We’re on the edge of our seats and tips of our toes in anticipation for Monday’s world premiere release of Las Estrellas (The Stars )! Choreographed by Kyle Davis for Angelica Generosa, Leta Biasucci, Laura Tisserand, Noelani Pantastico and Lesley Rausch, with costumes by Elizabeth Murphy, Las Estrellas is how we’re celebrating GiveBIG, by giving back to you — our fans here at home and around the globe who have kept us dancing and going this season.
Angelica Generosa. Leta Biasucci. Laura Tisserand. Noelani Pantastico. Lesley Rausch. As individuals, they inspired every step I choreographed. As artists, they gave life to the dance we made. These are artists who have shown a command of dance time and time again and have proven they are stars.
Elizabeth Murphy. Her dancing and performance qualities are reflected in every costume she designs and constructs – strong, comforting, thoughtful, stunning.
Michael Jinsoo Lim. Christina Siemens. At every performance, I listen to the sounds emanating from the orchestra pit and immediately know who is leading the strings and who is seated at the Steinway. When I hear these two musicians performing, I know the show will be brilliant. Working with them on this new piece was a must.
Reed Nakayama. When an artist steps onstage it is not only their natural radiance making them shine, but the finessed work of an immensely skilled lighting designer who elevates a performance from good to great – something the common viewer may not be able to describe but knows.
People were the inspiration for this piece – and there are many more than I have listed above. Skilled and talented people, both behind the scenes and in-front of the camera. People, and a desire to feel camaraderie and togetherness with my fellow colleagues during a season of necessary separation, were the driving inspirations for this piece. Creating a piece during the pandemic is challenging. As a creator you must accept, embrace, and use the challenge to spur you on.
The collaborative team on this piece was anchored by two creators I look up to and love working with – Elizabeth Murphy and Reed Nakayama. I have worked with Elizabeth and Reed separately on a number of projects, and together on A Dark and Lonely Space, for PNB’s mainstage, and Variegated Voices and Make It So, for PNB’s Next Step performances. I will find any reason to work with them again and again.
As well as Elizabeth and Reed, all five dancers were extraordinary collaborators. Communication during the creative process was of utmost importance to me. Very few dancers around the globe have had consistent dancing opportunities throughout the pandemic, so having open conversation in every rehearsal was paramount to ensuring the process was paced appropriately for each dancer and allowed for a back-and-forth that gave each dancer the control to actively sculpt the choreography to their own needs. Without their input these solos would just be a series of nearly meaningless steps. With their input these solos are small tributes and representations of their individuality, making the experience truly one of a kind.
Program notes by Kyle Davis.
Photo: Photographer and videographer Lindsay Thomas with dancer Angelica Generosa. Photo courtesy of Kyle Davis.