American Ballet Theatre announces new season

American Ballet Theatre announces new Fall season

dancers on stage in high lifts
ABT : Photograph MIRA

Box Office Opens Monday, July 22

The World Premiere of The Tempest by Alexei Ratmansky will highlight American Ballet Theatre’s inaugural Fall season at the David H. Koch Theater, October 30-November 10, 2013.  The Fall 2013 season, announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, will also feature revivals of Bach Partita by Twyla Tharp, Les Sylphides by Michel Fokine, Gong by Mark Morris and Clear by Stanton Welch.

Principal Dancers for the engagement include Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Veronika Part, Xiomara Reyes, Polina Semionova, Hee Seo, Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, Daniil Simkin and Cory Stearns.

Alexei Ratmansky’s The Tempest will serve as the centerpiece of American Ballet Theatre’s opening night Fall Gala benefit on Wednesday evening, October 30 at 6:30p.m.   The program will also include George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, followed by a black-tie dinner dance on the Promenade of the David H. Koch Theater.   Julia Koch, Lauren Santo Domingo and Caryn Zucker will serve as Co-Chairs for the evening.  Honoree Adrienne Arsht will receive the 2013 Melville Straus Leadership Achievement Award. Gala benefit tickets start at $1,500.  For more information, please call 212-477-3030, ext. 3310.

The Tempest, a ballet in one act choreographed by Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky and set to music written for the Shakespeare play by Jean Sibelius, will be given its World Premiere on Wednesday evening, October 30.   Adapted from William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, the ballet will feature sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Robert Wierzel.  Tony Award-winning director Mark Lamos will serve as the production’s dramaturg. The Tempest will be given five performances at the David H. Koch Theater.

American Ballet Theatre’s 2013 Fall season will feature the Revival Premieres of Michel Fokine’s Les Sylphides, Twyla Tharp’s Bach Partita and Mark Morris’ Gong on Friday evening, November 1. Set to music by Frédéric Chopin, Les Sylphides, a one act plotless work, was given its Company Premiere at Ballet Theatre’s inaugural performance on January 11, 1940 at the Center Theatre in New York City.  The ballet received its first performance at the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg on March 8, 1908. Les Sylphides, which features scenery by Alexandre Benois and lighting by David K.H. Elliott, was last performed by ABT in 2005. Staged for ABT by Susan Jones, the ballet will be given four performances during the Fall season.

Set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor for solo violin, Twyla Tharp’s Bach Partita features costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Jennifer Tipton.  The work received its World Premiere by ABT in 1983 at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. danced by Cynthia Gregory, Martine van Hamel, Magali Messac, Fernando Bujones, Clark Tippet and Robert La Fosse.  Last performed by ABT in 1985, Bach Partita will be given four performances at the David H. Koch Theater.
Mark Morris’ Gong, last performed by ABT in 2005, is to music by Colin McPhee (Tabuh-Tabuhan) and features costumes by Isaac Mizrahi and lighting by Michael Chybowski.  It received its World Premiere by ABT in 2001. Gong, staged for ABT by Tina Fehlandt, will be given four performances at the David H. Koch Theater.

Stanton Welch’s Clear, set to Bach violin concertos, will receive its Revival Premiere at the matinee on November 2.  Created for American Ballet Theatre in 2001, Clear has costumes by Michael Kors for Céline and lighting by Lisa Pinkham.  The ballet, which will have four performances at the Koch Theater, was last performed by ABT in 2007.

American Ballet Theatre’s 2013 Fall season at the David H. Koch Theater will also include performances of George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Alexei Ratmansky’s Piano Concerto #1, which premiered during ABT’s 2013 Spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane and Frederick Ashton’s A Month in the Country.

Tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s 2013 Fall season at the David H. Koch Theater start at $20 and go on sale Monday, July 22 at the Koch Theater box office or by phone at 212-496-0600.  For more information or to order online, please visit ABT’s website.

American Airlines is the Official Airline of American Ballet Theatre.  Northern Trust is the Leading Corporate Sponsor of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre.  ABT is supported, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

David H. Koch is the Lead Underwriter of The Tempest. This production is generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.  Arlene and Harvey Blau and an anonymous donor are Leading Sponsors. Mary Jo and Ted Shen are Sponsors. Additional support has also been generously provided by Michael and Sue Steinberg.

David H. Koch is the Lead Underwriter of Piano Concerto #1. This production is generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.  The Susan and Leonard Feinstein Foundation is the Premier Sponsor, and Linda Allard is the Premier Sponsor of costumes for this production. Mary Jo and Ted Shen, Mrs. Marjorie S. Isaac, and an anonymous donor are Leading Sponsors.  Edward and Caroline Hyman, Charlotte and Macdonald Mathey, Michele and Steven Pesner, and Michael and Sue Steinberg are Sponsors.  Additional support has also been generously provided by Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton E. James, Andrew J. Martin-Weber, and Howard S. Paley. This production has been made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Piano Concerto #1 is co-commissioned by American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet.

Bach Partita is made possible by the generous support of the JCT Foundation and Leading Underwriters Patsy and Jeff Tarr.
Clear is generously supported through an endowed gift from Cosby W. and Timothy M. George.

Les Sylphides has been made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Costumes for Les Sylphides are generously sponsored through the Ellen Everett Kimiatek Costume Preservation Trust.

ABT gratefully thanks Beverly D’Anne for her generous support of the Company’s 2013 performances of A Month in the Country.
ABT gratefully acknowledges Mr. and Mrs. John C. Sites, Jr. for their generous support of Theme and Variations through both an endowed gift and an additional special gift for costumes in 2013.

Ballet NEWS | Homage to Nureyev

Homage to Nureyev
London Coliseum
March 21st 2010

Erina Takahashi and Dmitri Gruzdyev in the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake
Photography throughout :  Tim Cross

I’ve never seen Rudolph Hametovich Nureyev dance live. But I felt his compelling presence in every corner of the stage this evening, which is surely the aim in paying homage to him. I’m not a fan of the gala format – any gala – I think it needs updating so that you don’t get to the end feeling that you’ve had enough, and you definitely don’t want an already long gala to over-run by forty minutes or so. Fine if you’ve got a limo waiting in line outside; not so great if you need to catch a train or a bus on a Sunday night.

Homage to Nureyev

Nureyev came relatively late to ballet – though he knew he wanted to be on stage from the age of seven, it wasn’t until he was seventeen that he won a scholarship to the Vaganova School. Claiming asylum at twenty three, it wasn’t long before he was dancing in London and went on to form one of ballets most famous partnerships with Margot Fonteyn, who was forty two when they danced Giselle.

Olga Esenia and Inaki Urlezaga in the pas de deux from Don Quixote

Most people say that Nureyev was generous with his knowledge and a great teacher, despite his relative youth and late start in ballet. Mark Twain said “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can be great”. Nureyev made others feel great; that is the gift of his talent and that is why he is still revered today.

Homage to Nureyev

The Moor’s Pavane

The Moor’s Pavane, loosely based on Othello, tells the story of a Moor, his wife and another couple. Danced to perfection in stunning costumes, especially the bright orange dress and the sleeves of the white dress, by Farukh Ruzimatov, Irina Perren, Vera Arbuzova and Alexander Omar. Very stylised with little jerks and very adagio in speed, it set the mood for the evening.

Olga Enisa dances Kitri’s variation from the Don Quixote pas de deux

Tristan and Isolde was amazing; one of the two highlights of the evening. The dancers, Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev seemed to be made from water, so fluid and beautifully soft were their movements. Wagner’s music and Krzysztof Pastor’s choreography melted together to form a dance of exquisite beauty and refinement.

Homage to Nureyev

The Black Swan pas de deux is standard gala fare, included here because Nureyev danced Siegfried so many times in his career and created three productions of his own. One of his great gifts to ballet was his arrival in the West with the entire ballerina variations in his head – such was his memory. Danced tonight by English National Ballet’s Erina Takahashi and Dmitri Gruzdyev it demonstrated just why those 32 fouttés are such a challenge.
Erina Takahashi and Dmitri Gruzdyev in the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake

Gil Roman, who shares a likeness to Nureyev, danced Adagietto choreographed by Maurice Béjart. Nureyev worked with Béjart many times and shared his passion for theatre. The piece is based on La Muette (The Mute).

Homage to Nureyev

Roberta Marquez and David Makhateli in Manon

The Bedroom pas de deux from Manon is another gala favourite. I’m not sure it fares so well out of context, and the missing bed didn’t help to set the mood set by these two lovers (in the ballet). The Royal Ballet’s Roberta Marquez and David Makhateli (also Artistic Adviser for this gala) danced full out – perhaps a little too much as they got so close to the table by the end that Marquez was slightly thumped to the floor by Makhateli, which surely isn’t the mood the characters are trying to create.

Roberta Marquez and David Makhateli in Manon

Quite a strange choice – Russkaya – with such familiar music out of place (more usually the Russian dance from Act 111 of Swan Lake), danced by Ulyana Lopatkina in a brightly coloured folk inspired costume which in fact proved to be a perky little number rarely seen in the West.

A Picture Of… danced by Manuel Legris, was an exceptionally difficult solo performed exceptionally well. Easy to see why Legris was picked out by Nureyev at the Paris Opera Ballet (Nureyev took over directorship of the company in 1983).

Homage to Nureyev

Ivan Putrov, Mara Galeazzi and Edward Watson in Pierrot Lunaire

The beginning of the second half had me reaching for my ear defenders. I had come prepared, knowing that the challenge that is Pierrot Lunaire was on the bill. You either love it or hate it. Nureyev was captured on a short film in the role, and it’s one that Royal Ballet Principal Ivan Putrov really can call his own. I’ve seen him dance it many times (yes, each time with ear defenders) and he told me that the music is difficult to dance to. Accompanied by the sublime Mara Galeazzi in a mad red wig and Edward Watson, the trio duly climbed the scaffolding to the screechy ‘Sprechgesang’ (spoken song) until eventually the curtain came down.

Elegy, danced by Olga Esina and Vladimir Shishov with music by Rachmaninov was created for the dancers performing it tonight. It premiered at the Rudolph Nureyev International Festival in Kazan (Nureyev gave the festival its name and Kazan is his Mother’s homeland). Elegy was inspired by Nureyev’s meeting with Fonteyn.

Marianela Nunez and David Makhateli in Odette’s pas de deux from Swan Lake

We were due to see the Diana and Actaeon pas de deux from La Esmerelda, a mouth-watering prospect even though it too is standard gala fare, with Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares. Soares, however, was indisposed, which left Nunez partnered by Makhateli in another scene from Swan Lake – not the most inspired choice perhaps but circumstances are what they are and Nunez danced Odette’s variation as she always does – with soulful expression. Makhateli was the perfect Prince, blending into the background and partnering the starry Nunez very well.

Homage to Nureyev

So to the other gem of the night, a piece called Trois Gnossiennes and danced beautifully by Ulyana Lopatkina and Ivan Kozlov. Theirs was a stunning partnership to choreography by Hans Van Manen, whose work Nureyev had admired.

Nina Kapstova and Dmitry Gudanov in Afternoon of a Faun

Why include Afternoon of a Faun in a gala ? It doesn’t present an obvious section from which to choose an excerpt, and it suffers from being shown out of context. Nina Kapstova did her best, but Dmitry Gudanov seemed far more at ease with himself than with her (perhaps the whole point !) and overall the piece seemed far more ‘precious’ than I have seen it performed anywhere else. Presumably it’s included because Nureyev danced the role with The Royal Ballet in 1972, but I think it could have been left out.

Homage to Nureyev

Who wouldn’t want to see Alina Cojocaru dancing ? The pas de deux from Coppelia suits her sunny disposition and wonderful technique and with Sergei Polunin and his plushy jumps and rock-solid partnering(replacing the indisposed Johan Kobborg) the pair fairly romped their way through their variations. I have to say that by this stage, the gala was beginning to over-run, partly because of the inclusion of several (very interesting) film clips and footage of Nureyev (not listed in the programme), which meant that some of the audience started leaving, and carried on doing so for the rest of the gala.
Alina Cojocaru and Sergei Polunin in Coppelia

Such a shame, as they would have missed Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev in Black, the most modern piece of the night created by La Scala dancer Francesco Ventiglia. Both were pin sharp and the partnering was exemplary, beginning with a black stage and two white spots which merged together.

Homage to Nureyev

How to end a gala and send everyone home happy ? Don Quixote anyone ? Again, standard gala fare but a real audience pleaser for those remaining (we are now 30 minutes over-running). For Nureyev, the role of Basilio gave him the chance to show off his comic timing as well as his virtuosity, and Olga Esina and Inaki Urlezaga showed just how technical it is in the pas de deux.
Svetlana Zakharova and Andrei Merkuriev in Black

There are hopes that this evening will forge the way for future joint cultural projects between Britain and Tatarstan, and on this showing, there is plenty more good work to be seen here, especially as the gala was sold out. Fitting then, that Nureyev
can still fill a theatre.

Ballet NEWS | Nureyev Gala – programme details

BREAKING BALLET NEWS – Johan Kobborg, who is injured, is replaced by Sergei Polunin

If you are attending the Gala tomorrow night in tribute to Nureyev, here is the programme for the evening :

Photograph :  Frederika Davis


Farukh Ruzimatov, Irina Perren, Vera Arbuzova, Alexander Omar
Music: Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Choreography: Jose Limon (1908-1972)

Svetlana Zakharova, Andrei Merkuriev
Music: Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Choreography: Krzysztof Pastor (b.1956)

Black Swan pas de deux
Erini Takahashi, Dmirti Gruzdyev
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Choreography: Marius Petipa (1818-1910)

from La Muette
Gil Roman
Music: Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) (5th Symphony)
Choreography: Maurice Bejart (1927-2007)

bedroom pas de deux
Roberta Marquez, David Makhateli
Music: Jules Massenet (1842-1912)
Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan (1929-1992)

Ulyana Lopatkina
Music: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Choreography: Kasian Goleizovsky (1892-1970)

The Picture of…
Manuel Legris
Music: Henry Purcell (1659-1895)
Choreography: Patrick de Bana (b.1968)


3rd movement
Ivan Putrov, Mara Galeazzi, Edward Watson
Music: Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Choreography: Glen Tetley (b.1926)

Olga Esina, Vladimir Shishov
Music: Sergey Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Choreography: Vakil Usmanov (b.1948)

pas de deux from La Esmeralda
Marianela Nunez, Thiago Soares
Music: Riccardo Drigo (1846-1930)
Choreography: Agrippina Vaganova (1879-1951)

Uliana Lopatkina, Ivan Kozlov
Music: Erik Satie (1866-1925)
Choreography: Hans van Manen (b.1932)

Nina Kaptsova – Dmitri Gudanov
Music: Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Choreography: Jerome Robbins (1918-1998)

pas de deux
Alina Cojocaru, Johan Kobborg
Music: Leo Delibes (1836-1891)
Choreography: Ninette de Valois (1898-2001)

Svetlana Zakharova, Andrei Merkuriev
Music: Rene Aubry (b.1956)
Choreography: Francesco Ventriglia (b.1978)

pas de deux
Olga Esina, Inaki Urlezaga
Music: Ludwig Minkus (1826-1917)
Choreography: Marius Petipa (1818-1910)


If you don’t yet have a ticket, please contact the Coliseum box office for further information.

Photographs from the performance along my review will be here soon afterwards.