To American Ballet Theatre: Happy 75th

Marcelo Gomes and Hee Seo in Liam Scarlett's With a Chance of Rain. Photo: Marty Sohl

American Ballet Theatre's fall season begins its 75th anniversary celebration. It’s traditional at anniversary celebrations to raise a glass to the past and speculate optimistically about the future. For American Ballet Theatre, with 80 dancers to be paid (along with the necessary artistic and business-oriented staff members) an excuse for a fund-raising gala is a godsend. Its 2014 and 2015 … [Read more...]

A Ballerina Moves On

Whelan and Tyler Angle in By Two, With and From, by Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky. Photo: Paul Kolnik

Wendy Whelan retires from the New York City Ballet after thirty fertile years. In 2008, Nikolaj Hübbe was leaving his position as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet to become the artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet, where he had gotten his start. At a cocktail reception in his honor thrown at the Danish Consulate, someone asked him which ballerina he would miss … [Read more...]

Cool Breeze from the West

Alejandro Cerrudo's Memory Glow. PNB dancers: Elizabeth Murphy (L), Leah Merchant, and Raphaël Bouchard. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu

Pacific Northewest Ballet performs works by Wheeldon, Cerrudo, and Peck in New York. There are forty-three dancers in Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet. Unless I’ve miscounted, only nineteen appeared in the company’s season at the Joyce Theater, and the most people to appear in any of the three ballets shown was a dozen. Artistic director Peter Boal’s choice of works to bring to New York … [Read more...]

Two by Two by Two

Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild in Liam Scarlett's Funérailles. Photo: Paul Kolnik

Three New Ballets premiere at the New York City Ballet's Gala on September 23, 2014 Fashions change more rapidly than dance styles do, so for the New York City Ballet to structure its Fall gala around the theme of “what’s new?” makes a certain marketing sense. The aura of novelty cloaks all. And the green leaves bedecking the balcony overlooking the Lincoln Center Plaza suggested springtime … [Read more...]

A Cat Can Look at a Queen

Jillian Vanstone as Alice and Guillaume Coté is the Knave of Heats in the opening night cast of Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu

The National Ballet of Canada brings Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Lincoln Center. “What did you like best, dear?” Were I a child who’d been taken to see the National Ballet of Canada perform Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at Lincoln Center, I know what I’d answer: “the Cheshire Cat.” The CC is not just a huge, grinning, tiger-striped … [Read more...]

Footloose and Fancy Free

L to R: Daniel Ulbricht, Tyler Angle, Robert Fairchild in Jerome Robbins's Fancy Free. Photo: Christopher Duggan

New York City Ballet's Daniel Ulbricht brings a cadre of his peers to Jacob's Pillow Touring with a small pick-up company of colleagues drawn from a major ballet company must be akin to masterminding a working vacation with your pals. What will you need in the way of costumes and sets and, since you won’t be able to carry live musicians along, well-made CDs? What will you need to do to … [Read more...]

From Ashes to True Love

Thomas Forster (L) and Kenneth Easter as the stepsisters in Ashton's Cinderella. Photo: Gene Schiavone

American Ballet Theatre mounts Frederick Ashton's Cinderella during its spring season. It’s rare that a dance review starts out with praise for a company’s artistic director, but I need to congratulate Kevin McKenzie. In the last two decades, “his” company, American Ballet Theatre, has commissioned two new ballets based on the tale of Cinderella. (McKenzie himself danced in Mikhail … [Read more...]

Balanchine and Massine at American Ballet Theatre

Sarah Lane and Danil Simkin in George Balanchine's Theme and Variations. Photo: Gene Schiavone

ABT's spring season at the Met offers two Balanchine ballets and one by Massine. In November, 1947, just before a small, stylish company named Ballet Society became the New York City Ballet, its balletmaster, George Balanchine, bestowed a gift on another New York-based company, Ballet Theatre. Theme and Variations, set to the “Theme and Variations” movement from Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3 … [Read more...]

Back in ’64, Movin’ On

Maria Kowroski and Robert Fairchild in Everywhere We Go. Photo: Paul Kolnik

The New York City Ballet honors its theater with a gala and a premiere. On April 24, 1964, I wasn’t sitting in one of the red plush seats shown above, cheering New York City Ballet’s inaugural performance in Lincoln Center’s recently completed New York State Theater. However, occupying a seat in that same theater on May 8, 2014, when the company celebrated its 50th anniversary in the … [Read more...]

Jewels in the City’s Crown

Sara Mearns and Jonathan Stafford in Emeralds. Photo: Paul Kolnik

The New York City Ballet performs Balanchine's Jewels. To see George Balanchine’s 1967 Jewels again at its first performance during the New York City Ballet’s winter season is to be delighted all over again. In choreographing its three separate but united ballets, Balanchine absorbed and brilliantly interpreted three diverse musical styles, the threads of narrative and atmosphere that clung … [Read more...]