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ABT Fall Gala

by Lori Ortiz
October 7, 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

Barton, Fokine, Millepied, Ratmansky

Avery Fisher Hall
"The Dying Swan," an out-of-body experience, lifted us from the cool, severity of Avery Fisher Hall and set us into the warm world of ballet, October 7th. Other great dances completed the American Ballet Theatre Gala program, but the new, temporary venue was a challenge. For the audience, the sightlines at City Center now look a lot better.

Veronika Part creates an endless lake of the space around her. The tip of her tutu is a swan wing when she finally lies down. The seabird almost forgot to take her flowers. The traditional design, the spotlighted ballerina on the darkened stage, helped transport us. Two upstage musicians, Scott Ballantyne on cello and David La Marche on piano, played the Saint-Saens in the background, as there is no pit in the Hall. Popping this classical work into the expected contemporary program was a smooth move.

Benjamin Millepied has a major success with his new "Everything Doesn't Happen at Once," despite the unfortunate name. A poet's advice would be handy. Hints of Balanchine, Forsythe, and Robbins are discernable in the new work. Millepied managed the wide stage by populating it with a group twenty-four strong, led by Marcelo Gomes and Isabella Boylston. Gomes put plenty of feeling into his part. Daniil Simkin, boy wonder, flies from the makeshift wing into the men's arms and then flips back out, after a few pirouettes. The three-letter word would be "Wow." Millepied used his cast, the space of the stage, and the music wonderfully. To David Lang's music played by six under Ormsby Wilkins, this upbeat, commanding dance had us rapt. You could feel the dancers breathing, and the tug of their cantilevered couplings. The men and women make ranks on the side, more than once. In the finale, they interpolate in apparent, near chaos, in mottled light by Brad Fields. The inherent drama is most satisfying.

In Aszure Barton's "One of Three," several changes of Yannik Larivee's simple costumes help create the dance's structure. It looks and feels like the twenties, when the music, Maurice Ravel's "Violin Concerto in G," was composed. American blues inspired him. The dance begins with too much elegance in Gillian Murphy's Goddess-like entrance. Six men in suits greet her. In sets of duets, a sexy Misty Copeland is Diva number 2. Finally, Paloma Herrera and Carlos Lopez convince. Herrera fills the stage with her exquisite, down-to-earth dance.

The evening opened with Alexie Ratmansky's "Seven Sonatas." Barbara Bilach plays Domenico Scarlatti with little variation in tone. Of course, the harpsichord was the instrument of his time. Ratmansky's dancers add the luster with independent character and choreography to fit. It is striking the way his dance transforms the music, or finds narrative in it. His moves flow inevitably and appear to propel the piano notes. Xiomara Reyes's curvy arms send her body into spiraling turns. Julie Kent points to David Hallberg, who leaps in response to her lyrical call.

Ballet-goers expect a lot from Ratmansky, and his new, romantic dance is a solution. Barton's exceeds expectations. And the new Millepied is a great leap forward!
Stella Abrera and Gennadi Saveliev in 'Seven Sonatas'

Stella Abrera and Gennadi Saveliev in "Seven Sonatas"

Photo © & courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor


Eric Tamm, Gillian Murphy, and Cory Stearns in 'One of Three.'

Eric Tamm, Gillian Murphy, and Cory Stearns in "One of Three."

Photo © & courtesy of Gene Schiavone


Daniil Simkin in 'Everything Doesn't Happen at Once.'

Daniil Simkin in "Everything Doesn't Happen at Once."

Photo © & courtesy of Gene Schiavone

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