The lauded choreographer returns to Santa Monica with her latest program, ‘Triple Bill’

By Michael Aushenker

Barak Ballet dancers Keira Schwartz and Grigori Arakelyan Photo by Anne Slattery

Barak Ballet dancers Keira Schwartz and Grigori Arakelyan
Photo by Anne Slattery

Melissa Barak’s “Triple Bill 2015” promises to be as varied choreographically as it is musically.

“We’ve got a bit of everything going on, from the truly contemporary and symphonic to J.S. Bach,” said Barak Ballet founder/artistic director Melissa Barak, who returns to Santa Monica’s Broad Stage this weekend with her contemporary dance company for a trio of works.

The former New York City Ballet dancer turned choreographer introduces “Yueh Fei,” scored by Huang Ruo; “Middle of Somewhere,” with music by Ezio Bosso; and Nicolo Fonte’s Bach-driven piece, “Left Unsaid.”

Truth be told, Barak has been readying “Triple Bill” since August.

“Getting things squared away months in advance with the theater is also a must,” Barak explained. “Our ‘Triple Bill 2015’ program is all new works the company has not performed before; they’re all company premieres.”

“‘Yueh Fei’ is not only the name of Ruo’s score and the ballet, but also of an admired Chinese general during the 1100s.

“He was sort of the Maximus Meridius of China,” Barak said, referencing Russell Crowe’s character in Ridley Scott’s 2000 film, “Gladiator.” “He was a national hero of the Southern Song Dynasty.”

Huang, a New York City-based composer, met Barak years ago when both participated in the New York Choreographic Institute.

“I thought his music was very unique, beautiful in a very strange yet theatrical way,” Barak said. “‘Yueh Fei’ evokes so much atmosphere. It’s a thrill as a choreographer to find music that inspires me yet also challenges me.”

Originally from Brooklyn, Fonte made his name in Madrid, where his choreographic career exploded.

“This program will really show the growth this company has seen as well as the artistic and technical versatility our incredible dancers are capable of,” Barak said.

As for the company’s namesake herself getting up onstage: “Ha, no dancing for me this time. Two of my pieces are on the program so I’m too busy staging them!”

Melissa Barak’s “Triple Bill 2015” takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Broad Stage.