CriticalDance Forum

It is currently Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:35 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Michael Cooper discusses the October 21 through November 1, 2015 Fall Season at the David H. Koch Theatre for the New York Times.

NY Times


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Frederick Ashton's Monotones I and II will debut at American Ballet Theatre's October 21, 2015 performance. In the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay writes extensively about these two works.

NY Times


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the New Yorker, Joan Acocella previews Kurt Jooss' The Green Table, part of the October 21 through November 1, 2015 fall season at the David H. Koch Theatre in New York's Lincoln Center.

New Yorker


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Alastair Macaulay previews the October 21 through November 1, 2015 fall season at the David H. Koch Theatre for the New York Times.

NY Times


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:40 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Matt Ortile writes a feature story on principal dancer Stella Abrera for Buzzfeed.

Buzzfeed


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 12:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the Financial Times, Apollinaire Scherr reviews the premiere of Mark Morris' After You at the October 21, 2015 opening gala.

Financial Times


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:37 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay reviews the Wednesday, October 21, 2015 gala performance of Mark Morris' After You, Sir Frederick Ashton's Monotones I and II and Twyla Tharp's Brahms-Haydn Variations.

NY Times


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the Financial Times, Apollinaire Scherr reviews Sir Fredeerick Ashton's Monotones I and II and Twyla Tharp's Brahms-Haydn Variations.

Financial Times


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:09 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the New York Times, Gia Kourlas reviews the performances on Thursday and Friday, October 22-23, 2015. The programming included Kurt Jooss' The Green Table, Balanchine's Valse Fantaisie, Michel Fokine's Le Spectre de la Rose, Ashton's Monotones I and II Twyla Tharp's Brahms-Haydn Variations and Mark Morris' After You.

NY Times


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:20 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 443
Location: New Jersey
American Ballet Theatre
David H. Koch Theater
Lincoln Center
New York, New York

October 22, 2015
The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Monotones I and II, The Green Table
October 23, 2014:
After You (new Morris), Le Spectre de la Rose, Valse-Fantasie, The Green Table
October 24M, 2014
[i]After You (new Morris), Le Spectre de la Rose, Valse- Fantasie, Company B

-- by Jerry Hochman

American Ballet Theatre kicked off the first week of its twelve-performance, ten-ballet Fall 2015 season with three significant revivals, two noteworthy company premieres, and one pleasurable new ballet by Mark Morris – and for good measure, a Paul Taylor piece already in the current repertory. None of the performances was disappointing: on the contrary, collectively they highlight the versatility of ABT’s dancers and the variety of its repertoire. Equally important, the season provides the opportunity to see ABT’s many underutilized dancers in new roles, and in roles in which they actually get to dance.

The most noteworthy of the new revivals and company premieres were Kurt Jooss’s masterpiece, The Green Table, Michel Fokine’s Le Spectre de la Rose, and Sir Frederick Ashton’s Monotones. And it did not go unnoticed that this season’s programming reflects the eclectic, adventurous repertoire of the old Joffrey Ballet of the 1970s and 80s, the company with which ABT’s Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie began his New York performing career.

Jooss was a German ballet dancer, choreographer, and pioneer of dance theater who believed that choreography and music should evolve together to provide greater unity and clarity to the narrative message. The Green Table, with a two-piano accompanying score by Jooss’s frequent musical collaborator Frederick (Fritz) Cohen, is a prime example: the dance’s component parts fit together seamlessly, and enhance each other.

Derived from the medieval Germanic Totentanz (Dance of Death) and reflecting the concurrent German expressionist movement, The Green Table is very much a creature of its time, but its truths make it timeless. It’s been labeled an anti-war ballet, which is true, but most significantly it's also a courageous piece of dance theater. It was choreographed a year before Hitler came to power, after which the Nazis ordered Jooss to dismiss the Jews in his company, which Jooss refused to do. Jooss and his company subsequently fled Germany.

The piece is divided into six individual scenes, each addressing a particular example of the horrors of war and the triumph of death. Bracketing them are scenes of what are generally considered to be diplomats, the ‘Gentlemen in Black’, negotiating around a green-topped table and using war as a bargaining chip and refuge when reason fails. To them, war is part of the diplomatic game – a game of faceless combatants; a game of drones. Jooss’s point, which The Green Table demonstrates so well, is that the inevitable consequence of war is that innocent people suffer and die.

The drama in The Green Table comes from the choreography: the characters are archetypes: Death, The Young Soldier, The Young Girl he leaves behind, an Old Mother, a female Partisan, a Profiteer, and the grotesquely masked diplomats. The audience knows, or thinks it knows, everything about these characters just by their descriptive names. Jooss shows the audience that it knows nothing, and proceeds to enlighten them.

There is little extraneous movement here, and little opportunity for acting. The character of Death, for example, wears garish makeup and a skeletal costume, and is pervasive and dominating. But his movement is stiff and one-dimensional – he doesn’t dance so much as move frighteningly; to the extent he shows any emotion in his face, it’s minimal. The soldiers are cardboard. The Profiteer is a coiled snake who drains his victims of hope before Death takes them away, almost as a relief. But his range of movement is limited as well – what force there is comes from the programmed predator positioning, the scene’s dramatic situation, and the quality and strength of the dancer’s sneer. Death is ‘just’ Death, but the Profiteer is the devil. The women have somewhat more movement variety and room for expression, particularly the Partisan, but even with that the range of expression is usually limited to flat, monochromatic portrayals in which the circumstances deliver the message.

Neither Marcelo Gomes as Death or Herman Cornejo as the Profiteer at the piece’s opening performance on the 22nd, nor Roman Zhurban or Daniil Simkin in the same roles on the 23rd, could match the towering portrayals by Christian Holder and Gary Chryst in the Joffrey revival that I saw in the early 1970s. Nevertheless, Gomes’s Death was memorable. Both he and Zhurban were forceful, and conveyed what little visible emotion the role allows through their eyes, but Gomes has a strength, muscular tightness and precision that Zhurban couldn’t equal. Both Devon Teuscher and Christine Shevchenko danced the Partisan superbly, with Shevchenko somewhat more animated, and Luciana Paris, with nothing beyond the essential choreography to work with, was a wonderfully war weary Old Mother.

On the 23rd, Skylar Brandt danced the Young Girl the way I remember seeing it previously – a relatively blank expression, with the essential movement and the situation delivering the tragic message. But Sarah Lane’s Young Girl the previous night was by far the most magnificently conceived and rendered portrayal of that role that I’ve seen, particularly remarkable since she added nothing to the choreography – it was all in the planning and the expression from within. The difference can be felt in the impact: in one portrayal, the audience thinks how awful it was for something so terrible to happen to that sweet Young Girl; in the other, the audience is transported to her character’s stage world, and grieves. Judged by the audience response – the stifling of tears and the post-performance applause – Lane’s performance impact was the latter. She moved the audience the way that Anne Hathaway as Fantine did in film version of Les Miserables (without the histrionics). And in Lane’s portrayal I saw the kernel of other roles: the final minutes of Act I of Giselle, and of Act III of Romeo and Juliet. And I thought, again, of opportunities inexplicably denied.

The week featured another anti-war dance of sorts, Paul Taylor’s Company B. Instead of hitting the viewer over the head, Taylor’s dance is more subtle. In the guise of a remembrance of life in the 1940s through dances choreographed to songs by the Andrews Sisters, Company B, exuberant and crowd-pleasing at first, is tinged with sadness – not for an era ended, but for lives irretrievably lost. And the awareness of thousands of such losses turned the sweetness of memory bitter and overwhelmingly sad. The entire cast in Saturday’s performance excelled, but Brandt’s live-wire “Pennsylvania Polka” was a particular delight.

Fokine was a revolutionary choreographer. Before he left Russia, he choreographed Chopiniana, later somewhat revised and renamed Les Sylphides, which, although grounded in Romantic imagery, is all ‘mood’, and is generally considered to be the first plotless ballet. Another ground-breaking ballet, one of his early pieces for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes. is Le Spectre de la Rose. The ‘story’, an expanded snapshot in time, tells of a young girl returning from a ball with a rose momento, who dreams of her rose coming to life as her dance partner. Where Spectre breaks ground is with the image of, and choreography for, The Rose. Unlike its classical antecedents, there are no dead spots preceding the male dancer’s bravura exhibition – the virtuosic movement is almost continuous. And The Rose is no dreamy, fairy tale Prince Charming – he’s relatively androgynous, with the masculine power of his legs and jumps, coupled with somewhat effeminate posing and port de bras.

In its summary of prior interpreters of the role, ABT’s program notes omit the cast that has perhaps the most relevance to contemporary viewers: in 1976, the piece was revived for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Marianna Tcherkassky. Baryshnikov’s Rose was grown in the wild, a remarkable combination of athleticism and sangfroid. He may have been the girl’s fantasy, but he was unattainable. And Tcherkassky’s sweet stage warmth made one believe that the moment was as much a turning point as a fantasy. While not as explosive or magnetic as Baryshnikov, Cornejo did a fine job at the revival’s opening performance on Thursday, but his was a more elegant, cultivated Rose. Except for a brief hard fall early on, Simkin in Friday’s performance was slightly more technically precise. But neither delivered the spectacular leap through the window at the ballet’s end as Baryshnikov did. Lane’s portrayal of the Young Girl on Thursday carried somewhat more emotional depth (perhaps abetted by her emotive stage resemblance to Tcherkassky, which I’ve referenced on prior occasions), but she and Cassandra Trenary on Friday each handled the role very well.

I first saw Monotones II with the Joffrey Ballet in the 1970s, and was swept away by its celestial imagery and its remarkable sensitivity to the otherworldly sound of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies. Ashton created what was to become Monotones II first, and later expanded the ballet to include Monotones I (to Satie’s Gnossiennes). They’re almost (but not quite) mirror images, with Monotones I somewhat less cosmic than the latter. Now, however, while one can still admire the ballet’s structure, the dancers’ precision, and the simple beauty of the crystalline choreography, Monotones looks more like a quaint curiosity. Stella Abrera, Gorak, and Isabella Boylston handled Monotones I well, but not quite as cleanly as Cory Stearns, Veronika Part, and Thomas Forster in Monotones II. But Part’s portrayal, notwithstanding its purity of form, was diminished by an aura of sadness rather than planetary neutrality. And in order for one body to impact another, there should be some compelling force that pulls them together or apart – I sensed none of that here – these celestial bodies were independent entities going through the motions.

The New York premiere, After You, is another Morris pastel ballet, and a fine example of his style and wit. To an intriguing composition by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, a student of Mozart and contemporary (and friend) of Beethoven, Morris arranges his dancers, clad in jump-suit-like orange, pink, mauve and yellow costumes designed by Isaac Mizrahi, primarily (but not exclusively) in trios that form and reform in varying patterns as the three movements of the piece proceed. Among the two casts I saw, Trenary, Teuscher, Sterling Baca, Jeffrey Cirio, Blaine Hoven and Forster stood out. And even though including principal dancers was unnecessary, this work is right up Boylston’s alley, and she delivered an excellent performance.

Twyla Tharp’s Brahms-Haydn Variations is yet another in Tharp’s creative pantheon. Originally titled Variations on a Theme by Haydn, the piece, like her Bach Partita (which ABT recently revived), is Tharp at her most classical, but even though it doesn’t look as audacious as, for example, In the Upper Room, it’s no less brilliant. Not surprisingly given its title, the ballet is a series of variations on a theme – but it’s not as dry as that simplistic description implies. It’s a large piece featuring seven couples and a sixteen-dancer corps, with the focus being on the courtly but very contemporary-looking, elegant but intricate duets. Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside, Shevchenko and Gorak, Lane and Simkin, and Trenary and Hoven were particularly outstanding among the couples, and one could not help but notice the stunning classicism of Courtney Lavine in the corps.


Balanchine’s Valse-Fantasie, the other company premiere, is a frothy piece that Balanchine choreographed in 1967 to Glinka’s Valse-Fantasie in B Minor. A duet for a lead couple and four-woman corps, the piece has some unusual choreography for the ballerina and a folksy, party feel, but not much else. Hee Seo and Whiteside, and Teuscher and Gorak were the lead pairs in the Friday and Saturday afternoon performances, and each pair was sufficiently bubbly and adept. All in all, however, for a brief Balanchine pas de deux to populate a program segment, a revival of Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux would have been a more exciting choice.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:19 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the Wall Street Journal, Robert Greskovic reviews Mark Morris/ After You, Twyla Tharp's Brahms-Haydn Variations, Sir Frederick Ashton's Monotones I and II, Balanchine's Valse Fantaisie Michel Fokine's Le Spectre de la Rose and Kurt Jooss' The Green Table.

Wall Street Journal


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
The backdrop for a new work by Marcelo Gomes, AfterEffect is a painting by Francoise Gilot. Roslyn Sulcas previews the October 28, 2015 premiere for the New York Times.

NY Times


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In Out Magazine, Brian Schaefer asks "Where are all the political ballets," with reference to The Green Table and Company B in the broader context of war.

Out Magazine


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:20 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In Broadway World, Sondra Forsyth reviews the October 23, 2015 performance of Mark Morris' After You, Michel Fokine's Le Spectre de la Rose, Balanchine's Valse Fantaisie and Kurt Jooss' The Green Table.

Broadway World


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre 2015 Fall Season
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2015 12:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 14418
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay reviews the October 29, 2015 performance of Alexei Ratmansky's Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1, plus further commentary about the Fall Season.

NY Times


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group