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American Ballet Theatre: After You, Le Spectre de la Rose, Valse-Fantaisie, The Green Table
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American Ballet Theatre: After You, Le Spectre de la Rose, Valse-Fantaisie, The Green Table

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American Ballet Theatre

After You
Le Spectre de la Rose
The Green Table

David H. Koch Theater

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Alexei Ratmansky, Artist in Residence
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters: Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Clinton Luckett, Nancy Raffa, Keith Roberts
Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
James Timm, Director of Marketing and Brand Management
Susie Morgan Taylor, Manager of Press and Online Media

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 23, 2015

(Read More ABT Reviews)

(See a Conversation with Conductor, David LaMarche, on the Fall Season Ballet Music.)

After You (2015): Choreography by Mark Morris, Asst. to Mr. Morris, Tina Fehlandt, Music by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (“Septet in C Major, No. 2, Op. 114, ‘Military’”), Costumes by Isaac Mizrahi, Lighting by Michael Chybowski, Barbara Bilach on Piano, Benjamin Bowman on Violin, Scott Ballantyne on Cello, Lewis Paer on Bass, Judith Mendenhall on Flute, Jon Manasse on Clarinet, Carl Albach on Trumpet, Performed by Stella Abrera, Joo Won Ahn, Sterling Baca, Gemma Bond, Skylar Brandt, Jeffrey Cirio, Catherine Hurlin, Gillian Murphy, Calvin Royal III, Craig Salstein, Aaron Scott, Devon Teuscher.

Once again, Mark Morris’ After You, a recent NY Premiere, breezed in with eloquent elasticity of arms and limbs, that match the flow of Isaac Mizrahi’s silky jumpsuits. The colors of orange, yellow, gold, mauve, and peach are breathtaking, as this ballet lends a dreamy ebullience to the stage. Tonight’s cast, the same as Opening Night, just two nights ago, showed nuanced arm and wrist motion that intertwined in the mind with Hummel’s bouncy score, the “Military Septet in C major”. The music ensemble, this time, highlighted the majesty of Barbara Bilach’s piano theme, along with Scott Ballantyne’s cello Each musician had a notable, nuanced solo, within the folkloric march. Skylar Brandt seizes the stage with youthful fervor, spirited and magnetic, while Devon Teuscher, also a Soloist, brings a warm passion to her spotlight. Joo Won Ahn, in the male Corps, twirls like a top, and Calvin Royal leaps like a gazelle. Gemma Bond joined the ballet tonight, the only change in cast. Craig Salstein and Arron Scott, also both Soloists, brought charged presence to this lithe and agile choreography, never short on style and fascination. I look forward to future viewings of Mr. Morris’ new work..

Le Spectre de la Rose (1911): Choreography by Michel Fokine, Copyright The Fokine Estate Archive: 1911, Music by Carl Maria von Weber (“Invitation to the Dance”), Costumes by Robert Perdziola, after the original by Leon Bakst, Lighting by Brad Fields, Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Sarah Lane as The Young Girl and Herman Cornejo as The Rose.

Tonight’s larger than life, painted wall panels, with images evocative of Fragonard, had no program credits, but they created the period imagery of this dream fantasy. Sarah Lane, as The Young Girl, who dreams on a lounge chair after returning from a ball, was costumed in long, white ruffles and hair florals. The long-stem red rose in her hand turns into a male, lifelike Rose, with whom she dances, here Herman Cornejo, the quintessential Rose, for more than the past decade. Mr. Cornejo, in Robert Perdziola’s pale green-pink, floral unitard, dashes through the Girl’s window, when von Weber’s “Invitation to the Dance” turns dynamic. After the dream dancing, The Rose disappears through the same window, and The Girl wakes up, the long-stem rose lying nearby. Mr. Cornejo had no problem executing triple en air turns, luscious lifts of Ms. Lane, leaps about the furniture, and general astounding, tightly wound feats. David LaMarche conducted his first score of the evening, drawing dash and aplomb from the orchestra. This one-act, all too brief story ballet by Fokine, that debuted in 1911 in Monte Carlo, is not a ballet one could ever tire of. It’s filled with transporting romance, ingénue refinement, and thrilling energy. .

Valse-Fantaisie (1967, Company Premiere): Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Stacey Caddell, Music by Mikhail Glinka (“Valse-Fantaisie in B minor”), Costumes by Larae Theige Hascall, Lighting by Brad Fields, Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Hee Seo, James Whiteside, and members of the Corps.

In Larae Theige Hascall’s stunning new, navy-emerald-white costumes, Hee Seo and James Whiteside gave the Company Premiere of this Balanchine gem. Glinka’s “Valse-Fantaisie in B minor” is all romance. James Whiteside’s strong presence and Hee Seo’s porcelain-like features provided the audience a vision of virtuous sophistication. When the Corps quartet puts its arms up like a bejeweled formation, the mood is scintillating. Unfortunately, Mr. Whiteside exuded no spark or chemistry with Ms. Seo, but his poise and balance were remarkable, and he made gallant efforts as her cavalier. Ms. Seo was a vision in polished splendor. David LaMarche kept the Glinka score rapturous and resonant.

The Green Table (1932): Choreography by Kurt Jooss, Music by FA Cohen, Costumes by Hein Heckroth, Masks and Lighting Design by Hermann Markard, Staging by Jeanette Vondersaar, Repetiteur: Claudio Schellino, Lighting directed by Brad Fields, Pianists: David LaMarche and Daniel Waite, Performed by Roman Zhurbin as Death, Duncan Lyle as The Standard Bearer, Cameron McCune as The Young Soldier, Skylar Brandt as The Young Girl, Christine Shevchenko as The Woman, Alexei Agoudine as The Old Soldier, Zhong-Jing Fang as The Old Mother, Daniil Simkin as The Profiteer, and the Company as Soldiers, Women, and Gentlemen in Black. This work was influenced by a dance of death and a post-WWI political culture, when it was premiered in Paris in 1932. (ABT Notes).

What could be more ŕ propos to today’s politics than Kurt Jooss’ 1932 The Green Table, a balletic tableau that warns of the ravages of war, scored to percussive, propulsive music by F.A. Cohen. David LaMarche and Daniel Waite, on duo pianos, were also featured in the three 2005 and 2006 reviews on these pages of this same ballet. As the figure Death, Roman Zhurbin, in heavy boots and green body paint, stomps in syncopated rhythms, taking young women and soldiers in his arms, to be carried off into the wings.

The work opens with “the green table”, around which ten masked Gentlemen in Black (some are women) lean forward and back, pointing fingers in the air, rubbing their round stomachs, looking eerily proud and treacherously demonic. Daniil Simkin was tonight’s mime Profiteer, with a hat and gloved hands, happily taking his share of the impending spoils of war. Skylar Brandt is a poignant Young Woman, and Duncan Lyle runs about with a waving flag as The Standard Bearer. Cameron McCune, The Young Soldier survives a gripping scene with Death, while The Old Mother (Jong-Jing Fang) does not fare as well. Christine Shevchenko was perfectly suited to The Woman, with pathos and drama, while three Soldiers and four Women added texture and depth to this tale. This production worked very well on the Koch stage, exploding with mesmerizing force. But, it’s the piano duo that drives the choreographed momentum and vigor, moment to moment. The repetitive music and motion grip the mind.

Kudos to all.

Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo
in Fokine's "Le Spectre de la Rose"
Courtesy of Marty Sohl

Hee Seo and James Whiteside
in Balanchine's "Valse-Fantaisie"
Courtesy of Marty Sohl

The David H. Koch Theater
Photo Taken the Night of the 9/15 Lunar Eclipse
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

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