ArtsATL > Dance > News: Atlanta Ballet celebrates McFall; brings back Twyla Tharp, “Moulin Rouge” for 2015–16

News: Atlanta Ballet celebrates McFall; brings back Twyla Tharp, “Moulin Rouge” for 2015–16

Alessa Rogers starred as Princess Irene in Tharp's The Princess and the Goblin. (Photo by Kim Kinney)
Alessa Rogers starred as Princess Irene in Tharp's The Princess and the Goblin. (Photo by Kim Kinney)
Alessa Rogers starred as Princess Irene in Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin. (Photo by Kim Kinney)

Atlanta Ballet will restage three productions for its 2015–16 season, including legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin and Moulin Rouge — The Ballet, as it celebrates the 20th anniversary under the leadership of artistic director John McFall. 

The company also announced today that resident choreographer Helen Pickett, who was originally signed in 2012 to a three-year stint, will return for another two years. Pickett — who is in high demand across the United States and Europe — has staged three world premieres for the company, including the ballet’s current production of Camino Real, which is being performed this weekend.

Helen Pickett (Photo by Tatiana Wills)
Helen Pickett (Photo by Tatiana Wills)

“I am thrilled to continue my position with Atlanta Ballet,” Pickett said. “I’m filled with gratitude for all involved and for my Atlanta family. Here’s to another two years.”

The season will also feature a world premiere work by the New York–based Gallim Dance artistic director Andrea Miller and the Atlanta Ballet premiere of Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s El Beso.

The Princess and the Goblin, an original work by Tharp, received its world premiere in Atlanta in 2012 as a joint production of Atlanta Ballet and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. The ballet is based on George MacDonald’s 19th-century fairy tale, and a princess’ quest to save her kingdom. 

Tharp selected Atlanta as her vehicle because of the company’s willingness to “buy in” to her concept. “They [the Atlanta Ballet organization] back that with various gifts,” Tharp told ArtsATL in 2011. “The enthusiasm and good spirits and the positive energy in the room are critical, certainly with a piece such as this. We are all focused on communicating the story.”

ArtsATL described the original production as “subtle and charming,” and filled with beautiful movement.

Moulin Rouge, created by Canadian choreographer Jorden Morris, received its U.S. debut at Atlanta Ballet in 2010 after wooing Canadian audiences and was a box office hit here.

The ballet will begin its season, as is tradition, with its annual staging of McFall’s Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre from December 11 to 27.

McFall and Tharp at the curtain call for The Princess and the Goblin. (Photo by Charlie McCullers)
McFall and Tharp at the curtain call for The Princess and the Goblin. (Photo by Charlie McCullers)

Moulin Rouge will be performed February 5 to 13 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, followed in March by 20/20, a production that celebrates McFall’s 20 years with the company. It will feature Home in 7, by choreographer Amy Seiwertspoken word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph and composer/musician Daniel Bernard Roumain, which was originally staged in Atlanta in 2011. 

The Princess and the Goblin is scheduled for one extended weekend, April 15 to 17, and the season will close in May with the annual program of MAYhem, which spotlights new, cutting-edge choreographers. This production will feature Andrea Miller’s world premiere.

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