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American Ballet Theatre - Glow-Stop, Sinatra Suite, Grand Pas Classique, Rodeo
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by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 21, 2006
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
Glow-Stop (World Premiere): Choreography by Jorma Elo, Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Symphony No. 28 in C, 4th Mvmt.) and Philip Glass (Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, 2nd Mvmt.), Costumes by Zack Brown, Lighting by Brad Fields, Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Xiomara Reyes, Paloma Herrera, Sarah Lane, Luciana Paris, Adrienne Schulte, Maria Riccetto, Jesus Pastor, David Hallberg, Carlos Lopez, Alexandre Hammoudi, Isaac Stappas, Aaron Scott. Jorma Elo, from Finland, was a dancer with Netherlands Dance Theater, Finnish National ballet, and Cullberg Ballet. He is an internationally known choreographer now and won the 2005 Helsinki International Ballet Competition for choreography. He is Resident Choreographer of Boston Ballet. (ABT Notes)

Jorma Elo has created another superb work, following his critically acclaimed Slice to Sharp at City Ballet last season. In Zack Brown's exquisite burgundy leotards, twelve dancers, including Principals, Xiomara Reyes, Paloma Herrera, and David Hallberg, leapt about to Mozart's Symphony No. 28 in the first half and Philip Glass' Tirol Concerto for Piano (Barbara Bilach, pianist) in the second half. I found the first half a bit un-engaging, with dancers in various levels of partnered and solo twirls, not exuding the affect and energy of the second half, with Glass' score driving the ensemble into dizzying dervish. Arms whirled like fans, and dancers created dynamic and devilish, gravity-defying gyrations. I look forward to seeing this interesting work again.


Sinatra Suite (1983): Choreography by Twyla Tharp, Staged by Elaine Kudo, Music: Songs sung by Frank Sinatra ("Strangers in the Night", "All the Way", "That's Life", "My Way", "One for My Baby"), Original Costume Designs by Oscar de la Renta, Original Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo. Sinatra Suite is danced to five Sinatra songs, and premiered in 1983 in D.C. at the Kennedy Center, starring Elaine Kudo and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Twyla Tharp has choreographed 125 dances, five Hollywood movies, two Broadway shows, received a Tony, two Emmys, and seventeen honorary doctorates, has written two books, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2004 National Medal of Arts. (ABT Notes)

Herman Cornejo, in many ways, seems poised to capture the limelight that remains shining, after the retirement of Julio Bocca last season. Mr. Cornejo is one of the most charismatic and charming dancers on any ballet stage today. Sarah Lane, a star to watch, was effervescent tonight, in the arms of Mr. Cornejo, who was attired in a black, formal suit, open shirt and tie, as if returning from a romantic evening on the town. Ms. Lane has the style and persona of a natural ballroom dancer, one who flows with the music, at one with the rhythm. When they danced to "My Way", I think every member of the audience related to the mood and moment, and both dancers were rapturous, ravishing, and riveting. They melted into arms, with a touch of Astaire/Rogers. This duo brought back memories of the original Kudo/Baryshnikov debut of Tharp's delightful dance.


Grand Pas Classique (1972): Choreography by Victor Gsovsky, Music by Daniel François Auber, Staged by Oleg Briansky, Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Michele Wiles and Marcelo Gomes. In her short time as Principal with the Company, Michele Wiles has blossomed into star-quality. She glows and glitters in every appearance, especially in the solos. Marcelo Gomes is the perfect partner, physically and emotionally, and the two were stunning. When Ms. Wiles stood, hand on hip, letting go momentarily of Mr. Gomes' hand, the audience was breathless. Ms. Wiles even took some extra time en pointe, just for added effect. This was an exceptional addition to the program.

Rodeo (1950):. Choreography by Agnes de Mille, Staged by Paul Sutherland, Cowgirl coached by Christine Sarry, Music by Aaron Copland, Scenery by Oliver Smith, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Thomas R. Skelton, Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Isaac Stappas, Craig Salstein, Marian Butler, Jennifer Alexander, and the Company. "Rodeo" is a ballet in two scenes and premiered at Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1942. Agnes de Mille danced then with Frederic Franklin and Casimir Kokitch. ABT (Ballet Theatre) premiered the ballet in 1950 in Germany. (Program Notes).>

In a debut role, Marian Butler, a member of the Corps, took on the challenging role, in the footsteps of Erica Cornejo, who left the Company last July to join Boston Ballet as a Principal. Ms. Butler was charming and colorful as the conflicted Cowgirl. She exuded just the right amount of tomboy and ingénue, in her dances with Isaac Stappas as Head Wrangler and Craig Salstein as the tap-dancing Champion Roper. Everything about this De Mille classic was enjoyable and energized. The highpoint was Mr. Salstein's mock arrogant seduction of the vulnerable Cowgirl, with his rapid dance in boots. Jennifer Alexander, as The Ranch owner's daughter, exuded sophistication and snobbery, in her signature, radiant way. Isaac Stappas was commanding and magnetic in his athletic prowess, and the Company, as Eastern Friends, Cowhands, and Women Folk, were a fine closer to a full program. One last note – Jeffrey Golladay knows how to call a square dance! A ballet dancer with a way for words.

 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net