Brahms Paganini

Dancer Logan Pachciarz. Photographer Ellen Crane.
Dancer Logan Pachciarz. Photographer Ellen Crane.

Choreographer: Twyla Tharp
Composer: Johannes Brahms

In this two part showcase of virtuoso dancing, a lone male dancer, showcased as a virtuoso soloist, precedes a showcase for a lone female dancer accompanied by two couples of dancers, for virtuosic display of another kind. Two books of famous tricky piano variations inspire two complimentary dances of correspondingly embellished choreographic variations. The complexities of the male solo become fortified by the choreographic enrichments of Tharp’s previous dances for ballet virtuoso Baryshnikov (Push Comes To Shove) and for British skating champion John Curry (After All and Three Fanfares). The male dancer on display gets to dig into, soar through and compliment the musical trickery of the piano amazements offered by Book 1 (opus 35 Heft 1) of Brahms Variations on a Theme by Paganini. For Book II, a more varied focus and differently shaped complexity takes over. Two daring couples of dancers share the virtuoso honors, taking the vocabulary of partnering to fresh levels of skill as a female soloist commands the separate attention with virtuosities of her own. The intensity, finesse and seemingly unstoppable momentum of the musical inspiration all find visible counterparts in the choreographic inventions the latter reflecting without repeating the nearly breathless force of the former.

World Premiere: March 24, 1980, Twyla Tharp Dance

Kansas City Ballet Premiere: February 21, 2008, Lyric Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri

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