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American Ballet Theatre - Offenbach in the Underworld, Clear, Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux, Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison
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Presented at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Victor Barbee, Assistant Artistic Director
Elizabeth Harpel Kehler, Executive Director
Ballet Masters , Guillaume Graffin, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova, Georgina Parkinson, Kirk Peterson

Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Farah Lopez, Manager, Press and Marketing

Review by Dr. Robert E. Zlokower
Originally Published on
May 8, 2003

Offenbach in the Underworld : Choreography by Antony Tudor, Music by Jacques Offenbach, Arranged by George Crum, Staged by Donald Mahler, Assisted by Leslie Rotman, Scenery and Costumes by Kay Ambrose, Lighting by Brad Fields, Performed by Olga Dvorovenko, Ashley Ellis, Gennadi Saveliev, Erica Cornejo, Carlos Molina, Irina Dvorovenko, Sascha Radetsky, Monique Meunier, and other Corps dancers, Conducted by David LaMarche. Offenbach is back! And, ABT is back, with Spring Season, 2003. They are in rare form, as always, and what a delight this captivating group of Principals, Soloists, and Corps members was, in the Offenbach piece! (I am no longer identifying ABT dancers as Principals, Soloists, or Corps, as it seems there may have been some promotions, and because so many Soloists and Corps members are so very talented, that their ranking in the company seems irrelevant to the reviews.)

The ABT dancers have a unique capacity for theatricality, and the work enables that skill to be showcased. Irina Dvorovenko and her mother, Olga Dvorovenko, were both splendid as the coquettish Operetta Star and Madame la Patronne. Mr. Saveliev, as the Painter, was exuberant and virtuosic, and Mr. Molina, as His Imperial Excellency, was quintessential Parisian and highly energetic, with pomp and power, bravado and bravura.

Clear : Choreography by Stanton Welch, Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Costume Design by Michael Kors for Celine, Lighting Design by Lisa Pinkham, Performed by Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Ricardo Torres, Gillian Murphy Joaquin De Luz, Carlos Lopez, Craig Salstein, and Gennadi Saveliev, Oboe Soloist: Matthew Dine, Violin Soloist: Ronald Oakland, Conducted by Charles Barker. The champagne was still fizzing, as Bach served as background to this sumptuous feast of mid-stage leaps and spring-like spins, against moments of surprise stillness, with shift in tempo and direction. Mr. Gomes was magnificent tonight, with dynamism and dignity. Ms. Murphy is a superbly talented dancer, and this abstract role suited her sometimes, detached demeanor. This was a work for technicality, not theatricality, and the ABT dancers are uniquely capable of focusing in both motifs.

Diana & Acteon Pas de Deux : Choreography by Agrippina Vaganova, Music by Cesare Pugni, arranged by John Lanchbery, Performed by Paloma Herrera and Jose Manuel Carreño, Conducted by David LaMarche. This work has pure charisma, and so do Ms. Herrera and Mr. Carreño. This is a perfect duo, matched for physicality, technical virtuosity, and personality. They're poised and very aware of their popularity. They please the audience with lightning spins and visual imagery in their partnering that's almost ephemeral. This was a dance that should not end.

Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison : Choreography by David Parsons, Ann Reinking, Natalie Weir, and Stanton Welch, Music and Lyrics by George Harrison, Lighting by Brad Fields, Costumes by Catherine Zuber, Performed by Joaquin De Luz, Gillian Murphy, Marcelo Gomes, Herman Cornejo, Stella Abrera, Isaac Stappas, Kristi Boone, Marian Butler (See ABT Stage Door Candids), Carmen Corella, Maria Riccetto, Melissa Thomas, James Ady, Jamar Goodman, Carlos Lopez, Gennadi Saveliev, Ricardo Torres, Herman Cornejo, and Sarawanee Tanatanit.

Although I was impressed in the fall with Kevin McKenzie's commissioning of the esteemed choreographers, mentioned above, for this most unusual tribute, I was not able to fully appreciate its magnificence, until I saw this performance on the larger, Met Opera House stage, as I did tonight. On this viewing, I focused on the power of the female dancers' long hair, the way it reminded me of the Beatles' hair, of the casual and characteristic manner in which the dancers engage each other in their walks, embraces, lifts, and lunges, soaring over and under and around each other, either in chiffon or blue jeans, with brilliant colors and crisp choreography. This piece grows on me.

Kudos to Mr. Parsons, Mr. Welch, Ms. Reinking, and Ms. Weir. Kudos, once again, to Mr. McKenzie for creating such an eclectic piece for such an eclectic Company!

Irina Dvorovenko as the Operetta Star in Offenbach in the Underworld
Photo courtesy of Marty Sohl

Gillian Murphy in Clear
Photo courtesy of Matt Albani

Joaquin De Luz in Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison.
Photo courtesy of Jack Vartoogian

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at