ABT 2017 Corsaire in American Ballet Theatre Posted June 8, 2017 I attended the June 7th matinee of “Le Corsiaire’, a ballet about swashbuckling pirates and beautiful slave girls. Gillian Murphy was supposed to dance the lead role of the slave, Medora, but due to an injury she was replaced by soloist Christine Shevchenko. Shevchenko was absolutely brilliant in the role. She showed off her incredibly fast chaine turns and in the slave pas de de trois her fouettes were very fast singles with several doubles thrown in. Her Conrad was the Danish dancer, Alban Lendorf. He stood out for his high soaring leaps with soft landings and very nice multiple turns. As well, Shevchenko and Lendorf were very good together. There was a very sweet chemistry between them. Stella Abrera was fine as Gulnare, Medora’s close friend. But when she danced her first solo in the Act I pas de deux with Lankendem, it looked like she simplified the variation. I remember her dancing more traveling fouettes when she performed the same role last year. Lankendem was performed by corps member, Gabe Stone Shayer, whom I hope will be an ABT soloist before too much longer. Shayer executed thrilling deep knee bends where he popped right back up again. I have not seen such a fantastic Lankendem since Vladimir Malakhov danced the role in the 1990s. His multiple turns on an angle were also very exciting The most electrifying dancing was executed by Daniil Simkin as the slave Ali. The slave pas de trois (which is sometimes done as a pas de deux) was the first part of ‘Le Corsaire’ to arrive in the West and it is still danced alone at galas. The very slight Simkin presented his partnering aplomb by lifting Shevchenko’s Medora high above his head. The audience went crazy, however, when Simkin performed four revoltades in a row. A revoltade is a turn where one leg flips over the other. Simkin also went down on his supporting leg (I don’t know what this move is called) while doing turns a la seconde. As the evil pirate, Birbanto, Arron Scott gave a performance rich with very clear miming and spot on comic timing. As always, ABT’s ‘Le Corsaire’ was a fun ballet full of virtuoso performing. I hope Christine Shevchenko is promoted to principal and Gabriel Stone Shayer to soloist before too long.