The Soraya Presents the Return of the Renowned Aspen Santa Fe, Ballet Saturday, January 19

Tuplet by Alexander Ekman
Dream Play by Fernando Melo
1st Flash by Jorma Elo

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet‘s bold vision – top global choreographers, distinctive groundbreaking repertoire, and virtuoso dancers – has fostered a jewel of a dance company in the American West. Now, ASFB celebrates the fourth year of its residency at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) with a program of works that celebrates the company’s commitment to creating new contemporary dance on Saturday, January 19 at 8:00pm. ASFB will perform Tuplet by Alexander Ekman, Dream Play by Fernando Melo, and 1st Flash from world-renowned Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo.


Saturday, January 19 at 8:00pm


Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330


Prices: Starting at $39. Prices subject to change.
By Phone: (818) 677-3000

This multi-year residency by a major performing arts company furthers the mission of The Soraya to become the cultural hub of the San Fernando Valley. Long-term relationships between artists and audiences are crucial to the success of emerging arts institutions and the communities they serve. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, one of the nation’s most important contemporary ballet companies, is the first company to embark on a residency at The Soraya. ASFB enjoys worldwide acclaim with invitations to perform at noted venues around the world, from Teatro La Fenice, the historic opera house in Venice, Italy, to The Joyce Theater and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the U.S.

“We feel so priviledged that Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has chosen us as their home-away-from-home as we welcome them for their fourth consecutive year,” said The Soraya Executive Director, Thor Steingraber. “We’re also excited to host works by Jorma Elo, one of dance’s most sought-after choreographers; Alexander Ekman, who has choreographed for over 50 companies worldwide; and an ASFB-commissioned work by Fernando Melo. The choregraphers are what make the evening so spectacular and Melo and Elo have both had worked here before, returning after their previous successes.”

About the Program


Choreography: Alexander Ekman
Music: Mikael Karlsson, Victor Feldman, “Fly Me To The Moon”
Video: Alexander Ekman
Costume Design: Nancy Haeyung Bae
Lighting Design: Amith Chandrashaker
Staged by: Ana Maria Lucaciu

Performers: Katherine Bolaños, Seia Rassenti Watson, Evan Supple, Anthony Tiedeman, Pete Leo Walker, Joseph Watson

Premiere: May 22, 2012, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Joyce Theater, NYC.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s production of Tuplet is made possible through the generosity of Toni & Jim Kaplan and Orli & Bill Staley.

Tuplet is a swift, pulsating 20-minute tour de force for six dancers. Utilizing a score created in collaboration with the dancers’ own rhythmic impulses and employing their individual bodies as percussion instruments, the soundscape is integrated with original electronic music composed by Mikael Karlsson. “I’m attempting to find a fraction of an answer to an extremely large question: What is rhythm? In my world of music and dance this theme is a huge challenge and continual exploration for me. Tuplet endeavors to understand a small fragment of this quest,” Ekman says.

Dream Play

(Dream Play by Fernando Melo), photo by Jordan Cruet via
Dream Play by Fernando Melo), photo by Jordan Cruet

ASFB Commissioned Work
Choreography: Fernando Melo Co-creator: Shumpei Nemoto
Music: Erik Satie, Frédéric Chopin
Lighting Design: Seah Johnson
Costume Design: Jérôme Delbey Scenic Design Construction: Danny Bacheldor

Performers : Katherine Bolaños, Sadie Brown, Jenelle Figgins, Seia Rassenti Watson, Austin Reynolds, Evan Supple, Anthony Tiedeman, Pete Leo Walker, Joseph Watson, Jenny Winton

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s production of Dream Play is made possible through the generosity of Kelley and Mark Purnell.

In Dream Play, the audience is invited to experience a constant shift of perspective…between the whimsical world created by the artists and the raw process that generates its animation. It is my hope that this theatrical experience will stimulate your imagination and generate countless interpretations for your enjoyment. It’s important to note the creative process and the development of the physical vocabulary was a collective act in which all parties involved proposed ideas and solutions. – Fernando Melo

1st Flash

Choreography: Jorma Elo
Music: Jean Sibelius*
Set Design: Jorma Elo

Lighting Design: Jordan Tuinman
Costume Design: Joke Visser
Assistant to the Choreographer: Urtzi Aranburu
Costume Construction: Nete Joseph

Performers: Sadie Brown, Jenelle Figgins, Seia Rassenti, Anthony Tiedeman, Pete Leo Walker, Joseph Watson
Premiere: September 18, 2003, Nederlands Dans Theater, Lucent Danstheater, The Hague, The Netherlands.
*Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in d-minor, Opus 47 (1905) Movement 2, Adagio di molto; Movement 3, Allegro, ma non tanto

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s production of 1st Flash is made possible through the generosity of Maja and Nic DuBrul.

About Alexander Ekman, Choreographer: Tuplet

Alexander Ekman is an international choreographer/director creating dance pieces for opera houses, theaters, and museums. He also directs films and music videos, as well as live performances in pop up locations. Ekman is known for his fast-paced timing, witty humor, and clever transitions. Since 2006 he has devoted his time creating pieces that both entertain and question the observer. He aims to transform the atmosphere and to always surprise the audience. Around 50 dance companies worldwide have performed Ekman’s works including: Royal Swedish Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance, Ballet de l’Opéra du Rhin, The Norwegian National Ballet, Boston Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Sydney Dance Company, The Royal Ballet of Denmark, and Vienna Ballet. Among his many awards and nominations, Ekman received the Swedish Medea Award for “Inventor and Renewer” in September 2015, as well as the Såstaholm Award, and the Birgit Cullberg Scholarship.

About Fernando Melo, Choreographer: Dream Play

Fernando Melo is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the age of 16 he was awarded a scholarship to train at the Vienna State Opera Ballet. He has been in Europe ever since, building his career as a dancer and choreographer and creating works around the world. Among the companies he has choreographed for are: Göteborgsoperans Danskompani (Sweden), where he is also currently rehearsal director; Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf (Germany), Introdans (Holland), Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, München (Germany), Luzerner Theater (Switzerland), Luna Negra Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico New York (U.S.A.), and Norrdans (Sweden). In addition, Fernando choreographs for opera. His recent projects include Die Schöpfung by Joseph Haydn for Vocal Futures, London, (U.K.), Daphne by Richard Strauss at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, (France), Solaris by Detlev Glanert at the Oper Köln (Germany) and L’Opera Seria by Florian Leopold Gassman at La Monnaie in Brussels (Belgium).

About Jorma Elo, Choreographer: 1st Flash

Jorma Elo is one of the most sought-after choreographers in the world. He has created works for companies including American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theater, and Finnish National Ballet, among others. Elo trained with the Finnish National Ballet School and the Kirov Ballet School in Leningrad. He danced with Finnish National Ballet and Cullberg Ballet until joining Netherlands Dance Theater in 1990, where he enjoyed a 15 year career. Elo was appointed Resident Choreographer of Boston Ballet in 2005, where he has created many world premieres, including Sharp Side of Dark (2002), Plan to B (2004), Carmen/Illusions (2006 & 2009), Brake the Eyes (2007), In on Blue (2008), Le Sacre du Printemps (2009), Sharper Side of Dark (2012), and Awake Only (2012). Boston Ballet premiered a full length performance titled “Elo Experience” in 2011. Elo was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for best choreography in 2010, for his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, commissioned by Vienna State Opera Ballet, and Slice to Sharp for the Stanislavsky Music Theatre. In 2012, the Finnish Government awarded Elo the Dance Artist Prize. Elo has also been awarded the Choreography prize in the 2005 Helsinki International Ballet Competition, and he was the recipient of the Prince Charitable Trust Prize and the Choo- San Goh Choreographic Award in 2006. He was nominated for a 2008 Isadora Duncan Dance Award. Elo has been featured in Esquire, Dance, and Pointe magazines.

About Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Ballet’s dynamic story in the American West
In 1996, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Founder Bebe Schweppe invited Tom Mossbrucker and Jean-Philippe Malaty to create a ballet company in Aspen. A unique, multidimensional arts organization developed rapidly from the ballet school Schweppe had established in the Rocky Mountains. “Bebe’s vision for Aspen to have its own ballet company was the project of a lifetime,” says Malaty, ASFB’s Executive Director. “We embarked together on a serendipitous adventure. More than twenty years later, the connection between the dancers and our two communities is deep and inextricable.”

Forging a new frontier
The company began modestly with seven dancers. Growth was organic. Friends in the field—Gerald Arpino, Trey McIntyre, Septime Webre, Dwight Rhoden—offered start-up repertoire. Moses Pendleton’s popular Noir Blanc was a seminal event for the young ASFB. It launched a tradition of commissioning new works. An open, exploratory style emerged as Mossbrucker and Malaty tapped the creative scene in Europe where classical ballet was breaking from its boundaries. The athletic and adventurous American dancers found themselves at a crossroads of dance history. The divide between ballet and modern dance was dissolving.

Innovative business model
In 2000, the Aspen, Colorado-based ballet company forged a dual-city relationship with Santa Fe, New Mexico, broadening its scope and lending crucial revenue diversification. Under this hybrid business model, a roster of arts activities flourishes year-round in both cities. Performance, education, presentation, and community outreach all join in the mix. In 2014, ASFB shared resources with a local troupe, Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe (JSFSF). This entrepreneurial project led to artistic heights at Jacob’s Pillow and New York’s Joyce Theater. Fortified with new experience and relationships, JSFSF continues to thrive in its own right.

New commissions
ASFB’s mission places highest priority on developing new dance works and nurturing relationships with emerging choreographers. The company fostered the early careers of now in-demand global dance makers like Nicolo Fonte (nine commissioned Fonte works in the ASFB repertoire), Jorma Elo (three commissioned Elo works), Edwaard Liang, Jacopo Godani, Helen Pickett, Cayetano Soto, Alejandro Cerrudo, and others. Works by late 20th century masters—William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Twyla Tharp—round out the repertoire.

“We value building relationships with choreographers who become integral to the company. The natural beauty of our surroundings has a profound impact on creativity. Our choreographers find it inspiring to create here,” says Mossbrucker, ASFB’s Artistic Director.

Renowned in the U.S. & abroad
Based in the American West, ASFB occupies the vanguard of its field, brandishing a strong national reputation. Repeat engagements at the American Dance Festival, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Joyce Theater, The Kennedy Center, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and Wolf Trap testify to the company’s popularity and ability to please audiences. The company has toured overseas as well, with prestigious invitations and bookings in Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, Guatemala, Israel, Italy, and Russia. Premier funders—National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts / National Dance Project, Joyce Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Wolf Trap Foundation, Jerome Robbins Foundation, and Princess Grace Foundation—have supported ASFB’s growth.

Into a bright future
Since its founding in 1996, ASFB has carved a reputation as a dance-lover’s dance company. It has genuinely reshaped the field, introducing new choreographic talent to national stages, fostering a new breed of exceptional dancer, and stimulating audiences with high-caliber performances. Fueled by an annual budget of over $4 million and an endowment nearly twice that size, the company’s strong artistic vision is supported by solid financial footing.

Bebe Schweppe, Founder, grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and started dancing at the Georgia Dance Theatre, under Frankie Levy at the age of seven. She was invited by Robert Joffrey to study at his school in New York on a full scholarship at age eleven. Bebe moved to Aspen in 1975 and fifteen years later founded the Aspen Ballet School. Her presence was a catalyst in the region. In 1996, she invited Jean-Philippe Malaty and Tom Mossbrucker to develop a small professional company in Aspen. Through their combined energies, the Aspen Ballet Company was born a year later. Shortly after, new performing opportunities beckoned in Santa Fe, upon which the company was renamed Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Bebe speaks with pride when she considers the changes that have occurred over the years to her “baby.” “The Company has evolved to having earned a name of its own – ASFB. What a treat! It is recognized by other artists and respected by all. This is of course due in large part to Jean-Philippe and Tom.” She cites that “their strength has been in their unique ability to perceive and design a repertoire that entertains all parts, whether it’s the audience or the dancer.” Tom and Jean-Philippe have “greatly succeeded” in realizing her dreams for the company, she says. “I am thankful that I had the dream and was lucky and persistent enough to convince JP and Tom to relocate from New York City. Never did I imagine that one day the company would be performing nationally and internationally and never did I imagine that one day they would be performing works by internationally famous choreographers. Although I had the dream, I never imagined so much. I feel very lucky.”

Jean-Philippe Malaty, Executive Director, was born in the Basque region of France. After receiving his baccalaureate in dance, he accepted scholarships to study at Mudra, Maurice Béjart’s school in Brussels, and at John Cranko’s ballet academy in Stuttgart. Invited by acclaimed instructor David Howard to study in New York, Jean-Philippe traveled to America under Howard’s tutelage. Jean-Philippe’s performance career began with Joffrey II. He also danced as a guest artist with Los Angeles Classical Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Jean-Philippe segued from the stage to an administrator role while still in his twenties. A key member of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s start-up team, Jean-Philippe has been central to developing the company’s unique dual-city-based hybrid business model. He directs operations in two locations, overseeing a $4 million budget that he allocates to the company, two schools, an esteemed presenting series, and an award- winning folkloric outreach program. Jean-Philippe’s first love is teaching and when his schedule permits, he conducts master classes at schools and universities. In 2013, Jean-Philippe shared an honor with Artistic Director Tom Mossbrucker when the Santa Fe Community Foundation bestowed its Piñon Award on the company. In 2012, the Denver Bonfils-Stanton Foundation granted Jean-Philippe a Livingston Fellowship in recognition of his significant leadership role in Colorado’s non-profit sector. In 2010, in recognition of ASFB’s contribution to the field of dance, Jean-Philippe and Tom were honored with the Joyce Theater Foundation Award. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Jean-Philippe is proud to have forged a company alive with American energy, invention, and eclecticism.

Tom Mossbrucker, Artistic Director, has been artistic director of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet since 1996. Over the course of his career Tom has built a prestigious arts organization sharing two homes in Aspen and Santa Fe. In his role as artistic director, Tom cultivates highly sophisticated and challenging works of contemporary ballet. His shining achievement is ASFB’s roster of 27 ballets created on commission by leading global choreographers. Tom began to dance at age four, studying tap in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. He pursued classical ballet training at the School of American Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet School. His twenty years as a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, performing in over 70 ballets under the direct coaching of founders Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, coincided with a period of high artistic achievement for the company. Tom danced in ballets by great twentieth century choreographers: Fredrick Ashton, George Balanchine, Laura Dean, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylián, Mark Morris, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp. Signature roles included Iago in Jose Limon’s The Moor’s Pavane; Champion Roper in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo; Billy Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid; and Romeo in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. This rich dance background Tom brings to coaching dancers today. In 2013, Tom shared an honor with Executive Director Jean-Philippe Malaty when the Santa Fe Community Foundation bestowed its Piñon Award on the company. In 2010, in recognition of ASFB’s contribution to the field of dance, Tom and Jean-Philippe Malaty were honored with the Joyce Theater Foundation Award. A former board member of Dance USA, Tom currently serves on the board of The Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey Foundation.

About Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya)

The 2018-19 Season marks the eighth year the award-winning Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts which has quickly become one of the cultural jewels of the greater Los Angeles region. Under the leadership of Executive Director Thor Steingraber, The Soraya continues to expand its programming and outstanding multidisciplinary performances. The mission of The Soraya is to present a wide variety of performances that not only includes new and original work from the Los Angeles region but also work from around the world that appeal to all of LA’s rich and diverse communities.

Located on the campus of California State University, Northridge, The Soraya’s season offers a vibrant performance program of nearly 50 classical and popular music, dance, theater, family, and international events that will serve to establish The Soraya as the intellectual and cultural heart of the San Fernando Valley, and further establish itself as one of the top arts companies in Southern California. The award-winning, 1,700-seat theatre was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers and was recently cited by the Los Angeles Times as “a growing hub for live music, dance, drama and other cultural events.” .

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