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American Ballet Theatre - Symphonie Concertante, Glow-Stop, The Green Table
-Onstage with the Dancers

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Ballet Masters:
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Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
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Review by Dr. Robert E. Zlokower
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
October 25, 2006


Symphonie Concertante (1947): Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Susan Jones, Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Sinfonia Concertante in E Flat Major for Violin and Viola K. 364), Costumes by Theoni V. Aldredge, Lighting by David K. H. Elliott, Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Violinist: Ronald Oakland, Violist: Ronald Carbone, Performed by Michele Wiles, Paloma Herrera, Maxim Beloserkovsky, and the Company. The three movements of Mozart's score relate to the three sections of this ballet. In 1947, at City Center, Maria Tallchief, Tanaquil LeClerq, and Todd Bolender danced the principal roles for the performing Ballet Society. In 1983, Cynthia Gregory, Martine van Hamel, and Patrick Bissell danced the leads for ABT. (ABT Notes).

In Theoni Aldredge's sparking, pale costumes, Michele Wiles, Paloma Herrera, and Maxim Beloserkovsky led the ensemble, consisting of twenty-two soloists and corps women. Mr. Beloserkovsky handled the challenge, as he soloed and partnered the ingénue Ms. Wiles and the ingenious Ms. Herrera. The two women leads are as different as could be, with Ms. Wiles the transparent personality to the opaque Ms. Herrera. Balanchine included symmetrical imagery in his classical choreography, and the featured leads, showcased leads, plus backup corps, shone brightly in the Mozart-infused mélange. Mr. Beloserkovsky was in fine form and elevation, and his two lead partners kept the interest level high. This was quintessential Balanchine buoyancy.


Glow-Stop (World Premiere): Choreography by Jorma Elo, Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Symphony No. 28 in C, 4th Mvmt.) and Philip Glass (Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, 2nd Mvmt.), Costumes by Zack Brown, Lighting by Brad Fields, Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Sarah Lane, Renata Pavam, Kristi Boone, Sarawanee Tanatanit, Sascha Radetsky, Marcelo Gomes, Herman Cornejo, Jared Matthews, Blaine Hoven, Craig Salstein. Jorma Elo, from Finland, was a dancer with Netherlands Dance Theater, Finnish National Ballet, and Cullberg Ballet. He is an internationally known choreographer now and won the 2005 Helsinki International Ballet Competition for choreography. He is Resident Choreographer of Boston Ballet. (ABT Notes)

On this second viewing, I preferred the new cast, perhaps more practiced, perhaps just the chemistry. Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Sarah Lane, et al, were charismatic and mesmerizing throughout, with lightning leaps and thunderous energy. Sascha Radetsky, Herman Cornejo, and Craig Salstein were hormonal dynamos. I was struck by Brad Fields' warm, glowing lighting, and especially noteworthy were Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes', in powerful performances that stopped the show. Barbara Bilach's piano performance textured and defined the Glass portion of the ballet, while Ormsby Wilkins kept the orchestra fluid through contrasting scores.


The Green Table (1932): Choreography by Kurt Jooss, Music by FA Cohen, Costumes by Hein Heckroth, Masks by Hermann Markard, Staging by Anna Markard, Repetiteur: Jeanette Vondersaar, Lighting Re-Created by Kevin Dreyer, Pianists: David LaMarche and Daniel Waite, Performed by David Hallberg, as Death, Patrick Ogle as The Standard Bearer, Jared Matthews as The Young Soldier, Jennifer Alexander as the Young Girl, Carmen Corella as The Woman, Jesus Pastor as The Old Soldier, Marian Butler as The Old Mother, Carlos Lopez as The Profiteer, and the Company as Soldiers, Women, and Gentlemen in Black. This work was influenced by a dance of death and a post-WWI political culture, when it was premiered in Paris in 1932. (Program Notes).

The timing of this 1932 Kurt Jooss antiwar ballet could not have been more suited, as the dancers in masks and tuxedoes, bowing and drinking, around the rectangular green conference table, depict the distance between war profiteers and war victims. World War I never seemed so au moment. David Hallberg, once again as Death, has now perfected the percussive footwork and surreal glare. Hein Heckroth's costumes and Hermann Markard's masks make this ballet re-invention astounding. The various scenes, with war mobilization, profiteering, refugees, and two conferences, are frighteningly real.

Jennifer Alexander, as the young, abused girl, exuded a new vulnerability in her collection of onstage personas. Marian Butler, as The Old Mother was sorrow, personified. Patrick Ogle, carrying the flag, could have flown through last night's television news, and Jared Matthews, as The Young Soldier, was pathos perfected. Carmen Corella, as The Woman, brought character to the dance, and Jesus Pastor as The Old Soldier, with Carlos Lopez, as The Profiteer, added depth and drama to the work. The Company, as Soldiers, Women, and masked Gentleman in Black (included women), exploded with power, sorrow, and arrogance, depending on the role. Amanda Cobb doubled as a Woman and Gentleman. The ABT dancers are extraordinarily versatile.

 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net