“I’m the guy at the movies that cries for everything,” says Stephen Wynne of Northwest Arkansas Ballet Theatre. “Especially when I hear [Andrew Lloyd] Webber’s music. It sort of ‘unglues’ my emotions.”
Wynne is describing one of the five selections that will be part of the ballet company’s spring tour. “Radiant” will be performed at the Fayetteville Public Library, CACHE studios in Bentonville, The Medium in Springdale and at Arkansas Public Theatre in Rogers. Each selection was choreographed by Wynne.
“Unglued” is a tribute to Webber, one of the new artistic director’s favorite contemporary composers.
“I grew up with his music, and I just absolutely adore how he approaches the ethereal qualities of music — the richness, the dramatics, the emotion, the actual soul-bearing and longing — that he portrays in his music,” says Wynne. “Webber has a way of connecting to all of our universal longings as human beings. He just puts it out there, and we all just melt.”
“Radiant” will also feature “Table for Four,” with a selection of music taken from movie trailers, Wynne explains. It includes “Violet Flame” by the Gary Garcia String Quartet; “What I’ve Done,” a Linkin Park song performed by Gnuss Cello (which is Stefano Cabrera, an Italian cellist and composer); and finally, “Wave of the Danube,” composed and performed by Kinesthesia, from Chris Jeffs of the British electronic band Aphex Twin.
“[‘Table for Four’] is about these four strangers who come to a restaurant, and they are expecting a partner to come with them or a friend or a date to connect with them, but they end up being jilted, so they take refuge in one another as they’re waiting,” says Wynne.
Another selection will be “Of a Feather,” set to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 and Piano Sonata No. 16.
“This is about how people create these first impressions of one another,” Wynne says. “These first impressions that people create are then shattered, and they have to look at that person in another way.”
“Emerge,” from which the poster art is taken, details the journey of rising and falling. For the music, Wynne chose “Lux Aeterna” by Clint Mansell, performed by Kronos Quartet. It is the leitmotif from the 2000 film, “Requiem for a Dream.” Emerge will also include “Looped,” by Kiasmos, an electronic music duo of Ólafur Arnalds (Iceland) and Janus Rasmussen (North Germany).
Finally, the show includes “En la playa” which Wynne describes as a “fun solo based on a day at the beach.” Music for this selection is from the upbeat pop song “Sunroof” by Nicky Youre and Dazy.
“I just thought that would be a wonderful way to introduce myself, and my direction as a choreographer,” says Wynne of the mosaic of music and dance. Originally from Philadelphia, Wynne was a professional ballet dancer for 18 years and joined the Northwest Arkansas ballet company in October 2022.
Joining him is his wife, Britta Heermann-Wynne, who danced professionally for 11 years. He calls her the theater’s “ballet mistress,” which is someone who directs, trains and sometimes acts as a choreographer for a ballet company. She studied and danced classical ballet and modern dance in Munich, Cannes and New York, among other places. She’s also spent time teaching on the university level as well as with other dance companies.
“We work as a team,” Wynne says. “It’s complicated to run a ballet company. It’s great to have your trusted partner as your team member alongside you.”
Northwest Arkansas Ballet Theatre was founded in 2011 by Margie Bordovsky, Mariah Bordovsky and the late Peggie Wallis with the aim of keeping professional dancers in the area while providing high-quality dance performances for local audiences as well as bringing guest artists to the area.
*Eric Harrision of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contributed to this story.
FYI - ‘Radiant’
WHAT — Northwest Arkansas Ballet Theatre performs five new neoclassical and contemporary works created by its new artistic director, Stephen Wynne.
WHEN & WHERE — Each performance starts at 7:30 p.m.
• April 29: Fayetteville Public Library Event Center, 401 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville. Tickets are $15-$35.
• May 5-6: CACHE Studios Bentonville, 1004 S.E. Fifth St., Bentonville. $15-$25.
• May 11: The Medium, 214 S. Main St., Springdale. $20.
• May 19-20: Arkansas Public Theatre at The Victory, 116 S. Second St., Rogers. $20-$35.
INFO — Visit nwaballettheatre.org/2023-spring-tour for tickets