Choreography: Todd Bolender
Music: George Gershwin
The wit, the magic, the nostalgia of America in the 1920’s comes alive on stage in this three-part masterwork by Artistic Director Todd Bolender. “Every note of George Gershwin’s score is like champagne, as is every step,” reviewed the Kansas City Star after its premiere in 1984.
The ballet was inspired by George Gershwin’s masterpiece for piano and orchestra which premiered to world acclaim in 1925 at Carnegie Hall. Bolender translates Gershwin’s zesty rhythms, reminiscent of the Charleston and the metropolitan scene, into an explosive ballet.
Concerto In F opens with the dancers briskly criss-crossing the stage in front of a stylized Manhattan skyline. The pianist begins a solo, accompanying a relaxed and lyrical duet. The intimacy vanishes, however, as the orchestra wells and other dancers pour in, weeping across the stage in intersecting diagonal lines. The ballet gains momentum through three acts to a star-spangled finale as three ballerinas come together in red, white or blue costumes against a flag motif.
The music and choreography blend driving jazzy sections with openly romantic ones and bear the Bolender mark of elegance fused with passion.
The concerto, like Rhapsody in Blue, has become a staple of the contemporary repertory. “It is quick and pulsating, representing the young enthusiastic spirit of American life,” according to Gershwin in a 1925 New York Tribune. Bolender brings that spirit to the ballet in what has been called the Company’s signature piece.