Morphoses Makes Joyce Theater Debut with World Premiere of Luca Veggetti’s “Bacchae” October 25-30
Dance World First: Thursday Joyce Performance to be Streamed Live to Two Additional Venues
When Morphoses began life in 2007, it was determined to make a difference. A big one. Four years later, directed by co-founder Lourdes Lopez, the company remains the same go for broke band of experimentalists dedicated to bringing new choreography to new audiences in new ways.
Consider the company’s Joyce Theater debut, October 25-30, where it will present the world premiere of Luca Veggetti’s “Bacchae.” Courtesy of Morphoses’s fearless imagination, there will be a simultaneous live feed from the Joyce Theater’s Thursday night performance to Zaitzeff, a chic Lower East Side hamburger bistro and the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, a vibrant South Bronx cultural community organization. The triple performance event, which creates a bridge between what is being performed inside the theater and audiences in multiple outside locations, marks a first for the dance world. It is part of Morphoses’s commitment to attracting new and diverse audiences to dance.
Veggetti’s “Bacchae” is based on the early 5th century BC Euripides tragedy, whose themes—the conflict between the rational and irrational in man and the destructive power of revenge—remain as pertinent to 21st century audiences as they were to those of the playwright’s own time. One of the great masterpieces of Greek theater, the play centers on the carnage wrought by the filial fury unleashed by the god of fertility and wine, Dionysus, at the mistreatment of his mortal mother, Semele, and his brutal treatment of his cousin Pentheus, a symbol of order and civility. Veggetti’s “Bacchae” is a starkly drawn distillation of the moral, philosophical and emotional issues that have ensured the play’s contemporary relevance.
The cast for “Bacchae” features Sarah Atkins, Christopher Bordenave, Frances Chiaverini, Brandon Cournay, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Brittany Fridenstine, Gabrielle Lamb, Willy Laury, Morgan Lugo, Emma Pfaeffle, and Yusha-Marie Sorzano. The original score and sound design are by Paolo Aralla; flautist Erin Lesser will play live. Text adaptation and dramaturgy are by Luca Scarlini. The lighting is by Roderick Murray and the costumes are by Luca Veggetti and Benjamin Briones. Nel Shelby Productions will direct Thursday evening’s live feed. The equipment, including the projectors, monitors and flat screen televisions, is being provided by NEC.
Tickets are $59, $35 and $19 and can be purchased online at www.joyce.org, by calling 212-242-0800, or at The Joyce Theater box office located at 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street. A limited number of $10 tickets are available by calling 212-242-0800. Prices subject to change.
Zaitzeff is located at 18 Avenue B (between 2nd and 3rd St.) and the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education is located at 928 Simpson Street in the Bronx.
Where To Go
The evening curtains for Morphoses’s Joyce Theater season are October 25, 26 at 7:30pm, and October 27, 28, 29 at 8pm. There is a 2pm matinee on October 30. A post-performance “Dance Chat” will take place on Wednesday, October 26.
A native of Havana, Lourdes Lopez studied dance in Miami until the age of ten, when she came to New York to study first at the Joffrey School, and then at the School of American Ballet. She joined New York City Ballet at the age of 16 and was ultimately promoted to principal dancer, performing a wide range of NYCB repertory, including many of Balanchine’s classic works, and several Robbins ballets, including “Brandenburg” in a role she created.
After retiring from the stage, Lopez worked with WNBC as an on-air cultural arts reporter. One of her assignments was to go to Cuba to report on the nation’s emerging cultural climate; her segments were aired on WNBC during the Pope’s visit to Cuba.
Lopez then took the position of Director of Student Placement, Student Evaluation, and Curriculum Planning for Ballet Academy East, a dance school in New York City where she was also a full-time senior faculty member.
In 2002, Lopez became the Executive Director of The George Balanchine Foundation, which is dedicated to educating the public about dance and to furthering the art of ballet, with a special emphasis on the work and achievements of George Balanchine. In this position, she oversaw the 2004 Balanchine Centennial Celebration, a worldwide festival honoring the choreographer and his legacy. Among the events that year was the symposium “Balanchine: Past, Present and Future,” which was held in St. Petersburg, Russia, and which was a collaboration among the Maryinsky Theater, the Hermitage Museum, and The George Balanchine Foundation.
Lopez is also a founder of the Cuban Artists Fund, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support independent, emerging Cuban and Cuban-American artists in the performing, visual, musical, and literary arts.
Lopez is featured in Famous Hispanic Americans (1996), published by Cobblehill Books, a division of Dutton. On September 30, she was honored, along with a number of other former NYCB principal female dancers, with the 2011 Jerome Robbins Award. In 2007, Lopez co-founded Morphoses with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.
Born in Bologna, Italy, Luca Veggetti trained under I. Glowacka and G. Popescu at La Scala in Milan. He began his career as a dancer performing with companies such as London Festival Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Ballet Chicago. Shifting his focus in 1990, he began to explore choreography and directing through an ongoing collaboration with director and designer Pier Luigi Pizzi.
Veggetti has had a notable international career: he was the first Italian choreographer to be invited to work with the Kirov Ballet at the Marinsky in St. Petersburg and has been invited multiple times to create work for New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, Works and Process at the Guggenheim, and The Miller Theatre at Columbia University. He has created new works for the Ballet of the Rome Opera, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in New York City, the Spoleto Festival in Italy, Perm Ballet in Russia, and the Milanoltre Festival. Veggetti has been an artist in residence at Purchase College and The Juilliard School.
He has directed, designed and choreographed the world premiere of Iannis Xenakis’ “Oresteia” (September 2008) and the US premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s full-length piece “Maa” (September 2010) as well as the Japanese premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s opera “Hanjo” in Tokyo. In 2010, as part of the Xenakis Festival, Veggetti created a puppet version of Xenakis’ “Oresteia” for the Make Music New York Festival that takes place annually in Central Park.
In addition to the evening-length production “Bacchae,” created for Morphoses’s 2011 season, Veggetti is collaborating with multi-media artist, Susan Hefuna, on a new work, “point-move-line.” The work is a joint project between the Drawing Center and Morphoses in honor of the center’s new opening. He also continues to pursue collaborations with contemporary music ensembles such as FontanaMix in Italy, MusikFabrik in Koeln, ICE ensemble in New York, as well as with composers Paolo Aralla, Toshio Hosokawa, Sylvano Bussotti and Matthias Pintscher.
To learn more about Morphoses, please visit www.morphosesbacchae.org.
Dancer: Frances Chiaverini – Photos: Kyle Froman – Design: Michael Bonfiglio/EJA