Stephen Petronio Dance Company returns to UCLA Live Friday, 3.11.

Work inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ with original score by Nico Mulhy

Stephen Petronio Company brings I Drink the Air Before Me—a piece created in celebration of the acclaimed New York-based troupe’s 25th anniversary--to UCLA Live’s Royce Hall Friday March 11 and Saturday March 12 at 8 p.m.

Petronio, who is known for adventurously artful pairings of contemporary music and movement in lush performance landscapes was intrigued by a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, spoken by the mythical creature Ariel as he does the magician Prospero’s bidding: “I drink the air before me, and return/Or ere your pulse twice beat.”

Petronio also performs in part of the piece, as a sailor buffeted by the ebb and flow of the onstage action. “While there is no narrative to this work, Nico Muhly and I have built an arc that moves from a calm world, through swelling peaks, and concludes with a dance whose song is drawn from the liturgical text for the blessing of a bell upon installation into its tower.”Petronio describes.” This conclusion is an invocation of sort, a beacon in search of a state of calm and hope.”

The work is a celebration of the not only the successful past, but the present and future of the Petronio Company: “Instead of looking back on our achievements like photographs of old friends, I chose to look to the future with a new work. I wanted to give a dance that spoke of riding the awesome and unpredictable forces of now,” Petronio says.

Contemporary composer Nico Muhly orchestral works have been premiered by the American Symphony Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra (Seeing is Believing), the Boston Pops (Wish You Were Here), the New York Philharmonic (Detailed Instructions) and the Chicago Symphony (Step Team). He is currently working a new quintuple concerto commissioned by the piano-playing Five Browns. Film credits include Muhly’s scores for Joshua (2007), and Best Picture nominee The Reader (2008).

About Stephen Petronio Company:
Founded in 1984, Stephen Petronio Company has performed in 26 countries throughout the world, including over 35 New York City engagements with 15 seasons at The Joyce Theater. The Company has been commissioned by Dance Umbrella Festival/London, Hebbel Theater/Berlin, Theater Scene National de Sceaux/France, Festival d’Automne a Paris, CNDC Angers/France, The Holland Festival, Festival International Montpellier-Danse, Danceworks UK Ltd, International Cannes Danse Festival, and in the US by San Francisco Performances, The Joyce Theater, UCSB Arts & Lectures, Wexner Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, and White Bird, among others.

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