I was first approached by Helgi Tomaason in early 1994 to create a new commission for San Francisco Ballet for the 1994/1995 Season. It was then that I started my search for music, concepts and ideas for a new work. Dan McGarry, who at that time was on staff with San Francisco Ballet and a good friend, mentioned to me that I needed to create a big hit. He jokingly, or maybe not, mentioned that I needed to create a work especially for Evelyn Cisneros and a lot of men without their shirts on. He was not too far off, but I did like the idea of creating a work for Evelyn and to capitalize on her strong technique, amazing stage presence and to celebrate her extraordinary career.
My search for music was not working as well as I expected. Of course there was some backup plans, but nothing was really resonating. I was getting a bit nervous as there were only two weeks left before I was to start creating in the studios with the dancers. I happened to be talking to Eda Holmes, who was at the time living in Paris and was an amazing dancer herself with San Francisco Ballet. I mentioned to her my predicament and that I couldn’t find that right provocative, sexy and powerful score that I really wanted for Evelyn. She said that she had the perfect CD for me to hear that was given to her as a wedding gift in Paris. She sent it immediately and I received it in the mail about three days later.
It was the CD of Lambarena. I fell in love with it within seconds. A week later I was in the studios starting the creative process.