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...]

Fairy Tales to the Max

Joan Boada and Maria Kochetkova of the San Francisco Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderalla. Photo: Erik Tomasson

Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella and Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty update classic scores and fairytales. When it comes to fairy tales danced out onstage, the borderline between what’s logical in magic worlds and what gives rise to questions is often blurred. The San Francisco Ballet’s production of Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella at Lincoln Center and the British New Adventures … [Read more...]

Good News from San Francisco

San Francisco Ballet  dancers (L to R) Shane Wuerther, Luke Ingham, and Luke Willis court Sofiane Sylve in Alexei Ratmansky's From Foreign Lands. Photo: Erik Tomasson

The San Francisco Ballet comes to Lincoln Center with two mixed bills of ballets by seven choreographers. The artistic director of a large ballet company must have headaches rather different from those of a Wall Street trader. His (and such directors tend to be male) “stocks” are highly volatile. Helgi Tomasson, who leads the San Francisco Ballet, can make predictions about how ballets by … [Read more...]

All American

Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild in Christopher Wheeldon's A Place for Us. Photo: Paul Kolnik

New York City Ballet, Lincoln Center, April 30 through June 9 In the Spring of 1988, the New York City Ballet put on an American Music Festival. George Balanchine had been dead for five years, and the two Ballet Masters in Chief, Peter Martins and Jerome Robbins, commissioned enough new ballets to keep dancers, guest choreographers, and resident choreographers rushing in and out of the … [Read more...]

Flaming Magic and Goofy Girls

Natalia Osipova in Alexei Ratmansky's new Firebird for ABT. Photo: Gene Schiavone

One of the most surprising things about American Ballet Theatre’s new Firebird is how Russian it isn’t. When Serge Diaghilev commissioned 27-year-old Igor Stravinsky to write his first ballet score, one of the impresario’s continuing aims was to acquaint Paris with Russian music and culture. L’Oiseau de Feu premiered in 1910 with a wandering Tsarevitch as its hero and a magic bird as its … [Read more...]