Choreography by Twyla Tharp
Staged by Elaine Kudo
Music by Willie “The Lion” Smith
Costumes by Santo Loquasto
Lighting by Jennifer Tipton

Timing: 13:40

Sections: I – Relaxin’; II – Echoes of Spring; III – Tango a la caprice; IV – Concentrating; V – Relaxin’.

In Tharp’s career history, this dance for twelve individual dancers, initially presented as six mated couples, contrasts sharply, in its serenity and simplicity, with the extravagance and free-for-all form that distinguishes the dances she had then previously made for the 1978 film Hair. In fact, some of the movement motifs and inventions for this subsequent, serene work include “out-takes” from Hair itself. Baker’s Dozen takes its audience, by way of its satiny smooth jazz music, to a “palm court” space where afternoon social dancing happens with utter ease and inevitability, touched throughout by gentle physical eccentricities, dancers clambering up on other dancers, dancers held upside-down or other “indecorous” positions.

Dressed in smoothly shaped, silky cream clothes – based on afternoon dresses for the women and semi-formals for the men – dancers slip into and out of view in an ever-evolving combination of numbers. Tharp has likened her chosen groupings to “an ancient game of jacks”: four trios, three quartets, two sextets. Eventually a harmonious and communal twelevesome emerges, all by way of bringing into prominence, one after another, each of the twelve dancers soloing apart from the eleven-dancer fold. Its romantically inclined couplings, its wittily eccentric partnerings, and its finely calibrated unison work, the satiny smooth dance aims to conjure a world of living social graces and personal rapport. Since its beginnings, the dance has held the public’s attention as a special Tharp classic, mixing nostalgic and contemporary emotions all together.

Baker’s Dozen was given its American Ballet Theatre Company Premiere on October 30, 2007 at City Center in New York.

Baker’s Dozen received its World Premiere by the Twyla Tharp Dance Company on February 15, 1979, danced by Twyla Tharp, Rose Marie Wright, Tom Rawe, Jennifer Way, Shelley Washington, Christine Uchida, Raymond Kurshals, Richard Colton, Anthony Ferro, William Whitener, France Mayotte and John Carrafa.

Copyright 2007 Ballet Theatre Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved.