We recently experienced ChoreograpHER, the latest production from Boston Ballet at the Boston Opera House. The ballet runs March 3-13, 2022, and tickets are available at bostonballet.org (+ I have a promo code for tickets to ChoreograpHER and other ballets from Boston Ballet’s spring season at the end of this post.)
ChoreograpHER follows the Boston Ballet ChoreograpHER Initiative that began in 2018 to highlight female artists in the ballet field, particularly in choreography which tends to be more male-dominated. The initiative not only spawned the live performances currently running at the Boston Opera House, but it also extends to students and up-and-coming ballet artists by setting the stage for success through workshops at the Boston Ballet School and other programs geared to investing in female creators.
The ballet currently running at the Boston Opera House (through March 13, 2022) celebrates the creativity and skill set of women through five performances led by female choreographers who all produced these works alongside a team of women musicians, costumers, and set designers. Included as choreographers in the program are New York City Ballet Principal Dancer and choreographer Tiler Peck, choreography Claudia Schreier, visual artists Shantell Martin, Boston Ballet Principal Dancer and choreographer Lia Cirio, and choreographer Melissa Toogood.
ChoreograpHER began with Tiler Peck’s Point of Departure, a six-person ballet set to and inspired by the music of Caroline Shaw. The inspiration for the routine came from Shaw’s comments on how the different sections of an orange are all distinctive yet connected, until they are broken off. Peck used the visual to create intricate choreography with the dancers starting and ending the routine in the above pose with moments of intricate footwork, connectivity with the audience, and lifts in between.
Butterflies Don’t Write Books by Melissa Toogood was performed next, and I found this piece to be truly captivating. Toogood’s modern dance expertise shines through the movements of the performers who drift between short solo moments and not quite synchronized but brief moments of steps that while similar, continue to showcase the individual talents of each dancer.
The next piece was Chaptered in Fragments by Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Lia Cirio. Cirio shared that the piece was inspired by the “together alone” sort of mentality we can probably all relate to from life during the pandemic, and these thoughts certainly came through in the routine.
“Because of the pandemic and our rehearsal schedules, choreographing this work has been fragmented, sort of stop and start,” Cirio said, “Each time I come back to this piece, to rehearse or to add to it, the dancers and I have changed and evolved. Instead of fighting this fact, I have learned to embrace it and grow from it. In turn, the work has evolved and changed with each chapter of our lives during this unusual period.”
Kites by Shantell Martin was perhaps my personal favorite piece of the night, with the choreographer taking her inspiration from the movement of a kite and its relationship to one’s past, present, and future. As a visual artist (this was her first choreography piece), Martin’s work included loads of creativity that came together to form a cohesive visual and story from the movements of the dancers to the set, costumes, and music.
The final performance was Slipstream, choreographed by Claudia Schreier. Her fusion of neoclassical ballet with contemporary dance moves was beautiful to watch, and I am still in awe of how some of these movements were even possible (like the one pictured above!) Schreier is an accomplished choreographer with over 30 ballets under her belt, and her experience certainly shone through in this performance.
Tickets for ChoreograpHER start at $39 and are available at bostonballet.org/choreographer or over the phone at (617) 695-6955.
Tickets for Boston Ballet’s current season are available online at bostonballet.org. AND, you can save $50 on tickets to all performances of ChoreograpHER, DREAMstate, and MINDscape and select dates of Swan Lake, now through June 3 but using code BBFRIENDS at checkout.
- ChoreograpHER (March 3-13, 2022)
- DREAMstate (March 17-27, 2022)
- MINDscape (May 5-15, 2022)
- Swan Lake (May 26-June 5, 2022)
- The Nutcracker (November 26-December 26, 2021)