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Secret Story Ballet

Secret Story Ballet is a contemporary ballet set in SE Asia to the music of Pat Metheny’s Secret Story album (1992).
Secret Story combines American and SE Asian dance styles in sensitive and dramatic form to portray a child's journey from birth through adoption to re-connection with her lost past.


Pat Metheny is a well known American jazz guitarist. The youngest teacher ever at the Berklee College of Music and winner of 20 Grammy Awards in 12 different categories, he has been credited with reinventing the traditional "jazz guitar" sound for countless musicians since his first alum was released in 1975.


Secret Story was released in 1992 and is a collaboration with the Pinpeat Orchestra of the Royal ballet of Cambodia, the London Orchestra and the Choir of the Cambodian Royal Palace.



There are three parts to the story.  A farm scene where we are introduced to an expectant couple.  A busy marketplace scene where the child is placed and found.  And a final return to the marketplace as an adult where her birth parents are present but at "a different time".


Dance Style

The story is about international adoption and Pat Metheny's music movingly integrates American and Cambodian music styles.  The introduction begins with traditional Cambodian opera storytelling where narration is told through hand and body gestures.  The modern world quickly intercedes through western contemporary movement but Cambodian story telling remaining present throughout.  The Portland Cambodian dance troupe led by Sinon Him will  perform the story telling and help integrate Cambodian dance style into western dance style.


The introduction scene takes place in a traditional Cambodian farm setting.  The marketplace scene begins empty in the early morning, is quickly transformed into a crowded, loud and busy market.  The crowds empty out after a child is placed and caretaker finds the baby.  The last scene is a return to the now empty marketplace, years in the future.  Our child now grown, is with her caretaker while "ghosts" of her birth parents are also present.  Both longing to connect with a lost past.


The cast calls for 4 leads and 6 or 8 supporting dancers.  Up to 10 others create a "busy" marketplace atmosphere.

4 Lead Dancers - Birth Mother and Father, Caregiver and Adult Adoptee.

6-8 Supporting Dancers - Marketplace Vendors and Shoppers.

10 Extras - Marketplace public, non dance.


For more on this project, please join Story Forward Ballet to gain access to the Score and more.

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