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American Ballet Theatre's Glorious Season

by Marian Horosko
July 11, 2009
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
212.875.5456

Featured Dance Company:

American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre (office)
890 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
212-477-3030
www.abt.org

The Spring season of American Ballet Theatre, May 18 to July 11 presented an easy way to find your favorite classical work: the company performed an entire week each of "Balanchine-Tchaikovsky;" "Le Corsaire;'' "All Prokofiev;" including the new Ratmansky work, "On The Dnieper;" "Giselle;" "La Sylphide;" "Swan Lake;" "Sylvia;" and "Romeo and Juliet." Although one might question some of the staging, it was a monumental task for the dancers, production crew, and orchestra. If you didn't like the staging in R&J you could close your eyes and listen to what is probably the greatest ballet score in the 20th century.

Memorable was the farewell to ABT by Nina Ananiashvilli in "La Sylphide" and "Swan Lake;" the jump to a major role by Daniil Simkin in "Prodigal Son;" the developing role maturity in David Hallberg; Gennadi Saveliev's menace as Tybalt in "Romeo and Juiliet;" and the promising Cory Stearns and solid Hee Seo, a youthful, believable pair for the roles. And there is a newcomer to watch, Alexandre Hammoudi as Paris and in "On the Dnieper."

R&J is one of the most enduring themes in dance dating from 1785 in Venice to Copenhagen in 1811, through the 1920s in the Diaghilev company and on down in various versions and choreographies including a rapturous performance by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in London in 1956. Jerome Robbins mangled the libretto for the musical "West Side Story." Sir Kenneth MacMillan's solid version is used by ABT.

Not to be overlooked is Frederick Franklin's roles as the Friar in R&J and the tutor in "Swan Lake." He celebrated his 95th birthday in July and defies all smug suggestions that a dancer is "finished" at the age of 40; Ananishvilli is in her 50s.

His superb showmanship didn't permit him to come out of character when he made his entrance to enthusiastic applause and his ovation at the end of the performance with cascades of flowers, descending balloons, and a stand-up audience. It made a night to remember.


But it's not over. ABT will present three premieres at Avery Fisher Hall on October 7-10 by Azure Barton, Benjamin Millepied and Alexei Ratmansky. Some programs include Robbins' "Other Dances" and Clark Tippet's "Some Assembly Required."

Note time of performances: 6:30 on 10/7; 7:30 on 10/8; 10/9 matinee at 2:00 andevening at 8:00 with 10/10 at 2:00 and 8:00.
American Ballet Theatre's Seo and Stearns perform at a Youth America Grand Prix Gala

American Ballet Theatre's Seo and Stearns perform at a Youth America Grand Prix Gala

Photo © & courtesy of Unknown

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