Stepping Stones

Photographer Steve Wilson.
Photographer Steve Wilson.

Choreography: Kathryn Posin
Music: Joan Tower

Milwaukee Ballet Company commissioned Ms. Posin to choreograph Stepping Stones and it premiered in 1993. Ms. Posin chose Joan Tower to compose the music, which would be Ms. Tower’s first ballet score. The two collaborated closely on music and steps, which began with a series of business lunches in New York City and continued later with an afternoon session of running and jumping in Ms. Tower’s backyard to work out the ballet’s first section.

The six raised platforms suggest both “pedestals” on which men tend to place women and a stairway to personal growth. Six female dancers evoke the stages of a woman’s life, while six more depict the woman’s inner self, and six male artists intervene in the action. The varied shades of the women’s red tunics represent aspects of a woman’s personality, from young to old and from quiet to bold.

Ms. Posin’s idea for Stepping Stones began to evolve during the many times that she ascended the steps of the New York subway system. Ms. Posin discovered ingenious new ways to use traditional technique while keeping the movement solidly based in ballet.

World Premiere: April 1993, Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Performing Arts Center

Kansas City Ballet Premiere: April 19, 2001, Lyric Theatre

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