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Guggenheim Works and Process: A Cast of Characters by American Ballet Theatre TONIGHT, April 30 @ 7:30 pm EST

April 30, 2012

Misty Copeland in Firebird. Photo: Fabrizio Ferri

American Ballet Theatre 2012 Metropolitan Opera Season will feature a cast of character, including pirates, evil sorcerers, a tractor driver, and even a donkey. Join ABT creative team and company dancers to explore the process and journey of bringing the diverse characters of ABT’s repertoire to life.

View the live broadcast of this performance at ustream.tv/worksandprocess.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with @WorksandProcess and #WPlive.

Last night I was just able to catch the Guggenheim Works and Process: A Cast of Characters by American Ballet Theatre live on ustream.tv. It was fascinating.

It had started by about five minutes when I tuned in so I missed the beginning but I did catch a short bit of Swan Lake Czardas, danced by the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company.

Misty Copeland danced a section of her solo from ABT’s new production  “The Firebird”. Choreographed by the noted Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and ABT’s artist in residence, the production premiered last week at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, a co-producer of the ballet with ABT.

“The Firebird” was originally commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and choreographed by Michel Fokine.  Premiering in 1910, it was the beginning of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky which would later produce both Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913).

The New York Premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Firebird will take place on Monday evening, June 11 with Natalia Osipova dancing the title role. The Firebird will be given eight performances at the Metropolitan Opera House, June 11 through 13 and June 21 through 23.

Next was Reid Anderson, Artistic Director for the Stuttgart Ballet, discussing his staging of a new production of John Cranko’s Onegin, with sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by James F. Ingalls. (Premiering on Monday, June 4, 2011 with Diana Vishneva as Tatiana, Marcelo Gomes as Eugene Onegin, Natalia Osipova as Olga, Jared Matthews as Lensky and Gennadi Saveliev as Prince Gremin.)

Cory Stearns and Hee Seo performed a pas de deux from the work with on-stage coaching by Mr. Reid. He gave examples as to how the dancers are assisted with creating and establishing their characters for each role and the depths of which it takes to successfully do so.

Gillian Murphy & David Hallberg in The Dream. Photo: Gene Schiavone

There was also a preview from Sir Frederick Ashton’s “The Dream”, a ballet in one act, adapted from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and set to music by Felix Mendelssohn. “The Lovers” was danced by Kristi Boone, Maria Ricetto, Sascha Radetsky, Jared Matthews and Puck was wittingly portrayed by Craig Salstein.

Roman Zhurbin, ABT’s noted character dancer discussed what it means to be a character dancer and the significance of their roles in ballet such as Onegin and Romeo and Juliet and demonstrated how different characters are portrayed.

I enjoyed the web-cast much more than I had anticipated. I almost did not tune in, hence my five minutes late. But I’m glad I did and highly recommend catching it tonight on ustream at 7:30 pm EST.

PANELISTS
Reid Anderson, Artistic Director of the Stuttgart Ballet
Misty Copeland, ABT Soloist
Craig Salstein, ABT Soloist
Roman Zhurbin, ABT Corps de Ballet

MODERATOR
John Meehan, Professor of Dance, Vassar College

PROGRAM

(excerpts will be performed)

Swan Lake Czardas
Choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
ABT Studio Company

Firebird (Solos)
Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky
Misty Copeland

The Dream
Choreography by Frederick Ashton
Lovers – Kristi Boone, Maria Ricetto, Sascha Radetsky, Jared Matthews
Puck – Craig Salstein

Onegin
Choreography by John Cranko
Cory Stearns and Hee Seo with coaching from Reid Anderson

Character Medley
Roman Zhurbin

Swan Lake (von Rothbart with Princesses)
Choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
Sascha Radetsky, TBA

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