Swan Lake is, without question, a workhorse. Even if you have never seen a live production, you most likely feel like you have. Swan Lake is the epitome of ballet, for better and for worse, and ballet companies often rely on its appeal. And there is so much to find appealing – a handsome, conflicted hero; a beautiful swan maiden and her flock; a terrible sorcerer who thwarts the course of true love; and when done well, dramatic, technically challenging, gorgeous dance. Swan Lake has the potential to be high-romanticism at its best with the undeniable power to transport audiences.
But the historic, classical ballet can also be a revelation.
In the spring of 2015, Louisville Ballet’s Artistic and Executive Director, Robert Curran, found himself transported and surprised by a laser projection experience. It happened on a rainy night, in an unconventional Louisville venue called the Workhouse Ballroom (a cave in the Irish Hill neighborhood hillside once used to store whisky from a nearby distillery). The floor was wet, water dripped from the ceiling, and he had just watched two dancers from his company perform in the small space. The night was planned by the Speed Art Museum, and the space was filled with art that seemed to organically fit.
The evening culminated in laser projection, starting with a sky that appeared just over the heads of everyone in the room, and synchronized to electronic-based music. Artists and designers Ryan Daly and Garrett Crabtree created that night’s laser installation, and that revelation of an evening led to the creative team behind Curran’s new interpretation of this timeless story of love and betrayal.
The final artistic vision of this new Swan Lake includes a set composed entirely of laser projection on a stark black stage and dark, streamlined, futuristic costumes with flashes of color, reflective surfaces and bold shapes. The white tutus remain, but they are stripped down to their essential structure with no feathers, no crystals or any other ornamentation aside from the suggestion of a swan’s tail. This all combines with Robert Curran’s choreography, still very much in line with the classical ballet tradition, to create a production of Swan Lake with the power to surprise and transform its audiences.
This world-premiere production opens Friday, October 14. These are the artists and designers who helped to bring Robert Curran’s radically beautiful interpretation of this classic tale to life.
MEET THE ARTISTS
Designer and media artist Ryan Daly was born in Louisville Kentucky. He studied experimental filmmaking at Pittsburgh Filmmakers earning a certification of film production in 2003. In 2007 Daly was a founding member Louisville Film Society and served as their executive director from 2009-2013. He was assistant to director Jerome Hiller in 2010 for the feature documentary, Music Makes a City and in 2015, Daly was the set decorator for the award-winning film, Men Go to Battle. He has made numerous music videos including collaborations with music artists Wax Fang, Joan Shelly, and Will Oldham.
Daly has been a pioneer in augmented reality know as projection mapping. He designed and implemented a four-story projection for the Waverly Hills Sanatorium (2013-2015) and in the spring of 2016, Daly designed a three-projector, two-hundred and ten-foot projection map for the re-opening of the Speed Museum.
In 2014, along with partner Garrett Crabtree, Daly founded Lapis Laser Display, premiering their first work, Get Lit, at the Workhouse Ballroom in 2015. In the winter of 2016, Daly and Crabtree were the first artists to exhibit in the newly-renovated Speed Art Museum with an eight-laser projection entitled, Laser Sinfonia.
Also a photographer, Daly exhibited solo work alongside painter Jacob Huestis at the Zephyr Gallery in 2014. He previously worked with Louisville Ballet to create the video component of their new 2015 production of Coppélia,, with scenic designs by Jacob Huestis.
Garrett Crabtree is a DJ, musician and laserist born in Louisville KY. He studied audio production at Full Sail University and justice administration at the University of Louisville.
In 2009, Crabtree formed GLITTERTITZ with musician Jamey See Tai. A frequent recipient of Best of Louisville and Readers Choice Awards, GLITTERTITZ is a staple within the Louisville arts and music communities. As resident DJs for area night clubs, they are frequent guests at some of the city’s biggest parties including Forecastle Festival, New Year’s Eve at 21c Museum Hotel, and Patron Circle Parties at the Speed Art Museum. As musicians who DJ, GLITTERTITZ approach DJing as another instrument in a musician’s tool bag, as is evident with their recent collaboration with Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra.
In 2012, Crabtree began to incorporate extensive light and laser-design into GLITTERTITZ sets. In 2013 he provided lasers for a music video photographed by Ryan Daly. The following year, the two formed Lapis Laser Display while preparing a laser show for Waverly Hills Sanatorium. In 2015 they premiered their first work, Get Lit, at the Workhouse Ballroom. In the winter of 2016, Crabtree and Daly were the first artists to exhibit in the newly-renovated Speed Art Museum with an eight-laser installation entitled, Laser Sinfonia.
This is his debut collaboration with Louisville Ballet.
Tiffany Woodard is a designer and artisan living and working in Louisville, Kentucky. Utilizing sewing machines, glue guns and power tools she challenges traditional approaches to space, fashion and accessorizing. Intrigued by the relationship between craft and fashion, Woodard began creating costumes, hairpieces, and accessories in 2008.
Born in Yukon, Canada, Woodard draws upon her ancestral heritage as source of inspiration and departure for her designs and artisan techniques. From material concerns to applied practice, her work echoes traditions while focusing on the aesthetics of what’s to come.
Woodard has been featured in several shops and craft venues around the Midwest, including Renegade Handmade in Chicago, Indieana Handicraft Exchange in Indianapolis and most recently the Cherokee Triangle Art Fair in Louisville. Her work was exhibited in the annual KMAC Couture runway show in 2016, curated by Joey Yates. Her work also appeared in the Fall-Winter issue of Louisville Bride magazine in 2016.
This is her debut design for Louisville Ballet.
Experience SWAN LAKE October 14-15 only at the historic Brown Theatre. Performances are scheduled for Friday, October 14 at 8 p.m. and on Saturday, October 15 at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are available online via The Kentucky Center or call (502) 584-7777.