Minnesota Ballet review: Fresh score, fresh moves open season
The high point was the world premiere of “Recurrent Stages,” choreographed by Artistic Director Robert Gardner to original music by Ryan Homsey, a former member of the company.
“Litany” features a kaleidoscope of movement, driving by the rhythm of the music, that achieves an almost geometric progression that was quite enthralling.
Familiarity breeds collaboration between composer, Minnesota Ballet
The composer behind a piece of music featured in the Minnesota Ballet’s fall production brings a dancer’s ear to his score — and a familiarity with the company for which he’s writing.
“It became clear to me that I couldn’t pursue music seriously if it was always on the back burner,” he said. “A dancer’s life is shorter than a composer’s life. I made the transition. I knew that I had to take all the dedication and passion that I’d applied to dance and refocus on music. I think that I’ve always wanted to utilize this knowledge base I have in dance,” he said. “I felt like my music has a dancer-ly quality to it. It has been such a heartwarming experience to reconnect with the Minnesota Ballet and work with (Gardner) in this new capacity.”
“It’s based on a minimalist style,” Nicole Craycraft, a violin player, said of the score. “It’s taking patterns that are used repeatedly, instead of listening to luscious lyrical melody, like you might be more used to. It’s more rhythmic. You try to create effect more than a lyrical line. That’s not to say there isn’t some really nice melodies throughout the piece . . . I think he’s a talented young composer and it’s an awesome opportunity for Duluth to have something like this going on.”
When the Minnesota Ballet opens its 2013-2014 season at Symphony Hall at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center with “A Fresh Mix” Oct. 18-19, performance features a premiere work by artistic director Robert Gardner to an original score by Superior native and composer Ryan Homsey. An amplified string quartet performs the score live.
His music has been performed in the U.S., Italy and France, and featured in music festivals, concerts and theater productions. In composing for the Minnesota Ballet, Homsey returns to the company he danced with for four seasons after graduating from the ballet school in 1998.
Gardner is thrilled to be working with Homsey in this new role. “He’s the perfect choice for a ballet composer with his extensive background in both dance and music,” Gardner said.
Best Bets: Ballet presents ‘A Fresh Mix’
As a dancer, Ryan Homsey was credited with theatrical prowess and a sense of humor during a ballet performance in winter 2000. More than a decade later, he returns to the company he once performed with — now as a composer.
Expect to see a dance in three movements representing different stages of life. Expect to hear distorted strings offstage and a contemporary dance onstage.
Get to know Ryan Homsey; Musical Composition Aficinado
What inspires you? Poetry, nature, folklore, oil paintings, and major sevenths. I’m such a Romantic!
Do you have any advice to other dancers out there who are considering careers in a different art? Frankly, few people in the music business have cared about my professional experience as a dancer. They don’t see the relevance that one art form has to another. Of course additional training in your new field is probably necessary, but do not underestimate your own artistic sensibilities. You bring a unique perspective to your new art form.
In part, what has guided me through this transition is the love of my new career. But more than that, it is the understanding that who I am as a person is not strictly determined by what I do. I had to let go of my identity as a dancer and accept the not yet fully formed identity as a composer.
I constantly remind myself to let go of career landmarks prescribed by society in terms of increments of age. I recognize I am on my own path with my own timeline. I would not trade my career as a dancer for more rapid success in my new field. Being a dancer remains a part of who I am, and it continues to enrich the way I view the world around me.
Open Salon at Music With a View 2011
Ryan Homsey was presenting a nice duet for violins, that he prefaced as a reference to his past career as a professional ballet dancer, and the relationship between two dance partners. I enjoyed the intertwined violin lines, the exchanges, each musician accompanying the other in turn, and the performers facing each other, their profile to the audience. I would like to hear this piece again.