Royals x 2

Lauren Cuthbertson, Edward Watson and Ryoichi Hirano in Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth. Photo by Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House.
Lauren Cuthbertson, Edward Watson and Ryoichi Hirano in Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth. Photo by Dave Morgan, courtesy the

Here’s my review of the Royal Ballet’s second program, consisting of Wayne McGregor’s “Infra,” Liam Scarlett’s “Age of Anxiety,” and a series of short excerpts. Plus a second view of the first program, with new casts in “The Dream” and “Song of the Earth.”

 

Swans at the Met, Fairies at the Koch

 

Misty Copeland (Odette) and James Whiteside (Prince Siegfried) in Swan Lake.  Photo: Gene Schiavone.
Misty Copeland (Odette) and James Whiteside (Prince Siegfried) in Swan Lake. Photo: Gene Schiavone.

Misty Copeland had her long-awaited New York début in Swan Lake on June 24, with ABT. How did she do? Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.

And here’s my review of the Royal Ballet—visiting New York for the first time in 11 years— in a double-bill at the Koch. The two works were Ashton’s The Dream and Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth.

Marianela Nuñez and Nehemiah Kish in Song of the Earth. Photo by Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House
Marianela Nuñez and Nehemiah Kish in Song of the Earth. Photo by Dave Morgan, courtesy the Royal Opera House

 

 

Dreaming the Dream

In Midsummer Night’s Dream, Balanchine does what he does best: tells a story, then gives us its abstract expression. See my review of New York City Ballet’s final performances here, at DanceTabs.

Russell Janzen, Ashley Laracey, and Brittany Pollack in Balanchine's "Midsummer Night's Dream." Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Russell Janzen, Ashley Laracey, and Brittany Pollack in Balanchine’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Ashton in Sarasota

Sarasota Ballet in Frederick Ashton’s Illuminations. © Frank Atura.
Sarasota Ballet in Frederick Ashton’s Illuminations.
© Frank Atura.

I’m just back from the Ashton festival at Sarasota Ballet, a four-day tribute to the choreographer. Under the directorship of Iain Webb, the company has been undergoing a major expansion over the past few years. By any measure, the festival was a big success, with strong performances, expressive dancing, and a powerful sense of style and common purpose.

You can read my review for DanceTabs here.

And a short excerpt: “The advantage of putting all these ballets on the stage in quick succession is that the audience begins to see all sorts of interconnections and motifs running through the works. Thus, in Monotones II (1965), there is an echo of the slow trio near the beginning of Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, in which a woman is slowly revolved by two men and shown from all angles, the center of a slow-moving planetary system.”

A New Tempest for ABT

Marcelo Gomes and Daniil Simkin in "The Tempest." Photo by Andrea Mohin.
Marcelo Gomes and Daniil Simkin in “The Tempest.” Photo by Andrea Mohin.

Alexei Ratmansky’s new Tempest premièred at American Ballet Theatre’s fall gala, held at the old State Theatre. Because of the departure (and now closure) of New York City Opera, the theatre is now becoming a magnet for dance companies. ABT is appearing there for the first time since the seventies, and it looks quite at home on its stage. It’s a great space for dance, with excellent site lines.

Anyway, the program consisted of of three works: Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, The Tempest, and a trifle by Marcelo Gomes. Here’s my review for DanceTabs.

And a short excerpt: “As the note in the program points out, ‘the ballet is at once a fragmented narrative as well as a meditation on some of the themes of Shakespeare’s play.’ It is both those things, but even more, it is a series of psychological portraits of its central characters. Each (Miranda, Ariel, Caliban, Ferdinand) dances a kind of aria. Most also have a duet with Prospero; he is the hub of the play’s network of relationships.”

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.