The Kaplan New Works Series is Cincinnati Ballet’s highly anticipated, annual experience offering an intimate presentation of brand new, cutting-edge works at the Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater. This season’s production features premieres by four innovative female choreographers, including Jennifer Archibald, Heather Britt, Artistic Director & CEO Victoria Morgan, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. With four performances added due to high demand, patrons now have a total of fourteen performances to choose from, Thursday, April 20 through Sunday, April 30 at the Aronoff Center.
“This is a program that leans into the future in ways that are bold and genuine, yet reckless and hugely inventive in content!” says Morgan. “It is a great opportunity for casual ballet admirers to have their perspective transformed by the physicality of dance—you see the sweat, the passion and the drive that goes into ballet when you see dancers up close and personal, and that’s one reason New Works is so intriguing and popular,” says Morgan.
Jennifer Archibald, founder and artistic director of New York City’s acclaimed Arch Dance Company, teams up with fellow female innovator, the world-famous street artist Swoon, to create the world premiere of an inventive fusion of performance and visual arts, exclusively for Cincinnati Ballet. Archibald is a graduate of the official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and pulls from a variety of influences to boldly and seamlessly infuse ballet with nuances of hip hop and contemporary dance. Cincinnati may remember Archibald from her brilliant piece Sit which wowed Cincinnati audiences in the 2014 Kaplan New Works Series and Redeem from Director’s Choice last season. The Cincinnati Enquirer described Sit as, “…voluptuous…fiery…sensual…” Caledonia Curry, or “Swoon,” is a contemporary American street artist best known for her illustrative portraiture and large-scale wheat paste prints. Her work has recently caught the attention of museum and gallery curators and established a celebrity following, leading into her foray into performance art. In her first collaboration with a choreographer, Curry is creating an onstage art installation as the set design for Archibald’s brand new piece. Her work will later be featured in an exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in August 2017.
Heather Britt, beloved Cincinnati-based choreographer and founder of the wildly popular Dancefix classes, presents a world premiere. Britt graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts before going on to enjoy a career in modern dance in California. Upon returning to Cincinnati, Britt founded HBDC (Heather Britt Dance collective) which encompasses Dancefix. As a choreographer, her work has been featured several times in The Kaplan New Works Series, and most recently, Britt presented the sensual duet entitled Habitual to rave reviews. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “Britt and her dancers infuse the work with a level of intimacy we rarely see onstage.”
Victoria Morgan choreographs a world premiere work entitled Somewhere Close to Happiness, inspired by the music of Danish composer Louise Alenius which was created originally for a ballet based on the story of The Elephant Man. Morgan’s work is an interpretative reference to the story about seeking acceptance and belonging, yet facing rejection. Somewhere Close to Happiness was named through a crowd-sourcing project earlier this season in which the public was given the opportunity to vote on titles. Somewhere Close to Happiness won out against the titles A Glistening Suspicion, Strangely Ok and Wondering for Now.
Internationally recognized choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa brings the U.S. premiere of Eros Redux, a thought-provoking piece based on the myth of an androgynous people, who were both male and female and descended from the moon. Zeus, fearing their power, divided them into man and woman. Ochoa’s revolutionary nature makes her a perfect fit for New Works. Temecula Performing Arts Examiner writes, “Ochoa is a truly masterful choreographer with an edge for what dance can and should be in this constantly changing industry.”