Music: Frederic Chopin (Mazurka, Op. 63, no. 3, 1846; Waltz, Op. 69, no. 2, 1829; Mazurka, Op. 33, no. 3, 1838; Mazurka, Op. 6, no. 4, 1830-1831; Mazurka, Op. 7, no. 5, 1830-1832; Mazurka, Op. 7, no. 4, 1830-1832; Mazurka, Op 24, no. 2, 1836; Mazurka, Op. 6, no. 2, 1830-1831; Waltz, Op. 42, 1839?-1840; Waltz, Op. 34, no. 2, 1831; Mazurka, Op. 56, no. 2, 1843; Etude, Op. 25, no. 4, 1835-1837?; Waltz, Op. 34, no. 1, 1835-1838; Waltz, Op. 70, no. 2, 1841; Etude, Op 25, no. 5, 1835-1837?; Etude, Op. 10, no. 2, 1829-1832; Scherzo, Op. 20, 1831/1834; Nocturne, Op. 15, no. 1, 1830-1833)
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Staging: Philip Neal and Jenifer Ringer
Costume Design: Joe Eula
Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton, recreated by Randall G. Chiarelli
Duration: 58 minutes
Premiere: May 22, 1969; New York City Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: May 28, 2009
The 2009 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering was generously underwritten by Jeffrey & Susan Brotman.
Dances at a Gathering was the first ballet Jerome Robbins made for New York City Ballet upon his return to the company in 1969, following a 12-year absence during which he choreographed some of his best-known Broadway musicals. An hour-long suite for ten dancers, set to solo piano works by Frederic Chopin, Dances at a Gathering began as a pas de deux. Robbins selected more music and the ballet grew. He invited Balanchine to see a rehearsal, asking him if the ballet wasn’t a bit long. Balanchine watched the rehearsal, then said, “More. Make more!”
Speaking before the premiere, Robbins explained, “I’m doing a fairly classical ballet to very old fashioned and romantic music, but there is a point to it. In a way it is a revolt from the faddism today. I find myself feeling just what is the matter with connecting, what’s the matter with love, what’s the matter with celebrating positive things?”
Jerome Robbins dedicated Dances at a Gathering to the memory of lighting designer Jean Rosenthal.
Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance , by Deborah Jowitt (Simon & Schuster, 2004)
Notes by Doug Fullington.
Contributing Artists for the 2018 Performance
Jenifer Ringer was born in New Bern, North Carolina, and received her early ballet training in South Carolina and Washington, D.C. before moving on to a year of training at the School of American Ballet. Ms. Ringer was asked to join New York City Ballet as an apprentice in 1989, moving through the ranks until she was made a principal dancer in 2000. She retired from performing in 2014 after a 24-year career dancing featured roles in works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Alexi Ratmansky, and Christopher Wheeldon. Ms. Ringer has won the Dance Magazine Award, Jerome Robbins Award, and Dance Teacher Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award; in 1998, she graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University. In 2000, Ms. Ringer married former New York City Ballet principal dancer James Fayette with whom she has two children. They are currently the deans of the dance department at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. Ms. Ringer also works regularly as a répétiteur for the Robbins Rights Trust.
After a 23-year tenure with New York City Ballet, including 17 years as a principal dancer, Philip Neal was invited by the George Balanchine Trust and the Robbins Rights Trust to become a répétiteur. He stages the legendary choreographers’ works throughout the world. Neal has embarked on choreographic ventures, having crafted five original commissions for Richmond Ballet. From 2010-2013, Neal directed development, fundraising, board trustee recruitment, and special events in Palm Beach for Miami City Ballet. In 2015, Neal was appointed Artistic Director of Next Generation Ballet (NGB) and Dance Dean of Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center in Tampa, Florida, one the largest performing arts centers in the United States. The pre-professional training division touts graduates in prestigious academies and companies such as the Royal Ballet School, School of American Ballet, Boston Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet. His website is philipnealdance.com.
Christina Siemens joined PNB in 2003 and was promoted to Company Pianist in 2008. She has an extensive solo keyboard repertoire with PNB as well as performing as soprano soloist in numerous Company productions. Ms. Siemens regularly appears with the Seattle Symphony, Auburn Symphony, The Tudor Choir, and Byrd Ensemble, and performs for commercial and soundtrack recordings.