Twyla Tharp’s “Nine Sinatra Songs” – A brief history.

Picture

Dancers of Birmingham Royal Ballet photo by Bill Cooper

Written by Robyn Jutsum

We are already halfway through October, but that means we still have a few weeks of dancing through our Cardio Ballet combos inspired by Twyla Tharp’s
Nine Sinatra Songs! Be sure to join us on Sunday, October 17th for Sips & Clips, where we’ll watch clips from the ballet and discuss the ballet in more detail. Learn more here.

A popular piece to find in many companies’ repertoires to this day, Nine Sinatra Songs premiered on October 15th in 1982 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. With costumes by THE Oscar de la Renta and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, the ballet is swoon-worthy from Sinatra’s crooning to the sultry, jazzy moves.

Picture

Dancers of PBT courtesy of Pittburgh Balle Theatre

Picture

Promotional Photo of Twyla Tharp’s Dancers courtesy of Richard Avedon Foundation

Picture

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Yasuo Atsuji photo by Bill Cooper

There are 14 dancers, paired off into 7 couples, and the total running time is 28 minutes and 20 seconds. Tharp created this piece, inspired by her pas de deux Once More Frank, selecting songs from the 1950s and 1960s specifically because she reasoned, “It was the last time we assumed as a culture that of course men and women lived together and loved for a lifetime.”

Tharp further explored the intricacies of ballroom and social dancing, in the wake of her work for Ragtime (1981), to inspire the movement quality and partnering between each couple.

The entire arc of Nine Sinatra Songs follows the ups and downs of romance and relationships, divided amongst the songs and couples, before gathering as a full cast in the last number, danced to “My Way.”
You’ll find a range of seductive choreography from tango to waltz and a physical representation of the rollercoaster of emotions when it comes to relationships and love.

Listen to Twyla Tharp in conversation with Miami City Ballet’s Lourdes Lopez about the ballet: https://www.miamicityballet.org/nine-sinatra-songs

In Cardio Ballet, expect to see movements inspired by each number in the ballet, from jazzy hips to high kicks to sultry adagio and more! Sign up for your next class here.

For Your Listening Pleasure…The Nine Sinatra Songs Playlist:

“Softly As I Leave You”
“Strangers in the Night”
“One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)”
“My Way”
“Somethin’ Stupid”
“All the Way”
“Forget Domani”
“That’s Life”
“My Way” (reprise)

Picture

Dancers of Kansas City Ballet photo by Steve Wilson

Interested in upcoming themes? Follow us on Instagram and TikTok @theballetspot AND get your swan wings ready to fly for November’s theme, Swan Lake!

We’ll kick off the first weekend of November with a special “Secrets of Swan Lake” Virtual Ballet Class with ABT’s Skylar Brandt on Sunday, November 7th at 4:30 pm ET! Join Skylar for an hour-long Swan Lake ballet class on Zoom as part of our *Stars of Ballet* Series. This class will be LIVE STREAM ONLY (will not be recorded), so be sure to save the date and mark your calendars now for this exciting event! Sign up and save your spot at the barre here.

Sources:
https://www.brb.org.uk/hires/production/nine-sinatra-songs
https://kcballet.org/repertory/nine-sinatra-songs/
https://cdnwww.miamicityballet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Firebird_ProgramBook_NoCropsReader.pdf
https://www.miamicityballet.org/nine-sinatra-songs
https://www.pbt.org/the-company/artistic/repertoire/nine-sinatra-songs/
https://www.twylatharp.org/works/nine-sinatra-songs
https://www.abt.org/ballet/nine-sinatra-songs/

Share
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

More Blog Posts

A Brief History of Swan Lake

Swan Lake: A brief history of this famous ballet

Swan Lake is arguably one of, if not the, most recognized Classical ballet (a nod to the Nutcracker is perhaps due. Don’t worry, it will have its turn in the spotlight come December!). And its history and evolution has spanned far and wide, from its traditional origins all the way to iterations such as Matthew Bourne’s contemporary interpretation and the pop culture buzzy “Black Swan” starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. 

Read More

George Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco” – A brief history of the ballet.

Dancers of Birmingham Royal Ballet Sara Mearns and Teresa Reichlen NYCB photo by Paul Kolnik Written by Robyn JutsumSeptember’s Cardio Ballet combos are inspired by George Balanchine’s 1941 ballet, Concerto Barocco, danced to Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for 2 Violins. The ballet was first designed as an exercise for the students of the School of American Ballet (SAB), the training school […]

Read More

Les Sylphides – A brief history of the ballet

First Performance in London 1911 Digital Scan from Ballet Panorama- An Illustrated Chronicle of Three Centuries Photo by Theo Kossenas Media 4 Artists of Washington Ballet in Les Sylphides Written by Robyn Jutsum​Les Sylphides, not to be confused with La Sylphide (a Romantic two-act ballet choreographed by August Bournonville in 1836) is considered the first plotless, or abstract, ballet. It was ch […]

Read More

Receive Updates
from The Ballet Spot

We typically respond within 24-28 hours. For faster responses to your inquiry, please call during business hours.

Receive Updates from The Ballet Spot