ORLANDO, FL – February 2, 2023 – With nowhere else to go, a hyper-sensitive and emotionally frail Blanche DuBois joins her married sister, Stella, in New Orleans’ gritty French Quarter where their small and troubled family life boils over from an overabundance of lies, abuse, too much liquor and mental despair creating a trail of tragedy and a dramatic story told exquisitely through dance.
In one of Orlando Ballet’s most compelling productions to date, dancers will perform in Guest Choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s interpretation of A Streetcar Named Desire, based on Tennessee William’s epic Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
The dark theme and truly troubled characters, all of whom are dealing with life’s struggles, are what inspired Artistic Director Jorden Morris to choose Lopez Ochoa’s production as the finale for Orlando Ballet’s 2022-2023 season.
“We all have the shared experience of coming through a terrible global crisis that has left us with a heightened awareness of mental illness and how it affects society and each of us as individuals,” Morris explained. “It’s a complicated story with complicated choreography. Our job as artists is to reflect life and tell those stories through our art; it’s how we communicate, and I believe that right now, this ballet is as relevant as it was when Tennessee Williams wrote it. Annabelle has used her choreographic vision and talents to tell this powerful tale in an innovative and poignant way. This is how art changes the world.”
Lopez Ochoa, who has characterized her ballet as complex and layered, has received world acclaim for telling a universal story of a family broken by life’s hardest knocks, social norms and basic failures of human nature. Her production made its debut ten years ago at the Scottish Ballet and has been performed around the world, with the only other US performance taking place in Nashville, Tennessee.
Collaborating with Lopez Ochoa is director Nancy Meckler, former artistic director for Shared Experience Theatre, where she became known for specializing in directing classic writings including Anna Karenina, The Bacchae, Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Mill on the Floss. These works fused the well-loved texts with new, exciting movements, often calling on actors to physicalize their emotions, motivations and desires, rather than relying on the words from the script. During rehearsals, Nancy worked closely with the dancers to develop the story from the text, but focused on new ways that ballet could tell the tale, rather than merely imitating previously explored art forms.
Says Morris, “This is a big production with a very hard story told through beautiful dancing. The costumes, lighting and sets – which include a bowling alley — play significant and symbolic roles in the telling of this story. There’s no need for the spoken word.” Morris explains that the set’s ‘brick’ walls will be projected onto the stage where they will morph and even crumble, much like Blanche and her brute of a brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski.
Lopez Ochoa is an award-winning and sought-after choreographer who has created works for 72 dance companies around the world. A versatile choreographer, Lopez Ochoa creates regularly within the dance field but also for theatre, opera and musical theatre. Her wide-ranging body of work includes short conceptual pieces, full-length narratives, and dance films. The Colombian-Belgian Lopez Ochoa completed her dance education at the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp. After a 12-year career in a number of European dance companies, she decided in 2003 to focus solely on choreography. That same year she was hailed as the “rising star of the Dutch dance scene,” (NRC newspaper) and only seven years later the Temecula Performing Arts Examiner wrote, “Ochoa is truly a masterful choreographer with an edge for what dance can and should be in this constantly changing industry.” She has been creating new works and new forms ever since and is frequently invited to teach.
Morris notes, “As everyone knows, the story ends up being quite tragic in the end; so is Romeo and Juliet. Our dancers are eager to perform this because of its challenging choreography and storytelling. I encourage everyone to come see this production for so many very good reasons.”
Thursday, April 27, 2023: 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 28, 2023: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 29, 2023: 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 30, 2023: 2:00 p.m.
Tickets start at $29
- Online: OrlandoBallet.org
- By phone: 358.6603. Ticket fees included in online and phone transactions.
- In person: Dr. Phillips Center Bill & Mary Darden Box Office at 455 South Magnolia Ave., Orlando, FL 32801.
- No additional fees if purchased in person. Box office hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Groups of 10 or more receive up to 25% off: Call (407) 203-3735.