“‘April’ is dance that celebrates the coming of Spring.” Choreographer and educator Brenda Daniels introduces her latest ballet which premieres from April 21 – 24 at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. The new work is based after composer Kenneth Frazelle’s solo piano piece Wild Flowers, and the performance features soloist Owen Dodds. The 15-minute work is the second movement of Frazelle’s larger-scaled work Sonata-Fantasy, which the composer himself premiered in 2005 at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art.
Frazelle talks briefly about his work. “Wild Flowers is a set of 10 characterizations of native plants from the Blue Ridge Mountains including: ‘Slender Ladies’ Tresses;’ ‘Gaywings/Fringed Polygala;’ ‘Birdfoot Violet;’ ‘Flame Azalea;’ ‘Indian Pipes;’ ‘Fire Pink;’ ‘Blue Lobelia;’ ‘Viper’s Bugloss;’ ‘Columbine;’ and ‘Deptford Pink.’ [Among the movements,] ‘Slender Ladies’ Tresses’ honors the delicate orchid with a single-handed piece. ‘Flame Azalea’ is a tango. ‘Viper’s Bugloss’ is a rip-roaring rap to the rather frightening, hairy blue wildflower. Fragments of Chopin and Schumann even make unexpected appearances. The set ends with ‘Deptford Pink,’ a lullaby depicting the miniscule wild carnation.”
Choreographer Daniels continues. “‘April’ is my own exploration of this very special time of the year that has so figured prominently throughout human history in mythology, literature, music, dance and visual art. Kenneth Frazelle’s music Wildflowers; the set design by Elizabet Puksto (based on Frazelle’s [very own] watercolors,) the costume design by Kathryn Grillo, and the lighting design by Clara Freeze all surround and support the dance with various textures and moods of spring — its joy, beauty, mystery and power. The dancers portray and embody exactly who they are — beautiful young people in the springtime of their lives.”