A História do Soldado
3:00pm Saturday, January 19, 2019
Domingo Estrada Jr., Soldier
Aaron Loux, Devil
Mica Bernas, Princess
Billy Smith, Choreographer
Chris Whittaker, Conductor
Igor Stravinsky: L'histoire du Soldat
Libretto by C.F. Ramuz, English version by Michael Flanders and Kitty Black; Spanish version by Margarita Feliciano
We're delighted to present a new bi-lingual presentation of Igor Stravinsky's iconic "L'histoire du Soldat" (A Soldier's Tale) with new original choreography by Billy Smith.
In 1914, after early musical success in Paris, Stravinsky relocated to the Swiss Alps to give his ailing wife respite from symptoms of severe tuberculosis. What was intended as a short stay turned into a six-year exile, as World War I broke out and the Stravinskys decided to remain in neutral Switzerland. While away Stravinsky composed several works inspired by Russian folklore, and collaborated with Swiss novelist Charles Ferdinand Ramuz on “L’histoire du soldat,” a small, portable piece “to be read, played, and danced” with which the two collaborators could amass some income touring in neighboring towns. The orchestration is small and unique reflecting Stravinsky’s fascination with jazz at the time but the orchestra notably lacks piano. The work is composed for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, violin, bass, and percussion, with a narrator portraying the characters alongside actors or dancers.
"Soldier’s Tale" is an eclectic version of the medieval “Faustian bargain,” or ‘deal with the devil’ adapted by Ramuz from an anthology of Russian folktales compiled by Alexander Afansiev. The main character, a soldier home from war, trades his prized violin for magic book that predicts the next day’s market, allowing him to amass incredible wealth. This comes at a price, however, first the soldier’s friends and family and then his betrothed, when after winning his violin back from the devil he is tempted to grasp both his past and present fortunes. The narrator concludes, “No one can have it all; That is forbidden. You must learn to choose between.”
L’Histoire du soldat was composed 1918 and premiered September 28, 1918 at the Théatre Municipal de Lausanne, Switzerland.
About the Artists
Domingo Estrada, Jr., a native of Victoria, Texas, studied martial arts and earned his black belt in 1994. He danced ballet folklorico through his church for 11 years. Estrada earned his B.F.A. in ballet and modern dance from Texas Christian University and had the honor of working with the late Fernando Bujones. During his undergraduate studies, he attended the American Dance Festival where he had the privilege of performing Skylight, a classic work by choreographer Laura Dean. He debuted with Mark Morris Dance Group in 2007 and became a company member in 2009. Estrada would like to thank God, his family and all who support his passion.
Aaron Loux grew up in Seattle, Washington, and began dancing at the Creative Dance Center as a member of Kaleidoscope, a youth modern dance company. He began his classical training at the Cornish College Preparatory Dance Program and received his B.F.A. from The Juilliard School in 2009. He danced at The Metropolitan Opera and with Arc Dance Company before joining Mark Morris Dance Group in 2010.
Mica Bernas, originally from Manila, Philippines, received her training at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance School. She later joined Ballet Philippines as member of the corps de ballet, performing as a soloist from 2001-2006. Since moving to New York in 2006, Bernas has worked with Marta Renzi Dance, Armitage Gone Dance, Gallim Dance, Barkin/Selissen Project, and Carolyn Dorfman Dance (2007-2013). She was a guest artist with the Limón Dance Company, performing at the 2013 Bienal Internacional de Danza de Cali in Bogotá, Colombia; Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater; and at The Joyce Theater for the company’s 70th Anniversary in 2015. Bernas also teaches at the Limón Institute and has been on the faculty for BIMA at Brandeis University since 2011. She joined Mark Morris Dance Group as an apprentice in January 2017 and became a company member in August 2017.
Billy Smith grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and attended George Mason University under a full academic and dance talent scholarship. He graduated magna cum laude in 2007 and received achievement awards in performance, choreography, and academic endeavors. While at George Mason he performed the works of Mark Morris, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, Doug Varone, Daniel Ezralow, Larry Keigwin, Susan Marshall, and Susan Shields. Smith’s own piece, 3-Way Stop, was selected to open the 2006 American College Dance Festival Gala at Ohio State University and his original choreography for a production of Bye Bye Birdie garnered much critical praise. An actor as well, Smith’s regional theater credits include Tulsa in Gypsy, Mistoffelees in CATS, and Dream Curly in Oklahoma!. Smith danced with Parsons Dance from 2007-2010. He joined Mark Morris Dance Group as a company member in 2010.
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