In an exclusive interview, we sat down with Orlando Ballet’s Artistic Director, Jorden Morris, to uncover the intricacies of preparing for the remarkable return performance of Balanchine® Ballet: Serenade. From the historical significance of Serenade to the artistic journey behind its revival, join us as we delve into the world of ballet and the dedication it takes to breathe life into such a prestigious production.
- Serenade is an iconic ballet choreographed by George Balanchine. What makes this ballet so special, and what drew you to select it for Orlando Ballet’s repertoire again in 2023?
I chose Serenade because it’s one of the most beautiful ballets in my opinion/mind – I danced it many times – the music and the movement are so well crafted, and when put together with artists it becomes more than the sum of the parts. Also, on a side note – our colors for the 50th Season are blue and gold – Serenade has the most lovely hues of blue in the costumes and lighting.
- Performing a renowned ballet like ‘Serenade’ undoubtedly places Orlando Ballet on a grand stage. How do you feel this performance reflects the growth and artistic vision of the company since its last staging in 2017?
Serenade is definitely challenging and requires a strong company of dancers to perform. I think you will see a growth in maturity and technical ability this time around. There is a wonderful cohesiveness in the company right now, and I look forward to seeing that translated onto the stage.
- The music of Tchaikovsky plays an essential role in Serenade. How will having live music by The Bach Festival Society impact this performance for the audience?
Live music always elevates a performance – for the audience as well as the dancers – there is a deeper connection between the movement and music when it is played live. Also, the artistic collaboration between the musicians and dancers adds a special element to the performance. It is a true partnership between the stage and the conductor/musicians.
- Getting approval to perform such a prestigious ballet is a significant achievement. Could you shed some light on the process of securing the rights to perform ‘Serenade’ and the challenges or negotiations involved?
Every company that wants to perform a Balanchine work must send in a video of the company – the trust assesses this and also vetts the artistic director and staff. Myself and Lisa have danced many many Balanchine works, so we know a lot of the stagers and members of the trust – this certainly helps when applying/acquiring the works.
- Given your experience and expertise as an artistic director, how will you approach coaching and guiding the dancers to fully embrace the nuances and artistic expression required in ‘Serenade’? Who is coming in to help with this process?
Lisa and I will draw on our experiences (what we learned dancing Balanchine works over 3 decades) to guide the dancers through the process. Leslie Peck, from the Balanchine Trust will be coming to stage the work and coach the dancers.
Be sure to mark your calendars and join us for Reflections: A 50th Anniversary Celebration which opens our 23/24 Season on September 21-24, 2023 at Dr. Phillips Center – Steinmetz Hall.