Stars of the 21st Century
International Ballet Gala
(Stars of the 21st Century Gala Website)
Solomon Tencer, Producer
Nadia Veselova-Tencer, Artistic Director
Jonathan Marder + Company, Press
Kevin P. McAnarney, Press
At David H. Koch Theater
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 18, 2012
It had been over four years since I last saw the Russian impresario, Solomon Tencer’s, Stars of the 21st Century Gala, and its power and style have not diminished. Tonight’s Gala performers, mostly dancing virtuosic pas de deux, are ballet stars in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Mariinsky Theatre (Kirov Ballet), Royal Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Bayerisches Staatsballett Munich, National Opera and Ballet of Ukraine, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. The evening ended, as always, with the Défilé Final, with all dancers leaping and twirling about in improvised fashion, yet carefully and dynamically choreographed by Nadia Veselova-Tencer. I always enjoy these Gala events, knowing that much of the screaming adulation will be for dizzying fouettés, elevated and stretched leaps, ultra romantic lifts, and endless pirouettes. Tonight did not disappoint.
Act I at Koch Theater opened with the Ailey Theater in an excerpt of Judith Jamison’s “Reminiscin’”, danced by Alicia Graf Mack and Jamar Roberts, two of the most riveting performers in the Company. Ms. Mack has long limbs and long curly hair and an attitude that’s mesmerizing. Mr. Roberts moves with quicksilver speed and super muscularity. Maria Shirinkina and Vladimir Shlayrov, of the Kirov, were next, dancing Yuri Smekalov’s “Parting”, to a score by John Powell. It was impassioned and riveting. Sarah Lamb and Eric Underwood, of the Royal, danced a highly stylized and moving pas de deux from Wayne McGregor’s “Limen”, followed by Olga Esina and Eno Peci, from Vienna, dancing a sumptuous pas de deux from Boris Eifman’s “Anna Karenina”, which I have twice seen with the Eifman Company. The Bolshoi was represented in Act I by Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin, in a regal and rapturous pas de deux from Roland Petit’s “Thais”, to the Massenet score.
Next, Elisa Cabrera and Mikhail Kaniskin, from Berlin, danced the engaging and luxurious “Transparente” by Ronald Savkovic, to a Fado Portugués score. Lucia Lacarra and Marlon Dino, from Munich, wowed the enthused and vocal audience with a pas de deux from John Neumeier’s “The Lady of the Camellias”, to a Chopin piano score. This has always been one of my favorite ballets, and the Munich duo was vivacious and stunning in this excerpt. The Bolshoi was represented again here by Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev in Krzysztof Pastor’s “Tristan and Isolde”, dancing powerfully to the vibrant Wagner score. In a full flourish, Act I ended with the “Don Quixote” Pas de Deux, danced by Katerina Chebykina and Denis Matvienko from the Ukraine. We’ve seen Mr. Matvienko at previous galas, and he exudes electrifying bravura, gravity-defying leaps, and elevation.
Act II of this three hour extravaganza opened with a pas de deux from Balanchine’s sharp and exciting “Rubies” to Stravinsky’s percussive score. Sarah Lamb and Eric Underwood, from the Royal, were animated and bold with the requisite running, arm-rolling gestures. Desmond Richardson from his Complexions Ballet danced Dwight Rhoden’s complex and forceful “Moonlight Solo” to a Kemp Harris score, followed by Olga Esina and Eno Peci, from Vienna, in Roland Petit’s “Leda et Le Cygne”, to a Bach score. This exotic and sensual ballet was sensational. The popular “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux” was performed by Maria Shirinkina and Vladimir Shlayrov, from the Kirov, with pulse and perfect timing for its captivating flourishes.
A huge hit was Angelin Preljocaj’s “Le Parc” to a Mozart score, danced by Nadia Saidakova and Vladimir Malakhov, in his final New York appearance. He held onto her kiss as he spun her about en air, seemingly forever, even in the Défilé. Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev, from the Bolshoi, returned in Edwaard Liang’s very elegant “Distant Cries”, danced to music of Albinoni. Elisa Cabrera and Mikhail Kaniskin, of Berlin, returned for Mauro Bigonzetti’s “Caravaggio”, to a Bruno Moretti score, with luscious luminosity, and the Bolshoi’s Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin returned for Victor Gsovski’s “Grand Pas Classique”, to Daniel Auber’s refined music. During the “Défilé”, the crowd cheered wildly. Kudos to all.
Olga Smirnova in
"Grand Pas Classique"
Courtesy of Costas
Le "Défilé Final"
The Full Cast of Dancers
Courtesy of Costas