American Ballet Theatre
Drink To Me Only with Thine Eyes
The Leaves are Fading: Second Pas de Deux
Stars and Stripes: Pas de Deux
At New York City Center
Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Alexei Ratmansky, Artist in Residence
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Susan Jaffe, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Clinton Luckett, Nancy Raffa
Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
James Timm, Director of Marketing and Brand Management
Susan Morgan, Manager of Press and Online Media
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 19, 2012
(Read More ABT Reviews)
Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (1988): Choreography by Mark Morris, Staged by Tina Fehlandt, Music by Virgil Thompson (Etudes for Piano), Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Michael Chybowski, Pianist: Barbara Bilach, Performed by Marian Butler, Isabella Boylston, Herman Cornejo, Grant DeLong, Kenneth Easter, Jared Matthews, Simone Messmer, Sascha Radetsky, Adrienne Schulte, Hee Seo, Cassandra Trenary, James Whiteside..
Where Joseph Gorak and Joseph Phillips had caught my eye on the 17th, Jared Matthews and Herman Cornejo caught my eye tonight, with propeller like spinning sequences. The twelve dancers had shifted to a new cast, but this work remained effervescent and thrilling, even on second viewing. The stunning balance work in this Mark Morris ballet energizes and catapults the male dancers around on one leg for what seems like supernatural minutes. The dancers tonight seemed more rehearsed, more confident, more camp. Sometimes over-rehearsal can lead to a leaden, shallow performance, but here that was not the case. Isabella Boylston, Hee Seo, Simone Messmer, and Kristi Boone, in the female cast, danced with carefully choreographed footwork, always in sync with the Thompson piano score. Barbara Bilach did not miss a beat in her flawless accompaniment.
Stars and Stripes Pas de Deux (1958): Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Richard Tanner, Music by John Philip Sousa, Orchestrated by Hershy Kay, Costumes by Karinska, Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin. Balanchine's Stars and Stripes Pas de Deux, usually seen across the Plaza, was tonight a huge surprise, featuring Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin, two spritely, speedy, light dancers. They were over the top, with Mr. Simkin catching Ms. Lane in self-tossed propulsions, and the two each took dazzling, aerodynamic solos, one after the other. This pas de deux is a segment of a much larger Balanchine ballet, but it’s often seen in ballet galas and repertory programs. It’s obvious why; the audience loved it.
The Leaves Are Fading, Second Pas de Deux (1975): Choreography by Antony Tudor, Staged by Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, Music by Antonin Dvorák, Scenery by Ming Cho Lee, Costumes by Patricia Zipprodt, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Xiomara Reyes and Cory Stearns. Once again, Ormsby Wilkins was conducting, but in this brief work, the music was Dvorák, rather than Sousa. Xiomara Reyes and Cory Stearns partnered for this Tudor piece, in luscious phrasing and elegant lifts. It’s a melancholy, soothing piece, much like a palate refresher at a grand banquet. Patricia Zipprodt’s stunning costumes invited dreamy thoughts, while Jennifer Tipton’s moonlit glow was critical to the reverie.
Symphony #9 (World Premiere): Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, Music by Dmitri Shostakovich (Symphony No. 9 in E-flat major, op. 70), Costumes by Keso Dekker, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Veronica Part, Roberto Bolle, Stella Abrera, Sascha Radetsky, Jared Matthews, and the Company.
Ratmansky’s new work, Symphony #9, is one-third of a full-length ballet in progress, to be premiered in totality in the Spring Season at the Met. Tonight was a preview, the portion choreographed to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9. The remaining two works will be scored to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 and his Chamber Symphony for Strings. One central male dancer, Jared Matthews, enters mid-ballet and remains in virtuosic form, revolving on one leg, whirling and swirling, even as the curtain closes. There are pas de deux, ensemble dance, and some abstract, elusive dramatizations. The music is brimming with sweeping and sparkling passages, as well as driven darkness and languorous melancholy. The ensemble moves on every level, falling onto the stage, lying down, walking in synchronized formations, waving, hushing a partner, and so on. I’m eager to see this ballet in the full-length context. Two couples, Veronika Part and Roberto Bolle, plus Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky, brought drama, then brightness to the gestalt. Jennifer Tipton has created varying shades of light and dark on the backdrop, while Keso Dekker has created light and dark shades in the costumes. This is a serious work with moods of twilight and midnight. Kudos to Alexei Ratmansky. Charles Barker conducted the mesmerizing score, and Ballet Theatre Orchestra kept it charged.
Simone Messmer and James Whiteside
in Mark Morris' "Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes"
Courtesy of Gene Schiavone
Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin
in the Pas de Deux from
George Balanchine's "Stars and Stripes"
Courtesy of Gene Schiavone
Veronika Part and Roberto Bolle
in Alexei Ratmansky's "Symphony #9"
Courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor