Dance Archives - Michigan Opera Theatre

Aureole: Exploring Paul Taylor’s Landmark Work

Paul Taylor, one of the most important choreographers of the 20th century, was prolific. He created 147 dances for the Paul Taylor Dance Company which was founded in 1954. In 1962, his 30th work, Aureole, marked a significant departure from his previous avant-garde aesthetic. Earlier works, such as 1957’s Duet, “danced” in stillness to a …

Read More

Les Sylphides: The Origins of Abstract Ballet

With swans, snowflakes and ghosts, the ballet blanc or “white ballet” genre is known for its story ballets like Swan Lake, Giselle and La Bayadére. Considered a revival of the romantic ballets of the ballet blanc genre, Les Sylphides adds another credit to its name as the first “abstract” or plotless ballet. This one-act, ballet of “romantic reverie” consists of several “sylphs” (wood nyphs) dancing with a “poet” in the …

Read More

The Story of Swan Lake in Black and White

  Swan Lake is perhaps the most well-known ballet, next to The Nutcracker. Petipa choreographed this famous ballet, danced to a glorious score by Tchaikovsky, in 1877. Swan Lake is the love story of Prince Siegfried, who on a hunting trip encounters a flock of swans, falls in love with the Swan Queen, Odette, and …

Read More

Dance Dialogues

Welcome to MOT’s Dance Dialogues. Similar to a book club, this is a monthly virtual gathering to view and discuss dance together. MOT will share digital dance works of certain themes to view on your own. Then we will all meet via ZOOM on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 6:00 PM (ET). Each …

Read More

Ballet Blanc: Shades, Shadows and Spirits

The term ballet blanc – literally translated as “white ballet” – refers to a genre of classical ballets in which the ballerina and the female corps de ballet are costumed in white tutus. These ballets represent the Romantic style of 19th-century ballet, and the ballet blanc ballerinas usually represented fairies, ghosts, or other supernatural creatures.  The earliest example of ballet blanc dates back to 1832, with Marie Taglioni (the first ballerina to wear pointe shoes). She danced the title role in La Sylphide, a full-length …

Read More

Standby: A new film-exclusive performance celebrates the 60th anniversary of Nederlands Dans Theatre

In celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Nederlands Dans Theatre (NDT), house choreographer Paul Lightfoot created a new work, captured and released exclusively on film to accommodate socially-distanced guidelines. The project, Standby, includes dancers from NDT1 (the first company) and NDT2 (originally formed as a training company for young talent, now an independent company that tours internationally). Created in tandem with Sol León’s She Remembers, both works were choreographed and filmed over the …

Read More

Standby: A new film-exclusive performance celebrates the 60th anniversary of Nederland Dans Theatre

In celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Nederland Dans Theatre (NDT), house choreographer Paul Lightfoot created a new work, captured and released exclusively on film to accommodate socially-distanced guidelines. The project, Standby, includes dancers from NDT1 (the first company) and NDT2 (originally formed as a training company for young talent, now an independent company that tours internationally). Created in tandem with Sol León’s She Remembers, both works were choreographed and filmed over the course …

Read More

The Royal Ballet: Making Waves with Woolf Works

Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novels, letters, essays and diaries, Wayne McGregor, the resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet, conceived a full evening work called Woolf Works. The Royal Ballet commissioned the German-born British composer Max Richter to create a new score for the ballet. McGregor engaged Italian prima ballerina assoluta Alessandra Ferri to dance the …

Read More

Four Minutes a Dying Swan: Anna Pavlova and Becoming the Symbol of the New Russian Ballet

In 1905, legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova asked choreographer Michel Fokine (of Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes ballet company) to create a solo dance piece for her to perform at a gala concert by artists from the Imperial Mariinsky Opera. It was Fokine who suggested “The Swan” from Camille Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals musical suite. Pavlova was quick to agree, as she was inspired by swans she had seen in the public parks, …

Read More