‘Vigil’ Is a New Ballet for Pacifica : Premiere: The West Coast debut of Diane Coburn Bruning’s work is part of a mostly youthful program of otherwise familiar pieces.


There’s a surprise on the Ballet Pacifica program this weekend at the Irvine Barclay Theatre: the West Coast premiere of Diane Coburn Bruning’s “Vigil.”

The work was never announced for the season, but that’s in keeping with a recent policy developed by Ballet Pacifica artistic director Molly Lynch.

“When I put the whole season together, I left open a spot on each program so we could add a piece developed in the summer workshop,” Lynch said in a recent phone conversation. “Since I don’t have any idea what’s going to come out of them, I left open spots which allow us to add a newer piece later on. This will allow us to do premieres easier.”

Bruning, a New York-based choreographer, has been a steady presence at the workshops, which she helped organize from their beginning in 1991. Previous Bruning works the company has danced are “Remote Relationships,” premiered in 1991, and “Interior,” created in 1989 for students at the Juilliard School in New York.

Her “Vigil,” created for the junior Joffrey Ballet Company (Joffrey Two), is for four men and one woman, and is set to Ives’ “The Unanswered Question.”


The work was inspired by the death of the choreographer’s father, according to Lynch, and deals with a “searching for understanding and eventually some sort of calmness and acceptance of this particular loss.

“The whole thing is based on supporting one another and working together as a group,” Lynch said. “One man supports a woman through it all, until she becomes independent and goes on without him, getting through that troubled time.”

Completing the program will be Fokine’s classic “Les Sylphides,” William Soleau’s “Dream Dialogues,” Carl Corry’s “The Beauty of One Divides” and Lynch’s “Eight Lines.” All are familiar from previous Ballet Pacifica programs.

“Dream Dialogues” came out of the first summer choreographers’ workshop. It involves two couples who dance to Gerald Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto.

“It’s not a presentational piece to the audience at all " Lynch said. “The audience just has a chance to look in on their lives and interactions together.”

Corry’s “The Beauty of One Divides” presents “a walk through varying episodes of life and love” to music of Bach, Mozart and other composers. The music will be played live by guitarists Gregory Coleman and John Schneiderman and harpsichordist William Neil Roberts.

“That is one of our goals,” Lunch said. “I would like to do even more (live music), but costs are prohibitive.”

Lynch’s “Eight Lines” is set to a score with the same name by Steve Reich. It deals with an “overlaying of people I’ve come across and how their lives cross over. It also deals with personal relationships,” she said.

Excluding Fokine, “all four of the choreographers are in their 30s, and are reacting to the people of today,” Lynch said. “We’re getting something of a reputation for working with and commissioning pieces from younger choreographers.”

* Ballet Pacifica will dance Diane Coburn Bruning’s “Vigil” and other works today at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 and 8 p.m. at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. $6 to $15. (714) 642-9275.