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ABT Studio Company performances


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A press release from ABT:

WILLIAM FORSYTHE'S THE VERTIGINOUS THRILL OF EXACTITUDE AND

THE NEW YORK PREMIERES OF SCOTT RINK'S THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE AND PETER QUANZ’ SPRINGSCAPE TO HIGHLIGHT ABT STUDIO COMPANY PERFORMANCES AT NYU'S SKIRBALL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, DECEMBER 4-6

Narrated Family Matinee to be Given on Saturday, December 6 at 2 P.M.

American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company will present three performances at New York University’s new Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, December 4-6 at 8 P.M. and a special narrated family matinee on December 6 at 2 P.M. The program will include the ABT Studio Company Premiere of William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and the New York Premieres of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Scott Rink and SpringScape by Peter Quanz, as well as Antony Tudor’s Continuo.

William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, set to Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 9 (final movement), is a series of solo variations, pas de deux, pas de trois and ensemble sections for five dancers. The ABT Studio Company is only the second American company, after San Francisco Ballet, to perform The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. The work was staged for the Studio Company by Kathryn Bennetts and features costumes by Stephen Galloway and lighting by William Forsythe.

Scott Rink's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, based on the poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, will receive its New York premiere on Thursday, December 4. A co-production with Minnesota Dance Theatre, The Sorcerer's Apprentice is set to a musical collage by Scott Marshall based on Paul Dukas' L'Apprenti Sorcier. The ballet features costumes by Tracy Christensen, scenery by Andrew Saboe and lighting by Jason Lyons. The Sorcerer's Apprentice received its World Premiere by MDT in October of this year at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis.

Peter Quanz' SpringScape, set to Simple Symphony by Benjamin Britten, will be given its New York Premiere on December 4. First performed this November at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, the ballet for 10 dancers features costumes by Dennis Ballard and lighting by Brian Sciarra. Quanz created SpringScape during a recent three-week residency at the White Oak Plantation in Yulee, Florida.

Antony Tudor’s Continuo, staged for the Studio Company by Donald Mahler, is set to Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Tudor created the ballet for six dancers in 1971 for his students at The Juilliard School. Continuo was reconstructed by arrangement with the Dance Notation Bureau, Inc.

The ABT Studio Company will also present a family matinee on Saturday, December 6 at 2 P.M. The one-hour performance will be narrated by ABT’s artistic staff and will feature The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Continuo and the grand pas de deux from The Nutcracker. Tickets, priced at $15, are available by calling 212-992-8484 or online at www.skirballcenter.nyu.edu <http://www.skirballcenter.nyu.edu/> .

The ABT Studio Company is among the first dance troupes to perform at The Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University, an 879-seat proscenium theater which opened in October 2003. The Skirball Center is located at 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square South in New York City.

Tickets for the ABT Studio Company at the Skirball Center are $32 and are available by calling 212-992-8484 or at www.skirballcenter.nyu.edu <http://www.skirballcenter.nyu.edu/> . For more information, please visit www.abt.org <http://www.abt.org.

The ABT Studio Company is funded, in part, by The Chisholm Foundation and Sandler O’Neill & Partners. This performance is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.

The ABT Studio Company’s Skirball Center performances are dedicated to the legacy of Howard Gilman.

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I saw the final 3 of 4 performances performed by American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company this past weekend at the new Skirball Center. All performances included Anthony Tudor's "Continuo" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Scott Rink. Evening shows also featured William Forsythe's "The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude" as well as "SpringScape" by Peter Quanz while the family matinee on Saturday included "The Nutcracker" pas de deux.

* ABT's Studio Company has performed "Continuo" at a few different venues this fall. Staged by Donald Mahler, it had a wonderful silken softness and started off each of the performances. Caitlin Seither and Matthew Murphy were noteworthy out of the 3 couples in the piece. Ms. Seither had a comfortably confidant presentation, her controlled technique was consistent in each performance. During the matinee, Sandra Brown's brief prologue pointed out a lovely lift that the dancers executed called a "ribbon lift". I had never noticed it in any ballet prior to this. Melanie Hamrick, Matthew Golding, Jennifer Lee and Roman Zhurbin gave fine examples of the move.

* Less classic in Stephen Galloway's costumes with velour for all and platter tutus for the ladies, "Vertiginous" was a slight gear shift in the evening performances. Balletomanes that braved the blizzard were thrilled and received Jacquelyn Reyes, Lara Bossen, Ana Sophia Scheller, Blaine Hoven, and Arron Scott with enthusiasm. The five crafted their way through the intricate latticework of steps as a tightly woven group as well as careful individual strands. It was generally the best received piece each evening, truly outstanding Saturday evening but I am told that Thursday's performance was even more solid and exact.

* It being a story ballet, I feel more comfortable sharing my opinions on "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." I had many preconceived images of which I am still trying to let go so that I might give this work fair merit.

Having premiered in New York on this run, it is an edgy thoughtful piece with many layers. The music collage by Paul Marshall based on Paul Dukas' "L'Apprenti Sorcier" gave it a contemporary "techno" feel that would strongly appeal to the very limited crowd of the 20 something year old theater goers. It was mixed in a way that occasional phrases of the well known theme snuck through then blended with some very unearthly vocals. The music tended to keep me off balance in a good way but the awkward audio transitions for each scene were so abrupt that, at the conclusion, made me question if the ballet was over or if should I be waiting for another jarring scene change.

The costumes, designed by Tracey Christensen, were effective in creating a menacing 10 foot Sorcerer (carefully introduced in a non-threatening way to the family matinee audience) and his very human Apprentice. Impressive were the wood-grained and knotty unitards united with crutch-like appendages to create the surreal dancing Broom(s). I did overhear some comments that they looked like trees or characters from "The Lion King."

The Sorcerer was convincingly danced by Jacquelyn Reyes, Roman Zhurbin and Matthew Golding. The form of the magician glided and shape-shifted before my eyes with just a few of the movements a bit contrived to accommodate the length of the costume and the partnering holds that were required. Arron Scott brought heart and human nature into the virtuosic role of The Apprentice. Casting a spell with a series of complicated and well executed jumps and turns, Mr. Scott introduced The Broom, brought to life by Melanie Hamrick. Ms. Hamrick's robotic gestures and countenance projected a chilling and beautiful performance of an inanimate object come strangely to life. The couple's playful pas de deux expanded into a deeper appreciation mostly on the side of The Apprentice. Hamrick and Scott rose to the challenge of showing that they could connect despite the cumbersome broom extensions that, because of choreography or inability, kept The Broom a more grounded than I would like to have seen.

As goes the story, The Broom can not break free of it's original purpose and goes overboard in cleaning thus requiring the Apprentice to horribly destroy it into what becomes a band of eerie broom duplicates. Hamrick along with Lara Bossen, Jennifer Lee, Jacquelyn Reyes, Caitlin Seither, and Ana Sophia Scheller gave remarkable performances as a corp of brooms gone bad. Most impressive were their piqué turns and chaînés with four foot long arms whipping around. Leaping his way through the twirling brooms and buckets of water while trying to right things gone wrong and reunite with the original Broom, Scott's Apprentice was overtaken by the army as they forced him to spin out of control. The Sorcerer's climactic and shocking appearance demanded things returned to a more nearly normal state. In the blink of an eye, The Apprentice's consequence of sporting broom arms allowed The Broom to retain the life wrongly given to her. Hamrick, admiring her new lovely arms, lightly and innocently danced off leaving behind Scott's gravely tormented Apprentice.

The performance would have had felt more polished and less like a work in progress if the set and lighting could have been tweaked. White cloths representing the overwhelming magical water could have been colored. Dancers' facial expressions were occluded by large dark areas on the stage contributing to the overall disconnected and disjointed feeling. These things undermined the integrity of the ballet.

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was received in a manner similar to the reception of American Ballet Theatre's production of "The Pied Piper", a politely cool. Some people did not know what to make of it, some did not like that it wasn't an original story ("If you are going to do a new ballet, why not make it an all new story to all new music?"), some were just uncomfortable with the disturbing ending and I have to suppose some were unimpressed with everything including the dancing. I liked the many layers of this ballet but I know I could appreciate it more completely if it were somewhat modified. I enjoyed the dancers and felt that they were cast very well but I would have liked to been able to compare the roles on different dancers. When a company is limited to 12, it limits who can dance each role.

* Evening performances concluded with the New York premiering "SpringScape." Created during the company's three-week residency at the White Oak Plantation in Yulee, FL, it reflected the easy grace that this intimate company shares. Caitlin Seither, Blaine Hoven, and Matthew Murphy were featured in a series of solos, pas de deux and trois. Exceptional performances were given by Mr. Hoven and Mr. Murphy in a sportive dance that progressed into a more introspective and familial interaction between the duo. Ms. Seither's contributions were a sweet counterpoint. The lighting by Brian Sciarra should be mentioned as it clearly communicated the mood shifts along with Benjamin Britten's music. The ensemble of Melanie Hamrick, Jennifer Lee, Jacqueline Reyes, Ana Sophia Scheller, Matthew Golding, Arron Scott, and Roman Zhurbin showed all of what ABT's Studio Company is comprised of this season.

It was surprising that the family matinee was attended as well as it was with the winter weather raging that afternoon. Those who made it to the warm and beautiful theatre were treated to Sandra Brown's tidbits of ballet information between each of the pieces. She shared the secrets of how pointe shoes made the young ladies look like they were floating and gliding, encouraged attendees to cheer a hearty bravo at appropriate times and pointed out specific steps to be watching for in each dance. The set change for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was done with the curtain open and Ms. Brown's informative dialogue assuaging any fears that youngsters might have of the somewhat spooky visual effects. This thoughtfulness unfortunately lessened the theater magic in general by allowing a peek at all of the costumed brooms placing their "arms" upstage. Some young audience members still had to leave during the 20 minute piece but it was due less to fear than lack of a needed intermission.

* Melanie Hamerick put in a marathon day appearing in the matinee's performance of "The Nutcracker" pas de deux. She and her attentive partner Blaine Hoven shared a taste of the season's favorite for this family oriented audience. Mr. Hoven was as steadfast as a young Nilas Martins and Ms. Hamrick danced an abbreviated Sugar Plum variation, both were a bit careful and tired but their performance was sure.

ABT's Studio Company is a talented company that clearly works well together. I was glad to have seen them and look forward to seeing the only member who did not dance, Grant DeLong, perform in Kirk Peterson's "The Nutcracker" in Hartford CT.

Miss

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Fortunately I only had to walk around the corner to see this performance - I caught them on Saturday night. I’ve been on a crazy business/holiday travel schedule since & many details have slipped away but I want to add a few of my observations to the very detailed description Miss has provided.

When the curtain went up on "Continuo", the sight of those young dancers nearly took my breath away. They were so beautiful, so pure, so totally without artifice or pretension. I literally felt a lump in my throat. In addition to Caitlin Seither, Melanie Hamrick was also a standout in this piece ( my husband and I were playing “pick your favorite dancer” - Caitlin was mine, he chose Melanie). Her line was lovely, and she showed quite a lot of versatility, shifting gears from a lyrical vision in the Tudor to a broom in the very modern "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice".

I loved the Forsythe. This was only the second time I’ve seen his work and this was very much lighter and wittier than "workwithinwork", which I saw ABT do at their City Center season. The 2 blond women in “Vertiginous” knocked me out. I think their names are Lara Bossen and Jacquelyn Reyes. The smaller one did some amazing multiple pirouettes that I couldn’t possibly describe, and the taller one had the most beautiful arms I’ve seen in a long time. Her dancing had wonderful amplitude and her personality absolutely radiated out from the stage.

Everyone always talks about ABT’s male dancers. The men in this young company were very good, but as you can tell it was the ladies who really impressed me! :dizzy:

I’m looking forward to seeing them at the Joyce in the spring.

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Well let's put it this way: No storm could keep me from watching the beautiful dancers of the Studio preform.

The first time i saw the opening ballet, Continuo, i could have sworn it was and hour long. But this year it i couldn't take my eyes away from the studio dancers who rose to the suddle nuances of Tudor's Choreography. Especially Jaquelyn Reyes and Mathew Murphy. Matthew, with his etremely reserved, tastful extensions, is the future of male dancing. He never would "whack his leg" at an innapropriate time, as many City Ballet principles often due. Reyes's port de bras took me to an aspiring other world. And while she was every bit the delicate sylph in Continuo, she also proved to be a fierce technician in the Forysythe. Her turns and jumps were superb...Do we have a new Merril Ashley in the Making? Watching these dancers give me hopes for the future of ABT.

Other stand-outs include: the perfect prince: Matt Golding, a little Maxim: Roman

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I’m looking forward to seeing them at the Joyce in the spring.

I do hope you will share your impressions. I know they are debuting a few pieces tonight but not sure which ones. I am looking forward to seeing "Milk Pool", "Tarentella", "Staged Fright", and "Monotones" sometime this week.

Will anyone also be attending the Ailey 2 performances?

t :cat:

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Did anyone see the ABT Studio company performances?!?!?!  B)

Yes, I saw Sunday's matinee peformance. Alas, my perspective is not objective.

I can say the show went well and the audience was enthusiastic. I enjoyed most of the Ashton, I'm totally unobjective about "Tarentella" (not a Balanchine fan but loved the dancers) so don't even ask me, loved parts of Gorenstein Miller's "Milk Pool" (Sciarra's lighting was very good!), and tickled by Reeder's new work.

I look forward to seeing some of these young dancers in ABT's upcoming season at the Met.

t :cat:

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How was the attendance, at least at the show you went to?

Sunday, 4/4/04 @ 2pm performance. At noon they were selling standing room tickets so I am not sure it ever actually sold out but it was packed.

Cast for that show:

Monotones I & II

Monotones I

Abigail Simon, Grant DeLong, Jennifer Lee

Monotones II

Matthew Golding, Melanie Hamrick, Roman Zhurbin

Tarantella

Jacquelyn Reyes, Arron Scott

Milk Pool

I.

Lara Bossen, Jennifer Lee, Jacquelyn Reyes, Ana Sophia Scheller

II.

Jacquelyn Reyes

III.

Jennifer Lee

IV.

Abigail Simon, Arron Scott

Staged Fright

1st Movement

Jacquelyn Reyes, Blaine Hoven

Ana Sophia Scheller,Roman Zhurbin

Abigail Simon, Melanie Hamrick, Laura Bossen

Arron Scott, Matthew Murphy, Grant DeLong

2nd Movement

Arron Scott, Matthew Murphy, Blaine Hoven

Lara Bossen, Jacquelyn Reyes, Ana Sophia Scheller

3rd Movement

Grant DeLong, Melanie Hamrick

Ensemble

4th Movement

Lara Bossen

Melanie Hamrick, Jacquelyn Reyes, Ana Sophia Scheller, Abigail Simon,

Blaine Hoven, Matthew Murphy. Arron Scott, Roman Zhurbin

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It looks like most of the Studio Company dancers have joined ABT either as apprentices or as corps members. The ABT website lists Lara Bossen, Jennifer Lee, Melanie Hamrick, Blaine Hoven, Arron Scott & Matt Murphy with the corps and Jackie Reyes, Roman Zhurbin, Matt Golding are listed within the corps pages as apprentices. I really liked Abagail Simon at the Joyce, but she seemed to be new with the studio company (she wasn't with them at the Skirball in December). Does anyone know if she and Grant DeLong got contracts somewhere?

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Grant DeLong is a dear friend of our family, and he is dancing the Met season with ABT. He is listed in the corps as having joined the company with the rest you mentioned. He is a such a wonderful young man, and we wish him well.

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My apologies, you are correct. Grant DeLong is indeed listed in the corps. The ABT website went down while I was looking at it and I must have missed his name.

Now that only leaves Abigail Simon's whereabouts a mystery...

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I know Ballet Alert does not like us to speculate or go by hearsay. I know that Abigail joined Studio Co. halfway through the year. My understanding from a friend of hers is that she will be doing another year in Studio Company. Moderators, please feel free to delete if this is speculative or considered hearsay.

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Without mentioning any specific dancers, how does ABT make room for so many new dancers ( I see other new non-studio-company dancers on their roster also)? Are most of the spots created because dancers are not rehired, because they move onto other companies, or because they decided to quit dancing?

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