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FEBRUARY 16 at 7:30pm
FEBRUARY 17 at 3:00pm & 7:30pm
FEBRUARY 18 at 3:00pm
KIRKWOOD PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Three ways to celebrate love – with three short ballets and a nod to Valentine’s Day. After a stunning debut at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center in 2023, the company returns to KPAC with works by the incomparable George Balanchine, innovative choreographer Brian Enos and the dynamic duo of Gen Horiuchi and composer TOYA (with live accompaniment).
Gen Horiuchi’s ST LOUIS BLUES: 45 min
A creation with composer and longtime collaborator Toya that evokes the mood of the blues era. With accompaniment by a New York-based jazz ensemble and star jazz singer, Denise Thimes!
George Balanchine’s SQUARE DANCE: 25 min
In love with all things American, Balanchine takes the intricate patterns of a typical square dance and re-imagines them for his own ballet work that nods to the common roots of the two styles. Incorporating classical ballet, 17th century court dance and country dancing in an effervescent whole.
Brian Enos’ IN REEL TIME: 15 min
A contemporary work that’s very rhythmic and strikingly beautiful.
There will be a 20 min intermission
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ST. LOUIS BLUES
Music by TOYA
Choreography by Gen Horiuchi
Collaborating with composer Toya, this ballet explores the music and times of jazz and blues in St. Louis. Even more exciting is this piece will be accompanied by live music straight from New York City, a true Jazz Band, and legendary jazz singer Denise Thimes!
GEN HORIUCHI - CHOREOGRAPHER
St. Louis Blues
"I began contemplating the creation of a ballet based on St. Louis Blues nearly two years ago, when my dearest friend, Mr. Yasushi Abe — Japan’s most renowned jazz music critic — suggested the idea. He imparted to me the history of Jazz and Blues in America, as well as their introduction to Japan in the post-World War II era. He believed that the ballet St. Louis Blues would become a signature work for the Saint Louis Ballet. Following this, I consulted with Toya, who has had an extensive career as a jazz music composer and performer in New York City for over 30 years. Since then, I have made numerous trips to New York to discuss and collaborate on the compositions and the vision for the ballet. I am deeply grateful to Mr. Abe for his creative guidance and to Toya for his exceptional talent as both the composer and the arranger of the music."
DENISE THIMES - JAZZ SINGER
St. Louis Blues
"Where authenticity and showmanship intersect, it is there you will find Denise Thimes. She dazzles and excites her audience, who are delighted to be held in the palm of her hand!"
Scott Stegman; Proprietor,
Winter’s Jazz Club, Chicago IL
Denise Thimes, a seasoned artist with nearly three decades in music, has been deeply influenced by her father, radio icon Lou “Fatha” Thimes. Her collaborations with jazz greats like Wynton Marsalis, Clark Terry, Dr. Billy Taylor, and James Moody highlight her remarkable journey. She has shared the stage with notables such as Bobby McFerrin and Bucky Pizzarelli, and performed for international dignitaries, including the Queen of Thailand and Queen Elizabeth II. Her talent extends to acting, earning her 8 Woodie Awards. Thimes’ acting skills are lauded by Ron Himes of the St Louis Black Repertory. In addition, she frequently performs at Winter’s Jazz Club. Offstage, Thimes leads the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, honoring her mother. Renowned for her unique jazz voice, she has headlined at prestigious venues like Dizzy’s Coca Cola Room in New York. Phoebe Jacobs once said, “Denise Thimes is like Ella and Sarah born all over again,” underscoring her exceptional artistry.
ATSUSHI TOYA TOKUYA - COMPOSER
St. Louis Blues
Atsushi TOYA Takuya (Composer / Piano / Keyboard / Conductor) a Tokyo-born composer, arranger, and keyboardist, began his musical career at eleven. With ontributions to over 100 albums and numerous Japanese concert tours, TOYA moved to New York City in 1991, collaborating with icons like Ben E. King, Dionne Warwick, and Dee Dee Sharp. In 2001, TOYA directed the music for former President Bill Clinton’s Harlem office opening. He produced Wild Women, an American vocal group, touring Japan in 2006 and 2008. His 2009 show Virtuosity was successful in Toronto and Minneapolis. TOYA’s collaboration with Ben E. King peaked with Dear Japan - Ue Wo Muite Arukou in 2011, supporting Tohoku earthquake victims and receiving Japan’s Tourism Agency commendation. Their 2011 and 2012 tours in Japan were critically acclaimed. Recently, TOYA composed ballet suites for the Saint Louis Ballet (2021, 2023) and is working on Gravity Of Love The Musical. His score for The Last Passenger won Best Music at the 2023 Global Nonviolent Film Festival.
Feature Article: St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Ballet is tapping into our love for our hometown with its show LoveX3, which features the new dance “St. Louis Blues,” an homage and a reinterpretation of the W.C. Handy song of the same name.
“It’s a landmark song of the city,” says Gen Horiuchi, executive and artistic director of St. Louis Ballet. “We are hoping just to make this piece a signature piece of the St. Louis Ballet.”
The only issue? The song is just six minutes long and not a ballet. To fix this, Horiuchi partnered with friend and composer Atsushi Tokuya, who goes by Toya, to work on a composition that would transform the song into a ballet.
Music by Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli
Choreography by George Balanchine
Known for his love of all things American, Balanchine expertly reconceives square dancing to fit his neoclassical minimalism, retaining its fascinating patterns and effervescent spirit.
In Square Dance, George Balanchine joined the traditions of American folk dance with classical ballet. He felt the two types of dance, though widely different in style, had common roots and a similar regard for order. He wrote, "The American style of classical dancing, its supple sharpness and richness of metrical invention, its superb preparation for risks, and its high spirits, were some of the things I was trying to show in this ballet." In the original 1957 version, the musicians were placed onstage, and a square dance caller was brought in to call out the steps. Square Dance was revived in 1976 without the caller, with the orchestra in the pit, and with an added solo for the principal male dancer.
IN REEL TIME
Music by Philip Daniel, Nova,
Outland, & Spearfisher
Choreography by Brian Enos
"In Reel Time" explores the play between tension and release and how form, function, and the connection between the dancers, music, time, and physical space can all be manipulated to create moments of tension, release, and unpredictability.
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