The Soulhaus


Category: Art & Design
Photo by Sean Zanni / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

A partnership between the NYC Ballet (NYCB) and Solange Knowles was almost inevitable. Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Fall Fashion Gala – founded by Sarah Jessica Parker — the annual event celebrates and showcases a collaboration among contemporary designers and choreographers to create innovative performance art, which fuses avant-garde fashion and dance. The event sought an artist to commission to create an original score for the special occasion. Solange is naturally the archetypical artist for this exclusive endeavor, as the multidisciplinary creative often blends fashion, design, and performance art within her own body of work.

On the evening of the premiere on September 28th, inside the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center was beautifully outlined with a kaleidoscope of melanin, a rather diverse demographic of attendees from the venue’s audience this time last year, potentially due to the crowd collectively anticipating history unfold. Solange is the first Black woman to be chosen for this coveted role of commissioning an original score for the NYCB, and the second woman of color, followed by Colombian singer and songwriter Lido Pimienta.

An evening of avant-garde fashion, ballet, and an original musical score by multidisciplinary creative Solange Knowles.

An exuberant and whimsical performance featuring genderless structured fittings, with pinstripes reimagined and adorned in more than 800,000 Swarovski crystals

For her NYCB debut, Solange partnered with choreographer Gianna Reisen and designer Alejandro Gómez Palomo for ‘Play Time,’ an exuberant and whimsical performance featuring genderless structured fittings, with pinstripes reimagined and adorned in more than 800,000 Swarovski crystals. The kinetic energy of the performance was also soulful, further amplified by the structured suits the dancers effortlessly swayed, bounced, and pranced in. The execution of the score complemented by the artful costuming was fitting for Solange’s sartorial taste and aligned with both her visual and design ethos. 

Solange’s score introduced a mixture of energetic and upbeat moments paired with more modest and melancholic ones. The NYCB also tapped two of Solange’s musical partners, bassist Endea Owens and drummer Jharis Yokley, as part of the orchestra for this performance. The eclectic symphony featured nods to Latin ballroom dance as well as a mixture of heavy bass, cymbals, and jazz piano chords reminiscent of Solange’s previously recorded work. Sonically, sartorially, and of course visually, the performance was a magnificent display of innovation, collaboration, and Black excellence.

The last live performance of 2022 featuring Solange’s score was this Sunday October 16th. But for those who missed it, you’ll have a chance to see this highly anticipated showcase in May of next year, with performances scheduled for May 2nd and May 11th, 2023. Between now and then, a new season of ballet has commenced with performances available throughout the fall and winter across dance theaters around the globe.

Solange Knowles entering the stage and accepting her flowers, captured by Clint Spaulding for the New York City Ballet.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 28: A view outside the David H. Koch Theater during the New York City Ballet’s 2022 Fall Fashion Gala at Lincoln Center on September 28, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)