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American Ballet Theatre Presents Its 2008 Summer Intensive
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American Ballet Theatre Presents Its 2008 Summer Intensive

- Onstage with the Dancers: Arts and Education

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American Ballet Theatre
2008 ABT Summer Intensive
(ABT Summer Intensive Website)
Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel Moore, Exec. Director
Melissa Allen Bowman, Artistic Director
Heidi Gunter, Director
Mary Jo Ziesel, Dir., Education and Training
Molly Schnyder, Dir., Training Programs
Rebecca Schwartz, Educ. Asst.
Christine Bratton, Physical Therapist

At La Guardia HS Auditorium


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 25, 2008


(See More ABT Reviews, Interviews, and Candids)

Program:

Part I: Repertory:

Maypole Dance from “Swan Lake” Act I, Choreography by Kevin McKenzie, after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Staged by Harriet Clark, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

“Swan Lake” Act II, Choreography by Kevin McKenzie, , after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Staged by Melissa Allen Bowman and Rosanna Seravalli, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

“Czardas” from “Swan Lake” Act III, Choreography by Kevin McKenzie, after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Staged by Ethan Brown, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

“Princess Dance” from “Swan Lake” Act III, Choreography by Kevin McKenzie, after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Staged by Kate Lydon, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

“Mazurka” from “Swan Lake” Act III, Choreography by Kevin McKenzie, after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Staged by Melissa Allen Bowman, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

“Swan Lake” Act IV, Choreography by Kevin McKenzie, after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Staged by Hilary Cartwright, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

“Allegro”, Choreography by Olga Dvorovenko, Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

“Variations for Fourteen”, Choreography by Warren Conover, after Anton Dolin’s “Variations for Four”, Staged by Ethan Brown, Music by Marguerite Keogh, Ludwig Minkus, Gaetano Donizetti, and Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

Part II: Choreography:

“Serenade”, Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Victoria Simon, Rehearsal Asst. Harriet Clark, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

“New York Rag, New York Waltz”, Choreography by Tina Fehlandt in collaboration with the Yellows, Music by William Bolcom and Philip Glass.

“You Will Be Safe”, Choreography by the Dancers of the Blue Group, edited by Jessica Lang, Music by Rachel’s.

“Love”, Choreography by Joe Istre, Music by The Beatles.

“Breakthrough”, Choreography by Leslie Browne, Music by Michael Torke.

“Raymonda Variations”, Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Victoria Simon, Rehearsal Asst. Harriet Clark, Music by Alexander Glazounov.

“Bright Blue Dancing”, Choreography by Kirk Peterson, Music by Michael Torke.



The 2008 American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Summer Intensive presentation was held today in La Guardia Auditorium. There were two presentations, and I attended the second. This was a very special occasion, with 15 different brief or full-length productions, danced by ensembles of students. “The ABT Summer Intensive focuses on developing well-rounded dancers by exposure to a wide variety of disciplines with an emphasis on classical ballet technique and key elements of ABT’s National Training Curriculum.” (ABT Web Notes). Some of the dance genres studied by the students were: Ballet Technique, Pointe, Men’s Technique, Modern, Nutrition, and Pilates.

The Swan Lake “Maypole Dance” was performed by 24 students plus a Prince, Adrien Guerard. The dancers were jubilant and well poised, as the choreography requires the ribbons to spin in certain directions and back again. The Swan Lake Act II Cast included: Jaime Hickey as Odette, Austin Finley as The Prince, Katie Boren and Brittany DeGrofft as Two Big Swans, Skylar Brandt, Alexandra McGlade, Elise Miller, Miki Wakuta, and Laura Wolfe as Little Swans, and Katie Boren, Brittany DeGrofft, Kara Hanretty, and Samantha Miller as Big Swans. The solos and partnering, as well as the synchronized Little Swan and Big Swan ensembles were performed with amazing professionalism and confidence. This work is one of Kevin McKenzie’s choreographic masterpieces.

The “Czardas” from Swan Lake were elegant and soft, and Joy Womack and Francesco Gabriele Frola were the lead couple. The Act III “Princess Dance”, where Prince Siegfried looks over the Princesses at his Birthday Ball, was cast with 18 students, and this was again a wonderful opportunity for the Summer Intensive students to experience such challenging choreography, danced to such swirling music. In the “Mazurka”, I noticed the demure “head turns” and hopping motion for this ensemble of 24. Black was featured in the costume design, and the dancers were tightly timed and positioned.

The Act IV lakeside dance brought out Karen Bowman as Swan Queen, Piergorgio Regazzo as Prince, Kendra Levy and Tegan Rich as Two Big Swans, and Bryony Lucas, Skylar Lubin, Maya Narasaki, and Gina-Marie Leathem as Four Little Swans. The visual effect was ethereal and charming. Olga Dvorovenko’s Allegro was cast for all males, including five soloists, Sterling Baca, Parker Brasser-Vos, Francesco Gabriele Frola, Esteban Hernandez, and Joan Sebastian Zamora. This was a virtuosic, dynamic performance to Mozart’s music. Warren Conover’s Variations for Fourteen, to a score of music by four composers, was choreographed for 14 males, wearing white-black, and executing marvelous spins and leaps about the stage.

In the second half of this very ambitious presentation, called “Choreography”, Balanchine’s Serenade was rapturously performed, and its very exacting choreography, with no opportunity for differentiation of motion of an arm or foot, was mastered to astounding perfection. Victoria Simon staged this work with full knowledge of the split-second timing. Jennifer Holoubek and Alexandra Overholt were the two soloists. New York Rag, New York Waltz, choreographed for 18 dancers in black leotards, contained a “rag doll” motif, very contemporary and very unique. You Will Be Safe, another contemporary work, was choreographed by the Blue Group dancers, and the notes by Jessica Lang indicate that the students created the work through improvisational exercises.

Joe Istre’s Love was cast for a large ensemble of 35. The Beatles music gave this piece pizzazz. Breakthrough, created by Leslie Browne, was cast for 28 females. Wearing black, the students showed dynamic strength in this modern motif. In contrast, the refined classical work, Raymonda Variations, staged by Victoria Simon, used costumes of black, blue, and gray. April Giangeruso was the soloist, and she obviously has a bright future. Her performance is glowing and generous of spirit. The featured ensemble of 12 danced with majestic momentum, including Skylar Brandt, who has been regularly reviewed in this magazine. Kirk Peterson’s Bright Blue Dancing closed today’s late afternoon performance, with a propulsive ensemble of 26. Kudos to the 2008 ABT Summer Intensive presentation.



April Giangeruso in "Swan Lake", Act II
ABT Summer Intensive 2008
Courtesy of Rosalie O’Connor





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