In a fanfare of Charlotte flair, Charlotte Ballet will close its Chautauqua season with “Made in Charlotte,” a collection of bespoke commissions, at 8:15 p.m. Monday, July 15 in the Amphitheater.
“This series highlights the versatility of the company and illuminates new voices,” said Charlotte Ballet Artistic Director Hope Muir.
Of the four-piece bill, three pieces — “Essence of Numbers,” “Sonnet 116” and “A Road to Pieces” — were produced and showcased in Charlotte Ballet’s Choreographic Lab, an informal performance with new and emerging hyperlocal choreographers. The lab has been ongoing for two seasons, and will return for Charlotte Ballet’s 2019-20 season.
“Essence of Numbers” by 11-season veteran Sarah Hayes Harkins is set to music by Jared Oaks, music director for Ballet West in Salt Lake City. It’s an eight-person ensemble, en pointe but contemporary and loosely rooted in a proverb from Pythagorean philosopher Arignote: “The eternal essence of number is the most providential cause of the whole Heaven, Earth and the region in between.”
Seasoned Charlotte Ballet dancer Chelsea Dumas’ “Sonnet 116” is danced to a reading of the namesake Shakespearian sonnet, as well as music by film composers Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser. “A Road to Pieces” by Charlotte ballerino Juwan Alston is an en pointe pas de deux and premiered in May on Charlotte’s Harkins and David Preciado.
The bill will close with Chicago-based choreographer Stephanie Martinez’s “Unsex Me Here,” a collaboration with The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, presented during Charlotte Ballet’s “Innovative Works” series in January.
Martinez — who made her Charlotte Ballet debut with “Unsex Me Here” — collaborated with UNCC Department of Theatre chair and dance historian Lynne Conner to translate Lady Macbeth’s request to be made a man into movement. The piece explores gender roles, gender fluidity and societal expectations for men and women through intricate partnering.
“In my ballets, women can’t lose their power,” Martinez said in an interview with The Charlotte Observer. “They’re not victims, and they’re not subservient. They see themselves differently from the way men in the plays see them. We’re depicting what they might want their lives to be.”
This is Charlotte Ballet’s second iteration of “Made in Charlotte,” first performed at Chautauqua in 2018, according to Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts.
“(Muir) has a real focus on new choreographers … so I think we’re going to continue to see growth in the company,” Moore said.
The Chautauqua Dance Circle, Muir and “A Road to Pieces” choreographer Alston, will hold a dance preview at 7 p.m. Monday, July 15 in Smith Wilkes Hall prior to Charlotte Ballet’s performance.