Smuin Contemporary American Ballet starts its season this Friday and Saturday in Walnut Creek, with a program that includes the West Coast premiere of Requiem for a Rose. It’s a piece by choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, set to the lengthy adagio from Schubert’s Quintet in C. Growing up learning flamenco, hip-hop, jazz, and the style of Martha Graham, Lopez Ochoa went in an entirely different direction for this piece.

You can find out more about the performances, which are in Walnut Creek at the end of this week before coming to San Francisco at the Smuin Ballet website.

She first heard the slow movement of Schubert’s Quintet in C when she was in her early 20s. “When I heard it, I thought, ‘Oh my God, how romantic!’ I think the buildup of the composition is really interesting it’s not just… usually adagios are like around five minutes.” This one is considerably longer, and even includes a faster section within it. “I felt like it encapsulated the four seasons of a relationship in just one adagio.” The piece was originally made for the Pennsylvania Ballet some ten years after that first discovery of the Schubert. “I thought I wanted to do a Romantic piece because myself, I am not the romantic type. And so I wanted to investigate movements that I wouldn’t automatically do as myself. I have more angular movement… I thought it would be nice to see the juxtaposition of very romantic movements and interpretation of this music, with a heartbeat, which for me represents love and real love.” Revisiting a piece that was created with other dancers when you were younger, means it needs to be tweaked a little for a new cast and time. “Sometimes you need less to say more. So I’ve taken a few things out, I’ve made it clearer, I think. And, you know, I adapt also to who the dancers are, and their ability, and… the mistakes they made are maybe more interesting that the original step… I think with each piece, a choreographer starts to research and investigate their movements and their language. I was looking for elegance, and nobility, and romanticism, and so I hope I made it.”

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