The 2000s - Boston Ballet

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The 2000s

Boston Ballet with her royal highness, Queen Sophia of Spain.

Photo credit: Sabi Varga ©vargaimages, Jul, 2007


Boston Ballet began the new millennium with new faces and even more new works.

Mikko Nissinen teaching company class

Photographer unknown

Boston Ballet's Night of Stars

Photo credit: Gene Schiavone, Oct 25, 2006

May 4, 2000: Boston Ballet presented Ben Stevenson’s Cleopatra. The lavish production was a collaboration with Houston Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and premiered on March 5, 2000 in Houston. The piece featured music of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov arranged by John Lanchbery with costumes by Judanna Lynn and scenery by Thomas Boyd.

Sep 5, 2001: Boston Ballet welcomed MIKKO NISSINEN as the Artistic Director of Boston Ballet and Boston Ballet School. Born in Helsinki, Finland, Nissinen began his dance training at age ten with The Finnish National Ballet School, and launched his professional dance career at age 15 with The Finnish National Ballet. He continued his studies at The Kirov Ballet School in St. Petersburg, graduating in 1980. Nissinen went on to dance with Dutch National Ballet, Basel Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet, where he was a principal dancer for ten years.
Since 2001, Nissinen has cultivated a dynamic collection of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary repertoire, ranging from full-length classical ballets and masterworks by George Balanchine, to new works by some of the finest contemporary choreographers today.

Mar 1, 2002: In 2002 Boston Ballet, in a joint venture with Children’s Hospital, Boston’s Department of Physical Therapy, established ADAPTIVE DANCE, a program specifically designed for students with Downs Syndrome. It was a first-of-its-kind program designed to foster a love of dance and creative expression and has been featured in many publications, including a 2009 People Magazine article, entitled “A Chance to Dance.” Since its launch the program has expanded to include students on the Autism Spectrum.

Oct 16, 2003: In 2003 Boston Ballet celebrated the company’s 40th year. The 2003-2004 celebratory season included a revival of Nureyev’s Don Quixote, the company premiere of Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellia’s, as well as a world premiere by Caniparoli created specifically for Boston Ballet. Also performed were Mark Morris’ Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes and Mikko Nissinen’s first Swan Lake for the company. Boston Ballet also paid homage to the 100th anniversary of George Balanchine’s birth, adding another Balanchine masterwork to the company’s repertoire, Duo Concertant.

Mar 25, 2004: Boston Ballet presented the world premiere of Jorma Elo’s Plan to B set to the music of Henrich Ignaz von Bieber. It was the second world premiere that Elo created for Boston Ballet while he was still dancing with Netherlands Dance Theatre. The company debuted the work on stage at the Wang Theatre in a program alongside the work of Mark Morris, George Balanchine, and Val Caniparoli. The company brought the piece on tour to Jacob’s Pillow and City Center in New York later in 2004.

Jan 1, 2005: JORMA ELO became resident choreographer for Boston Ballet in 2005. Elo’s association with Boston Ballet goes back to 2002 when artistic director Mikko Nissinen invited him to choreograph a piece for the company. The piece, Sharp Side of Dark, premiered on September 19, 2002. Since 2002 Elo has CHOREOGRAPHED 14 world premiere’s for the company, including Plan to B (2004), Brake the Eyes (2007), and Awake Only (2012). In 2011, Boston Ballet presented the first full-length evening of his work, Elo Experience.

Boston Ballet in Falling Angels

Photo credit: Eric Antoniou

Mar 17, 2005: Boston Ballet presented the company premieres of Jiří Kylián’s Falling Angels and Sarabande. Boston Ballet had the honor of being the first company outside Kylián’s Netherland’s Dance Theatre to perform the works. The performance also marked the first time Boston Ballet had added Kylián’s to work to the repertoire since the 1987 company premiere of Symphony in D. Since 2005, Boston Ballet has become one of the few American companies to have such a vast number of Kylián works in their repertoire, which has included two full-length performance evenings and several American premieres of his work.

Oct 25, 2006: Boston Ballet inaugurated the company’s first ever Night of Stars in October of 2006. The one-night-only gala performance featured Boston Ballet company members and guest artists from San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet. Thea Singer of The Boston Globe wrote of the evening “how refreshing to attend Boston Ballet’s Gala last night…and witness some true works of art – dances performed with subtlety and panache, musicality and heart.”

Jul 2007: Boston Ballet embarked on its first international tour in over 15 years heading to Spain for the first time since 1991. The six-week tour was one of the largest in company history and took the company to seven festivals throughout the country. The Company presented two programs, including SORELLA ENGLUND’S staging of August Bournonville’s La Sylphide, and an all-Balanchine evening. The company was met with resounding critical acclaim and sold-out performances and Boston Ballet was honored to have her royal highness, Queen Sophia of Spain, in the audience for a performance during the tour.

Aug 23, 2008: Boston Ballet toured to Korea for the first time in the summer of 2008. It was the company’s second tour to Asia. In 1980 Boston Ballet was first American company to perform in China. The company presented a neo-classical and contemporary program at the Universal Arts Center in Seoul and Goyang Cultural Arts Complex in Gyeonggi-do, featuring Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia.

Feb 12, 2009: Boston Ballet became the first company outside of Kylián’s Nederlands Dans Theatre to stage the full-length evening of Jiří Kylián’s Black & WhiteBlack & White, a program of five Kylián works, choreographed between the years 1986-1991, showcased two pieces Boston Ballet audiences had seen before, Sarabande and Falling Angels as well as three individual company premieres, No More PlayPetite Mort, and Sechs Tänze.

Sep 19, 2009: Boston Ballet 47th season premiered at a brand new performance home, the Boston Opera House, in Boston’s Theatre District. The company’s new home featured a fully renovated orchestra pit, designed by Boston Ballet Music Director and Principal Conductor, Jonathan McPhee, with improved acoustics and functionality. Boston Ballet’s move into the 2,600 seat Opera House guaranteed the audience an intimate viewing experience and excellent sightlines. Boston Ballet kicked off its first full season at the Opera House with the fourth annual Night of Stars followed by Maina Gielgud’s acclaimed production of Giselle.


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