dancers with training and performance opportunities as a start into a professional career in ballet.
Each season, the Company performs a varied season of classical and contemporary ballets in Denver. In 2009, Colorado Ballet received the Colorado Masterpieces program to tour Colorado's Front Range. The program was funded by the Colorado Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts through their American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius initiative.
Source: Colorado Ballet
More information: www.coloradoballet.org