ABT Marks 75 years

Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes in Pillar of Fire. Photo by Marty Sohl.
Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes in Pillar of Fire. Photo by Marty Sohl.

In its first week, the company performs works from its first decade. See my review of two programs here.

Take Two

Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo in Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas. © Rosalie O’Connor.
Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo in Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas. © Rosalie O’Connor.

Over the weekend, I saw a second cast in Liam Scarlett’s new “With a Chance of Rain,” plus Alexei Ratmansky’s beautiful “Seven Sonatas,” JIri Kylian’s “Sinfonietta,” and more. You can read my review here.

Giselle x4

Hee Seo in Giselle. Photo by Gene Schiavone.
Hee Seo in Giselle. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

 

Watching four casts of Giselle is like seeing four different ballets—one of the reasons for this ballet’s enduring appeal. Here’s my review, for DanceTabs, of four parings at ABT: Polina Semionova/David Hallberg, Isabella Boylston/James Whiteside, Hee Seo/Alexandre Hammoudi, and Alina Cojocaru/David Hallberg (the latter replacing an indisposed Herman Cornejo).

It’s always exciting to see an unexpectedly gripping début. That was the case with Alexandre Hammoudi at the Saturday matinée. He has the acting chops, the allure, and the amplitude. Now he just has to work on his stamina and polish.

Twyla’s Bach Partita Returns

Sterling Baca, Christine Shevchenko, Devon Teuscher, and Blaine Hoven in Twyla Tharp's "Bach Partita". Photo by Gene Schiavone.
Sterling Baca, Christine Shevchenko, Devon Teuscher, and Blaine Hoven in Twyla Tharp’s “Bach Partita”. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

This season, ABT brought back Bach Partita, which it hasn’t performed since 1985, two years after it was created for the company. It’s a big, brilliant piece, with thirty-six dancers, who animate the stage with in constantly changing patterns for thirty minutes. The music is Bach’s second partita for solo violin, a monster of a work, played in the pit by the young violinist Charles Yang. Here’s my review for DanceTabs. (It also includes thoughts on Mark Morris’s Gong and Alexei Ratmansky’s new Tempest, which I saw again this week.)

And a short excerpt: “Throughout the ballet, Tharp’s movement is technical, precise and highly articulated. As with Balanchine, the bodies are always distinct, framed in space….It’s not unusual to have three pas de deux going on at once, independent of each other. In these cases the eye is forced to jump from one to the other, and it’s virtually impossible to catch everything.”

Ballets about Ballet: Les Sylphides and Theme and Variations at ABT

The opening tableau in Les Sylphides. Photo by Gene Schiavone
The opening tableau in Les Sylphides. Photo by Gene Schiavone

At the Saturday matinee, ABT presented a program consisting of Fokine’s Les Sylphides, Stanton Welch’s Clear, and Balanchine’s Theme and Variations. The most interesting aspect was seeing the contrast between Sylphides and Theme. Two sumptuous works about the nature of ballet itself. I reviewed the show here.

A short excerpt: “In many ways these two works illustrate what we think about when we think about ballet. The first is a vaporous homage to the aura of mid-nineteenth century works like La Sylphide and Giselle. The latter, a luminous affirmation of the classical style, specifically the high classicism of the Russian Silver Age and its exemplary ballet, Sleeping Beauty.”

An Interview with Cheryl Yeager, Isabella Boylston, and Yuriko Kajiya

A little while back, I sat down with Cheryl Yeager, a former principal with ABT, along with two current soloists, Yuriko Kajiya and Isabella Boylston. We talked about how the company and the profession has changed over time, the role of the internet, the evolution of technique, and the importance of coaching. The Q&A is out in this month’s Playbill at the Metropolitan Opera House. You can check out a pdf here.