News Pop / Rock 27/08/2007

Cal Performances Presents a Month-Long Tribute to the Genius of Twyla Tharp

BERKELEY, CA. (Top40 Charts/ Cal Performances) - Cal Performances presents a salute to one of the true geniuses of modern dance, Twyla Tharp. A phenomenon in American dance, she merges jazz, ballet and modern dance with a penchant for popular culture and a post-modernist flair. In recognition of her vast influence, Cal Performances presents three acclaimed American companies, all long absent from the Bay Area: Joffrey Ballet (Oct. 4-6), Miami City Ballet (Oct. 26-28) and American Ballet Theatre (Nov 7-11).

Fresh from its 50th anniversary season, Chicago-based Joffrey Ballet brings to Berkeley a program that demonstrates its brilliant and pioneering tradition. The company will perform Twyla Tharp's seminal Deuce Coupe, originally commissioned by Robert Joffrey and set to the music of the Beach Boys; Laura Dean's Sometimes It Snows in April, part of Artistic Director Emeritus Gerald Arpino's full-length ballet, Billboards, set to the music of Prince; and Robert Joffrey's sly homage to classical ballet, Pas des Deesses, set to 19th century piano music by John Field and performed in Berkeley by company pianist Paul Lewis (Oct. 4-6).

Miami City Ballet, under the direction of founder Edward Villela, will perform Tharp's enormously popular Nine Sinatra Songs, set in the 1950s with costumes by Oscar de la Renta, and In the Upper Room, "a 40-minute unfolding of energy, of pulsating rhythm, of dance ideas" (The Philadelphia Inquirer) with music by Philip Glass. The "jewel of a company" (The New York Times), also performs Agon, one of George Balanchine's finest abstract ballets (Oct. 26-28).

The tribute to Tharp concludes with American Ballet Theatre, one of the world's most revered dance troupes. The first program includes Stanton Welch's Clear set to music by Bach; Balanchine's Ballo della Regina with music by Verdi; Jerome Robbins's Fancy Free, music by Leonard Bernstein; and a pas de deux, to be announced (Nov. 7-8). The second program features Tharp's ballroom showpiece Sinatra Suite, set to favorites sung by Frank Sinatra; and Baker's Dozen, with music by Willie "The Lion" Smith. The West Coast premieres of new works by Jorma Elo (untitled, set to music by Philip Glass) and Benjamin Millepied's From Here On Out set to music by Nico Muhly are included (Nov. 9-11).

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