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The American Ballet Theatre Stage Door Fans: Sixth Annual Reunion

- Offstage with the Dancers

Three Thai Restaurants
with Exciting, Eclectic Menus!

Yum Yum 3
658 9th Avenue at 46th Street

Yum Yum
650 9th Avenue
Btw. 45th and 46th Streets

Bangkok House
360 West 46th Street
Btw. 8th and 9th Avenues

The American Ballet Theatre Stage Door Fans
Sixth Annual Reunion
(See ABT Stage Door Reunion 2007)
(ABT Website)

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 3, 2008

(Read reviews of all ABT ballets discussed or mentioned in this reunion interview.)

August 3, 2008 at Yum Yum 3, 658 Ninth Avenue at 46th Street, NYC, 212.956.0639, over a delicious Thai Sunday Lunch, of Fried Tofu, Thai Spring Rolls, Thai Crab Rolls, Pad Thai Shrimp, Pad Thai Seafood, Steamed Edamame, Thai Omelets with Scallops and Shrimp, Basil Thai Chicken, Fresh Mango with Sticky Rice, Green Tea Ice Cream, and Drinks; again, a big step up from former ABT Stage Door interviews, huddled within the sweltering stage door garage area. I was once again joined by Marianne Stegeland, Lois Kirschenbaum, Tommy Ng, and Adam Jagusiak.

REZ: Good to see everyone again. I wanted to begin talking about the high points of the ABT Season for all of you. There were a lot of debuts.

Group: Yes, Gillian received coaching from Natalia Makarova for the role of Nikiya in La Bayadère, and she used her upper body in an exotic way. Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo had several debuts, and their Sleeping Beauty was a true highlight, flawless.

REZ: Yes, I reviewed that performance, and Sarah danced with such confidence and charm. Herman looked radiant and robust, too. What did you think of Herman’s role in the new Tharp piece, Rabbit and Rogue?

Group: It was plotless, and some dancers strained muscles in the rehearsals. David Hallberg had a shoulder injury, preparing for this piece.

REZ: Speaking of new works, what did you think of Merry Widow, had not been seen for years?

Group: It’s not real ballet, but ballroom dancing. It’s comedy, feel good dancing, but there was great chemistry between Julie and José. For some reason, not so much chemistry this time with Irina and Maxim.

REZ: Who do you see at their peak at this point?

Group: Gillian is at her technical peak and has improved in her interpretation of roles. Of course, when she dances with Ethan, there’s such chemistry. Nina is retiring, but still dancing with so much energy.

REZ: Let’s think, which ballet will be her Farewell ballet?

Group: We already know, Swan Lake, she told us. But we don’t know where this will be on the Spring Season schedule, middle or last.

REZ: I hope she does another Giselle, another Don Q. And, she danced The Dying Swan out of town, but not for us.

Group: We already asked her to add Dying Swan, and she said she’d ask. It would be a great encore, and she’s already in the swan costume! We’re praying for this.

REZ: What I love about Nina, one of her gestures, is to give a rose to her partner, another if there’s another lead male, then to give one to the Conductor, to throw one into the orchestra pit, so much class.

Group: Yes, ABT ties a colored ribbon on the roses that can be removed, usually one for the principal’s partner, but, for Nina, they tie four ribbons.

REZ: Do you think they’ll bring back Romeo next Season? What else?

Group: Maybe Snow Maiden, Romeo. They brought out Manon when Alessandra Ferri retired, and earlier for Julio Bocca and Alessandra, so maybe something else special for Nina.

REZ: Do they ever do Farewells for soloists, or just principals?

Group: They did a nice party for Ethan Brown, maybe others.

REZ: Is anyone leaving?

Group: Sascha Radetsky left for the Dutch National Ballet. We’re not sure about Veronica Part, and Angel has his Company in Spain, but he seems to be staying. Vladimir Malakhov left, has his Company in Berlin.

REZ: I noticed that Marian Butler was awarded as the Jennifer Alexander Dancer.

Group: Yes, this is an award for an extraordinary, established corps dancer. She really deserves this. And, Julio Bragado-Young is still having surgery.

REZ: Who do you see as “Artists to Watch”?

Group: Cory Stearns, Isabella Boylston, Isaac Stappas, Zhong-Jing Fang, Mikhail Ilyin, Joseph Phillips, Alexandre Hammoudi, Melissa Thomas. And, Kristi Boone has new confidence, Sarah Lane was great, and Yuriko was an excellent Florine.

REZ: I wonder how all the construction affected the fans who wait to see the dancers, at the Stage Door exit, that keeps moving.

Group: One night, security was going crazy, so many fans crowded in a tiny space for Nina and Angel. It was after one of the Giselles. Security warned dancers to find another exit. But, Angel took a look at the crowd and said to Nina, “Ladies first”. They both came out to greet their fans.

REZ: I remember some guest artists, like Marisa Lopez, in La Bayadère. She had such an exquisite profile.

Group: She has exotic features, and she’s very thin, but we don’t know if she was invited to join the Company.

REZ: Nobody mentioned Paloma. I saw her as Nikiya, on a matinee. She had tight little spins that were strong.

Group: She could greet her fans more generously, sometimes abrupt.

REZ: It’s too bad Diana Vishneva was injured so much of the Season.

Group: When Nina replaced Diana in Giselle, Diana came to see her and sat in the front row for support.

REZ: This was a lovely conversation. Thanks for meeting me again, and glad everyone enjoyed the lunch. Have a good August, and see you in October at City Center.

Roberta at Yum Yum 3
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Tommy and Adam at Yum Yum 3
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Marianne at Yum Yum 3
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Lois at Yum Yum 3
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Combination Seafood Pad Thai
Courtesy Of Roberta E. Zlokower

Fried Tofu
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Thai Crab Rolls
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Thai Spring Rolls
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Steamed Edamame
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Thai Omelet with Scallops
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Pad Thai Shrimp
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Chicken with Basil
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Fresh Mango and Sticky Rice
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Green Tea Ice Cream
Courtesy of Tommy Ng

Lois, Roberta, Marianne, Tommy, Adam
Courtesy of Yum Yum 3 Wait Staff

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