Thursday, October 22, 2015

ABT Fall Gala

ABT opened its fall season at the Koch theater yesterday. It was a mixed bill, and my response was also mixed.

The evening started out with Mark Morris' new commission for the company, After You.  I hadn't seen his choreography performed outside of his own company before, and I was curious how it would translate.  I was happy to see that his musicality was clearly evident in this piece, and I quite liked the score (by Johan Nepomuk Hummel).  The piece had a light, fluttering quality, which was nicely accentuated by the loose drapey jumpsuits in gorgeous shades of pink and orange, and a sense of whimsy and joy.  Interestingly enough, my friend complained that she felt there wasn't enough emotional depth to the work.  I loved all the attitude turns in the choreography as well as the beautiful rounded arm shapes.  Perhaps I am biased, but I thought Stella Abrera looked particularly lovely in this piece with her long limbs.

The second work was Frederick Ashton's Monotone I and II.  I was eagerly anticipating this work, as I like Ashton and Erik Satie's music.  Unfortunately, Monotone I, with Stella Abrera, Joseph Gorak and Isabella Boylston, was kind of disappointing.  This ballet is all about sustained adagio movements, which is obviously hard...but this first part showed its difficulty too much, and Abrera and Boylston did not seem well matched for a work that demanded a lot of synchronization.  I also really hated the yellow green color of their skin tight bodysuits.  I did like the partnered arabesque flips here though,

Monotone II was incredibly lovely.  Veronika Part's long lines were so beautiful, and I loved her port de bras.  She was well partnered by Cory Stearns and Thomas Forster.  The music for this part has a lot of personal importance to me, and I was very interested to see the choreography.  I absolutely loved when Part was folded over like a flower en pointe and turned by Stearns and Forster in this position.  There was also a movement where one of them would hold her leg a la seconde up to her ear, and she would duck beneath it with her body which was quite cool.  This portion of the work felt more ethereal and weightless than the first.  Incidentally, I definitely want to see Part dance Swan Lake in the spring Met season...I feel like she is probably a perfect Swan Queen!

The evening ended with Twyla Tharp's Brahms-Haydn Variations, which I felt was the weakest.  It often felt too busy with a lot going on the stage, and there were moments and formations that were downright sloppy.  The dancers were noticeably not together at some points.  I also really got tired of seeing partnered slides en pointe.  Perhaps this is because I feel like this has become really overused in contemporary choreography.  There were admittedly some really nice partnering moments (I especially liked Gillian Murphy and I think James Whiteside?  I don't have my program with me), but overall it felt too "samey."  The music was really good, but the choreography didn't live up to it for me.

Part of the fun of the evening was seeing all the gala attendees in their evening wear!  One of the best images of the evening was peering down from the third ring balcony and seeing all the gowns against the staircase.  Going to check out the society pages to figure out who was there.

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