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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
American Ballet Theater
American Ballet Theatre
United States
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American Ballet Theatre - First night after the Gala, Fall Repertory Season

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 16, 2002
New York, NY

Featured Dance Company:

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

About the Author:

American Ballet Theatre

First night after the Gala, Fall Repertory Season.


Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Victor Barbee, Assistant Artistic Director
Elizabeth Harpel Kehler, Executive Director
Guillaume Graffin, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova, Georgina Parkinson, Kirk Peterson, Ballet Masters
Ormsby Wilkins, Guest Conductor
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Farah Lopez, Manager, Press and Marketing

Review by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

October 16, 2002

American Ballet Theatre is one of the most spectacular dance companies in the world. ABT was founded in 1940 and tours the United States annually, performing for over 600,000 people. It has made more than 15 international tours to 42 countries and is often sponsored by the State Department of the United States. From 1940 to 1980 ABT was directed by Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith. Its original aim was to encourage the creation of new choreographed works and to develop a superb repertoire of ballets, including full-length ballets. Its repertoire has been realized, with the presentation, over the years, of all the great full-length ballets, such as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Its repertoire also includes early 20th Century works, such as Les Sylphides and Rodeo, and late 20th Century works, such as Airs and Push Comes to Shove. In 1980, Mikhail Baryshnikov became Artistic Director, followed in 1990 by Jane Hermann and Oliver Smith.

Kevin McKenzie, named Artistic Director in 1992, has done a magnificent job, over the past decade, with the staging of flawless and triumphant performances at the Metropolitan Opera House, every Spring Season, at City Center, every Fall Season, and throughout the world. ABT has appeared in all fifty states of the United States, as well as in China, Singapore, and Taipei. I have attended ABT performances for many, many years and have always felt a sense of magic and dream-like perfection in each and every performance. I have watched the Principal Dancers develop into stars. I have watched dancers move up from the Corps to Soloists to Principals, with confidence and poise. To attend ABT is more than attending a dance performance. It is enlightenment, the realization that there is a force within all of us that can propel us through the most unusual challenges. The physical endurance and flawless flexibility and sheer presence of the ABT dancers are amazing to experience. They create an ambiance in every theater of dynamic energy and creative connections with their partners, with the entire Company, and with the audience. This is why ABT performances are usually sold out.

Clear: Choreography by Stanton Welch, Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Costumes by Michael Kors for Celine, Lighting by Lisa Pinkham, Performed by (Principals) Angel Corrella, Maxim Belotserkovsky, Marcelo Gomes, Julie Kent; (Soloists) Herman Cornejo, Joaquin De Luz, Craig Salstein, and Gennadi Saveliev. This was a bravura and muscular performance, mainly for the male dancers, with Ms. Kent in seamless sequences of sliding into, over, and under the male performers, who leaped onto the stage with legs held in space, forward and locked. Ms. Kent displayed exquisite elongations and poise, with her arms upward and intertwining with her partners.

Ms. Kent starred in the film Dancers in 1987. She was an ABT apprentice in 1985, was appointed Soloist with ABT in 1990 and was promoted to Principal in 1993. Ms. Kent is the only American to have won the "Prix Benois de la Danse" in 2000. She is married to Assistant Artistic director, Victor Barbee. Mr. Gomes, from Brazil, who exudes charm and exactness in his dance, joined ABT in 1997 as a member of the Corps, was promoted to Soloist in 2000, and was appointed to Principal in 2002. Mr. Corella, from Madrid, joined ABT in 1995 as a soloist and was appointed to Principal in 1996. Mr. Belotserkovsky, from Kiev, Ukraine, trained in Kiev and was honored by the President of the Ukraine for artistic achievement. He joined the ABT Corps in 1994, was promoted to soloist in 1995, and to Principal in 2000. He is married to Principal Dancer, Irina Dvorovenko.

Grand Pas Classique: Choreography by Gsovsky, Music by Daniel Francois Auber, Staged by Oleg Briansky, Performed by (Principal) Gillian Murphy and (Corps) David Hallberg. Kudos to Mr. Hallberg, who stepped in for Jose Manuel Carreño. He is a dancer to watch, with superb elevation, exquisite leaps, and perfect timing in his partnering, which allowed Ms. Murphy to stand, in sequence after sequence, hand on hip, on point. Ms. Murphy appeared confident and balanced, with intricate footwork and the full stage available for this duet. Ms. Murphy's multitudinous pirouettes were flawless.

Ms. Murphy, from Wimbledon, England, was raised in the United States. Ms. Murphy joined the ABT Corps in 1996, and in 1998 was the recipient of a Princess Grace Foundation Grant. She was appointed Soloist in 1999 and as Principal in 2002. Mr. Hallberg is a member of the ABT Corps and performed in remarkably brilliant form.

Sylvia Pas de Deux: Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Leo Delibes, Staged by Marina Eglevsky, Costumes by Barbara Matera, Ltd., Performed by (Principal) Paloma Herrera and (Principal) Marcelo Gomes. Ms. Herrera, almost always on point or in lightning pirouettes, was perfectly poised, totally confident, and exquisitely partnered by Mr. Gomes. They are an excellent partnership, complimenting each other in all choreography, to Delibes' enchanting music. The elegant gray costumes, designed by Barbara Matera, Ltd., enhanced the classical motif of this Balanchine jewel.

Ms. Herrera, a native of Buenos Aires, danced in El Teatro Colon in Don Quixote as Cupid. She joined ABT as a member of the corps in 1991, was promoted to Soloist in 1993, and to Principal in 1995. Ms. Herrera has been a fast-rising star in American Ballet Theatre, with lead roles in La Bayadère, Coppélia, and Giselle.

Symphony in C: Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Georges Bizet, Staged by Victoria Simon and John Taras, Costumes after Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by (Principal) Irina Dvorovenko, (Principal) Maxim Belotserkovsky, (Principal) Nina Ananiashvilli, (Soloist) Carlos Molina, (Soloist) Xiomara Reyes, (Principal) Ethan Stiefel, (Soloist) Michele Wiles, and (Corps) Sascha Radetsky, as well as ten to twelve Corps dancers during each movement. The four movements of Symphony in C, expertly conducted by Ormsby Wilkins, were all bravura creations, causing constant interruptions of applause and vocal appreciation for the perfectly partnered and solo performances. Ms. Ananiashvilli, as always, shone as a brilliant diamond, an emotionally and sensually expressive soloist and partner to Mr. Molina, who handled her with expertly executed lifts and poses, that enabled the audience to appreciate what Ms. Ananiashvilli has brought to the ABT audiences for the past several years. She has been a tremendous asset to ABT, with her porcelain features and fragile, but fortified, persona.

Mr. Belotserkovsky was finally able to joyfully and energetically partner his wife, Ms. Dvorovenko, once again, following last year's hiatus, due to a serious injury. Ms. Dvorovenko presented us with a charming and perfectly balanced performance. Ms. Reyes, stepping in for Soloist, Monique Meunier, touched the audience with practiced and poised technique. Ms. Wiles is an upcoming star of ABT, having beautifully performed a lead role, for which I was in attendance, last summer in Le Corsaire. Mr. Stiefel had superb elevation and form, and Mr. Radetsky, a Corps member, shows promise. The entire Corps, in glowing satin and pearly white, was superbly sparkling and perfectly positioned in each of the four movements, as they inter-changed on and off stage.

Ms. Ananiashvilli was born in Georgia, Russia, and was an ice skating champion as a child. Strangely, her entrance last night was an appearance of a skater in air. Ms. Ananiashvilli's first ABT appearance, in 1993, was in Swan Lake. That event brought the Met Opera House to a roaring Bravo, over and over, in the Black Swan Pas de Deux, partnered with Julio Bocca (Principal). I am fortunate to have attended most of Ms. Ananiashvilli's Swan Lake performances, in addition to most of her other performances, for the past nine years. She has also danced many leading roles in other Repertory and full-length ballets.

Ms. Dvorovenko, born in Kiev, Ukraine, is married to principal, Maxim Belotserkovsky. She was trained in Kiev. She joined ABT in 1996, was promoted to Soloist in 1997, and to Principal in 2000. Mr. Stiefel, from Pennsylvania, formerly danced with the New York City Ballet. He has toured extensively and joined ABT as Principal in 1997. He is a star in the film, Center Stage, choreographed by Susan Stroman. Ms. Reyes, born in Cuba, danced with Cuba's National Ballet and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. She joined ABT as Soloist in 2001. Mr. Molina, from Colombia, also trained in Colombia. He joined ABT as a member of the corps in 1998 and was appointed Soloist in 2001. Ms. Wiles, from Maryland, received training in Washington, DC. She has won many Medals of Honor and Competitions. She joined ABT in 1998 and was appointed Soloist in 2000.

Photos from recent ABT performances

Julie Kent and Angel Corella in "Clear."
PHOTO: Paul Kolnik.

Angel Corella in "Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison."
PHOTO: Marty Sohl.

"Symphony in C"

"Symphony in C"

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