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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
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American Ballet Theatre: Les Sylphides, Apollo, The Green Table

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 2, 2005
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019

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American Ballet Theatre: Les Sylphides, Apollo, The Green Table

American Ballet Theatre

Fall Repertory
At City Center

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters:
Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Georgina Parkinson, Kirk Peterson

Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 2, 2005

Les Sylphides: (1940) (See October 29, 2005 Review). Choreography by Michel Fokine, Music by Frederic Chopin, Orchestrated by Roy Douglas, Staged by Kirk Peterson, Scenery by Alexandre Benois, Lighting by David K.H. Elliott, Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Maria Riccetto, Anna Liceica, Kristi Boone, Maxim Beloserkovsky, Yuriko Kajiya, Simone Messmer, and the Company as Ensemble. Performances given by the kind permission of the Fokine Estate. This ballet was first performed in 1908 and was presented in 1940 in New York by ABT. (Program Notes)

Maria Riccetto does not seem to exude the magic of Stella Abrera, seen last year in the lead role. Yet, Ms. Riccetto has versatility and flexibility that are quite remarkable. Her ability to leap onto the stage with power and pulsation was never out of bounds for this woodland scene, with fairies fitted with gossamer wings, flitting and flirting with Maxim Beloserkovsky, the epitome of a Russian Prince in tights. Under David LaMarche's baton, the orchestra presented Chopin romantically and rapturously, including an exquisite cello solo, like perfume in a salon, only this was the ABT orchestra, not an intimate event. Yet, there was an intimacy about the experience, like watching a dream. The corps, with arms like frozen branches and fingers like twigs of ice, exuded surrealness and strength. Fokine's work is timeless and treasured.

Apollo (1943): (See October 25, 2005 Review). Choreography by George Balanchine, Stages by Richard Tanner, Music by Igor Stravinsky, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting Re-Created by Brad Fields, Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Ethan Stiefel as Apollo, Paloma Herrera as Terpsichore, Gillian Murphy as Polyhymnia, Maria Riccetto as Calliope, Jennifer Alexander as Leto, mother of Apollo, and Renata Pavam and Jacquelyn Reyes as Handmaidens. "Apollo" was first performed by Ballets Russes in 1928 in Paris and by ABT in 1943 in New York City at the Met Opera House. (Program Notes).

Ethan Stiefel, as Apollo, was more youthfully presented, more innocent, more casual than was Jose Manuel Carreño in the previous review. Where Carreño was seductive, Stiefel was romantic. Where Carreño was mysterious, Stiefel was obvious. Where Carreño was introspective, Stiefel was demonstrative. The difference in the lead dancers' personas influenced their solos and pas de deux with depth and drama. Gillian Murphy (as Polyhymnia) and Ethan Stiefel are quite a duo, and they seemed to feed off each other's magnetism. Stiefel's other two muses, danced by Paloma Herrera as Terpsichore and Maria Riccetto as Calliope, seemed more internalized, although Ms. Herrera is always magnetic in every role, and, here, she danced with bent knee en pointe with effortlessness that comes with virtuosity. The remaining dancers, Ms. Alexander, Ms. Reyes, and Ms. Pavam, completed the cast with poise and presence.

The Green Table (1932): (See October 25, 2005 Review). Choreography by Kurt Jooss, Music by FA Cohen, Costumes by Hein Heckroth, Masks by Hermann Markard, Staging by Anna Markard, Repetiteur: Jeanette Vondersaar, Lighting Re-Created by Kevin Dreyer, Pianists: David LaMarche and Daniel Waite, Performed by David Hallberg, as Death, Patrick Ogle as The Standard Bearer, Jared Matthews as The Young Soldier, Jennifer Alexander as the Young Girl, Carmen Corella as The Woman, Jesus Pastor as The Old Soldier, Marian Butler as The Old Mother, Carlos Lopez as The Profiteer, and the Company as Soldiers, Women, and Gentlemen in Black. This work was influenced by a dance of death and a post-WWI political culture, when it was premiered in Paris in 1932. (Program Notes).

With the exact same cast as in the previous review, tonight's performance seemed equally if not more riveting, as the repeated dance forms grow in one's memory, such as Mr. Hallberg's signature, percussive, booted footwork and such as the bent and twisted figures leaning and bending toward and from the green table of political war mongering. The thematic threads seemed all the more poignant with the developing reality of news events, so relative and resonant to the concept of war as whim. This timely staging of a renowned revival is to the credit of Artistic Director, Kevin McKenzie.

Patrick Ogle and David Hallberg in Kurt Jooss' The Green Table.
Photo courtesy of Gene Schiavone

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