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2011 SAB Workshop

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Am I the first to comment on the School of American Ballet Workshop, the highlight of the ballet season?

A glorious night at the ballet, watching the next generation of virtuoso dancers, young, committed, exuding joy and energy. Four ballets, three of which I hadn't seen recently, and one, Les Gentilhommes, I had never seen.

In Allegro Brillante, Angelica Generosa is - well, brilliant. I hope she takes her place at NYC Ballet, where she belongs. Suki Schorer staged Allegro Brillante and took her bow, as energetic and elegant as ever.

In Who Cares, the four soloists were wonderful, especially Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara, who has a Sterling Hyltin-like sparkle. In Peter Walker, do we have someone who can dance in Damien Woetzel's ballet shoes, still sorely missed?

There is such an overwhelming amount of talent here, each solo dancer a standout and individual. I hope each of these young talents find a home in a major ballet company.

Circus Polka's little girls were adorable. Jock Soto, who played the Ringmaster, was greeted enthusiastically.

Les Gentilhommes I had never seen, and I considered it a puzzle that I was going to solve. The puzzle was - why are these courtly men in white ruffled shirts here, standing in elegant poses, presenting their hands and arms in a stylized, 18th century manner? Where were they? I decided, purely for my own satisfaction, that this was a fencing class, and their movements were fencing stances. Of course, abstract ballet is not "about" anything but dance, but the fencing class metaphor suited my need for clarity.

The excitement of this performance did not compare to a usual performance at City Ballet across the plaza. The audience seems so jaded, so "we've seen that", and I think the dancers are picking up on that ennui. Some performances are standouts - the Thursday night Jewels - but for sheer excitement, nothing compares to the SAB Workshop.

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I too was thrilled by the impressive array of talent in this year's crop -- both those "graduating" and those coming up in the ranks. And not since Ashley Bouder graduated over ten years ago have I been enthused about a dancer as much as Angelica. She's another one with instinctive musicality and has the innate ability to phrase, and all that is coupled with a solid technique. We will be seeing lots of her (I hope) in the future.

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