Colón

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This piece is very close to my heart: I spent two weeks watching rehearsals and talking to people at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, a place I have looked upon with wonder since I was a little girl. The article barely scratches the surface of the many many complexities of the theater, the people who work there, and the various powers that determine its fate, but I hope it at least suggests something of its atmosphere. Here’s the link.

Photo by Diego Levy for the Times.
Photo by Diego Levy for the Times.

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.”

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.