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American Ballet Theatre

Fall for Dance 2017

October 10, 2017

Michelle Dorrance, this troupe’s director, has become a force in tap dance because she understands both its legacy and its future. She played Pied Piper to a large troupe of very talented dancers who were all given opportunities to shine and create moods that varied from sexy to flirtatious to hilarious and sad. With additional choreographic contributions by Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie and Matthew “Megawatt” West—fine soloists—“Myelination” ebbed and flowed as soloists floated out of groupings of the twelve dancers to express themselves in brilliant bits that combined tap with modern dance, jazz, break dancing and even a touch of ballet. [more]

Works & Process Rotunda Project: “Falls the Shadow”

September 7, 2017

The title comes from T.S. Eliot’s "The Hollow Men," the one that famously includes the line: “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper” - which is exactly how Falls the Shadow ended, the dancers swirling off to the borders of the Rotunda performing space after a series of meetings and partings that too often found them lying in geometric patterns on the floor, their arms spread out in cross forms or moving their limbs in unison to produce a Busby Berkeley effect. (The audience stood above the action on the ramps, looking down.)  The two couples rarely mixed and matched, but did occasionally form lineups that wound up dragging the unlucky fourth dancer who was face down on the stage.  The actual movement palette was limited to walking, soft arabesques, rolling on the floor and some hip-level lifts, all repeated too many times.  [more]

American Ballet Theatre: Whipped Cream

July 5, 2017

Richard Strauss’ surprisingly lighthearted score was first staged as a ballet in 1924 to a libretto he also wrote.  Strauss is, of course, best known for his serious, dark operas ("Salome," "Elektra," "Der Rosenkavalier," "Die Frau ohne Schatten").  This work, originally "Schlagobers" in German, appears to be a whimsical musical detour that, happily, has landed in the hands (feet?) of the very much in demand Ratmansky who, with the superior creative support of Mark Ryden (sets and costumes), Brad Fields (lighting) and, of course, the talented dancers of the American Ballet Theatre produced a candy-colored entertainment that might just serve as its new Nutcracker, a ballet that appeals to both children and adults. [more]

“Misty Copeland” by Gregg Delman

October 6, 2016

"Misty Copeland" is not just the celebration of Misty Copeland the feisty, young classical ballet dancer, but of Misty Copeland the young, nubile, well-proportioned young woman. She looks great wearing next to nothing, her exposed skin gleaming under Mr. Delman’s expertly subtle lighting. She is able to achieve all sorts of hyper-stretched positions on all sorts of furniture, her expressions ranging from distracted to come hither. [more]

American Ballet Theatre: La Fille mal gardée

June 1, 2016

Leading this bucolic tale of amor interruptus were Gillian Murphy (her usual strong technique subsumed in girlish sweetness) as the farm girl, Lise, the “badly guarded girl” of the title, and Cory Stearns (at his lyrical best) as Colas, her young farmer swain. In the drag role of Lise’s mother, Widow Simone, was Marcelo Gomes, the still vibrant classicist perhaps just having a bit of fun in a character role, or keeping an eye on the future—distant future!—when character roles will be the natural progression for this great artist. [more]

American Ballet Theatre: Shostakovich Trilogy

May 19, 2016

His Shostakovich Trilogy may have been too much of a good thing, somewhat weakened by too many overlapping themes, generally dark moods (with some bright moments, of course) and a sameness of choreographic technique. However, these three ballets displayed his talent for moving dancers around the stage with musicality and dramatic expressiveness and a good ear for Shostakovich’s quick-changing musical themes which often go from ponderous to lighthearted within a few measures. [more]

“On the Town” Revisited with Misty Copeland

August 29, 2015

Then, there’s the new cast member, Misty Copeland, the newly minted American Ballet Theater principal ballerina, who has taken over the role of Ivy Smith, the catalyst for the daffy, warm-hearted plot of the show. Formerly inhabited with sweetness and steely technique by another ballet star, Megan Fairchild, the role of Ivy Smith fits Ms. Copeland perfectly. She makes it her own the moment she’s murmurs “Who, me?” in “Presentation of Miss Turnstiles,” the witty send-up of beauty competitions. [more]