ABT’s Fall Season program is diversified, with a nice mix of classics (Company B, The Green Table, Monotones I and II) along with newer works (After You, The Brahms-Haydn Variations). For some reason, attendance seems up substantially from last year in Lincoln Center’s Koch Theatre. The Friday and Saturday evening performances had few empty seats in contrast to last year.
Mark Morris’ After You, which premiered earlier in October is a complex and interesting work featuring numerous trios of dancers in a mix of patterns. Clad in bright-colored attire designed by Isaac Mizrahi to cheerful music by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, the work is serious and entertaining. After the opening ensemble segment with 12 dancers, Morris employs trios of dancers as they come and go throughout the work. Most interesting is when two sets of trios dance as if in isolation on opposing sides of the stage. Movements of the trios vary, with some segments breaking up the trios with males or females only on stage. The steps are generally simple with the work instead focusing on the patterns assembled by the dancers. Stella Abrera and Gillian Murphy were the only principal dancers as they mixed with both corps members and soloists, a very egalitarian work. Rather than a traditional ending with all 12 members on stage, the final segment was quirky and innovative. Several dancers were on stage as the lights suddenly went out and the curtain fell, a thought-provoking ending certainly off the beaten choreography path.
Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo danced Le Sprectre de la rose (Fokine 1911) Friday and Saturday evenings with great delicacy. If there is a better Rose in the world than Herman, I would like to see him (although I heard that Daniil Simkin in the other cast with Cassandra Trenary is also great). Herman flew through the air with high grand jetés, assemblé six, and double assemblés. He was relaxed throughout, never forcing any of the steps in great Nijinsky form. Notable was his double assemblés done in both directions, which is unusual and difficult. A very nice performance punctuated by a great grand jeté out the window after kissing the sleepy The Young Girl.
Paul Taylor’s classic Company B (1991) is a fun piece set to classic songs by The Andrews Sisters. The dancers generally did a nice job with the work, although not entirely comfortable with the Taylor style. Joseph Gorak seemed stiff and upright in his Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B) solo. The steps were there but it lacked some pizzazz and gusto. Arron Scott was fine in the Tico-Tico solo, with a cool demeanor as he cartwheeled and convulsed across the stage. Craig Salstein stood out in a rousing and expressive Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh! dance. Johnny is a nerd, clad in thick glasses. Although the Andrews sisters sing that he is not handsome, he draws the attention of eight women who, at the end, chase him as Johnny makes a quick exit off the stage. Misty Copeland was effective in the Rum and Coca-Cola segment swinging to the Latin beat. Christine Shevchenko and Roman Zhurbin were touching in the sad There Will Never Be Another You dance in which Roman rejects Christine and walks away in the conclusion.
The Green Table featured Roman Zhurbin as Death and Daniil Simkin as The Profiteer Friday. Marcelo Gomes danced the role the previous evening and I can’t make up my mind who was more effective. Roman was powerful in the role as he methodically ended the lives of many in the 1932 World War I inspired work by Kurt Jooss. Daniil was also outstanding as vulture The Profiteer, always on the scene to take advantage of any tragedy. Pianists David LaMarche and Daniel Waite gave the haunting music by F.A. Cohen new life in an energetic rendition.