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Miami's Program Four: In the Night, Concerto Barocco,

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MCB's 4th program opens tonight at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale (4 performances, March 13-15), followed by the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach (March 27-29) and the Arsht Center in Miami (April 3-5)

It's another dream program ... for me, at least: fist-rate Robbisn (In the Night) and Balanchine (Concerto Barocco, Symphony in C).

Here's a Link to the company's website:

Program IV

Any thoughts about casting? I've been brooding over the 3 couples for In the Night:

-- dreamy and innocent: ____________ ?

-- a little grand, but unpredictable, too: ____________ ?

-- apassionato and just a little bit over the top: ___________ ?

What do you think? (I have a position open for Rolando Sarabia, but don't know whether he will be dancing.)

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(from Fort Lauderdale, Florida) I don't have any ideas about casting, but here's some characterizations of the three sections, to compare with bart's.

In Repertory in Review: Forty Years of the New York City Ballet, on p. 265, Nancy Reynolds quotes Francisco Moncion, one of the original six dancers, as follows: "Of our part [the third], Jerry definitely said we were having an argument: 'It's one of those on again, off again affairs; they might get together, they come, they go.' The first section is a mood piece. It has birdlike gestures; it floats. The second section is a very elegant polonaise. Jerry has always used lots of lifts, even in the fifties."

While I'm at it, here's a little characterization from him of another ballet on tonight's program, from the same page, in a passage about a Croce interview of Robbins about In the Night in which she asked him whether he had any thought of conveying a continuous dramatic action behind the scenes, which Robbins denied: "If that effect is there, it's there because it's in the music... Think of the second movement of ... Symphony in C. Those girls who come on are certainly coming from somewhere.'"

See how all this looks to you.

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Looking forward to your reviews, Jack and vrs. Please -- EVERYONE who attends: sahre at last a few of your impressions.

While I'm at it, here's a little characterization from him of another ballet on tonight's program, from the same page, in a passage about a Croce interview of Robbins about In the Night in which she asked him whether he had any thought of conveying a continuous dramatic action behind the scenes, which Robbins denied: "If that effect is there, it's there because it's in the music... Think of the second movement of ... Symphony in C. Those girls who come on are certainly coming from somewhere.'"

This is a fascinating point, Jack. In some ballets I really do find myself imaging that the dancing continues once the dancers leave the stage. Or that their dancing began long before they appeared on stage. I will indeed be looking for this in Symphony in C. Thanks.

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because it's in the music... Think of the second movement of ... Symphony in C. Those girls who come on are certainly coming from somewhere.'"

:rofl: Sometimes a few of those girls may have come off from 1st movement, taken a swig of water, a few deep breaths and lined right up again for 2nd movement! :(:wink:

bart, wish I could write a review, but it is just not in me. I am not able to say in writing what I enjoy and what I do not, but put me in the passenger seat of a car while someone else is driving (hum, or in my classroom) and I can talk one's ear off about how I feel about what we had just experienced! :wink:

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(hum, or in my classroom)

...oh yes, I know...especially there...he,he :(

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(from Fort Lauderdale, FL) Even in easy tempos, Concerto Barocco is a rich ballet, and Deanna Seay's lead was rich in dance virtues; Tricia Albertson was the second woman, and Rolando Serabia the porteur. (This afternoon I listened again to the 1932 Menuhin-Enesco-Monteux recording, the best I think I have ever heard, to which I've heard the ballet was choreographed; it's four minutes shorter than the recording MCB uses.) (But fast tempo is not the reason I prefer it; see below, Post #13.)

(A note in the program book tends to perpetuate the myth that one woman corresponds to the first violin, the other to the second; while there is a bit of this in the first movement, as though to get the viewer on track with this piece, whoever originated the idea seems to have fallen asleep by the end of that movement, for the two violins continue to play throughout the second movement, where only the "first" woman dances until very near the end.)

In the Night was very beautifully danced, with special elegance by the second couple, Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerrra, and the music was well played, after a brittle start I thought, by Francisco Renno; but what bothered me years ago still bothers me about this ballet: I can't get what Robbins hears in this music. I don't see much correspondence between what I see and what I hear. There are spectacularly eye-catching moments onstage in places where the music flows on very quietly, for example, a slow sort of aerial somersault by one woman (Tricia Albertson, with Didier Bramaz, in the first couple, IIRC), another (Jeanette Delgado, with Renato Penteado, in the third couple) inverted in a lift with her ankles crossed and one leg quivering.

Symphony in C was led by Mary Carmen Catoya and Penteado, Kronenberg and Guerra, Jeanette Delgado with Alex Wong, and Patricia Delgado with Jeremy Cox. I thought it overall better than the one cast who danced in New York. This was quite a fine evening for performances to savor, even if the Robbins piece didn't completely involve me.

(There's a parallel discussion about Symphony in C's history going on in the Ballets & Choreographers forum: http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...howtopic=15681)

Edited by Jack Reed

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As regulars in this forum know, AD & CEO Edward Villella introduces the program before hand; I caught only the end of his remarks last evening partly because he now intends to speak at 7:00 PM and 1:00 PM for the 8:00 PM and 2:00 PM performances and I arrived later, so those attending who want to hear him, be warned.

I'll try to post his comments on the repertory when I get them, but meanwhile there was some news in the question session which followed:

MCB is planning a 25th Anniversary season "like you cannot believe". They like to have a full-length ballet for Program III, and are hoping to mount John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, to Prokofiev's music.

As for the 24th season, next year, noticing ballroom is "all over TV", they decided it would be a good time for Villella's full-evening The Neighborhood Ballroom. He also hopes to present Theme and Variations [the Balanchine ballet to the long, concluding movement of Tchaikovsky's Third Suite for Orchestra], if certain people recover from injury.

Next year's company looks to be reduced from 57 to 41 dancers, for various reasons including economic conditions, but the company will also extend to the best students in its associated school opportunities "to work with our professional company".

The company's reputation is growing to the point where "we can identify where we go if the fee is big enough", and tours to Chicago (in October) and Vail, Colorado are coming next season.

In answer to a question about different theatres, Villella said theatres differ in ease of relating with the audience, and their different stage sizes mean they differ in how "we relate to each other. We have to walk it, block it, expand or contract" the ballets a little. He held up one hand, representing four dancers, with his fingers close together and then opened them a little.

Will there be live music? "That costs $600,000; if you have $600,000, you can have anything you want."

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This summer, Miami City Ballet will be in Vail for two performances:

1 August: Rep TBA

3 August: Up Close: Edward Villella with Miami City Ballet

This program is described as:

Hosted by festival director Damian Woetzel, this evening will feature full performances and excerpts of Villella's roles in works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, including The Prodigal Son, Rubies, Tarantella, Afternoon of a Faun, Dances at a Gathering and more.

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vrs, I know what you mean about the difference between writing and talking. As one who has heard you talk -- and benefitted from it -- maybe if you just pretend you're conversing and that someone else is taking dictation? :(

Anyhow, nothing says that everyone ought to write a full "review." Often, a few simple thoughts and reactions are the most helpful of all.

Jack: Thanks for starting off for us. You always give me things to look for when Fort L comes before West PB. I'm looking forward to seeing Seay, who has been underutilized recently. Her Dryad Queen made me realize I had missed her. And -- great news about Rolando Sarabia. I just wish he were performing more often, and in more kinds of roles.

Kronenberg and Guerra in the second section of In the Night sounds perfect. And what about Albertson and Didier Bramaz in part one? An unexpected pairing. Bramaz grows and grows and has become one of the most useful, if undersung, members of the company. Maybe he is what Albertson, who always seemed to lack an appropriate partner, needs.

I'll make sure to make all of Villella's talks when MCB comes here in two weeks. You often pick up interesting information in the difference between what he says at one performance and the next. He is especially garrulous and delightful on Saturday nights.

I'm actually looking forward to Cranko's Romeo and Juliet. I prefer it to the Macmillan. And it's better trying to put on another ballet like Don Q -- "after Petipa" set by "anonymous." Can't wait for Jeanette Delgado and .... (who for Romeo?) Any chance of their bringing in Marcia Haydee to set and coach it? I hope, I hope, I hope.

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(from Fort Lauderdale, Florida) It'll take me a while to type up my notes on Villella's introduction to this program, but meanwhile here's a little more news in response to questions before this afternoon's performance:

Next season, Program I will consist of Paul Taylor's Company B and Balanchine's Allegro Brillante,Tchaikovsky pas de deux, and Symphony in Three Movements; Program II, Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15,Valse Fantaisie "in the earlier version, which I think is better", Twyla Tharp's The Golden Section, and concluding with Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; Program III will consist of Villella's The Neighborhood Ballroom, "which I will readdress"; and Program IV will consist of Dances at a Gathering and Balanchine's ballet to Gershwin's music, "Who Cares?"

We have casually thought about going back to New York. There is an invitation on the table. They have to raise monies, and we have to raise monies.

When we can afford an orchestra, we treat each venue equally.

Has there been any help from Obama's recovery plan? We've applied to the National Council for the Arts [the NEA?] for grants to extend dancers' contracts. We've shortened them four weeks, they're subsidizing the company.

It's late, but maybe I can offer some highlights of today's performances:

This afternoon I moved up to row Q from row U last night; could this have accounted for the increased vitality of the whole Barocco? It's so much a corps ballet, and most of the corps was new compared to Friday night.

The second pas de deux of In the Night was Mary Carmen Catoya with Jeremy Cox; not such a beautifully integrated pair as Kronenberg and Guerra last night, with Cox bringing it the somewhat stiff, "correct" persona of his Death figure in La Valse, but Catoya compensating with her easy assurance in showing clearly everything required without etching; her role just comes exactly into existence.

Deanna Seay's first movement of Symphony in C was richly superb, and Rolando Sarabia was everything she needed and more, although with a slight wild edge of his own sometimes; Jennifer Kronenberg's second movement (with Guerra) looked sometimes like a work in progress, which is not a bad thing, especially with someone of her demonstrated dance intelligence, and some of her downstage solo passages were an achieved delight.

This evening I thought Seay's lead in Barocco was immense; she was our true guide to the world of this marvelous ballet.

Catoya opened Symphony in C more expansivey than her possibly tense rendition in New York, and she was well acompanied by Renato Penteado, with his large clarity and finesse. Then came a very fine debut in the second movement by Patricia Delgado, again ably partnered by Rolando Sarabia; among other virtues of a realization that was all of a piece, Delgado managed not to make the "kissing her knee" bit look like a stunt, and the audience took it straight, as it was offered, in contrast to the inappropriate laugh Kronenberg's audience, an inferior one generally I felt, gave her at this point in the afternoon.

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Somehow I posted the above post twice, but now I've deleted the duplicate.

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Night is still young, but before I keep going, I want to second Jack's feelings on tonight's performance. Seay was glorious in Concerto Barocco. Stage presence, beautiful line...the right ballerina look...that's her. Sarabita...well...always the offering , attentive partner. They always make a great couple onstage. Mary Carmen Catoya was a delicate delicious porcelain figurine in the first Mov. of Symphony in C, Patricia Delgado, a first timer in 2nd, was at ease...the penchee couldn't haven more fluid. She danced with Sarabita. Jeanette Delgado...well...nothing I can say enough of my favorite cubanita. She and Wong were THE BOMB! Wong's ballon and jumps are amazing. The guy is going lighter and higher every time. I wonder if he's planning to break gravity rules. More stuff coming up tomorrow.

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(from Fort Lauderdale, Florida) Thanks to Christian for mentioning Jeanette D. and Alex W. Yes, he does just spring right up there -- suddenly he's at altitude, and hangs there an instant, too. I'm sure wires from overhead are not involved -- I've seen this in other kinds of theatre, and the people go up more gradually... (Just kidding.) Quite spectacular. Completely appropriate to this ballet? I can always quibble. Diana and Acteon, though, for sure!

Neither of us mentioned In the Night, which for me was a reprise by Friday night's cast.

Oh, and I may have given the impression (in Post #6) that I like the 1932 Menuhin recording of the Bach because it's fast. No, no! It's because it makes the architecture of the music so clear! Yes, even though the sound is not quite so clear as it can be today. Companies which use recordings might consider this one -- They can now adjust the tempos without affecting the pitch, I understand, speaking of today's technology.

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A report only...

An interesting program indeed, although I cannot say I actually got In The Night. A bit too quirky for my taste. :( The dancing for the most part was good however, I had difficulty with bad line of the lower leg in two of the ladies. With pointe shoes, this stiffness is difficult to accept. Sometimes it could be faulty technique but often it is not enough time or knowledge with coaching. Not being very familiar with the dancers, I cannot say which was the case, but none the less, it was bothersome. R. Sarabia was a beautiful partner, filling the stage with his very expressive back and lightness. While he floated, others seemed to just exist in the space.

While Barocco was lovely, the corps was a bit rough and the soloists were lacking in expressivity. Not a moving performance for me.

Symphony in C was a magnificent display for the talented and well schooled men of Miami City Ballet. Overall the corps was fine, but not particularly moving. They did their jobs. :dry: The female soloists were fine, Kronenburg, in 2nd movement being the stand out. A big flub in 3rd movement by T. Albertson. From the mezzanine it was a little jarring. Again, I had difficulty with the lack of strength and expressivity in her/the back. I did enjoyed A. Wong in the 3rd movement. His lightness and movement quality reminded me of Bill Martin-Viscount in the same role years ago (not at NYCB). Unfortunately Wong and Albertson were not a good pairing. Their very different schooling and movement quality is visible. Where 3rd movement is generally smooth and light, they seemed to fight each other through the entire movement. 4th movement was enjoyable.

Perhaps it was the theatre, but when sitting in the mezzanine it was difficult to hear the music in all three ballets. Barocco and Symphony in C were recordings but In the Night was a piano solo by Francisco Renno'. Having sat in different areas in this theatre, the mezzanine is my least favorite for this reason. :(

It was great to meet Jack Reed and cubanmiamiboy! I wish there had been more time. :wink: Looking forward to next season. :)

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Likewise V.!!! :dry:

I agree with your perception on the uneven quality of the Albertson/Wong duo on S in C 3th Mov. Yesterday his ballerina was Jeanette Delgado...quite a wiser choice. Albertson seems to fade away more and more each time...what a shame. Kronemberg was good in the 2nd Mov., but I liked Patricia better on it. I also missed Catoya on First Mov., even Seay being lovely too. Oh well...just a matter of tuning up my little knowledge on this ballet...(today was my third time ever, and I'm still getting to "know it" more and more, see...? :wink: ). Yes, Sarabita is still the old school charming guy, even being Wong now the jumper of the troupe. V., I wish you could have seen S. back in 1999/2000 when he had recently joined Alonso's Company. (sigh). I really miss the greatest turner I've ever seen in my entire life.

"In the Night" was cute, but I'm not crazy about it.

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(from Coral Gables, Florida) I want to defend Albertson some. It seemed to me (from Row U Center in the Orchestra seats) there was quite a slippery patch down stage center, about the worst place, and she lost her footing a couple of times; I think somebody else had a little slip there too. Nobody actually fell.

But I also found the Delgado sisters inexpressive. I felt that this cast made Barocco "too beautiful", and the other one, led by Seay, was a major event because of her.

Following are my notes on Edward Villella's introductions to Program IV. As usual, the insights and wisdom are his, the mistakes and broken sentences are mine.

We have a well-balanced program for your entertainment and edification. Wow! Have you ever been edified?...

Concerto Barocco: Ladies on their toes mirror each other. Is there a story? No. Are there elements we should know about? Yes... Balanchine's is a mindful art form, not just steps to music.

Out come two more women. The first one represents the first violin, the second one, the second violin. The ballet has structural then sculptural elements: There's an ecclestiastical aspect; the corps raise their arms making a little cathedral, during the pas de deux, built on regard and respect, which is reverent, not romantic... The man lifts and serves the lady. The second movement is a choreographic homage to woman and how she can inspire men.

I remember in the studio one day -- women pick up choreography faster than men -- (applause) You're applauding, I'm crying. (laughter) -- Balanchine told us we're useful: You men, you carry ladies. There are personal relations here, but no plot.

In the Night is made to four Nocturnes. Balanchine likened Dances [at a Gathering], which preceded In the Night, to peanuts and salt: Don't stop.

Three couples portray three aspects of romance, then a fourth movement with them all together. In the first one, heavy romanticism; in the second, a more mature relationship; the third is combative, a little bombastic. They're separate, or maybe each a slice of one relationship.

Symphony in C: Four couples in this one. With so many good dancers, how to get them all on stage? It's classical clarity, crystalline, originally Palais de Cristal, made in two weeks! Astounding!

The first movement is pure, classical, French, contained; bravura, requires solid techniques. The second is a Romantic adagio, pure beauty, hold your breath. What is the meaning of it? What is the meaning of a rose? It's just beautiful. The third movement is energized, people fly around; pyrotechnical. The fourth introduces the finale and recapitulation.

After his remarks, Villella takes questions, and on the 15th, someone asked how the Balanchine Trust determines who can do a ballet? Villella replied that the Trust was a series of people, they tell who they want to do [to set?] the ballet the first time. In some cases there are relationships with different members; I have an established relationship with the Balanchine Trust.

Instead of a question, a man said, "Maestro Villella, congratulations on having such a great company and thank you for bringing your great company here."

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Our school takes our students to the ballet quite often. I am very pleased to report that by all accounts (Director, students and guest choreographer) Saturday evenings performance was fabulous (as already stated by Jack Reed and cubanmiamiboy). When I had seen Symphony in C at the Arsht Center in January (?) and it had been amazing. It is a personal favorite. :ermm: I will gladly be going to Kravitz for round 3 and probably Arsht again for round 4, if my schedule and finances allow. I may be sitting up in the clouds, but this is a very good program. :devil:

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The company arrived at West Palm Beach this past weekend, and I had the chance to observe three performances from different parts of the house.

First of all, the program was a kind of Heaven for me. Along with MCB's Program I this season, I've had the chance to watch a company at the top of its form perform what strikes me as some of the greatest rep in all ballet. I'm still overwhelmed, so here are a few random thoughts:

1) The corps.

In both Balanchine pieces, the corps -- women dressed entirely in white -- stand out against a blue background. Every movement of arm or wrist, every pointing of the foot, every facial expression, is completely visible. No one can hide, dither, or goof off.

I've never seen the MCB corps -- and have rarely seen the NYCB corps -- dance to such a level of near-to-perfection, with so much accuracy, style, and musicality. They were amazing, individually as well as a unit. In the absence of a live orchestra in these performances, it was the corps who provided the most important contact with the music, as well as the visual deisgn. Especially in Barocco, where the principals interact so subtley with the corps, and n so many ways..

I enjoy Villella's practice of integrating soloists with the corps -- as well as allowing certain more experienced corps members to dance solo and even principal roles. It creates a kind of seamlessness of style. I assume it encourages all to dance to the level of the best and most experienced.

Among the corps members I saw in major roles: Kristen D'Addario as one of the leads in Concerto Barocco (with Seay and Rolando Sarabia) -- Jennifer Lauren, dancing with a newly confident Daniel Sarabia as the first couple in In the Night -- Ashley Knox, with Didier Bramaz, as the 4th couple in Symphony in C. Each fit in perfectly -- as to technique, style, and the way they presented themselves on stage. Someone at MCB -- Roma Sosenko? Joan Latham? -- is doing their job with the corps very, very well.

Over the past 8 seasons, I've gotten to know every one of the corps members by name. (No trick to that: I look carefully at the photos in the program.) To me, they are individuals -- which makes their ability to serve the choreography as a community of dancers even more striking.

2) The Men:

The corps men had fewer opportunities: just some demi-solo work in Symphony in C. Everyone belonged on the stage, even in a masterwork like this. Among a few who have developed especially well this year: Michael Sean Breeden, Ezra Hurwitz, and Stephen Satterfield.

As for the leads, this was the program this year to make extensive use of MCB's newish complement of Cuban-trained men.

Rolando Sarabia, who has been missing in action for much of the season, danced in all three ballets. He has a magnetism that hasn't always been justified by his actual dancing. In this program I got a hint of what he can -- and I hope will -- be like as he adapts to the company style and to a very different kind of choreography, musical sensibilitiy, etc. With Deanna Seay, in the first movement of Symphony in C, he finally became a company member and not just a gorgeous exotic. He's now faster, more responsive, more able to stay alive on stage when not actually in the spotlight.

His brother Daniel Sarabia, a soloist, was very impressive dancing with Jennifer Lauren as the first couple in the Robbins piece. Daniel Sarabia has grown tremendously this season, especially in the area of sustaining fast, intricate, sometimes unconventional movement over long stretches of choreography, as demanded by Balanchine but perhaps not by his earlier Cuban training.

Carlos Quenedit, new to the company this season, He seemed to have had an early difficulty fitting in onstage with this company in the earlier programs, especially when asked to dance ensemble roles. This time, however, he performed the slow second movement of In the Night with both Deanne Seay and Partrica Delgado. He's a gifted porteur. As he danced, you could see the tension (possibly nerves?) disappearing from his face and the tighness disappearing from his shoulders. He became a sensitive, responsive, attendant. With Delgado, especially, this was marvellous to see. The P. Delgado/ C. Quenedit partnership is, clearly, a winner -- defintely worth developing.

Jeremy Cox, partnering Catoya in the second nocturne of the Robbins piece, was perhaps the most sensitive and physically rsonsive of the partners. Unlike the Cubans, he maintains a kind of emotional distance from his ballerina. This is unconventional, but the effect is striking. Catoya was supported but, somehow, also alone. I loved it. (And Catoya was marvellous.)

MCB has a plethora of talented partners, so I want to mention Didier Bramaz's elegance (with Ashley Knox in Symphony in C), Yang Zou's incrediblely beautiful lines (with Katia Carranza in part one of the Robbins), and Carlos Guerra, who seems to have found a new ease and pleasure in partnering, especially in the Largo of Symphony in C and also in Barocco, both with his regular partner, Jennifer Kronenberg.

I was looking forward especially to Alex Wong, a brilliant and effervescent mover, in Villella's role in Symphony in C (3rd movement, with the sensational Jeanette Delgado and with Tricia Albertson). Wong had all the spring, the elevation, and the speed. What he didn't have was what I can only call "weight." He's so incredibly light in the air that -- strangely -- had did not have the impact one would have expected. He almost disappeared. The audience, which has responded strongly to a number of his earlier pyrotechnical roles, seemed hardly to notice him. It's very strange.

Much more effective in the Villella role was Renato Penteado, another man who is having a sensational year. Working with Penteado, Albertson was transformed into an entirely different dancer from what she had been with Wong, more lively, more focused. It was astonishing. With Jeanette Delgado as the arguing couple in the Robbins, Penteado was even better.

On a related topic, the company's visit to the Vail Festival this summer should offer quite a lot of opportunities for the men:

Hosted by festival director Damian Woetzel, this evening will feature full performances and excerpts of Villella\\\'s roles in works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, including The Prodigal Son, Rubies, Tarantella, Afternoon of a Faun, Dances at a Gathering and more.

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