George Balanchine was ballet's first real rule-breaker, remaking 19th century ballet for a modern world. Rounding out this powerful programme is Serenade, one of Balanchine's most perfect ballets. It was the first work he made after moving to America in the 1930s, and it distills the language of classical ballet to its essentials. Set to a transcendent Tchaikovsky score, the ballet is performed by dancers in blue costumes in front of a blue background. Balanchine worked unexpected rehearsal events into the choreography. When one student fell, he incorporated it. Another day, a student arrived late, and this too became part of the ballet.
Known as one of ballet's real game changers, William Forsythe revolutionised contemporary ballet, making innovative new works for the modern era. His ground-breaking In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated is set to Thom Willems' driving electronic score and is a highly-anticipated Hong Kong Ballet premiere. With this powerful work created for Paris Opera Ballet in 1987, Forsythe made ballet fresh again by taking a fierce urban approach to classical lines and choreography. He boldly opened up new possibilities for choreographers by turning ballet on its head while paying homage to its revered classical sensibilities.
Following in his footsteps is European sensation Andonis Foniadakis, who uses ballet to creatively express modernity and all its layers. Hong Kong audiences will experience Foniadakis' thrilling world premiere ballet Strangelove, inspired by the songs of the charttopping '80s pop pioneers Depeche Mode. With death-defying lifts and emotional choreography brimming with energy and passion, Foniadakis' new work promises to be unforgettable.
A timeless, exquisite work from the father of American ballet filled with romance, drama and passion
Set to a transcendent Tchaikovsky score, Serenade was George Balanchine’s first ballet choreographed in the US and is one of his most popular, widely danced works. Technically and artistically demanding, Balanchine revised it more extensively than any of his other works from its 1936 premiere until 1976, and today it has four timeless movements: ‘Sonatina,’ ‘Waltz,’ ‘Russian Dance’ and ‘Elegy’.
Romantic yet revolutionary, Serenade has no story, princes or fairy tales. Martha Graham describes it as ‘simplicity itself, but the simplicity of a very great master.’ Balanchine wanted to show his students that performing is more complex than taking class. In each class he worked with whoever was there, adding men when some showed up and including mishaps like a latecomer and an accidental fall. The passionate Serenade is a prime example of his ‘use what you’ve got’ philosophy.
Choreography: George Balanchine ©️ The George Balanchine Trust
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Costume Design: Barbara Karinska
Original Lighting Design: Ronald Bates
Lighting Adaptation (based on the original design): Mak Kwok Fai
Staged by: Darla Hoover
Live Music: Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and The Academy for Performing Arts School of Music
Conductor: Lio Kuokman
George Balanchine is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. St Petersburg-born Balanchine had both the music and dance of Russia in his blood. Extensive musical training put him on equal grounds in communicating with great composers and enabled him to reduce orchestral scores on the piano, which is an invaluable aid in translating music into dance. Balanchine’s style has been described as neo-classical, de-emphasising plot in ballets and preferring to let “dance be the star of the show”. In his lifetime, he created 465 works, including Serenade as one of the renowned pieces.
photo: George Platt Lynes
BALANCHINE is a Trademark of The George Balanchine Trust
A contemporary masterpiece with a fierce urban approach to classical lines and choreography that sends a high-voltage shock to the world of ballet
William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated was hailed as a masterpiece when it premiered in 1987 at Paris Opera Ballet and featured a young Sylvie Guillem. Hailed as ‘a layered experience, both kinetic and intellectual’, this electrifying work redefined contemporary dance and requires athleticism, incredible stamina and attention to detail from the dancers. The title playfully references two golden cherries hanging above the stage. Forsythe has created over 70 works with composer Thom Willems, whose powerful, driving score is made up of contrasts between aggressive turbulences and soft sonorities. To this day In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated continues challenging what one normally expects from a ballet performance.
Forsythe describes In the Middle as ‘extending and accelerating the traditional figures of ballet. By shifting the alignment of positions and the emphasis of transitions, the enchainments begin to tilt obliquely and receive an unexpected drive that makes them appear at odds with their origins.’
Sylvie Guillem said, ‘I think of nothing while I am doing In the Middle, except the steps. They take a real physical power and violence to perform and that is all that is in my mind at that moment: line and power.’
Choreography, Lighting and Costume Design: William Forsythe
Music: Thom Willems in collaboration with Leslie Stuck
Costume Design: William Forsythe
Original Lighting Design: Tanja Rühl
Lighting Adaptation (based on the original design): Mak Kwok Fai
Staged by: Thierry Guiderdoni
An active choreographer for over 45 years, William Forsythe is renowned for redefining ballet in the 21st century. His interest in fundamental principles of organisation led him to produce numerous projects, including installations, films and web-based knowledge creations.
Appointed Resident Choreographer in 1976 and Director of the Ballet Frankfurt during 1984 - 2004, Forsythe then founded and directed The Forsythe Company until 2015. His earlier works have been danced by every major ballet company worldwide. More recently, Forsythe created original works for the Paris Opera Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet and the internationally acclaimed A Quiet Evening of Dance by Sadler’s Wells Theatre (London).
©Julian Gabriel Richter
A visually and emotionally captivating ballet inspired by the iconic Depeche Mode, electronic music pioneer and the ‘biggest alternative band in the world'
‘Depeche Mode's music has been a profound source of inspiration for me since my teenage years. As a dancer and choreographer, I found myself drawn to their powerful, evocative lyrics. The songs’ raw, emotional themes explored the complexities of the human condition, and the unique blend of dark, atmospheric electronic sounds was the perfect backdrop for my creative vision, allowing me to craft a ballet that was both visually and emotionally captivating. This new ballet is a testament to the transformative power of music and dance and introduces Depeche Mode's iconic music to a new audience, creating a powerful experience for both dancers and spectators alike.’
Choreography: Andonis Foniadakis
Music: performed by Depeche Mode
Costume Design: Anastasios Sofroniou
Lighting Design: Mak Kwok Fai
Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis has danced with Bejart Ballet and Lyon Opera Ballet. He has created works for dance companies like Martha Graham Dance Company, Rambert and Geneva Ballet, choreographed for operas and films and collaborated with Palais de Tokyo in Paris. He was Greek National Opera Ballet’s Artistic Director and is currently the Artistic Director of his own dance group Apotosoma. Accolades include Best Choreography by Italian magazine Danza&Danza and Greek Critics Union.
Enjoy a Perrier-Jouët Champagne Masterclass
$1,000 (VIP) ticket holders of The Rule Breakers can enjoy a complimentary glass of Perrier-Jouët Champagne at a bespoke location by Pernod Ricard gifted by Hong Kong Ballet's Champagne Partner Perrier-Jouët Champagne.
Registration: [email protected]
(Please include name, phone number and a copy of The Rule Breakers ticket stub)
Enquiries: 2398 3636 (Ms Hui)
Enjoy special dining offers at BluHouse or Holt’s Café at Rosewood Hong Kong
Ticket holders of The Rule Breakers can enjoy 15% off dining at BluHouse (except The Dining Room by BluHouse) or Holt’s Café at Rosewood Hong Kong upon presentation of their Hong Kong Ballet tickets.
Enjoy a special long stay offer at K11 ARTUS
Enjoy special dining offer / complimentary appetizer at The Lobby Lounge of Regent Hong Kong
Ticketholders of The Rule Breakers can enjoy the “3-course set menu” at a special price of HKD440+10%, including a glass of wine (available daily from 5pm to 8pm) or a complimentary appetizer (1 portion) upon purchase a bottle of wine (Guest may choose their preference out of the selective options, options of the day may varies) at The Lobby Lounge.