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American Ballet Theatre - Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison, Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra (World Premiere), Fancy Free
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Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Victor Barbee, Assistant Artistic Director
Elizabeth Harpel Kehler, Executive Director
Guillaume Graffin, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova, Georgina Parkinson, Kirk Peterson, Ballet Masters
David LaMarche, Conductor
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Farah Lopez, Manager, Press and Marketing

Review by Dr. Robert E. Zlokower
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
October 22, 2002

Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison: In this performance, which seemed much more comfortable and unified than did the October 20 performance, (Soloist) Joaquin De Luz danced the solo, previously performed by Angel Corrella, who tonight danced the lead in the Robert Hill World Premiere, reviewed below. Mr. De Luz was a young tornado, with a wild, jack-in-the-box style of leaping and lunging throughout the stage. (Principal) Julie Kent, in a different role and red dress, was superb and sexy, taking this lead to a new dimension of persona. (Principal) Mr. Carreño was totally connected to (Soloist) Sandra Brown in While My Guitar Gently Weeps, choreographed by Ann Reinking. (Principal) Ethan Stiefel and (Principal) Gillian Murphy were sumptuous and seamlessly flowing in Within You Without You, choreographed by Natalie Weir.

Sandra Brown was born in Pennsylvania and studied at the School of American Ballet. She joined the corps in 1987 and was promoted to Soloist in 1992. Ms. Brown also performs for the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company.

According to Elizabeth Kaye's ABT Pre-Concert Talk, ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie chose the four choreographers listed above for their creative gifts and their ability to borrow from other dance disciplines. All four choreographers worked independently on this piece, and they were then brought together to view the combined work. It was apparent on viewing, which order was best, and the dances perfectly suited the George Harrison songs. The dancers became the music, using signature movement, reflective of each of the four choreographers, two of whom were from the US and two from Australia.

Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra (World Premiere): Choreography by (Principal) Robert Hill, Music by Lowell Liebermann, Costumes by Zack Brown, Lighting by Brad Fields. Kudos to Robert Hill, whom I have had the pleasure of seeing perform on many occasions with American Ballet Theatre. Kudos to Lowell Liebermann, who wrote an amazing contemporary score that has facilitated a new icon for an international ballet company. Kudos to (Principal) Angel Corella who, in his brilliant deep yellow/orange costume (brilliantly designed by Zack Brown), presented a Bravura performance of instantaneous spins and galloping percussive leaps, mid-air, in perfect harmony with the musical crescendos that built like a hurricane on a bright orange stage. Kudos to (Principal) Marcelo Gomes, (Principal) Julie Kent, and to the entire remaining members of the ensemble, all of whom shone in bright orange: (Corps) Carmen Corella, (Soloist) Herman Cornejo, (Soloist) Michele Wiles, (Corps) Luciana Paris, (Corps) Marian Butler, (Corps) Isaac Stappas, and (Corps) Ricardo Torres. Mr. McKenzie is to be applauded for showcasing ABT Corps dancers in this Fall Repertory Season, since the Spring Season usually showcases Principals in full-length classical ballets. Barbara Bilach superbly accompanied Mr. LaMarche and the ABT Orchestra with her rich piano virtuoso.

Isaac Stappas also performs with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and partnered Sandra Brown in the Richard Rodgers Tribute Gala.

Fancy Free: Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Staged by Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Music by Leonard Bernstein, Scenery by Oliver Smith, Costumes by Kermit Love, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton after original design by Nananne Porcher. In Ballroom shoes and coquettish yellow and black dress, bright red pocketbook, (Principal) Sandra Brown flirted and mesmerized three off-duty sailors, in NYC, circa 1944. (Soloist) Joaquin De Luz was on fire, leaping onto the bar in a sitting position, exhibiting tremendous agility and precise technique, with legs spread into unusually high and wide leaps. (Principal) Jose Carreño was a vision of undulating muscularity, connecting with and engaging the audience as only the Cuban born Mr. Carreño can. (Principal) Ethan Stiefel danced in his usual perfectly lyrical and seamless fashion, with equally charismatic characterization and skill. (Principal) Gillian Murphy, as the demure ingénue, who attracts Mr. Stiefel, was elegant and expressive. The original collaboration of Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein was rare, with heartwarming music and World War II, NYC themes interconnected.

According to Elizabeth Kaye's ABT Pre-Concert Talk, Jerome Robbins had required multitudinous rehearsals for this original work. Fancy Free was designed after Paul Cadmus' trilogy of paintings of sailors on leave, which were, at that time, considered scandalous in nature. Ms. Kaye also related a story about opening night of Fancy Free at the old Met, for which


Julie Kent and Angel Corella in "Clear."
PHOTO: Paul Kolnik.




Angel Corella in "Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison."
PHOTO: Marty Sohl.



"Symphony in C"
PHOTO: MIRA



"Symphony in C"
PHOTO: MIRA
 

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