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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Arts and Education
Performance Reviews
Lincoln Center
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

School of American Ballet Workshop Performances 2007

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 2, 2007
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
About the Author:

School of American Ballet
Workshop Performance
Dedicated to Lincoln Kirstein

Artistic Director and Chairman of Faculty, Peter Martins
Kay Mazzo, Co-Chairman
Marjorie Van Dercook, Exec. Director
Press and Public Relations: Amy Bordy
Stage Manager: Melissa Caolo Hagen
Lighting Designer: Todd Elmer
Conducted by Andrews Sill
The Peter Jay Sharp Theater
Lincoln Center, NYC, NY
(See June 3, 2006 SAB Workshop Review).
(See SAB Tour)

2007 Mae L. Wien Award for Distinguished Service is awarded to Nikolaj Hübbe , "one of the world's outstanding danseurs nobles". (SAB Notes).

2007 Mae L. Wien Awards for Outstanding Promise are awarded to Sara Adams, Kristen Segin, Cameron Dieck, and Russell Janzen. (SAB Notes).

Twinkliana (1989): Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Choreography by Sean Lavery, Staging assisted by Katrina Killian, Piano Solo: Alla Reznik, Performed by Alexandra D'Alessandro, Rebecca Tran, Genevieve Berman, Austin Bachman, Victoria Agrifolio, Isabella DeVivo, and Ashley Hod.

With a deep blue, starry backdrop, the young SAB students take mostly solo, with one duo, turn, plus a finale for the ensemble. The all-female cast is supported by a lone male, Austin Bachman, whose aerobic energy and exuberation were engaging and captivating. The female youngsters in light blue leotards were bright and star-struck, a compliment to the theme, which repeated the Mozart-infused "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" refrain. Up-stretched arms and joyous, uncluttered choreography marked Sean Lavery's design for the youthful performers, and Austin Bachman actually executed mid-air spins with tiny kicks. Alla Reznik's solo piano variations perfectly matched the solo ballet variations to draw the audience into this matinee performance, the first of three programs that celebrated the accomplishments of and contributions to SAB of Lincoln Kirstein. Kudos to Sean Lavery.

Les Gentilhommes (1987): Music by Friedrich Händel, Choreography by Peter Martins, Staged by Russell Kaiser, Performed by Matthew Renko, Ryan Cardea, Cameron Dieck, Matthew Dowsett, Francisco Estévez, Samuel Greenberg, Joseph Hernandez, Joshua Thew, and Michael Tucker.

Peter Martins, Artistic Director and Chairman of the Faculty of SAB, choreographed an all-male piece in 1987 that should be performed much more often. The Händel score was conducted by Andrew Sills, and the SAB Orchestra resonated beautifully through the theater, as nine male performers, led by the bravura Matthew Renko, showed extraordinary skills, in fact, so extraordinary, that we have much to look forward to as these young men join the ranks of the NYC Ballet corps. Their arms bent stage left were reminiscent of Balanchine's Serenade, but this was no ethereal piece. Rather, it offered the confident Matthew Renko en air twists and kicks, and a long aerobic trio for three of the dancers. The all-white leotards added a stark, striking quality to the ambiance. The term, gentilhomme in French refers to fashionable gentlemen of the Renaissance variety, and this was quite a fashionable display, a tour de force, one would say.

Romeo + Juliet Pas de Deux (2007): (See May 4, 2007 NYC Ballet Review) Music by Sergei Prokofiev, Choreography by Peter Martins, Staged by Sean Lavery and Russell Kaiser, Performed by Callie Bachman and Russell Janzen. Last month, Callie Bachman was supposed to have appeared as Juliet in Mr. Martins' new work, and the choreography had been created on her, but an injury kept her offstage. Today's matinee was Ms. Bachman's debut as the Juliet for which she prepared. And, Callie Bachman was a superb Juliet, hopping en pointe, jumping atop Ms. Janzen's shoulders, spinning en air against his torso, being swept along the floor, being held upside down, and so on. From the moment she appeared onstage, she was rapturous, effusively youthful, and a model of what Shakespeare's literary Juliet, also a teenager, may have been. When she draped herself over Mr. Janzen's back, Ms. Bachman (sister of Austin Bachman in Twinkliana) showcased her skill and sensuality. This duo drew round edges onto the angular, edgy score. Russell Janzen, another artist to watch, mastered the challenging partnering with strength and focus. His timing was astounding. We should expect to see this duo at City Ballet.

The Four Temperaments (1946): (See February 13, 2007 NYC Ballet Review) Music by Paul Hindemith, Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Suki Schorer, Piano Solo: Nataliya Pinelis, Performed by Amanda Clark and Victor Rocha, Shelby Elsbree and Joseph Hernandez, Puanani Brown and Joshua Thew, Matthew Renko, Marria Cosentino and Cindy Huang, Jenna Patchell, Adrianna Piercy, Lydia Wellington, Olivia Wells, Kristen Segin, Cameron Dieck, Michaela Mann, Kay Ohta, Ryoko Sadoshima, Lillian Watkins, Samuel Greenberg, Holly Dorger, Weronka Frodyma, Jenna Kesneck, Gabrielle Salvatto, and Raina Gilliland.

Suki Schorer staged this early Balanchine work (Ms. Schorer was a Principal with City Ballet during the Balanchine years and is intricately familiar with the Balanchine genre). With driven rhythmical momentum, the students performed the four variations (Temperaments) with lightning turns and severe attitude. This was a professional display of talent from performers who are still in school, a miraculous feat. In black leotards, the females, highlighted by Kristen Segin (in Sanguinic) and Raina Gilliland (in Choleric), exhibited effortless, seamless technique. The males, in de rigueur black/white Balanchine wear, led by Matthew Renko (in Melancholic) and Samuel Greenberg (in Phlegmatic), internalized the mood and affect, including backwards walks and empowered propulsion. We will certainly see these dancers soon in the same and similar roles at State Theater. Kudos to Suki Schorer for attention to detail and for maximizing these students' potentials.

Gounod Symphony (1858): Music by Charles Gounod, Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Susan Pilarre, performed by Sara Adams, Zachary Catazaro Clark, and the SAB student performers. Gounod Symphony, according to the SAB notes, "has not been performed in New York since SAB's last staging in 1998", with Janie Taylor and Jared Angle as the principal couple. Both dancers are now Principals at City Ballet. Today's main couple was Sara Adams and Zachary Catazaro Clark, leading an ensemble of no less than 30 dancers. The Karinska-designed tutus, in yellow and pink, are puffy and confectionary, and the classical backdrop adds regal splendor and fantasy to this upbeat, sparkling work. Susan Pilarre, who danced corps roles in City Ballet's performances of this ballet, staged today's production. The pas de deux for Ms. Adams and Mr. Catazaro Clark was lengthy and challenging, and they mastered the difficult dimensions nicely. Balanchine's symmetry and stylized weaving patterns require astute attention and physical acuity, and the SAB corps was a vision of perfection. Kudos to Susan Pilarre, and kudos to Peter Martins for today's impressive SAB Workshop Performances.
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