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Solange Enters New Territory: Ballet Composer

Solange, the pop star whose artistic tendrils have reached into the worlds of music, choreography, fashion, film, visual art and more, will soon add a new genre to her repertoire: ballet composer.

New York City Ballet announced on Monday that Solange would write an original score for a work (as yet untitled) by Gianna Reisen that will premiere at the company’s annual Fall Fashion Gala, on Sept. 28. The score is composed for a chamber ensemble that will be made up of some of Solange’s musical collaborators and members of the City Ballet orchestra.

This step into ballet is the latest in a series of adventurous turns by Solange, 36, who began her career young as a singer and dancer — including with her sister, Beyoncé, in Destiny’s Child. Solange’s work later blossomed into multihyphenate and more independent territory, with her music — starting with the 2012 album “True” and continuing with “A Seat at the Table” (2016) and “When I Get Home” (2019) — often doubling as a gathering place for genre-crossing, interdisciplinary artists. In her art and in the streets, she has also been an activist for Black Lives Matter and other causes.

Solange has long had a theatrical edge that brought her into contact with Lincoln Center regulars and collaborators beyond the musical sphere. She has worked with the designer Carlos Soto, a regular partner of the auteurist director Robert Wilson, and organized programming — as well as brought her own performances — to spaces like the Guggenheim and Getty museums, as well as the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany.

Her music for Reisen will be her debut in ballet, which was formative for her as a child in Houston. She saw Lauren Anderson, a pioneering Black principal dancer at Houston Ballet, and once told the writer Ayana Mathis, “My dream was to go to Juilliard.”

The new dance is Reisen’s third for City Ballet, and will feature costumes by Alejandro Gómez Palomo of Palomo Spain. The Fall Fashion Gala, which pairs choreographers with designers, will also feature a premiere by Kyle Abraham, with costumes by Giles Deacon; and the first live performance of Justin Peck’s “Solo,” which premiered virtually in 2021 in a film directed by Sofia Coppola, and now features costume design by Raf Simons. Rounding out the gala evening is a George Balanchine masterpiece, “Symphony in C” from 1947.

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