School of American Ballet
Artistic Director and Chairman of Faculty, Peter Martins
Kay Mazzo, Co-Chairman
Marjorie Van Dercook, Exec. Director
Press and Public Relations: Amy Bordy
Stage Manager: Melissa Caolo Hagen
Lighting Designer: Todd Elmer
Conducted by Andrews Sill
The Peter Jay Sharp Theater
Lincoln Center, NYC, NY
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 3, 2006, matinee
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
"A student's education at SAB is...completed when he or she is deemed ready to join a professional company...Instead of commencement exercises, these annual spring programs are simply an introduction to the talented dancers of the future..." (SAB Notes). "Through our annual Workshop, ...our students are able to preview the challenges and rewards of a professional life." (Peter Martins, SAB Notes).
On the 42nd year of the School of American Ballet's Workshop performances, the program has developed from a low budget event with a handful of dancers to a professional series of ballet productions with dozens of advanced students participating. The school grants commissions to choreographers, such as Christopher Wheeldon, to make ballets especially on SAB students. About 20 advanced students are offered contracts each year to join professional dance companies.(SAB Notes).
2006 Mae L. Wien Award for Distinguished Service is awarded to Darci Kistler, "one of America's great ballerinas". (SAB Notes).
2006 Mae L. Wien Awards for Outstanding Promise are awarded to Kathryn Morgan, Tabitha Rinko-Gay, Anthony Huxley, and David Prottas. (SAB Notes).
Scènes de Ballet (1999): (Costumes courtesy of NYC Ballet). Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Staged by Olga Kostritzky and Garielle Whittle, Performed by Brett Fukuda, Lindsay Turkel, David Prottas, Ezra Hurwitz, Kathryn Morgan, Jérôme Tisserand, Sara Adams, Puanani Brown, Jacqueline Damico, Leah O'Connor, Erica Pereira, Tabitha Rinko-Gay, Sarah Williams, Anthony Huxley, Sean Orza, José Sebastian, Amir Yogev, and SAB dancers. The original cast included Faye Arthurs and Craig Hall, then SAB dancers and now dancers in NYC Ballet.
What could be lovelier than the professionally trained students of School of American Ballet (SAB) in a "scene of ballet" in pairs and patterns, like a looking glass of dance. For this writer, Christopher Wheeldon's choreography is always visually exciting, and this work is no exception. Stravinsky's score was elegant, as conducted by Andrew Sills and performed by the anonymous musicians. The young male dancers wore black dance shorts and white shirts, with the older male dancers in long black tights. The females were in peach, and the entire school seemed to participate in a symmetrical kaleidoscope of movement and shape.
The bar in the center served to underscore the imaginary mirror. The lead dancers were quite accomplished, in superb balance and position. Jérôme Tisserand's partnering of Kathryn Morgan was confident and charming. Toward the finale, the students form chains, and the chains continue this well-conceived design. Kudos to Olga Kostritzky.
Square Dance (1957): (Costumes courtesy of NYC Ballet). Music by Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi, Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Suki Schorer, Performed by Erica Pereira, Anthony Huxley, and SAB dancers. The original City Ballet cast included Patricia Wilde and Nicholas Magallanes. Suki Schorer, one of Balanchine's original New York City Ballet principals and a longtime SAB teacher, staged one of her mentor's ballets and was true to form.
Erica Pereira and Anthony Huxley presented the pas de deux in just the style of City Ballet, and these youthful performers had an engaging, charismatic quality. Ms. Schorer did a splendid job of bringing her students into the "square dance meets ballet" genre, with lines of dancers in pale blue costumes filing toward and through each line. There is a buoyancy and bravura element to this energized dance, which was a classy choice for the SAB students. Kudos to Suki Schorer.
Bourrée Fantasque (1949): (Costumes courtesy of American Ballet Theatre). Music by Emmanuel Chabrier, Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Richard Tanner, Assisted by Susan Pilarre, Performed by: Bourrée Fantasque: Meagan Mann, Masahiro Suehara, and SAB dancers, Prélude: Leah O'Connor, Justin Peck, and SAB dancers, Fête Polonaise: Lola Cooper, Daniel Baker, and SAB dancers. The original City Ballet cast included Tanaquil LeClercq, Jerome Robbins, and Maria Tallchief. Masahiro Suehara, a dancer to watch, who recently debuted in the Nilas Martins Dance Company's Puccini Passion, is a magnetic personality and an even more magnetic performer. His short stature allows for lightning spins and aerobic leaps, in the style of Joaquin De Luz and Daniel Ulbricht, of City Ballet.
Dancing under glowing chandeliers, three duos, plus the ensembles of students, dance to three romantic, Chabrier pieces, all joined by Balanchine's choreography. This is an early (1949) work, and it has humor and dynamism. Meagan Mann, Masahiro's partner, was poised and virtuosic. This is difficult choreography with rapid footwork en pointe, and she met the challenge. The contrasting, colorful and grey costumes were courtesy of American Ballet Theatre, a nice collaborative touch. The two remaining lead duos, Leah O'Connor and Justin Peck, plus Lola Cooper and Daniel Baker, had bright, clean performances, and carried themselves with class. Kudos to Richard Tanner. And, kudos to the students and teachers of SAB, and, especially, to Peter Martins.