ABT Fall Season Preview

I look forward to the ABT fall season starting Wednesday; I need to remind myself not to go to City Center, where ABT has performed in the fall for the past 15 or so years. The company will perform at the Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center.

Here is some reading material in preparation for the season:

Roslyn Sulcas of the The New York Times writes about Alex Ratmansky’s “The Tempest”, which has its premier Wednesday. According to the article, the work was popular in the early 19th century and again between 1979 and 1982 with three versions. None of the Tempest versions endured, along with many other Shakespeare works that have not gained traction in the ballet world. Sulcas believes that the lack of success of many Shakespeare ballets is that his work features great language, which is the element left out of a ballet. Ratmansky says in the article that the drama of The Tempest is difficult to translate into dance.


Ormsby Wilkins, Sylvia, June 28, 2013. Click for more photos.

The Huffington Post features ABT conductor Ormsby Wilkins, focusing on his work on The Tempest: “Any time there is a new work based on one of Shakespeare’s plays it reminds us how important he is to western theater, opera, film, and ballet. He is essential to our very understanding of story-telling. For his part, Ratmansky has been a powerful force for reinvigorating the narrative form in classical ballet and this new work will command a lot of attention. It combines the enduring allure of Shakespeare’s ability to conjure theatrical magic with Ratmansky’s innovative use of movement to tell stories and the soaring grandeur of Sibelius’s music. His success so far suggests that Ratmansky’s Tempest will be one of the most significant new works to appear on stage this fall.”

An interesting article in DanceTabs on the revival of Twyla Tharp’s Bach Partita. Tharp created the work for ABT in 1983 and was last performed 28 years ago. The original cast consisted of Cynthia Gregory, Martine van Hamel, Magali Messac (alternating with Cynthia Harvey), Fernando Bujones, Clark Tippet and Robert La Fosse.

“…the ballet mistress, Susan Jones – who assisted Tharp in 1983 – has long had an itch to bring it back. “I first spoke to Twyla about it in the late nineties,” she told me recently. “We were doing Push Comes to Shove in London, and I said to her, ‘Bach Partita is going to be lost.’” Jones also made a case for the revival to the staff at ABT. “I talked with Kevin [McKenzie, ABT’s artistic director] about reviving it from year to year.” But there were reservations; a revival of this scale requires a big investment of time, and time is money. It’s a sprawling piece, with thirty-six dancers – six principals, seven soloist couples, and a corps of sixteen. And the choreography is dizzyingly complex.”

I look forward to seeing Polina Semionova, Gillian Murphy, James Whiteside, Marcelo Gomes, Calvin Royal III, Isabella Boylston, and Joseph Gorak in the lead roles.

Renata Pavam’s photography will be on display in the theatre so check it out during intermissions. Renata was a dancer at ABT.