Four premieres at City Ballet and a few surprises at Fall for Dance

New York City Ballet had its gala on Sept. 30, featuring new works by four youngsters: Robert Binet, Myles Thatcher, Troy Schumacher, and Justin Peck. Here’s my review for DanceTabs.

New York City Ballet in Troy Schumacher’s Common Ground, with costumes by Marta Marques and Paolo Almeida of Marques’Almeida. Photo by Paul Kolnik
New York City Ballet in Troy Schumacher’s Common Ground, with costumes by Marta Marques and Paolo Almeida of Marques’Almeida. Photo by
Paul Kolnik

Over at City Center, Fall for Dance kicked off with two varied programs, each containing a surprise. See my review here.

Rachelle Rafailedes and L.A. Dance Project in Murder Ballades. Photo by Rose Eichenbaum.
Rachelle Rafailedes and L.A. Dance Project in Murder Ballades.
Photo by Rose Eichenbaum.

 

 

Against Type

On Saturday night, Misty Copeland had her New York début as the Cowgirl in Agnes de Mille’s “Rodeo.” She was fantastic: funny, relaxed, charming, touching. A natural comedienne. It was a side of her dancing I’d never seen, a brilliant bit of casting against type. (Copeland is usually cast in either more contemporary work, or classical variations, or parts that highlight her natural glamour.) But last Saturday she threw herself into De Mille’s dopey character heart and soul, and brought the audience along for the ride.

Roman Zhurbin, Misty Copeland and Craig Salstein in Rodeo.  Photo: Marty Sohl.
Roman Zhurbin, Misty Copeland and Craig Salstein in Rodeo. Photo: Marty Sohl.

 

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.

Goodbye and Hello

Xiomara Reyes and Sascha Radetsky in Coppélia. Photo by MIRA.
Xiomara Reyes and Sascha Radetsky in Coppélia. Photo by MIRA.

The end of American Ballet Theatre’s spring season brought a trio of farewell performances for the soloists Sascha Radetsky, Yuriko Kajiya, and Jared Matthews. Each led a cast of Coppélia; two were débuts. Quietly, Joseph Gorak also débuted this week as Franz. Recently promoted to soloist, Gorak is a young danseur noble in the making. So it goes in ballet, an art for the young, ambitious, and blindly devoted. Here’s my review for DanceTabs.

Radetsky in Fancy Free. Photo by Marty Sohl.
Radetsky in Fancy Free. Photo by Marty Sohl.
Joseph Gorak in Frederick Ashton's Cinderella. Photo by Gene Schiavone.
Joseph Gorak in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

Susan Jones, or, the Art of the Ballet Mistress

Susan Jones cooaching "Paquita."
Susan Jones cooaching “Paquita.”

Here’s my interview with Susan Jones, a ballet mistress at American Ballet Theatre in charge of the corps de ballet. Jones joined ABT in 1970 and stayed for nine years. In that time, she danced every corps role in the rep, plus Lizzie in Fall River Legend, Cowgirl in Rodeo, and a few other choice parts that suited her dramatic side. She quickly showed a skill for remembering steps, which became handy when working with Twyla Tharp on Push Comes to Shove. Baryshnikov made her a ballet mistress, and she never left. This fall, she is re-staging Tharp’s Bach Partita, which hasn’t been done for almost thirty years.

Ojai Dispatch No. 2

Jenn Weddel and Spencer Ramirez in "Jenn and Spencer" at Ojai. Photo by Timothy Norris.
Jenn Weddel and Spencer Ramirez in “Jenn and Spencer” at Ojai. Photo by Timothy Norris.

…In which the Mark Morris Dance Group steals the show…

The company performed two programs, separated by a concert for toy piano (at dusk). It was an exciting evening of dance. Here’s a link to my review, for DanceTabs.

And here is a short excerpt:

“As always, Morris’s ability to shape the sounds coming from the pit through a combined language of gesture and seemingly simple movement is a constant source of surprise and almost primal satisfaction. Why does the swishing of a hand set to a two-note figure in the strings or a carving of the air to a line of melody feel so right? Who knows.”