Premieres From Houston Ballet Lives Up to its Name With — What Else — Premieres

Principals Charles-Louis Yoshiyama, Jessica Collado and Connor Walsh in Jiri Kylián’s Dream Time.
Principals Charles-Louis Yoshiyama, Jessica Collado and Connor Walsh in Jiri Kylián’s Dream Time. Photo by Amitava Sarkar/Courtesy of Houston Ballet
It's another whirlwind weekend for the Houston Ballet packing the  mixed rep program Premieres complete with a world premiere piece into five performances and right after the company did the story length ballet Sylvia and the Jerome Robbins tribute.

Principal Jessica Collado has been right in the middle of all of it, going from dancing the role of the Artemis in Sylvia to among other things, a Queen Spider in The Cage and now to two of the three pieces to be presented in Premieres.

The first one, Dream Time, makes its Houston Ballet premiere and features a small cast of three women and two men who perform in duets and trios with choreography by Jirí Kylián. "It's a new piece to our company and the more contemporary piece on our program. It goes into the explanation about dreams and sleeping and the subconscious and these images and these thoughts. So there's a lot of beautiful shapes that happen and it's a series of solos and duets and trios," Collado says.

click to enlarge Choreographer Justin Peck with Artists of Houston Ballet rehearsing Reflections. - PHOTO BY LAWRENCE KNOX
Choreographer Justin Peck with Artists of Houston Ballet rehearsing Reflections.
Photo by Lawrence Knox
The world premiere Reflections is by New York City Ballet dancer — and Tony Award-winning choreographer - Justin Peck (Year of the Rabbit). Two pianists are on stage throughout the original composition while 11 dancers take to the floor. Collado loved the idea of being in on something from the ground up. "He came in the fall and started working with us and he's come back a few times since then to finish the piece and tweak some things.

"For me, I love the process of creating with somebody. You kind of get to dive into their brain a little bit and explore what their ideas are and create movement that suits you and is a reflection of your strength and your style. Justin  was really great in giving us some freedom in what we were feeling in the moment.  I think his movement is really exciting, it's a kind of modern, new fresh twist on classical ballet. So it's really bright and energetic and exciting.

"Because it is a brand new work, there were some sections he originally choreographed. He went away and let it sink and came back and changed some sections. Just last seek he redid the very end of the ballet. New creations are ever evolving in a way."

Collado isn't in the third piece Come In by Aszure Barton in which 13 male dancers share the stage. "I think the all men’s piece is wonderfully surprising. It’s beautiful in the fact that you have 13 guys on stage and they’re doing a very delicate piece and you don't see that very often."

Collado thinks Premieres should attract audiences who want something in addition to the story ballets they do. "The three different works on this Premieres program really explore neo classical and contemporary dance. All three are very different and set a different mood.

I think it's a great kind of appetizer for someone coming to the ballet for the first time or is a season ticket-holder and sees it performed live."

Performances are scheduled for March 21-24 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Wortham Theater, 500 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit $25-$200.
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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
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