State of the Arts

S38 E6 | FULL EPISODE

State of the Arts: May 2020

American Repertory Ballet stages Giselle, a ballet beloved by dancers for its emphasis on both technique and story. Taiwanese artist Kang Muxiang, known for his biomorphic works made from retired elevator steel cables, at Grounds for Sculpture. In Princeton, the Dryden Ensemble uses period instruments to perform Bach’s St John Passion. And a tribute to the late jazz guitarist, Bucky Pizzarelli.

AIRED: May 30, 2020 | 0:26:48
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TRANSCRIPT

Narrator: Bucky Pizzarelli was one of New Jersey's

most loved jazz musicians.

We remember him with a performance

at his favorite club,

Shanghai Jazz.

John: It's the complete vision of what a guitar player is.

Rhythm, chord melody,

single notes, all there.

So, you got to keep your eye on it.

If you have a chance to and you're that close,

you just keep an eye on it at all times.

Audience: Got to keep it going.

[ Applause ]

Narrator: At Grounds for Sculpture,

Taiwanese artist Kang crosses borders

with work made of recycled elevator cables.

Moran: They weigh tons, but there's something

very peaceful and tranquil about them.

♪♪

Narrator: In Princeton, the Dryden Ensemble

uses 18th-century instruments

in a special performance of Bach's "St John Passion."

Metcalfe: Our orchestra is all composed

of period instruments.

So instruments that are of the type

that Bach would have known in the 18th century.

[ Operatic singing ]

♪♪

Narrator: And one of the most popular story ballets

of all time, "Giselle,"

as performed by the American Repertory Ballet.

Carreño: I think for every dancer,

it's one of the greatest piece.

♪♪

Narrator: "State of the Arts," going on location

with New Jersey's most creative people.

♪♪

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

encouraging excellence and public engagement in the arts

since 1966,

is proud to co-produce "State of the Arts"

with Stockton University.

New Jersey's distinctive university.

Additional support is provided by

the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

and these friends of "State of the Arts."

♪♪

Narrator: "Giselle" is a full-length

romantic-story ballet.

It premiered in Paris in 1841

and has been one of the most beloved of all ballets

ever since.

In February 2020,

the American Repertory Ballet

staged their first-ever production of "Giselle"

at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.

♪♪

This is how the story goes.

Hench: Giselle is a peasant girl.

Hussey: She has a heart condition.

She has a very weak heart.

Her mother doesn't like when she dances,

even though dancing is

the thing that she loves more than anything in the world.

Wilkes-Davis: Albrecht is -- He's royalty of some sort,

and he's going to mix

with the commoners,

the peasants.

Hench: Giselle is very much in love

with who she thinks is a peasant boy.

Wilkes-Davis: He goes in kind of romancing this girl,

not knowing that, in the end, he's gonna get caught,

and he does get caught in his lies.

Hench: When she finds out the truth,

that he's actually a royal and engaged already...

[ Sighs ]

...her heart breaks.

♪♪

Hussey: She is so broken hearted,

she dies of a broken heart.

♪♪

Yamamoto: There is a lot of heavy acting

at the end of the act 1,

which I live for. [ Laughs ]

♪♪

Then the second act is just...

totally changes the scene,

and I am dead.

Hench: She's buried in an enchanted forest,

where at night,

these Wilis come back from their graves.

And the Wilis are

women who were jilted before they got the altar.

♪♪

Hussey: It's a story of women who die of a broken heart,

are like kind of cursed to come out of their graves at night

and haunt the forest,

and if a man enters the forest at night,

they will capture him

and make him dance until he dies.

♪♪

Hench: They're stuck in this enchanted realm

of just a lot of anger,

and Giselle is not like that.

So, when Albrecht comes into the forest,

it's her love and her compassion

and her forgiveness for him that saves him.

Wilkes-Davis: He goes to her graveyard

to mourn her death,

and the Wilis come out

to make him dance to his death.

And it's kind of her grace,

her mercy on him, her love for him

that saves him in the end.

♪♪

Hussey: She successfully keeps him alive until dawn,

and when dawn happens,

that's when all the Wilis go back into their grave,

and he is saved because he has not died yet.

♪♪

Hench: It's one reason why the ballet,

I think, has transcended time

and is so different from your traditional fairy tale

where the prince saves the princess at the end.

It's her strength and her love

that ends up savinghim.

Hussey: The most beautiful part of the ballet

but also, the most tragic part is,

when she floats into her grave at the very end,

leaving him with a single flower.

If you saw us at the end of our run-through today,

just everybody on the front row

was just, like, tears down our faces.

♪♪

♪♪

Narrator: A week before opening night,

the cast of "Giselle" joined the Artistic Team

for "On Pointe,"

part of American Repertory Ballet's

community enrichment series.

Ian Hussey danced the role of Albrecht

in his last season with the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Aydmara Cabrera,

director of the Princeton Ballet School,

danced the role of Giselle

with the National Ballet of Cuba.

Hench: ...the women in Act 2...

Narrator: Julie Diana Hench danced Giselle

at the San Francisco and Pennsylvania ballets.

Joining them is José Manuel Carreño.

Hench: Ballet superstar and a legendary presence,

and we're so grateful to have you here.

I know you raise your eyebrows, but it's the truth.

Narrator: José danced the role of Albrecht

with London's Royal ballet,

New York's American Ballet Theater

and others.

For each, "Giselle" holds a special place.

Carreño: I think for every dancer,

it's one of the greatest piece.

I mean, it's a love story.

♪♪

It's a lot of drama,

and it's a lot of acting.

Narrator: José has retired from dancing,

but for this production of "Giselle,"

he's brought his experience and talent

to coach the young dancers of the American Repertory Ballet.

Carreño: There you go.

Yamamoto: He gave us very simple suggestion,

yet that changed a lot of, you know, dynamic of acting

and for my dancing in the second act,

he would just say simply leg and arm.

♪♪

Wilkes-Davis: The great thing about José is that

he's really saying put words

behind everything that you're saying

so that even though you're not actually talking,

verbally speaking,

you're still getting the message across.

Carreño: It's like a masterpiece.

It's technically demanding,

but I think the most difficult for us, as artists,

is how deep we can get into the role,

how we can touch the audience.

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Narrator: That's all for today's show.

Narrator: That's all for today's show.

Narrator: That's all for today's show.

Narrator: That's all for today's show.

Narrator: That's all for today's show.

Narrator: That's all for today's show.

Narrator: That's all for today's show.

Narrator: That's all for today's show.

Narrator: That's all for today's show.

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,

Announcer: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts,