New York ballet company, Tom Gold Dance, is to perform in the Stars of Ballet season at El Auditorio del Museo Guggenheim in Bilbao next week. Part of the programme Works & Process at the Guggenheim, it will be the fifth time that the company has been invited to Spain to participate in this event.
Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, was founded by Mary Sharp Cronson in New York in 1984. Since then, this initiative has “championed new works and offered audiences unprecedented access to leading creators and performers”. The New York Times describes it as “a popular series devoted to shedding light on the creative process”.
The Tom Gold programme opens with Balanchine’s Apollo, set to Stravinsky’s Apollon Musagète (Leader of the Muses), which the composer conceived and wrote as a ballet. Stravinsky had a strong interest in Greek mythology, and in this work, Apollo, the young god of music, is visited and instructed by three Muses – Calliope, Muse of poetry, Polyhymnia, Muse of mime, and Terpsichore, Muse of dance and song. Apollo was premiered on June 12th, 1928, by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris, achieving international recognition for Balanchine, and creating the foundation of a lifelong partnership with Stravinsky.
Flower Festival in Genzano is a one-act ballet by the Danish choreographer and ballet-master, August Bournonville, written for the Royal Danish Ballet in 1858. Light and lively, the ballet is based on a story by Alexandre Dumas, and inspired by Bournonville’s love of Italy. He set it to music which was traditionally attributed to Edvard Helstedt and Holger Simon Paulli, although it now appears likely that Paulli included some of the music written by an Austrian composer, M Strebinger, for an earlier Bournonville ballet, Napoli.
Jerome Robbins’ Concertino is a rarely seen work, taken from a ballet entitled Four Chamber Works, which Robbins created for the 1982 Stravinsky Centennial Celebration in New York. This variation – written for three dancers – is set to Stravinsky’s Concertino for Twelve Instruments, which was originally written as a quartet in 1920, but reorchestrated for 12 instruments in 1952. The work was premiered on June 16th, 1982, by New York City Ballet, at New York State Theater, where it was warmly received by audiences and critics alike. The performance in Bilbao will be the first by the Tom Gold company.
La Plage – choreographed by Tom Gold – was premiered in New York in March this year. Described as classical with a “jazzy twist”, it’s set to a score by John Zorn, which Gold describes as “upbeat and contemporary”. Whilst admitting to a classical base for his choreography, what he finds interesting, he says, is “taking these steps and putting them to music that’s interesting and challenging”. He loves “playing with the musicality ….. you know, a little syncopation here and there …. to really make the music come alive”.
Tom Gold, internationally known dancer and choreographer, and a former soloist with New York City Ballet, founded his company in 2007. Prior to that, from 1999, he’d been organizing groups of dancers for brief tours abroad, and he envisioned Tom Gold Dance as a core group of dancers, based in New York, but performing internationally. His aim was to give these dancers the opportunity to perform new works created specifically for them, as well as established ballets that they might not otherwise have a chance to take on. The company has performed in France, Spain, Israel, Bermuda and Italy.
The dancers appearing in Spain are all current or former members of New York City Ballet. Sara Mearns and Abi Stafford are principal dancers with NYCB, Adrian Danchig Waring is a soloist, Devin Alberda, Marika Anderson, Likolani Brown and Andrew Scordato are members of the NYCB corps de ballet, and Stephen Hanna is a former principal with the company and also formerly starred in Broadway’s Tony Award winning show, Billy Elliott.
Tom Gold Dance will appear at El Auditorio del Museo Guggenheim, Bilbao, on August 21st and 22nd. Tickets are available online via the museum’s website