What a terrific night at American Ballet Theatre at Avery Fisher Hall!
Maria Riccetto and Jared Matthews revived Clark Tippet’s 1989 Some Assembly Required with sass and strength and sparkle - a tremendous performance from both. Haglund previously observed Maria working her wisdom in Francis Patrelle’s boxing ring so he knew that Jared Matthews was in for a workout tonight. Jared survived, but not without bruises. He and Maria portrayed the at-odds but in-love couple who battled and baited one another to William Bolcom’s Second Sonata for Violin and Piano. Stare-downs, rough and tumble you know what, and tenderness were all there. Tippet’s originality, brash humor and his gift for telling a story in SAR just hammered home what we all lost when we lost him. ABT should take this piece with them to China and leave the Barton fiasco in the broom closet.
Marcelo Gomes and Veronika Part performed Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances as set by Isabelle Guerin of the Paris Opera Ballet. Haglund wanted to keep an open mind about this performance realizing that Veronika does not have the lightness of Makarova or the flexibility and playful sensuality of Ferri – both of whom were major interpreters of Robbins’ dance. So this was going to be a different kind of Other Dances, and indeed it was. There were some uncertainties during the initial PdD but things ironed out during the second set of solos and the final PdD, which was fantastic. Marcelo and Veronika are usually seen performing together in more serious full-length ballets, so it was a pleasure to see them together in a lighter piece.
Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas had a 33% cast change as the result of injuries to Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo. Sarah Lane and Joe Phillips stepped in from the alternate cast for a smooth substitution. But once again, it was Stella Abrera who blew Haglund away with her lyricism, natural affinity for Ratmansky’s choreography, and the overall beauty of her movement. Her dark beauty against Hallberg's blondness is striking. They are a must have Giselle and Albrecht.
The alternate cast for Millepied’s Everything Doesn’t Happen At Once included Abrera and Cory Stearns in the leads, Aaron Scott in the Simkin role, and Eric Tamm in the Hoven role. While on opening night, Simkin’s brilliance was unquestionable, the alternate cast tonight was overall much more cohesive and spirited. Eric Tamm bolted through his choreography with such force that Haglund thought Eric might launch himself off the end of the stage. But he was fantastic. Eric Tamm. Eric Tamm. Remember that name and look for it in the spring castings.
Haglund’s psychiatrist told him that he was strong enough now to watch his favorite Abrera dance with the unfavorite Cory Stearns – for a short period of time. The doc was right. In fact, Abrera, with her lethal, no holds barred interpretation of Millepied’s choreography shook up Stearns so that he brought up his game a level or two. (It started in the first few minutes when the choreography calls for her to give her partner a shove in the chest with both hands.) Once again Abrera was brilliant, possessed even (not meaning to sound like Snagglepuss). When she led the military march of ladies around the perimeter with their arms cocked like rifles, you just knew her aim was dead perfect. Guess who she was aiming at. The fact is that Abrera injected so much attitude into this performance that the dimensions of the piece expanded. The audience was quite thrilled. Haglund cannot imagine how the Chinese will interpret Millepied’s choreography if they see this cast. It could start a riot. Yeah!
Gotta bring out the Golden Cleats Pump Bump Award again tonight. It was just one of those nights.
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