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Jennifer Wesnousky
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American Ballet Theatre - Pretty Good Year, Pillar of Fire, Petite Mort, Sechs Tänze

by Jennifer Wesnousky
October 23, 2004
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

Featured Dance Company:

American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre (office)
890 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

American Ballet Theatre - Pretty Good Year, Pillar of Fire, Petite Mort, Sechs Tänze


Presented at NY City Center (W. 55th between 6th and 7th)

Associate Artistic Director, Victor Barbee
Artistic Director, ABT Studio Company, John Meehan
Principal Conductor, Charles Barker
Conductor, David LaMarche
Guest Conductor, Ormsby Wilkins
Ballet Masters: Guillaume Graffin, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova, Georgina Parkinson, Kirk Peterson

Pretty Good Year:
Choreography by Trey McIntyre
Music by Antonin Dvorak
Costumes by Liz Prince
Lighting by Nicholas Phillips
Dancers: Zhong-Jing Fang, Stella Abrera,
Sarawanee Tanatanit, Hernan Cornejo,
Bo Busby, Alexandre Hammoudi,
Matthew Murphy
Piano: Barbara Bilach
Violin: Ron Oakland
Violoncello: Scott Ballantyne

Pillar of Fire:
Choreography by Anthony Tudor
Staged by Donald Mahler
Assisted by Susan Jones and Kirk Peterson
Music by Arnold Shoenberg
Scenery and costumes by Robert Perdziola
Lighting by Duane Schuler
Dancers: Erica Fischbach, Gillian Murphy,
Marian Butler, David Hallberg, Marcelo
Gomes, Karin Ellis-Wentz, Carrie Jensen,
Sarah Lane, Renata Pavam, Caty Seither,
Buck Collins, Kenneth Easter, Jeffrey
Golladay, Kristi Boone, Laura Hidalgo,
Sarawanee Tanatanit, Danny Tidwell, Maria Choreography by Jiri Kylian
Bystrova, Karen Uphoff

Petite Mort:
Staged by and Assistant Choreographers:
Roslyn Anderson and Ken Ossola
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Costumes by Joke Visser
Lighting by Joop Caboort
Tech/Light Supervision by Kees Tjebbes
Dancers: Xiomara Reyes, Renata Pavam,
Irina Dvorovenko, Stella Abrera, Kristi
Boone, Paloma Herrera, Herman Cornejo,
Carlos Lopez, Gennadi Saveliev, Sascha
Radetsky, Marcelo Gomes, Jose Manuel Carreño
Conductor: Charles Barker
Piano: David LaMarche

Sechs Tänze:
Choreography by Jiri Kylian
Staged by & Assistant to the Choreographer: Roslyn Anderson
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Scenery and Costumes by Jiri Kylian
Tech/Light Supervision by Kees Tjebbes
Dancers: Monique Meunier, Anne
Milewski, Laura Hidalgo, Marian Butler,
Julio Bragado-Young, Angel Corella,
Isaac Stappas, Kenneth Easter, Misty
Copeland, Erica Fischbach, Karen Uphoff,
Bo Busby, Jeffrey Golladay, Jared Matthews
Conductor: Charles Barker

By Jennifer E. Wesnousky
October 23, 2004

For many people and particularly dance aficionados, "American Ballet Theatre" is very much a symbol of the highest quality of classical ballet New York- and perhaps the world- has to offer. As such, this top notch company has become a symbol of New York City itself. How appropriate, then, that in flipping through the program, one sees that the diversity of the principal dancers' backgrounds reflects the diversity of the city itself: Ukrainian, Cuban, Spanish, Argentinean, Italian, Brazilian, French, American and English (and those are just the principal dancers). How, one might question, might a backstage conversation among this group be possible? However, the second they step onstage, it instantly becomes apparent the extent to which, in four pieces as diverse as the dancers themselves, these artists' primary mode of expression has long been movement.

The moods of the three pieces presented on the evening of October 23, 2004 could not have contrasted one another more sharply. The playful Pretty Good Year effectively employed nymph-like costumes in yellows, blues and greens to create a gay, frolicking air. While the feeling here would definitely have delighted the strictest adherent to pure classical ballet, Trey McIntyre's choreography additionally incorporated more modern motion, particularly in segments in which three couples simultaneously performed pas de deuxs which included innovative lifts and drags. Inventive staging of standout soloist, Hernan Cornejo's, movement amongst the pairs made aesthetically effective use of the stage.

While Pretty Good Year felt like ballet for ballet's sake, the dark and brooding Pillar of Fire presented the story of a young girl's societal and psychological struggles with passion and oppression. As one witnessed the lead character, Hagar's, evolution from a haunted outcast to a passionate lover, the lead, Gillian Murphy's, technically and emotionally versatile performance captivated.

The third and final act, including Petite Morte and Sechs Tänze (the latter of which functioned as sort of sequel to the first), additionally dealt with society's oppressive tendency within a looser framework. Decked out in period powdered wigs to accompany Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's score, the dancers first demonstrated their sensuality through the corseted characters' provocatively intertwining choreography in Petite Morte before revealing their comic flare in the second piece. In both numbers, black corseted dresses in which the dancers appeared, prior to these costumes' floating independently on to the stage, seemed to represent some dark, oppressive force from which the carousing characters were determined to break free

While each and every one of American Ballet Theatre's exquisite dancers could stand on his or her own as soloists, it is the harmony within the diversity of both ABT's members and the pieces performed by them which is truly outstanding. The numbers they performed on the evening of October 23rd were but four within a diverse repertoire which includes both the past's most beloved ballets and new works by talented, up-and-coming choreographers. And, although the dancers demonstrate their ability to change stylistically in each piece in accordance with each choreographer's unique movement and intention, the company never departs from classical perfection.

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