American Ballet Theatre
Guggenheim Museum Works in Progress Series: 'A Rose by Any Other Name...'
by Kate Snedeker
April 27-28, 2003 -- Peter B. Lewis Theater, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Combining the talents of ABT dancers and third year acting students from the Juilliard School, A Rose by Any Other Name... , was a stirring finale to the 2003 American Ballet Theatre-Guggenheim Museum’s Works in Progress series. An inspired idea, the integration of the play and ballet versions of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet provided a rare opportunity to see how both art forms bring Shakespeare’s words to life, one in the spoken word, the other in gesture and dance.
Aric Martin’s reading of the famous prologue set the mood for the evening, which continued with Kevin O’Connell, Michael Simpson and Ben Davis’s interpretation of Act One, Scene Four, in which Romeo tells Benvolio and Mercutio about his dream, a dream that hints at the tragic love to come. The acted scene was immediately followed by Macmillan's balletic interpretation, danced by David Hallberg, making his “debut” as Romeo, and Herman Cornejo. Despite the small stage, Hallberg and Cornejo were impressive, with Cornejo’s quick changes of direction and airy ballon and Hallberg’s full stretched grand jete into the wings. Julie Kent and Carlos Molina performed an excerpt as Juliet and Paris, followed by a passionate rendition of the the famous balcony scene by Kevin O’Connell and Julie Molly Stuart.
The pace quickened
with Ben Davis, Aric Martin and Kevin O’Connell in the fight scene from
Act Three, which immediately segued into the choreographed duel between
Benvolio and Tybalt, athletically danced by Cornejo and Molina. After
a poignant version of the “morning after” scene (Act Three, Scene Five)
between Romeo and Juliet, David Hallberg and Julie Kent performed the
two death scenes from the ballet. Especially touching was the “pas deux”
in which Romeo dances with Juliet’s “unconscious body”, as if he is trying
to coax life back into her limp body.
A truly timeless story, Romeo and Juliet will be performed by American Ballet Theatre at the Met, June 6-11. The students from the Juilliard School can be seen in their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Juilliard Theatre, May 13-14 and 17-18.
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