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Johnson on ABT

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#1 Dale


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Posted 22 May 2003 - 01:57 PM

Bringing this over from the links:


Robert Gottlieb Jr., ahh no, I meant Robert Johnson didn't pull any punches on this one:

"ABT's artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, would do ANYTHING to get a free premiere by Lubovitch, the untalented hack -- even offer an evening to the Greek tourist bureau.  

This season, Ballet Theatre finds itself caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of "Artemis," and its other season premiere, "Hereafter," a hackneyed, neo-primitivist ritual which debuted last Friday in a set resembling an Aztec hamster cage.  

The more McKenzie tries to turn ABT into a contemporary dance company, the more shockingly out of touch the man appears."

What is going on at ABT? I'll researve my comments on Artemis when it reappears for the second mixed bill, but I thought there was something wrong with this season when it was announced and there were more ballets by Welch (3) than by Tudor (1), whom McKenzie calls the concsience of ABT (what does that say about the company?). The company failed to build on the high from last summer's performances of two Ashton ballets with a lackluster City Center season that featured more Welch, more Weir and more Lubovitch. The choreographers used by the Studio Company are often more interesting and more rooted in the vocabulary of ballet than the trio ABT has hitched its wagon.

Yet the company should be on a high - it has great stars and some artists (can the company come up with a choreographer interested in doing a ballet for Ananiashvili), interesting dancers of both sexes - not just the men - and by many accounts the corps de ballet is doing its best work in years.

#2 Calliope


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Posted 22 May 2003 - 02:38 PM

I haven't seen the Artemis yet, but it's the second Artemis/Diana ballet in the rep this season. Who knew you could overkill a goddess!

I think ABT is suffering from the same malady that a lot of other companies are, and that's this crazy notion that you need to keep finding the "next best thing" in order to get a "new" audience in, and what's happening is instead of growing an audience, they're alienating them.

With ABT, I don't mind rep at City Center, the dancers just get lost on the huge stage for me to watch it at the Met. And I used to like the big productions with all those dancers, now I feel like I see the same ones over and over.

I wish they'd realize quality is better than quantity when it comes to the rep. But perhaps ABT is going through a Diamond Project type of a period. Let's hope it doesn't last.

#3 carbro


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Posted 22 May 2003 - 10:29 PM

Well, at least the review was entertaining!

Assuming this account to be reasonably accurate, it recalls the "Selling of ABT" thread. I may have missed it, but scanning the major categories of the "recognition pages" in the Playbill, I see no mention of the Greek government, tourist board or Prince Pavlos. Anyone have a clue? :confused:

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