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ABT Announces Return to City Center

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Official release:

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE RETURNS TO NEW YORK CITY CENTER, NOVEMBER 8 – 13, 2011

New York City Premiere of New Work by Demis Volpi and Revivals of

Merce Cunningham's Duets, Paul Taylor's Black Tuesday and

Martha Clarke's The Garden of Villandry to Highlight Season

Season to Feature 25th Anniversary Performances of

Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room

American Ballet Theatre will present eight performances of new work, revivals and repertory at New York City Center, November 8 – 13, it was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

American Ballet Theatre's return to New York City Center will be highlighted by the New York City Premiere of a new work choreographed by Demis Volpi and major revivals of Merce Cunningham's Duets in honor of the late choreographer, Paul Taylor's Black Tuesday and Martha Clarke's Garden of Villandry. The season will also celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room.

An Opening Night Gala on Tuesday evening, November 8, will include the Premiere of a new ballet by Stuttgart Ballet member Demis Volpi, Martha Clarke's Garden of Villandry and Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room. The program will also feature Tharp's Sinatra Suite, a suite of dances from Nine Sinatra Songs, set to classic songs by Frank Sinatra with costumes by Oscar de la Renta. American Ballet Theatre's New York City Center 2011 Opening Night Gala performance will be followed by a benefit dinner at The Plaza Hotel. For more information on ABT's Gala Benefit, please call the Special Events office on 212-477-3030 ext. 3311.

NEW YORK CITY PREMIERE

American Ballet Theatre's 2011 New York City Center season features the New York City Premiere of a new work by Demis Volpi. A dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet, Volpi won the Erik Bruhn Prize for Best Choreography in 2011. He began his training in his native Argentina before studying at the National Ballet School of Canada and the John Cranko School in Stuttgart. He joined Stuttgart Ballet as an apprentice in 2004 and became a member of the company's corps de ballet the following year. He began choreographing in 2006 for the Noverre Society's "Young Choreographers" program at the State Theater Stuttgart and has been commissioned to choreograph for the Stuttgart Ballet and the State Opera Stuttgart. The new work, which will have four performances at New York City Center, will be given its World Premiere at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, on Saturday, November 5, 2011.

REVIVALS

American Ballet Theatre will pay tribute to the late Merce Cunningham with four performances of his Duets at New York City Center. An exploration of the duet form set to music by John Cage, the ballet features six couples each in their own style and distinctive movement signature. Last performed by ABT in 1990, Duets will be given its Revival Premiere at The Fisher Center at Bard College on Friday, November 4, 2011. With design and lighting by Mark Lancaster, the ballet was created for Cunningham's own company in 1980 and was first performed by ABT at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1982.

Paul Taylor's Black Tuesday, an homage to 1930's America, is set to songs from the Great Depression including "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime." The ballet for 14 dancers was given its World Premiere by American Ballet Theatre at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. in April 2001 and was last performed by ABT later that year. Staged for ABT by Andy LeBeau, Black Tuesday features sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. The Revival Premiere of Black Tuesday is scheduled for Saturday,

November 4, 2011 at The Fisher Center at Bard College. The ballet will be given four performances by ABT during the New York City Center season.

First performed by Crowsnest dance company in Paris in 1979, The Garden of Villandry was choreographed by former Pilobolus Dance Theatre members Martha Clarke and Robert Barnett, along with their fellow Crownest co-founder Felix Blaska. The trio for two men and a woman is set to music by Franz Schubert and has costumes by Jane Greenwood and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. Last performed by American Ballet Theatre in 2002, The Garden of Villandry will receive its Revival Premiere on Friday, November 4, 2011 at Bard College and will have four performances at New York City Center.

RETURNING REPERTORY

American Ballet Theatre will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Twyla Tharp's

In the Upper Room with four performances of the ballet at New York City Center. A ballet for 13 dancers, In the Upper Room is set to music by Phillip Glass and features costumes by Norma Kamali and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. In the Upper Room was given its world premiere by Twyla Tharp Dance at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois on August 28, 1986. The ballet received its Company Premiere in 1988 and was last performed by ABT in 2007.

The pas de deux from Tharp's Known by Heart will also be given three performances during the New York City Center season. Choreographed for ABT in 1998, Known by Heart features costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. The pas de deux is set to selections from Donald Knaack's "Junk Music."

Alexei Ratmansky's Seven Sonatas, set to "Keyboard Sonatas" by Domenico Scarlatti, will return to the repertory for four performances at New York City Center. The former artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Ratmansky was named American Ballet Theatre's Artist in Residence in January 2009. Seven Sonatas features six dancers in a series of solos, duets and group dances with costumes by Holly Hynes and lighting by Brad Fields. The ballet was given its World Premiere by ABT at Bard College in October 2009 and was performed in New York City for the first time later that month at Avery Fisher Hall.

Set to songs by the Andrews Sisters, Paul Taylor's Company B will have three performances at New York City Center. The ballet was created for the Paul Taylor Dance Company and received its World Premiere in 1991. Staged for ABT by Patrick Corbin, Company B features costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. The ballet was first performed by ABT in 2008. Black Tuesday and Company B are generously supported by a gift from Marjorie S. Isaac in honor of ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. Major funding for Black Tuesday has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Seven Sonatas is generously supported through an endowed gift from the Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund. Additional support has been generously provided by Leila and Mickey Straus. Duets is generously supported by a gift from Victoria Phillips Geduld.

The Demis Volpi World Premiere is generously supported through an endowed gift from the Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund. Additional support is generously made possible by the Frederic and Robin Seegal Fund for Emerging Choreographers.

American Airlines is the Official Airline of American Ballet Theatre. Northern Trust is the Leading Corporate Sponsor of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. J.P. Morgan is the Official Sponsor of Make a Ballet. The 2011 New York City Center Season is also made possible with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Tickets for American Ballet Theatre's Fall 2011 Season at New York City Center, priced from $25, go on sale by phone at 212-581-1212 and on online at www.nycitycenter.org on July 25. The City Center Box Office will open for sales on September 6. For more information, please visit ABT's website at www.abt.org.

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This sounds as if they might be doing a short stint at Bard too like they did several years ago. Anyone know if this is confirmed?

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To my way of thinking a rather disappointing rep. I guess I'll have to see what the individual programs actually are. ABT doesn't do Cunningham as well as the Cunningham Co. it doesn't do Paul Taylor as well as the Taylor Co.

What's the ABT identity - story ballets at the Met and ballets best done by other companies at City Center?

Sorry, I'm being totally grumpy. ABT's rep is as inexplicable as NYCB's new pricing.

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I was hoping for a similar program to the one ABT did at Kennedy Center, with Lilac Garden and Theme & Variations. The rep they will be doing is disappointing and not very enticing for the most part.

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What a baffling repertory. Are they trying to become America's foremost modern dance repertory company? And no Tudor??

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Knowing the heartbreak from across the plaza, seems like a lost opportunity.

If they scheduled Balanchine/Robbins programs they would sell out every performance.

Plus everyone wants to see the refurbished City Center.

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Wow, this has to be one of THE-Least-Attractive-Rep-Seasons-EVAH! I'm guessing that it's being underwritten by a Tharp-loving foundation of some sort (or special NEA grant geared towards Tharp/modern) & will likely utilize a third of the company.

Definitely saving money on this one.

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What a baffling repertory. Are they trying to become America's foremost modern dance repertory company? And no Tudor??

Baffling? Stupifying is more like it! What a blown opportunity to welcome ABT back to City Center with a rep of almost no consequence. OK, "Upper Room" never fails to electrify and "Seven Sonatas" is a lovely work. But they did dance it already at City Center at their last season there. "Sinatra Suite" is a total throw away. Why only do the "junk pas" from "Known By Heart"? In it's totality, it's a wonderful work. The male duet alone is worth the price of admission and a tour de force for two great male dancers! Both of the Taylor pieces are better danced by the Taylor company. (and Taylor just did "Black Tuesday last Spring) . "Duets"? With Cunningham closing shop, is this the way we will now see his work? Can ABT even do his style? "Garden of Vallandry"? Do I remember correctly? Is this the one with the nudity? Oh yummy! Volpi? Maybe he's the next dance genius! I needn't even list or mention the many choreographers and their works that are missing from this rep. We all know who and what they are and what they represent to ABT. What a shame! But one thing I did notice about this rep is that outside of "Seven Sonatas", which is performed on one grand piano, none of the works needs an orchestra! Mmmm? The wave of the future? So sad!

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Wow, this has to be one of THE-Least-Attractive-Rep-Seasons-EVAH! I'm guessing that it's being underwritten by some a Tharp-loving foundation of some sort (or special NEA grant geared towards Tharp/modern) & will likely utilize a third of the company.

Definitely saving money on this one.

DITTO :smilie_mondieu: For those who can't resist, there should be lots of TDF discounts around.

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Not only did ABT recently dance Upper Room at City Center, but I'm recollecting that Miami City Ballet also performed it at City Center a few years ago too. How much of this ballet do we really need?

Also, do we really need to see Company B again? They did it last season at the Met, I believe. They also did it at their last City Center season. I've had my fill of Company B.

I remember Susan Jaffe and Steifel doing Junk pdd at the premiere, and it was great. The role perfectly suited Steifel. (I don't like the entire ballet, just the Junk Duet.) A few years ago I saw Irina and Max do the Junk Duet at a gala. They were woefully miscast. If I decide to go once to see this, I will certainly wait for the casting.

Speaking of casting, they have not published any info on which principals will be participating in this engagement. Will we be losing Gillian to New Zealand for the fall and for Nutcracker season?

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Mimsyb wrote:

But one thing I did notice about this rep is that outside of "Seven Sonatas", which is performed on one grand piano, none of the works needs an orchestra!

Bingo! Gee, this gets more "exciting" as it goes along.

Now let's see if City Center dares to market this with a poster of a ballerina in a classical tutu, just to rake in the stray tourist dollars. They may end up adding some Nutcracker or Swan Lake pdd's just to bolster sales.

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Speaking of casting, they have not published any info on which principals will be participating in this engagement. Will we be losing Gillian to New Zealand for the fall and for Nutcracker season?

Not to be offtopic, but has there been anything to indicate she was going to cut down her ABT committment significantly or was this just due to the rampant hypothesizing regarding Stiefel's new engagement that has been going on here?

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Not to be offtopic, but has there been anything to indicate she was going to cut down her ABT committment significantly or was this just due to the rampant hypothesizing regarding Stiefel's new engagement that has been going on here?

It isn't a hypothesis. Steifel has already talked about the fact that Murphy will appear in New Zealand in the press. See, for example, the following link

http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/arts/4288734/NZ-Ballet-secures-rock-star-pair

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What's the ABT identity - story ballets at the Met and ballets best done by other companies at City Center?

It would appear that Kevin McKenzie's formula is as follows:

The worst of the Lucia Chase directorship (shaky productions of the classics bolstered by a floodtide of guest stars)

+

The worst of the Mikhail Baryshnikov directorship (ABT as postmodern, downtown New York dance company)

+

The worst of the Peter Martins directorship at City Ballet (new ballet after new ballet by the latest "hot" choreographer of the moment)

I'll say it if no one else will: Maybe it's time for a change at the top as the artistic director seems to be completely devoid of interesting ideas.

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I've been thinking about this some so I went back and read an interview our very own Alexandra conducted with Ib Andersen in 1997. The key extract:

AT: I would also think people would lose their technique, if these [modern dance] works dominate a repertory.

IA: Yes. As a dancer, you feel, 'Why are you in class, if that's what you're going to do?' I mean, take an aerobics class.

I don't agree with the aerobics class jab but the point remains.

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What's the ABT identity - story ballets at the Met and ballets best done by other companies at City Center?

It would appear that Kevin McKenzie's formula is as follows:

The worst of the Lucia Chase directorship (shaky productions of the classics bolstered by a floodtide of guest stars)

+

The worst of the Mikhail Baryshnikov directorship (ABT as postmodern, downtown New York dance company)

+

The worst of the Peter Martins directorship at City Ballet (new ballet after new ballet by the latest "hot" choreographer of the moment)

I'll say it if no one else will: Maybe it's time for a change at the top as the artistic director seems to be completely devoid of interesting ideas.

I'm afraid I agree with you milosr. I don't know what the problems facing McKensie are, but he seems to have no identity as an AD. I'm not really sure what he likes aside from flashy male dancers. Maybe he is a great money raiser.

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Whom would you (or anyone else with an idea) suggest to take his place?

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Whom would you (or anyone else with an idea) suggest to take his place?

Wickedly crazy thought - Suzanne Farrell. :FIREdevil:

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ABT is not supposed to be a clone of NYCB.

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Whom would you (or anyone else with an idea) suggest to take his place?

Ratmansky, for starters. (He may not want the hassle, however.)

If not him, then how about Bruce Sansom? (ABT doesn't have to be as stupid as the Royal was.)

If you really wanted to knock the old warhorse on its rear end, how about Sylvie Guillem?

Suzanne Farrell would be funny in a 'two middle fingers up towards Peter Martins' kind of way. Maybe she could hire Sophie Flack as Assistant AD! :wink:

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Totally agree. Kevin is out of energy and ideas. No new star dancers are being cultivated, perhaps because of his reliance on international superstars. If only Ratmansky would take over (wishful thinking) but his schedule is so full that seems unlikely.

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Totally agree. Kevin is out of energy and ideas. No new star dancers are being cultivated, perhaps because of his reliance on international superstars. If only Ratmansky would take over (wishful thinking) but his schedule is so full that seems unlikely.

I'm not sure how you can say no new star dancers have been cultivated from within ABT in recent years. Gomes, Hallberg and Murphy each came up through the ABT ranks in recent years. Although Herman Cornejo came in as a soloist, I regard him as having been primarily cultivated at ABT. Each of the above listed dancers is a star, in my opinion. There are also several promising soloists. This has occurred under McKenzie's tenure.

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Totally agree. Kevin is out of energy and ideas. No new star dancers are being cultivated, perhaps because of his reliance on international superstars. If only Ratmansky would take over (wishful thinking) but his schedule is so full that seems unlikely.

I'm not sure how you can say no new star dancers have been cultivated from within ABT in recent years. Gomes, Hallberg and Murphy each came up through the ABT ranks in recent years. Although Herman Cornejo came in as a soloist, I regard him as having been primarily cultivated at ABT. Each of the above listed dancers is a star, in my opinion. There are also several promising soloists. This has occurred under McKenzie's tenure.

Note that Amour wrote "No new star dancers are being cultivated," though -- an observation in line with many of the views expressed on the "ABT's Male Principal Problem" thread.

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Ratmansky, for starters. (He may not want the hassle, however.)

I was thinking of Ratmansky when I asked the question. But as a choreographer overflowing with ideas, he would have to become like George Balanchine, an Artistic Director + choreographer. That would be a huge undertaking. I wonder if he would want it. The other suggestions are interesting possibilities too. Why don't I think a change will happen?

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