Ballet de Lorraine Makes West Coast Debut with White Bird

WHITE BIRD IS PROUD TO PRESENT THE WEST COAST DEBUT OF CCN-BALLET DE LORRAINE,
ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST CELEBRATED CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANIES.  

PROGRAM WILL FEATURE TWO WORKS BY OUTSTANDING FRENCH CHOREOGRAPHERS, AS WELL AS A
BELOVED MASTERWORK BY LEGENDARY MERCE CUNNINGHAM.

What: CCN-Ballet de Lorraine
Pre-Performance Talk by Ballet de Lorraine Directors, 6:45-7:15pm in Schnitzer Lower Lobby.
Presented by: White Bird
When: Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 7:30 pm
Where: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, SW Broadway/Main, Portland,
Sponsors: Columbia Trust and Columbia Bank, Media Sponsor The Oregonian
Tickets: Starting at $26, available at whitebird.org and Portland’5 Box Office,
1111 SW Broadway (formerly PCPA) NO added fees.1-800-380-3516 (added fees apply).
Discounts available for groups/students and seniors.

CCN- Ballet de Lorraine makes its eagerly awaited West Coast debut with White Bird on February 22 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The powerful company of 21 dancers will perform three works by acclaimed French choreographers Cecilia Bengolea and Francois Chaignaud, Alban Richard, as well as the legendary Merce Cunningham. One of 19 choreographic centers in France,  CCN (Centre chorégraphique national) – Ballet de Lorraine, under the artistic direction of Petter Jacobsson and based in Nancy, France, is one of the most highly regarded dance companies in Europe, performing contemporary creations as well as a rich and extensive repertory that embraces the most  celebrated and innovative  choreographers working today.

A pre-performance talk by Artistic Director Petter Jacobsson and Rehearsal Director Thomas Caley will take place in the lower lobby of the Schnitzer Concert Hall between 6:45-7:15 pm, free to all ticket-holders. They will discuss Ballet de Lorraine’s program as well as the history of the company.

Ballet de Lorraine’s program will open with Devoted, choreographed by Cecilia Bengolea and Francois Chaignaud for 9 women, an ode to the past that also looks to the future, set to the mesmerizing sounds of Philip Glass’ Another Look at Harmony. In the choreographers’ words, “We composed a piece full of long lines, spins using dance hall and ballet steps.”  The second work, Hok Solo Pour Ensemble is choreographed by Alban Richard. The pulsing, rhythmic score by Louis Andriessen inspires the 12 dancers’ intricate gestures and thrilling waves of movement. The ensemble melds into one, forming a unique polymorphous mass.  HOK Solo Pour Ensemble is driven by a ferocious energy, its rhythm charging from one dancer’s body to the next.

Ballet de Lorraine’s program will culminate with Merce Cunningham’s masterwork Sounddance for 10 dancers. The piece was created in 1975 and entered the repertory of CCN – Ballet de Lorraine in March 2014. One of Cunningham’s most beloved pieces, Sounddance opposes the uniformity and unison that is often found in ballet and has been described as “organized chaos,” taking the form of fast paced, vigorous choreography. The stunning set design consists of a gracefully draped plush gold curtain, with the dancers entering as through thrust from the curtain. At the end of the dance, they exit, with the curtain seemingly swallowing them. David Tudor’s driving score provides the perfect energetic accompaniment to Cunningham’s astoundingly fast-paced choreography.

Since acquiring the CCN title in 1999, the CCN- Ballet de Lorraine has dedicated itself to supporting contemporary choreographic creation. As of July 2011 the organization has been under the general and artistic direction of Petter Jacobsson. Its origins go back to 1968 with the creation of the Ballet Théâtre Contemporain (BTC), established at the Maison de la Culture in Amiens. As the first decentralized company to prioritize choreographic creation, the BTC, after a stopover at the Theatre of Angers, established itself permanently in Nancy. After the departure of Jean-Albert Cartier, its founding director, the Ballet, which has had several different organizational names, was directed by Patrick Dupond, Pierre Lacotte, Françoise Adret and Didier Deschamps. André Larquié, President of the board of directors for CCN- Ballet de Lorraine from 1998 to June of 2014, assisted with the installation of the BTC in Nancy in 1978  and was also instrumental in the classification of the Ballet de Lorraine as Centre Chorégraphique National and the company’s change of focus to a contemporary repertory.

Petter Jacobsson, General Director, was educated at the Royal Swedish Ballet School and is a graduate of the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg. He was a principal dancer with the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in London from 1984 to 1993.  He performed in over 200 performances a year nationally and internationally as part of their intense tour schedule, in and also traveled the world performing as guest artist work with a multitude of international companies. In 1993, he moved to New York to begin a freelance career, studying with Merce Cunningham and dancing with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company, Irene Hultman Dance and later Deborah Hay. Thomas Caley, Rehearsal Director, earned his BFA from Purchase College in 1992. After a year of performing in numerous independent projects in New York City, he joined the Merce Cunningham Company. From 1994 to 2000, he performed and toured throughout the world while participating in the creation of over 12 new works by Cunningham.  Petter and Thomas started working as a creative team in the mid-nineties, choreographing works for Martha@Mother, the Joyce Soho in New York and the choreography for the opera Staden at the Royal Opera in Stockholm, a commission for the 1998 Cultural capital of Europe.

White Bird’s 19th season (2016-17) is supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County and the Arts Education & Access Fund; Work for Art; The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Ronni Lacroute/WillaKenzie Estate, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Starseed Foundation, WESTAF and The Autzen Foundation.

Ballet de Lorraine Makes West Coast Debut with White Bird