Ballet Monday Ballet: spring season in New York
Article in Sunday's New York Times reviewing the Spring season of the American Ballet Theater. I like the way Alastair writes and will look for future columns by him. Quote:
Such is balletgoing at Ballet Theater. The company keeps showing you that, though it could be great, it has deliberately chosen to fall short.
If you looked for choreography this spring, what did you find? Three of the eight weeks of the season were devoted to “Don Quixote,” “Le Corsaire” and “La Bayadère.” These are, at best, minor and extremely patchy classics whose first-rate choreography wouldn’t fill a single evening if you made an anthology from all three. Another week was “The Merry Widow,” which is a thin evening of forgettable schmaltz best suited to just the kind of Margot Fonteyn-like diva that the company currently lacks. The season’s one premiere, Twyla Tharp’s “Rabbit and Rogue,” was made to share a program with Harald Lander’s “Études,” which is a view of ballet at its most tackily sensationalist and musically repellent.
That leaves “Swan Lake,” “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Giselle.” The great dances for the corps de ballet in “Swan Lake” and “Giselle” are less becoming to these dancers than the “Beauty” ensembles; they’re well drilled, and in “Giselle” the famous unison hops in arabesque win waves of applause, but they don’t take us far into the realm of choral tragedy.
So everything depends on who’s dancing the lead roles. This spring Diana Vishneva had to cancel her every performance. Further injuries during the season felled other principals: I particularly regret that David Hallberg, who was so splendid in “Swan Lake” and admirable in “Beauty,” couldn’t make his “Giselle.” Herman Cornejo made his debuts in both “Beauty” and “Giselle.” Being short, he has had to earn the right to dance the princely roles that Mr. Hallberg seems to have by birthright. At present Mr. Cornejo is somewhat correct and guarded, keener to prove himself royal rather than heroic. But above all he is chivalrous, and his dancing has so many beauties that he more than justifies his arrival in this leading-man repertory. Wonderfully as he jumps, it is a greater pleasure to watch him land and to see the full, soft texture with which those legs arrive, gather themselves and then launch him back into the air.