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American Ballet Theatre Fall Season: Two World Premieres
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American Ballet Theatre Fall Season: Two World Premieres

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American Ballet Theatre

Fall Repertory
Two World Premieres
From Here On Out
C. to C. (Close to Chuck)

At City Center

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters:
Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova, Clinton Luckett
Georgina Parkinson, Nancy Raffa

Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 5, 2007

(See More ABT Reviews and Candids)
(See an Interview with ABT Conductor, David LaMarche)

From Here On Out (World Premiere): Choreography by Benjamin Millepied, Composed by Nico Muhly, Costumes by Benjamin Millepied, Lighting by Roderick Murray.

October 27, 2007: Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Gillian Murphy, David Hallberg, and the Company.

October 31, 2007: Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Isabella Boylston, Cory Stearns, and the Company.

November 3, 2007 Matinee: Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Isabella Boylston, Cory Stearns, and the Company.

November 4, 2007 Matinee: Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Paloma Herrera, Marcelo Gomes, and the Company.

Benjamin Millepied has conceived a mesmerizing ballet, one with deep lighting textures, gatherings of the dozen dancers, before they flow out to stage sides, a long pas de deux, and a commissioned score from Nico Muhly, of uncluttered, contemporary chords and rhythms. Muhly’s score swells and bursts, as the tight figures of multiple dancers swell and burst. Roderick Murray’s lighting casts shadows and silhouettes on riveting shapes and poses. In two performances, I saw Isabella Boylston and Cory Stearns, two members of the corps, seize the spotlight and create pulsating and impassioned, gravity-assisted connections. In one performance, I saw Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg add nuance to the featured pas de deux, thanks to their palpable chemistry. And, in the fourth performance for this Season, I saw Paloma Herrera and Marcelo Gomes, and this duo seemed the most dynamic and dramatic.

The blues and lavenders of Benjamin Millepied’s costumes enhanced the dim silhouetting and shadow-dance, book-ending the various formations, as six couples collected and disbanded. Both Ormsby Wilkins and David LaMarche expanded on the potential of Muhly’s composition, after the orchestra seamlessly introduced the pulsating phrases in advance of the stage curtain. Mr. Millepied, a principal in City Ballet, has choreographed before, but From Here On Out is his most interesting and memorable ballet in my opinion. The visual structure and aesthetic lighting are exemplary.

C. to C. (Close to Chuck) (World Premiere): Choreography by Jorma Elo, Asst. to the Choreographer, Nancy Euverink, Music by Philip Glass, Scenery Design by Chuck Close, Costume Design by Ralph Rucci, Lighting by Brad Fields, Special Guest Artist: Bruce Levingston Pianist.

October 27, 2007: Performed by Julie Kent, Marcelo Gomes, Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo, Kristi Boone, and Jared Matthews.

A World Premiere is always exciting, and Chuck Close was on hand, in a huge motorized chair, to take a bow, after this Jorma Elo ballet came to a close. Philip Glass’ music, performed on piano by Bruce Levingston, who initiated the commissioned score, was impressionistic, melodic, and gripping. The three couples were introduced against giant backdrop screens of Mr. Close’s artworks, geometric, repetitive, vividly colored, and fanciful. The initial costumes involved long, severe black skirts, for both males and females, with religious, regal elegance, rather than a contrived gimmick or campy effect.

Herman Cornejo was an imposing presence onstage, rambunctious and buoyant. His partnering of Misty Copeland was attentive, muscular, and joyous. Ms. Copeland is an artist to watch, ever more svelte and ever more engaged. Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes were severe and practically imploding with internal power plus restraint. Much muscularity was evident, flexing of backs and abdomens, piercing eyes and long gazes, athletic lifts and friezes. Jorma Elo, resident choreographer for Boston Ballet, is prolific, with imaginative and daring ballets. The fusion of visual art and choreography should be explored more often. The audience was enthused with a standing ovation.

Paloma Herrera and Marcelo Gomes in From Here On Out

Photo Courtesy of Gene Schiavone

Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes in C. to C. (Close to Chuck)

Photo Courtesy of Rosalie O’Connor.

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