Although he was known as "the quiet Beatle," George Harrison
left a legacy of songs resonating with introspection and
spirituality. New York City's American Ballet Theatre will pair
that music with movement in "Within You Without You: A Tribute to
George Harrison," coming to Playhouse Square Center's State Theatre
March 11 through 14.
"George's journey through life is shared through his songs,"
reflects ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie. "You can see the
hubris of a young guy who has money coming in. Then, there's [his
experiences with] the drug culture, followed by an expression of
?What's next?' Then, there's the ?Wow! My inner soul is what's
"He felt the influence of Indian music and [his work] became all
about the basics. He was concerned not with the result, but with
Like many baby boomers who grew up listening to the Fab Four,
McKenzie, 50, was moved by Harrison's death in November 2001. He
began conceptualizing the work moments after he heard the news.
�A colleague and I were bemoaning the fact that
Harrison's passing was the end of an era, and his death made you
look at your own mortality. Of course, the next logical question
was whether a tribute in dance had ever been done. A light bulb
McKenzie culled the talents of four choreographers whose work he
admires and consulted with Harrison's widow, Olivia, on the
selection of the half-dozen musical numbers that would serve
as the soundtrack. From "Something," a male-female duet in which
the woman never moves, to the soulful-yet-sensual "While My Guitar
Gently Weeps" to the evocative "My Sweet Lord," the ballet is a
homily to Harrison's artistry during and after Beatlemania.
"I envision the audience to be a clash of cultures," McKenzie
says. "There'll be those old enough to say, ?God, when this [music]
first came out, I thought it was noise.' Then, there'll be people
from [my] generation who'll know every breath and every word and
will have to stop themselves from singing along. And there will be
the new rockers who say, 'This is ballet?'
tMy goal is to have all of them take away an understanding of
who George Harrison was and the gamut of his talent."
Also on the program are excerpts from "Raymonda," a 19th-century
love story, and "Pillar of Fire," the tale of three sisters whose
relationships with one another are fueled by anger and
Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and
Sunday at 2 p.m.