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Robert Abrams
Performance Reviews
Lincoln Center
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

School of American Ballet Workshop Performance

by Robert Abrams
June 4, 2005
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

School of American Ballet Workshop Performance


Robert Abrams
June 4, 2005

The students of the School of American Ballet performed expertly at the 41st Annual Workshop Performances. Enthusiasm filled the Julliard Theater's audience.

In "28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini" the dancers performed leaping spins across the stage. The men exhibited strong carriage and extension. One of the women presented a great adagio: she was very still as she was turned. There were appealing choreographic effects, such as when four women were turning out of sync in a line. I also liked the section where the men were walking backward in a line, and then threw up their arms in a wave as they went to one knee. There were also some passages reminiscent of social dance, such as an elegant slow Waltz and a bit where the woman slipped across the man's body that reminded me of a Swing move. At the end, the group of dancers performed a circular grapevine with their arms linked. They then separated to form their final pose.

"Tribute" featured gracefully fluttering feet, poise on one foot, good use of the space, and nice arm extensions. This dance was a showcase for ensemble work with many group scenes and fewer solos than "Variations". One such group scene was a human machine, where each dancer pushed the next dancer into motion. There was much able partnering, and delicate pointe work. The pauses were crisp. The carries and dips were confident. The work ended with a section evocative of flying birds. The dancers weaved over and under each other.

The final work of the night, "Western Symphony", was a cowboy themed ballet. It began by echoing a square dance. The work made good use of patterns that morph one into the other. In this work, the main couples got a lot of solo time. They showed off fleet footwork and were well balanced en pointe. There were two impressive leaps to a catch. The ensemble sections had some comic touches, such as a man snapping the "reins" of four female dancers as he walks them off. I liked the powerful leg extensions that were done in time to the music, as well as the multiple spins and the long run of en point leg extensions finished with a balanced hold. The work had a spirited, kicky finish with multiple rapid spins that led back to square dancing. The work was a crowd pleaser.

"28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini" featured music by Johannes Brahms played by Whit Kellogg with choreography by Benjamin Millepied assisted by Olga Kostritzky. The work was danced by Devin Alberda, Puanani Brown, Robert Fairchild, Ezra Hurwitz, Leah O'Connor, Jenna Patchell, Sokvannara Sar, Jerome Tisserand, Isabel Vondermuhll and Mallory Welsh.

"Tribute" featured music by Johann Sebastian Bach played by Nataliya Pinelis with choreography by Christopher d'Amboise assisted by Katrina Killian. The work was danced by Devin Alberda, Brittany Pollack, Robert Fairchild, Marria Cosentino, Olgo Krochik, Ariel Merrick, Jenna Patchell, Chantelle Pianetta, Mary Elizabeth Sell, Carling Talcott, Mallory Welsh, Leah O'Connor, Andrew Scordato, Gretchen Smith, Max van der Sterre, Jenelle Manzi, Gretchen Smith, and Ariel Merrick.

"Western Symphony" featured music by Hershy Kay with choreography by George Balanchine and was staged by Susan Pilarre and Suki Schorer. The work was danced by Gretchen Smith, Max van der Sterre, Emily Adams, Gabrielle Baden, Alexandra Blacker, Lauren Brown, Chandra Greenlee, Leah O'Connor, Morgan Richardson, Briana Shepard, Jason Franklin, Sean Orza, Jose Sebastian, Amir Yogev, Kathryn Morgan, Devin Alberda, Anne Shannon Baxter, Amanda Clark, Cindy Huang, Kay Ohta, Jan Burhard, Masahiro Seuhara, Marria Cosentino, Terez Dean, Olga Krochik, Jenna Patchell, Maira Barriga, Ralph Ippolito, Brittany Pollack, Mary Elizabeth Sell, Rachel Sherak, Mallory Welsh, Daniel Baker, Andrew Champlin, Matthew Renko and Peter Snow.

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