American Ballet Theatre: Mixed Repertory Program
Our American Ballet Theatre season continued Tuesday night with a mixed repertory program featuring Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, the company premiere of A Month in the Country and Symphony in C. It was a wonderful evening featuring many of ABT’s principal dancers.
The program opened with Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, which featured a solo pianist at center stage. This is a contemporary piece that was created for ABT and had its world premiere in 1988. Twelve dancers, including principals Marcelo Gomes and Hee Seo, were on stage in various combination showing some amazing musicality as the moves fit exactly the varying tempo of the piano. It was beautiful watching these bodies move together.
A Month in the Country had some of my favorites in its premiere cast as it featured Julie Kent, Roberto Bolle and Daniil Simkin. This was the only portion of the evening where there was a plot for the dance. Set in the 1850s at a country house belonging to Yslaev and his wife Natalia along with their family, including son Kolia, teenaged ward Vera and Natalia’s friend Rakitin. Everything is disrupted when Kolia’s tutor, Beliaev, arrives. Soon after, Vera develops a crush on him, which causes Natalia to be overcome with jealousy. Beliaev, in turns, falls for Natalia. Their love is fleeting though as Vera catches them and tells the family of Natalia’s betrayal.
I loved Julie and Roberto dancing in this part of the evening. They were stunning together with great chemistry. Roberto had some gorgeous solo moments as well. I wish Daniil had more to do in the piece as I enjoy his dancing. He did, however, make the most of the moments he had.
While I loved the larger dance movements this piece presented, the overall plot didn’t do much for me (it is “freely adapted” from Ivan Turgenev’s play). I prefer the darker aspects of scorned love, such as in Onegin, than this more light hearted approach to it. As I said though, the dancing was exquisite and made it easy to ignore the plot.
The evening concluded with Symphony in C, a George Balanchine work from 1947. I love seeing Balanchine ballets and this one did not disappoint. As the work went through its four movements, more and more dancers filled the stage in a fantastic explosion of movement. Once again some favorite principal dancers were involved–Paloma Herrera, Cory Stearns, Xiomara Reyes, and Herman Cornejo–were among more than 50 dancers who were involved in the piece. It was a perfect end to the evening.
On Saturday we’re back at the Met for Don Quixote featuring Paloma Herrera and Cory Stearns.