Oregon Ballet Theatre plows ahead with the second-to-last show of its 2008-09 season with "Left Unsaid," a program of mostly new works opening tonight at the Newmark.
One of the dancemakers in town to prep the program is youngish, Brooklyn-born choreographer Nicolo Fonte, returning to work with OBT after the 2008 premiere of his "Bolero" (which the company commissioned and performed to scorching effect). In the first installment of what (I hope) will be a weekly series of brief Q & A's with Portland resident or visiting artists, Fonte and I talked about his dance "Left Unsaid," a newish work set to solo violin partitas and sonatas from Baroque master J.S. Bach.
OBT's "Left Unsaid" program opens tonight and runs through April 26 at the Newmark Theatre; tickets available online here.
Stephen Marc Beaudoin: So your piece is called “Left Unsaid.” What exactly is being left unsaid in the dance?
Nicolo Fonte: (laughs) That you have to come and see for yourself. Sorry. It’s really difficult to answer that question. A lot, a lot, a lot. The piece is conceived in five sections, punctuated with stories or poems in between, that if anything raise more questions than answer them. You see a kind of short story being developed without anything being said.
SMB: Why set the dance to Bach?
NF: It’s beautiful music. I think Bach, like all of Baroque music, is very open, it has a kind of flexibility in it that allows you to bend it and shape it in the way you want it to.
SMB: OK, but OBT will dance the work to a canned recording, not to live performing musicians. What impact does that have on the work?
NF: I’ll go on the record and say, well, I mean… I’m not only a huge huge fan of live music — but it takes a lot of rehearsal with the musicians. I guess something can be said for consistency: they always know what’s going to come out of the speakers every night. But to hear the music performed live, combined with the dance, is just spectacular.
SMB: So, your website makes a point of noting that "Left Unsaid" features men's suits designed by Gucci. Tell me what that's all about.
NF: What about ‘em? They’re black, they’re Gucci suits, we got them donated, but I think they’re in terrible condition now.
SMB: Your dance is bumping up against three other major works on OBT's program, from OBT favorite James Kudelka, master modern dancemaker William Forsythe, and even a Balanchine pas de deux. Will your work be the most memorable one?
NF: I can’t believe you’re asking me that. Are you seriously asking me that? Well, I think it’s certainly gonna be memorable… it’s a piece that really works.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!