Solange Knowles is driving a ballet revolution as young fans flock to buy tickets

18 August 2022, 17:18

Solange Knowles becomes the third woman in the New York City Ballet’s history to be commissioned to write a ballet score.
Solange Knowles becomes the third woman in the New York City Ballet’s history to be commissioned to write a ballet score. Picture: Getty / Twitter: @iamgking

By Siena Linton

The New York City Ballet is gaining a whole new audience, thanks to Solange Knowles...

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Solange Knowles, singer-songwriter and sister of Beyoncé, is making history with a new musical commission from the New York City Ballet.

Her composition will be debuted at the ballet company’s Fall Fashion Gala on 28 September 2022, making Knowles the third woman ever to have a work commissioned by the NYC Ballet, and the second Black woman.

Known as a solo artist as ‘Solange’, she has released four studio albums to date, her first aged just 16. Subsequent albums have reached the top 10 in the charts, including a No.1 spot for her 2016 album A Seat at the Table and a Grammy award for its lead single ‘Cranes in the Sky’.

Now, the star performer is turning her hand to ballet. Having developed performative dance pieces in recent years, including a piece with live orchestra exclusively staged at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie in 2019, a ballet score seems like the perfect natural progression for Solange’s dynamic and multi-faceted career.

Read more: Businesswoman who leads Beyoncé’s empire to head up leading US ballet company

Knowles shared news of the commission in a tweet on Tuesday 16 August, in which she said she was “very excited” about the production. Following its September premiere, the piece will also be performed over ten dates in October 2022 and May 2023.

With choreography from 23-year-old Gianna Reisen, who made her debut with the company aged just 18, the score will be performed by a chamber ensemble made up of members of the City Ballet Orchestra and Solange’s own ensemble.

Read more: English National Ballet’s Tamara Rojo quits to become first woman to lead San Francisco Ballet

A spokesperson from the ballet told US news agency CBS News that Knowles will be the second Black woman in the company’s history to be commissioned for a work, following Lido Pimienta’s 2021 piece titled sky to hold.

And it seems Knowles’ collaboration with the NYC Ballet may even be revolutionising their audiences...

Solange’s stardom saw tickets for the ballet selling at a speed often reserved for pop concerts, as fans flocked to buy them.

The website even implemented a virtual waiting room to avoid a crash due to the number of users at one time.

Many Twitter users chimed in to report that they had bought, or were planning to buy, tickets to the ballet just to hear Solange’s music.

Lido Pimienta chimed in herself, excitedly declaring in all-capital letters that she hoped to “experience it live”, and remarking that “taking over those spaces is so intimidating but we are here… She is the 3rd woman to ever do it!”.