Concerto Grosso

Dancers Angelina Sansone and Gabriel Davidsson. Photographer Steve Wilson.
Dancers Angelina Sansone and Gabriel Davidsson. Photographer Steve Wilson.

Choreography: Toni Pimble
Music: Ernest Bloch
Costume Design: Jennifer Carroll
Lighting Design: Kirk Bookman

Sometimes choreographers have a piece of music that they love on a “back burner” waiting for the right opportunity to be attempted as a choreographic work. Ernest Bloch’s Concerto Grosso #1 is one of those pieces for me. I have enjoyed the work for many years but never quite found the right program or time in which to sink my teeth into it.

Therefore, when William Whitener invited me to set a piece on Kansas City Ballet dancers with some fairly specific parameters (a new work, program opener about 20 to 25 minutes in length and to be performed by the Kansas City Symphony) the piece of music that came to mind immediately was Bloch’s concerto.

It is a work for string orchestra which creates an intimacy suitable for a dance work but with very strong rhythmic impulses ideal for dance. In fact, the third movement is listed by Bloch as ‘pastorale’ and ‘rustic dances’. The concerto is in four movements ending with a fugue of such compelling intensity that it was a challenge, but an absolute pleasure to choreograph. Danced by seven couples of Kansas City Ballet, it is a non-narrative ballet of sheer joy.

–provided by Toni Pimble

World Premiere: Kansas City Ballet, May 6, 2010, Lyric Theatre.

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