Smuin Ballet looks at a special Elvis Presley in a brand latest work

Almost 47 years after his death, Elvis remains to be king.

He holds the Guinness World Record as a solo musician and has sold roughly 1.5 billion albums, with most sales occurring after his death.

As for his life and loves, there are countless sources of data and speculation – including, as of now, the Smuin Contemporary Ballet, which is able to premiere Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's latest ballet in regards to the idol, titled “Tupelo Tornado,” as a part of its latest tour of San Francisco, Mountain View, Walnut Creek and Carmel from May third to thirty first.

Also on this system are Amy Seiwert's “Broken Open,” with cellist and composer Julia Kent performing the rating continue to exist opening weekend; Brennan Wall’s “Untwine”; and “Starshadows” by company founder Michael Smuin.

Chance plays an even bigger role within the creation of art than most individuals realize, and Amsterdam-based choreographer Lopez Ochoa knows this firsthand. When he re-performed her work “Requiem for a Rose” for the Smuin Ballet in 2017, she went with artistic director Celia Fushille to look at the corporate perform. She noted that one other work on this system used popular songs for the rating, and he or she noted that if she were to try this, she would select Elvis tunes.

Five years later, Fushille remembered the conversation and decided to take Lopez Ochoa's idea to heart and commissioned her to create a ballet based on Elvis.

“Funnily enough, after we chose Elvis, the film about him came out (Baz Luhrmann's 'Elvis'), followed by the film 'Priscilla',” notes the choreographer. “In terms of research, this was the best year for it and there were all these documentaries being posted on YouTube. I only knew the songs because he died when I was only 4 years old.”

“I learned so much more about Elvis,” adds Lopez Ochoa. “My attitude will definitely be different than someone who grew up with him. It's amazing to discover all these little pieces. It feels like a broken glass or a broken mirror that I'm trying to piece together. There are some parts that are fantastic and some that I find scary. Therefore, the mirror ends up not being beautiful when assembled. My dance is like this graffiti painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat. All the parts make no sense (on their own), but together they make a beautiful portrait.”

The Colombian-Belgian choreographer grew up in Europe, so she doesn't share the everyday American flashbacks – teenage girls screaming on the young Elvis or middle-aged women making the pilgrimage to Las Vegas to see the older crooner – that folks connect with the icon.

“I think it's very difficult to really recognize who he was because like most famous people, there's a very hidden face that we don't know about,” Lopez Ochoa said. “One of the main things I found out was that he wanted to be a theater actor. He took the chance and went to Hollywood because he thought his dream would come true.” But fame intervened and Elvis was mostly offered scripts in which he played himself.

Working with composer Jake Rodriguez, Lopez Ochoa noted, “I gave him music that Elvis sang that I liked and some interviews that I found.” We will create a collage of interview texts and the music that go with it woven into a soundtrack. We show its many facets. For example, he was very religious, so the piece contains some gospel (music); He's very lonely (and feels like he's trapped in a cage), so I put one of the dancers in a cage and he was a sex symbol, but not really sexual.”

In other words, “Tupelo Tornado” isn’t a nostalgic trip through the King’s biggest hits. Instead, it offers a nuanced take a look at a particularly superstar and speculates about who he may very well have been.


Presents Dance Series 2, including the world premiere of “Tupelo Tornado,” Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

When where: May 3-12 on the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; 16-19. May at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts; 24-25 May on the Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek; 30-31 May at sunset

Tickets: $25-$89;

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