Tomorrow, Lubovitch’s “The Black Rose” Will Open the Chicago Dancing Festival


Mucuy Bolles & Reid Bartelme in Lubovitch's The Black Rose. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu.

Mucuy Bolles & Reid Bartelme in Lubovitch’s The Black Rose. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, August 25th), the Lubovitch company will open the 9th annual Chicago Dancing Festival by performing The Black Rose, the company’s newest dance, at the Harris Theater. Tickets have been sold out for weeks, but stand-by tickets will be available tomorrow one hour prior to the 7:30pm curtain.

When the dance premiered in October, writers called Lubovitch’s The Black Rose a powerful “cinematic ballet that is both alluring and disturbing.” Writers found that it hit close to mankind’s primal hopes and fears, calling it appropriately “macabre,” “hallucinogenic,” “lustrous and evocative.” The female lead (Mucuy Bolles) was called “brilliant” and “gorgeous.” The male leads (Reid Bartelme and Barton Cowperthwaite) “were both outstanding” and “perfect.”

In a recent interview (Aug. 19th) with Laura Molzahn in the Chicago Tribune, Lubovitch said: “I’ve always been bothered by the ballet ‘Sleeping Beauty’ — irritated by it, really, because no story ever gets told,” says choreographer Lar Lubovitch. That thought fathered his most recent work, “The Black Rose.” With “Black Rose,” Lubovitch says, he was doing something he’s enjoyed over the years but hasn’t done often: Tell a story. His starting point was Giambattista Basile’s “Il Pentamerone,” a 17th-century collection of 50 stories that became what he calls “the kernels of later fairy tales,” the “prettified” versions by Jules Perrot and the Brothers Grimm.

Those narratives can have dark aspects, Lubovitch notes, but are nothing like the “truly dark and twisted and cruel originals. They were told as cautionary tales, as a way of teaching young people how to avoid the dangers of the world — particularly that world, filled with mythology and superstition.” All of Basile’s collection, he adds, “featured perversions: cannibalism, pedophilia, rape, you name it. They were horror stories, really.”

So, although a romantic hero and heroine are among the 10 dancers of “Black Rose,” it’s not your great-grandma’s “Sleeping Beauty.” His dark take upset some people, Lubovitch says: “A number of presenters were repelled and found they could not show that to their audience. That was illuminating, but also startling to someone who’s never been a provocateur or set out to offend — I was just telling a story.”

For a complete collection of full-length articles about The Black Rose: click here.


Fabrice Calmels & April Daly in Lubovitch's My Funny Valentine. Photo: courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet.

Fabrice Calmels & April Daly in Lubovitch’s My Funny Valentine. Photo: courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet.

On Friday (August 28th), Lubovitch will be honored by the Chicago Dancing Festival with a gala performance & dinner at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The evening will feature two of Lubovitch’s beloved earlier works — Scriabin Dances from 1977 andMy Funny Valentine from 2002. Scriabin is set to Alexsandr Scriabin’s etudes #1, 6, 10 from “12 Etudes.” A solo from the work will be danced by Kristin Foote of the Limon Dance Company. Valentineis set to Marvin Laird’s commissioned score “Fantasie on Themes by Richard Rodgers,” and it will be danced by Fabrice Calmels and April Daly of the Joffrey Ballet. Valentine was created by the Lubovitch company for ABT and was subsequently featured in Robert Altman’s penultimate film “The Company,” for which Lubovitch was awarded an American Choreography Award.

“Lar Lubovitch’s choreography is a
thrilling sight, ravishing the eye,
telling stories both complicated and mysterious.”
The New Yorker

For tickets to the gala: click here.