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ABT Across America


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From the company:

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE TO PRESENT

ABT ACROSS AMERICA

ABT’s Tour Bus, The Pioneer

COMPANY TO TRAVEL BY BUS AND TRUCK TO EIGHT U.S. CITIES OVER THREE WEEKS IN JULY

America’s National Ballet Company® will take to the road this summer traveling by bus and truck to 8 U.S. cities beginning July 1, 2021. ABT Across America builds on ABT’s history of cross- country tours in the 1940s and 1950s. ABT Across America was announced today by Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director.

From its starting point in Lincoln, Nebraska, ABT Across America will cross the United States in a caravan of 6 sleeper buses and 3 production trucks. 20 ABT dancers and 28 support crew will travel across 14 states, for a total of 3,100 miles, performing outdoors for socially distanced audiences.

Cities that will host ABT Across America include Lincoln, Iowa City, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Charleston, and Middleburg (VA). The tour will conclude on July 21 with a performance at Rockefeller Center in New York City, the site where Ballet Theatre offered its first public performances in 1940.

These unique performances, free to the public in most cities, will take place on a custom-built 40’ x 76’ stage that folds out of an 18-wheeler truck. Dancers scheduled to participate in the ABT Across America tour include Lauren Bonfiglio, Jacob Clerico, Michael de la Nuez, Carlos Gonzalez, Kiely Groenewegen, Sung Woo Han, Catherine Hurlin, Anabel Katsnelson, Kanon Kimura, Melvin Lawovi, Tyler Maloney, Joseph Markey, Abbey Marrison, Hannah Marshall, Betsy McBride, Duncan McIlwaine, João Menegussi, Chloe Misseldine, Cory Stearns, and Devon Teuscher.

Each 50-minute show will be performed without an intermission. Repertory for ABT Across America will feature Lauren Lovette’s La Follia Variations, a work for eight dancers set to music by Francesco Geminani, Jessica Lang’s Let Me Sing Forevermore, a pas deux blending ballet and jazz vocabulary set to songs sung by Tony Bennett, Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Indestructible Light, a celebration of American jazz, and a classical pas de deux from ABT’s extensive repertoire. Family activities, fitness classes, and community engagement programs for local audiences are scheduled at each tour stop. All activity will take place according to state and local guidelines for health and safety.

“As necessity is the mother of invention, I am delighted to announce ABT Across America,” said McKenzie. “With most indoor performing arts centers still closed, these outdoor settings will allow ABT’s dancers to share their artistry, excellence, and optimism. For the past year, we have been pursuing our mission of reaching the widest possible audience through virtual programs and digital channels. With ABT Across America, we will go beyond the digital divide to provide access to live performance experiences. The planning of this tour has galvanized our staff and company, and we hope that these performances will be joyful and uplifting for communities nationwide.”

A complete list of tour dates and venues follows:

July 1, 2021 (rain date July 2)

July 4, 2021 (rain date July 5)

July 8, 2021

July 10, 2021

July 11, 2021 (rain date July 12)

July 14, 2021 (rain date July 15)

July 17, 2021 (rain date July 18)

July 19, 2021 (rain date July 20)

July 21, 2021 (rain date July 22)

ABT Across America

Pioneers Park, Lincoln, NE

Hancher Green, Iowa City, IA

Chicago Park TBA/Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum/Northrop
at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Forest Park, St. Louis, MO
Charleston Gaillard Center, Charleston, SC Salamander Resort & Spa, Middleburg, VA Rockefeller Center, New York, NY

8:45 P.M.

8:00 P.M.

7:30 P.M.

5:00 & 8:30 P.M. 2:00 & 6:00 P.M.

5:30 & 8:30 P.M. 7:30 P.M.
TBA
TBA

For more information on locations, ticketing, and protocols for ABT Across America, please visit www.abt.org/abt-across-america.

ABT Across America is generously supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

American Ballet Theatre recognizes Dalio Philanthropies and one anonymous donor for their champion support of ABT Across America. Special thanks to Susan Sherman for her guidance and enthusiasm in bringing this tour to St. Louis.

ABT extends deepest gratitude to: Dr. Robert Galvin, Medical Advisor

ABT’s Choreographic Innovation and Inspiration and Inclusion programs are generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation. Additional major support of ABT’s Innovation and Inclusion programs is provided by Mark Casey and Carrie Gaiser Casey, the Ford Foundation, The Ted and Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund and through an endowed gift from the Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

Commissions and presentations of new works by women choreographers are supported by the ABT Women’s Movement. Champion support for the ABT Women’s Movement is provided by Jenna Segal. Additional leadership support is provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Special thanks to Denise Littlefield Sobel for her leadership gifts to: ABT’s Media Fund, advancing the Company’s digital endeavors; and ABT RISE, fueling the Company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

American Airlines, the Official Airline of American Ballet Theatre

Bank of America, Lead Corporate Partner of ABT Studio Company

LG Electronics, Global Electronics Partner of American Ballet Theatre

 

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The July tour is actually quite impressive,  most notably for providing employment for a lot of dancers! From the credits, it looks like it's being supported by a private foundation and other donors. It's not the sort of thing that would tempt a serious balletomane to jump onto an airplane, but it should reach new audiences, and that's a good thing.

PS: I noticed that the Ratmansky Nutcracker seems to be planned for 2021 in Costa Mesa, although no information on dates can be found on the ABT or Segerstrom sites:

2021 performance dates to be announced.

https://www.abt.org/performances/the-nutcracker/

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I think this is kind of fabulous. ABT finally has done something creative in order to keep performing while also honoring its roots as a touring company.

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I went to the performance at Rockefeller Center tonight.

Overall enjoyed the evening although I found the Whiteside piece New Amerian Romance a bit boring. I enjoyed Christine Shevchenko and Tom Forster in Seven Sonatas, and I also enjoyed Indestructible Light. There was a cool dancer encore at the end.

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I attended the 6pm Rockefeller Center show. The three new pieces of choreography were not masterworks, but they showed off the dancers very effectively. (The Seven Sonatas excerpt couldn't be expected to create a spell in broad daylight at rush hour, but Shevchenko and Forster were solid.)

So, how do folks look after a year off?  Everyone was physically fighting trim, as assured as if they hadn't been offstage for over a year, and some have even grown artistically since their last outing. My read is that ABT treated this tour like a Fall season:  as a way to pressure-test new principals in a low-stakes environment and a way to give young soloists and older corps a chance to shine.

  • Royal and Ahn (gorgeous stylists who are still finding their way dramatically) were given a bit of romantic partnering with Brandt...and both are moving closer to more realistic dramatic interaction.
  • Forster and Bell (the more experienced partners) were given exposed pas de deux with unfamiliar partners and both looked in command.
  • Unless I'm mistaken, Brandt was in all three new pieces with unfamiliar (Bell) or relatively inexperienced (Maloney) partners.  If she was being tested for stamina and more realistic dramatic interaction under pressure, she passed with flying colors (with especially lovely arms in La Follia Variations).
  • Jacob Clerico is a new name who looked good in Indestructible Light.
  • Katherine Williams looked great (after a slip in the first ballet):  in the last Met season, she'd been technically solid, but I missed the way she interacted with other dancers as a corps member.  Here, she gave a stylish, expressive performance...and looked like she was having fun in the spotlight.
  • Jose Sebastian gave the sort of fully-articulated and shaped performance that makes OK choreography look great. He's looked world-class for the past few seasons, and I'm so glad that we'll see more of it.
Edited by choriamb
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