Updated 6/21/12. Amazingly enough, this piece continues to get hits almost every day. The video link appeared to be broken, so I fixed it again. Also, this piece will be featured in Pacific Northwest Ballet's next season, so yay! (March 15-24 2013 Modern Masterpieces rep.)
Updated 9/24/2010. This piece gets lots of hits still, but the video I linked to has been removd from Youtube, so I've linked a new piece. Also, the whole score wasn't available back in 2007, but now it is - I've linked to the Amazon page for the CD/mp3 download.
The highlight of the Contemporary Classics ballet program the last two weeks has easily been In the Upper Room from 1986, with music by Phillip Glass, choreography by Twyla Tharp. It's really impossible to convey in words just how brilliant this 40 minute piece is, but fortunately there are several clips posted on Youtube.
There are thirteen dancers in the cast, and Tharp had code names for the different groupings. There are the modern dancers in sneakers, named the Stompers, the Ballet Couples (somewhat self-explanatory), and the pair of female dancers in all red ballet attire known as the Bomb Squad. Nobody seems to know the exact reason for the last name, but one of the dancers in last night's show was of the opinion that it came about because their dancing is so frenetic it seems like they're on a mission to attack something. About 50 sec into the piece linked below, the Bomb Squad appears briefly in their all red attire and you can see them for about 20 sec as they dance their way through the other performers. The music, choreograpy and costumes all work together brilliantly. You have to see the whole thing to appreciate the costumes, as most of the dancers start off in the black and white stripes with hints of red here and there. As the piece unfolds, the costumes morph with the music into more and more red. Just amazing.
If only the whole thing were available on DVD. At least the whole score is now available...
One of my favorite video selections is this rehearsal piece from the Pittsburgh Ballet: