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American Ballet Theatre: The Leaves are Fading, Overgrown Path, Theme and Variations
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American Ballet Theatre: The Leaves are Fading, Overgrown Path, Theme and Variations

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American Ballet Theatre

Fall Repertory
The Leaves are Fading
Overgrown Path
Theme and Variations

At City Center

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters:
Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova, Georgina Parkinson
Clinton Luckett, Nancy Raffa
Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 23, 2008

(See More ABT Reviews, Interviews, and Candids)

The Leaves are Fading (1975): Ballet 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: Charles Barker, Performed by Xiomara Reyes, Gennadi Saveliev, Karen Uphoff, and the Company.

Xiomara Reyes and Gennadi Saveliev led the ensemble in this 1975 Antony Tudor work, with Karen Uphoff as the dreamer, who draws the audience into her reverie, while introducing the mood. Antonin Dvorák’s spellbinding string passages enhance the Corps coupling and the expansive pas de deux of Ms. Reyes and Mr. Saveliev. However, perhaps due to the extreme difference in physicality, they were individually accentuated, dashing, and crisp, but not exuding of chemistry, a critical quality of this rapturous work. Ming Cho Lee’s green and leafy scenery was unique, with one large branch artistically angled, and Patricia Zipprodt’s stunning costumes invited dreamy thoughts. Jennifer Tipton’s moonlit glow was critical to this revival, and Charles Barker led the orchestra through the Dvorák.

Overgrown Path (1980): Choreography by Jǐrí Kylián, Asst. to the Choreographer: Roslyn Anderson, Music by Leoš Janáček (On the Overgrown Path, Part IX), Costumes by Walter Nobbe, Costume Supervision by Joke Visser, Lighting by Joop Caboort, Tech and Light Adaptation by Kees Tjebbes, Pianist: David LaMarche, Performed by Gillian Murphy, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Veronika Part, Misty Copeland, Kristi Boone, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Gennadi Saveliev, Jared Matthews, Alexandre Hammoudi, and Thomas Forster.

After viewing the excerpt “In Tears” of Overgrown Path on Opening Night, it was fascinating to see all ten segments in sequence, with David LaMarche on hidden piano accompaniment (beneath the stage). This is a work overflowing with angst and grief (Jǐrí Kylián composed the score upon the loss of both his daughter and son), and the music and dance bristle with drama. In one of the later passages, the women shake their dresses in anguish, as one dancer disappears into darkness, stage rear. The same trio that performed on Opening Night, Julie Kent, Gennadi Saveliev, and Jared Matthews, again danced “In Tears”, and this time it presented more meaning and depth, in the context of the complete ballet. Kristi Boone and Alexandre Hammoudi exuded profound intensity in “Good night”, while Paloma Herrera, Gillian Murphy, Veronika Part, Misty Copeland, David Hallberg, and Marcelo Gomes demonstrated disquietude and despair. Kudos to David LaMarche for his nuanced piano interpretation of this searing score.

Theme and Variations (1947): Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Kirk Peterson, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (Suite No. 3 for Orchestra), Costumes by Theoni Aldredge, Lighting by David K.H. Elliott, Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Sarah Lane, Herman Cornejo, Misty Copeland, Simone Messmer, Luciana Paris, Hee Seo, Alexei Agoudine, Alexandre Hammoudi, Blaine Hoven, Craig Salstein, and the Company. This performance of Theme and Variations is presented with permission of The George Balanchine Trust.

Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo are growing as charismatic and charming partners, each with splendid virtuosity and dazzling energy. They are physically and psychically suited, taut and balanced, with an eye toward their fans. They elicit vocal adoration during their buoyant solos and pas de deux. This classical, plotless ballet, beneath the chandeliers, featured a lead octet, as well as a larger corps ensemble. Among the featured dancers, Misty Copeland, Alexandre Hammoudi, and Craig Salstein caught my eye. The Tchaikovsky score was led seamlessly by Charles Barker, and Mr. Cornejo and Ms. Lane added vivacity and velocity within this classical genre.

Gennadi Saveliev, Julie Kent, Jared Matthews
in "Overgrown Path"
Courtesy of Gene Schiavone

Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo
in "Theme and Variations"
Courtesy of Rosalie O’Connor

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