writers on dancing


In brief

WORKS&PROCESS: American Ballet Theatre & Frederick Ashton’s "Sylvia”

The 1952 full-length ballet, recently revived by the Royal Ballet by Christopher Newton, will be danced by ABT this season. Works & Process hosted an evening devoted to the upcoming production, with Newton and David Vaughan, author of “Frederick Ashton and his Ballets.” It was essentially a quick overview of the ballet, illustrated with excerpts danced by several ABT dancers. The range was quite wide, from comedy (Danny Tidwell as Eros disguised as a meddling old woman), character (Gennadi Saveliev leaping his heart out as the villain Orion), dramatic (Carmen Corella as the implacable Diana), and luxuriously classical in the final pas de deux by Paloma Herrera and Angel Corella, plus Jared Matthews and Craig Salstein as slaves with impeccable footwork. It was a tantalizing introduction to what by all accounts is an evening of wonderful dancing, and, as I overheard a woman on the bus say, “One of the biggest bargains in New York.”—Mary Cargill

Peabody Dance's Spring Showcase 2005 with Pennsylvania Ballet II

The wisdom on Charles Street is that Baltimore is a ballgame town but not a ballet town. It has baseball, football and other ballsport teams but it hasn't had a professional ballet company for quite a while. At Christmas the city still imports its "Nutcracker" from Donetsk. One woman is trying to change that Baltimore image—Barbara Weisberger. Appointed a season or so ago as artistic advisor to the preparatory dance department of Baltimore's renowned music school, The Peabody Institute (now part of The Johns Hopkins University), Weisberger comes to the task with an indomitable will and impressive pedigree. To mention just three of her distinctions: she was the first child enrolled at the Balanchine/Kirstein School of American Ballet, she was the founding director of the Pennsylvania Ballet and she headed the Carlisle Project for choreographers and composers. Last year she saw to it that Maryland had a Balanchine centennial celebration. At the Peabody, she's been helping the artistic director for dance, Carol Bartlett, strengthen the institute's classical side by forging a collaboration with William DeGregory's Pennsylvania Ballet II, the junior company of The Pennsylvania Ballet. From the evidence of this spring concert, the collaboration benefits both the Peabody students and the PB2 dancers. The former have more experienced performers to emulate and the latter have added opportunities to appear in public. Choreography shown by the Pennsylvanians consisted of the second pas de trois, the "polyandry" one, from Balanchine's "Agon"; the Act 1 pas de trois from "Swan Lake" (Martinez after Petipa) and "Cricket Dances" choreographed by Pennsylvania Ballet's Jeffrey Gribler in a post-"Agon" but playful manner. The Peabody students were put through their paces in pieces by Katherine Morris, Melissa Stafford and Bartlett. There were two instances of close collaboration: the duo from the Pas Classique Hongrois in "Raymonda" (Stafford after Petipa) danced with pride by Peabody's Sara Paul and PB2's Ian Hussey, and Bartlett's fresh and free "Bach Song" with Paul again and PB2's Keith Mearns. Altogether there were seven PB2 dancers on the program: Jermel Johnson, Megan Dickinson, Adrianna Desvastich, Victoria Gates, Rachel Maher, Hussey and Mearns. Lots more needs to be done for ballet to take real root in Baltimore, but the Peabody-PB2 enterprise is a beginning.—George Jackson

Volume 3, No. 13
April 11, 2005


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The Autumn Issue of DanceView is OUT! (Our subscription link is working again, so it's easy to subscribe on line!)

Robert Greskovic reviews two new DVDs of Fonteyn dancing "Sleeping Beauty" and "Cinderella"

Mary Cargill on last summer's Ashton Celebration

Profile of Gililian Murphy, reviews of the ABT Spring season, springtime in Paris, reports from London and San Francisco

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last updated on January31, 2005