APPALACHIA, MAHDAVIANI'S DIAMOND FACET.
AS A CHILD, the profession of choreographer was on Miriam Mahdaviani's short list of careers. Dancer was not. But this choreographer--the only woman making a ballet for this year's New York City Ballet New York City Ballet, one of the foremost American dance companies of the 20th cent. It was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine as the Ballet Society in 1946. Diamond Project--was a dancer in the company before becoming a dancemaker for it.
Mahdaviani entered the School of American Ballet The School of American Ballet is located in New York City, in Lincoln Center. It is considered one of the most prestigious and notable ballet schools in the United States and teaches some of the most talented young dancers in the country. in 1968 and danced with the City Ballet from 1979 to 1993. At that point, she said, "I was at the peak of my dancing and was having a blast. I was dancing Balanchine ballets like Jewels, Serenade serenade [Ital. sera=evening], term used to designate several types of musical composition. Opera and song literature yield numerous examples of the serenade sung or played by a lover at night beneath his beloved's window; outstanding is , Concerto Barocco and La Valse La Valse is an orchestral work written by Maurice Ravel from February 1919 until 1920, and premiered in Paris on 12 December 1920. The complete title is La valse, un poème choréographique (a choreographic poem). every night." Since then, she has given birth to two children and about ten ballets.
She was creating ballets well before the first Diamond Project in 1992. Now in its fourth installment (it only happens every two years), the project includes a fourth work by Mahdaviani. (Also scheduled are premieres by Christopher d'Amboise, Christopher Wheeldon, Helgi Tomasson, Peter Martins and Kevin O'Day, and a special collaboration between Robert La Fosse and Robert Garland incorporating dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem Dance Theatre of Harlem, the first black classical ballet company. The group was founded in Harlem, New York City, by Arthur Mitchell, then of the New York City Ballet, the first black principal dancer of a classical company of international standing. , in tribute to DTH's thirtieth anniversary.)
For the new ballet, Mahdaviani is using six songs from the best-selling CD Appalachia Waltz by fiddler Mark O'Connor, bassist Edgar Meyer and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. O'Connor has been hailed as a brilliant musician who weaves together classical, jazz and folk music. The songs, described by Mahdaviani as "Baroque-influenced with a twang," will be played live on stage. She feels that this music leads her into a bit of a story, or line of action, that departs from the plotless works she usually choreographs. She wants this ballet, with six couples in the cast, to reflect the life cycles in a changing Appalachia.
"I don't enjoying doing modern dance, but I love watching it," Mahdaviani, a frequent patron of the Joyce Theater, says. Some of her favorites are Garth Fagan, Elisa Monte, Alonzo King and Merce Cunningham. She also favors Eliot Feld, William Forsythe and Nacho Duato for their inventiveness.
Mahdaviani has also made works for Pacific Northwest Ballet The Pacific Northwest Ballet is a ballet company and based in Seattle, Washington in the United States. Founded in 1972 as part of the Seattle Opera and named the Pacific Northwest Dance Association, it broke away from the Opera in 1977 and took its current name in 1978. , Richmond Ballet, Ballet Pacifica and the Purchase Dance Corps. But, she says, her favorite company is her own. "I like being in programs with Balanchine and Robbins pieces. These people were my family. I feel at home here." Her new work premieres at the New York State Theater The New York State Theater is part of New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts complex. The theater occupies the south side of the main plaza (at Columbus Avenue & 63rd Street) that it shares with the Metropolitan Opera House and Avery Fisher Hall (home of the New June 20.