Smuin Contemporary American Ballet brings its Program 1 to Mountain View this week, with a program that includes 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 Mountain View from this Thursday to Sunday, before going to Carmel for March 23-24 — 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 The piece was originally made for the Pennsylvania Ballet some ten years after that first discovery of the Schubert.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.”