American Ballet Theatre

A delightful evening at the ABT began with two Balanchine classics (aren’t all of his classics?). First, “Themes and Variations” with lead dancers Gillian Murphy and Andrew Veyette. While Veyette’s dancing was superb, it was hardly matched by his partner, Murphy, whose ballet was acrobatic and precise, but offered little in dance poetry.

The company improved on “Duo Concertant.” This contemporary staging was perfection in simplicity and romance. Staged with an accompanying piano and violin, the dancers and musicians took turns performing interpretations with the music. The dancers brought the music to life in the most sensual way, with little doubt that these two performers were lovers of a lifetime. There was such respect and such romance in the entire performance. It seemed everyone, the musicians and the dancers, were fine listeners, and this contributed significantly to the romantic aura of the piece.

The ABT’s finale, “Gaîté Parisienne, was wonderfully raucous, a tad tawdry in nature, but rich in choreography and expression . There were Can-Can dancers, waiters, nobility, maids, glove sellers, soldiers and dandies all having a ball. While the characters were silly, the choreography was great fun to see, and it expressed the nature of such characters with great verve. Costumes were an absolute smash, wonderfully designed by none other than Christian LaCroix. It was a gay, uplifting close to a lovely evening that left you bounding with energy and joy.

Themes and Variations – Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by P. I. Tchaikovsky
Duo Concertant – Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Igor Stravinsky
Gaite Parisienne – Choreography by Leonide Massine,  Music by Jacques Offenbach, Costumes by Christian LaCroix


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“Gaîté Parisienne ,” American Ballet Theatre

Bernadette Murray

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