Brooklyn Ballet announces Blessings and Blues spring season

Brooklyn Ballet announces Blessings and Blues spring season

Brooklyn Ballet, now celebrating over two decades of interdisciplinary dance that confronts convention through collaboration and inclusion, presents Blessings and Blues, an evening of dance and music that bridges ballet and street dance with works of the past and the now, March 7-10, at the Mark O’Donnell Theater in Downtown Brooklyn. From a collection of world premieres, new choreographic voices, and an innovative tribute marking the centennial anniversary of the legendary Martha Graham Dance Company, this season continues to explore the influence of the past on the present and ways in which new voices resonate with echoes of the past.

The centerpiece of the season pays homage to Martha Graham Dance Company, the oldest dance company in the United States and the oldest integrated performing arts group. As part of Women’s History Month, Brooklyn Ballet will celebrate Graham’s legacy by presenting Lamentation Variations, three diverse responses to Graham’s iconic solo, Lamentation, first danced in 1930. Graham, confined in a long tube of material, described the piece as an exploration of tragedy within the body and the universal experience of grief, pushing the boundaries of emotion and movement. Choreographers Brian “Hallowdreamz” Henry, Nicole von Arx, and JoVonna Parks will each offer a unique four-minute response to Lamentation. The innovative reinterpretations using Krump, contemporary, and contemporary ballet styles respectively question whether our approach to grief has evolved over the past century. This initiative is part of a larger three-year project by the Graham company, where various dance companies will celebrate Graham’s work in distinctive ways, showcasing the enduring impact of dance pioneers.

The evening also features the world premiere of Bust, Build, Break by emerging contemporary choreographer William A. Ervin Jr. This powerful piece explores the connective tissue necessary to discover, define, and establish boundaries within oneself. Inspired by the writings of poet, activist, and scholar Bell Hooks and Rayan Mansour, the dance examines community building, preventative mental health care, and the deepest levels of metaphysical experience.

Lynn Parkerson’s Scripture, a celebrated work from the 20th-anniversary season, returns to the stage. Devised by an ensemble of nine diverse movers, the piece, a danced benediction, unfolds against the backdrop of Bach’s cantata Jesu meine Freude, offering a spectrum of movement styles that express the joy, love, and grief of being human. Artwork titled Golem (BRAF V600E mutation) by Parkerson’s longtime collaborator, artist Avram Finkelstein will be projected behind the dancers, adding a new depth to the work. Golem (BRAF V600E mutation) is made possible by support from Creative Capital.

Additionally, the program includes a reprisal of Parkerson’s Pas de Deux, featuring a mixed-movement duet choreographed by Lynn Parkerson with projected set design by artist Cornelia Thomsen. Performed by Brian “HallowDreamz” Henry and Barbara Lins, the dance, set to Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Gavotte et Six Doubles, explores the intersection of ballet and street dance vocabulary, pushing the boundaries of traditional pas de deux. Both works will feature live music, including the choir of St Boniface Church.

Brooklyn Ballet remains committed to pushing the boundaries of ballet as an art form, reflecting Lynn Parkerson’s mission to explore the intersection of diverse dance styles. The season not only celebrates the legacy of influential figures like Martha Graham but also lifts up new voices for the future of dance.

“In our over two decades of dance exploration, we’ve always sought to defy boundaries and embrace the beauty of collaboration,” notes Lynn Parkerson, Founder and Director of Brooklyn Ballet. “Building on the success of last year’s 20th-anniversary season, this season’s offerings seamlessly weaves together ballet and street dance, past and present. Through this diverse program of movement and music, we honor tradition while boldly stepping into the future. Our commitment to inclusivity and collaboration, evident in our rich history, continues to be at the heart of Brooklyn Ballet’s mission, fostering an artistic landscape where every voice has a place, and news stories are told.'”

 Blessings and Blues runs March 7-10 at the Mark O’Donnell Theater. Friday, March 8, is Free Beer Friday. There will be a Children’s Matinee on March 9, and a post-performance Q+A with Maxwell Waterman following the evening performance.

General seating is available for $30, student and senior, $20, and children under 12, $15. Premium reserved seating, $50, is available for all performances. Tickets may be purchased here.

Brooklyn Ballet Blessings and Blues, Photo credit Kyle Froman