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American Ballet Theatre

Fall Repertory
At City Center

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters:
Wes Chapman, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Georgina Parkinson, Clinton Luckett
Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate

by Dr. Robert E. Zlokower
November 5, 2006

Originally Published on

Clear (2001): Choreography by Stanton Welch, Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Costume Design by Michael Kors for Celine, Lighting Design by Lisa Pinkham, Conductor: Charles Barker, Oboe Soloist: Matthew Dine, Violin Soloist: Ronald Oakland, Performed by Angel Corella, Maxim Beloserkovsky, David Hallberg, Julie Kent, Sascha Radetsky, Carlos Lopez, Craig Salstein, and Alejandro Piris-Niño.

Three years is too long to wait to see this bravura work, choreographed by Stanton Welch to Bach's heavenly score. Angel Corella gave one of his finest performances, with starkly contrasting spins and walks, plus shifts in tone, tempo, and attitude. In fact, there was even choreography to silence. Maxim Beloserkovsky and Blaine Hoven were also featured, with Julie Kent as the lone female, along with the dynamic male quartet of Sasha Radetsky, Carlos Lopez, Craig Salstein, and Alejandro Piris-Niño. Matthew Dine on oboe and Ronald Oakland on violin accompanied the orchestra in seasoned fashion. Michael Kors donated his costuming services, according to notes, and they were cool, white, and simple. The athleticism in this performance was astounding.

Meadow (1999): Choreography by Lar Lubovitch, Assistant Choreographer: Scott Rink, Music by Franz Schubert (Die Nacht), Gavin Bryars (Incipit Vita Nova), Ferruccio Busoni (Berceuse Élégiaque), and William David Brohn (Pentimento), Costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, Lighting by Brian MacDevitt, Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Stella Abrera, David Hallberg, and the Company. American Ballet Theatre has worked with Lar Lubovitch for six world premieres. Lubovitch choreographs for ballet, Broadway, ice-dancing, and television. (ABT Notes). One feature of this Lar Lubovitch work is the hand-painting of the blue, balloony pants of the ensemble and the flesh and blue unitards of the leads. Stella Abrera and David Hallberg danced like bubbling champagne to a collection of fine scores, seamlessly merging, but of shifting styles and genres. The first score brought a recorded chorus (Schubert) with live strings, with the other scores recorded or live, all both classically and contemporarily infused. The combination was well conceived.

The three sections of the ballet integrate the dancers: first, the ensemble; second, the lead couple (Abrera-Hallberg); third, the ensemble and lead couple. Brian MacDevitt's lighting was also well conceived, as the first section was eerily dim and cloudy against blue, while the other sections evoked exotic milieus. Mr. Hallberg is tall and athletic, and Ms. Abrera is petite and airy. This partnering allowed for the romantic, chivalrous choreography, which found Ms. Abrera uplifted and carried and transported to and fro. In the second section, especially, a pas de deux, classical poses with contemporary flourishes were showcased. The final section, with all dancers (five couples) plus the lead duo, is one of loveliest in newly staged ballet. Ms. Abrera was finally and slowly lifted upwards toward the rafters on invisible wire. (This seven year old ballet was thankfully dusted off for this season's repertoire).

Kudos to David LaMarche for keeping the orchestra focused on the four, combined scores. Kudos to Stella Abrera and David Hallberg.

In The Upper Room (1988): Choreography by Twyla Tharp, Music by Philip Glass (Recorded), Staged by Keith Roberts, Original Costume Design by Norma Kamali, Lighting Originally by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Kristi Boone, Michele Wiles, Marcelo Gomes, Jared Matthews, Patrick Ogle, Sasha Dmochowski, Marian Butler, Maria Riccetto, Arron Scott, Renata Pavam, Herman Cornejo, Paloma Herrera, Gennadi Saveliev. This dance was first performed in 1986 at Ravinia Festival. It was first presented by ABT in 1988 at Orange County Performing Arts Center. (Program Notes).

It was wonderful to see Twyla Tharp's superbly designed work again, set in the bright and dark smokiness of the special effects. Philip Glass' mesmerizing, repetitive score builds through nine distinct segments, and the music still hums in my head. This being the final work on the final performance of the Fall New York Season, the dancers pretty much put their all, emotionally and physically, into each moment. In fact, I and others observed the sheer joy and exuberance of Marcelo Gomes, as he caught various female dancers in his arms and leapt about with legs flying and elevation expanding. Michele Wiles was effervescent and electrified, and Herman Cornejo, Kristi Boone, Gennadi Saveliev, and Paloma Herrera added spunk and sparkle to the mélange of motion. Norma Kamali's black/white/red loose-fitting costumes, with all dancers in sneakers, allowed for a casual, comfortable, charismatic finale to a full season of bravura performances.

Kudos to Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director, and kudos to the entire Company for a familiar and fresh Fall 2006 Repertory Season. June 2007 is a long way off. Check to see American Ballet Theatre's national touring schedule.


For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at