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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
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School of American Ballet Workshop Performance

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 5, 2004
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

About the Author:

School of American Ballet Workshop Performance


Chairman of Faculty, Peter Martins
Press and Public Relations: Amy Bordy

Conducted by Andrews Sill
at Juilliard Theater
Lincoln Center, NYC, NY

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 5, 2004

(See May 31, 2003 SAB Workshop Review).
(See SAB Tour)

"A students' education at SAB is…completed when he or she is deemed ready to join a professional company…Instead of commencement exercises, these annual spring programs are simply an introduction to the talented dancers of the future…" (SAB Notes).

2004 SAB Workshop performances are dedicated to Nathalie Gleboff, Executive Director Emerita, recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Distinguished Service, in recognition of more than four decades of professional involvement at SAB. (SAB Notes).

2004 Mae L. Wien Awards for Outstanding Promise are awarded to Kaitlyn Gilliland, Tiler Peck, Daniel Applebaum, and William Lin-Lee. (SAB Notes).

Serenade (1934): Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Staged by Suki Schorer, Performed by Kaitlyn Gilliland as Dark Angel, Tiler Peck as Russian Girl, Taryn Wolfe as Waltz Girl, William Lin-Lee as Elegy, Ted Seymour as Waltz Boy, and Jan Burkhard, Olga Krochik, Chantelle Pianetta, Erica Takakjian, and students of SAB. In 1934, just after George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein founded School of American Ballet, Balanchine choreographed Serenade. For each SAB performance of this production since 1974, Suki Schorer created the staging. In 1974, Victor Barbee was cast in Serenade, and in 1994, Maria Kowroski was cast, as well. Since 1973, Suki Schorer has staged one or more ballets for SAB annual Workshops. Ms. Schorer was a member of NYC Ballet from 1959-1972. (SAB Notes).

Suki Schorer has created a professional production in this piece for very talented students. In ethereal light, with long tulle tutus in shades of pale blue, ensembles, solos, and pas de quatres danced in a motif of emotional nurturing and bonding, as one dancer falls faint to the floor, and one male dancer or a group of female dancers reach out through the embrace of dance. With classicism and grace, presence and poise, and often in defiance of gravity, the SAB soloists and corps developed this dream-like ballet with astounding technique. I was constantly amazed at some of the solos, with virtuoso spins, elegant extensions, endless time en pointe, and dramatic effects. For students to exhibit this level of endurance and energy is a credit to their training from SAB and Suki Schorer.

Harlequinade, Ballabile des Enfants (1965): Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Riccardo Drigo, Staged by Garielle Whittle, Performed by Students of SAB as Polichinelles, Harlequins, Pierrettes, Pierrots, and Scaramouches. Garielle Whittle is a member of SAB's faculty since 1987and is NYC Ballet's Children's Ballet Mistress since 1983. She danced with NYC Ballet from 1968 to 1983. (SAB Notes). In a fantasy of frills and frolicking figures, in harlequin style, multi-colored unitards, of masks, of white pantaloons and extra-long sleeves, and of brightly colored, clown-like outfits, the students of SAB once again (See Balanchine 100 Celebration) danced this upbeat, fanciful, and sprightly work. In exhilarating choreography, these young dancers were charming and charismatic. They created wide circles and configurations, with a kaleidoscope of color, to Drigo's driven score.

Le Tombeau de Couperin (1975): Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Maurice Ravel, Staged by Richard Tanner, Performed by Students of SAB in Left Quadrille and Right Quadrille in Four Movements: Prelude, Forlane, Menuet, and Rigaudon. Richard Tanner, an alumnus of SAB, is a NYC Ballet master. He has choreographed and premiered new works at SAB Workshops. (SAB Notes). This more simplified visual imagery, with stark black and white leotards and tights against a blue backdrop, illustrates Balanchine's signature gallops and prances to warm, royal music. It is a fascinating juxtaposition to hear the ever-romantic Ravel amidst the imagery of Left and Right Quadrilles. This Balanchine work is quite effective, as all eyes are on the dance, with the absence of elaborate lighting and costumes. The entire ensemble was buoyant and breathtaking, without solo or partnered figures.

Union Jack (1976): Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Hershy Kay (adapted from traditional British music), Music commissioned by NYC Ballet, Staged by Susan Pilarre, Performed by SAB Students as sailors and Wrens (Women's Royal Navy Service). Susan Pilarre has been a member of SAB faculty since 1986. She performed with NYC Ballet from 1964 to 1980, becoming a soloist. (SAB Notes). As luck had it, I had missed this Balanchine reportorial work at NYC Ballet on numerous occasions and was thrilled to see it today with the youthful exuberance and electrifying leaps and spins demonstrated by this SAB Corps. In black and white sailor costumes, for males and females, as well as in female sailor skirts, the SAB students performed, in rousing fashion, a very spirited ballet that calls for hand flag signaling. In this case, the students spelled the name of George Balanchine, with left and right colorful flag extensions, as a black and white, full-length photo was lowered from the stage ceiling - the renowned photo of Balanchine pointing his hands downwards. Thus, he pointed with pride to his 2004 SAB students in the year of the Balanchine Centennial. This was a phenomenal performance, with not one missed beat or cue, and the SAB students and Susan Pilarre are to be credited.

Kudos to Andrews Sill for conducting the virtuosic SAB Orchestra. Kudos to the sensational SAB dancers, teachers, staging professionals, Peter Martins, and, of course, kudos to Mr. George Balanchine.

2004 SAB Workshop Performances: the "Royal Navy" section of George Balanchine's "Union Jack" was capped by a salute to Mr. B in observance of the 100th anniverary of his birth.
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

2004 SAB Workshop Performances: Kaitlyn Gilliland (standing) and Rachel Piskin in "Serenade".
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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