American Ballet Theatre’s 2009 spring season: cheering

I know, we haven’t even resigned ourselves to winter yet and I’m already drooling over ABT’s spring season, but I just got the schedule, and I thought while you were in the ABT mood–they are currently dancing at City Center–I’d alert you to the glories ahead.

 First, a world premiere by new ABT recruit Alexei Ratmansky to Prokofiev, paired with Balanchine’s early, Expressionist “Prodigal Son” (also to Prokofiev). Then, remember when I was begging for a return of Romantic ballets (click here and scroll down a bit)–to complement “Giselle”? Well, my wish came true! ABT is reviving Bournonville’s mid-19th century “La Sylphide” after an eight-year hiatus, and they’re reprising Ashton’s gorgeous, funny take on an even earlier ballet,
the Classical “Sylvia,” featuring an obscure follower of the goddess Diana. That other goddess Diana, Ms. D. Vishneva, will dance the spunky heroine for the first time this summer. And Gillian Murphy, who has been glorious and funny in the part, will return.

For more salivating, there’s a Tchaikovsky-Balanchine evening, with “Mozartiana,” “Theme and Variations,” and “Allegro Brilliante,” and as for the war horses in regular rotation, they’ve got the best of the lot: “Giselle,” “Swan Lake,” and MacMillan’s “Romeo and Juliet.” (I know this last is considered vulgar, but I love it: it sweeps you into its romance like a movie and holds you there for two hours. And for those who need new leads to entice them, there are many, including Murphy with David Hallberg.) The only ballet I’ll sit out is the kitschy pirate number “Le Corsaire.”

It will be very neat to watch the Romantic “La Sylphide” on the heels of the Romantic “Giselle,” and the immersion in Prokofiev will be wonderful, too.

YAY for ABT, whose strong suit isn’t always its programming.


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