Los Angeles Dance Preview: FIREBIRD (American Ballet Theatre at the Music Center)

Post image for Los Angeles Dance Preview: FIREBIRD (American Ballet Theatre at the Music Center)

by Tony Frankel on July 4, 2016

in Theater-Los Angeles

ABT’S FIREBIRD SWOOPS INTO THE CHANDLER

Making a rare visit to Southern California, American Ballet Theatre returns after a three-year absence to Los Angeles’s Music Center — but just for one weekend beginning Thursday July 7, 2016. For this engagement, the estimable company arrives bearing the great gifts of Alexei Ratmansky, whose production of Firebird centerpieces an all-Ratmansky program. The classic 1910 Igor Stravinsky ballet, originally choreographed by Michel Fokine at the Ballets Russes in Paris, will be preceded nightly by Symphony #9, set to music by Dmitri Shostakovich, and a West Coast Premiere of a new piece set to Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, having made its debut in New York last May. All performances will be accompanied by a live orchestra.

A former ballet dancer himself, ABT Artist in Residence Ratmansky trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School and was its artistic director before becoming artist in residence at ABT. Fresh on the heels of creating three new ballets – the Nutcracker for ABT, Lost Illusions for the Bolshoi, and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet at the National Ballet of Canada, the indefatigable star choreographer shows no signs of slowing down. This is ABT’s fourth production of The Firebird, and having seen the world premiere at Segerstrom Hall in 2012, I can say this is the most exciting yet.

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In creating Symphony #9, Ratmansky considered “the time the piece was written and the emotions behind what was happening in Shostakovich’s life.” The first principal couple represents Shostakovich and his wife, supporting each other in a time of great danger; the other couple represents “the regime, the communist party, the whole Stalin mentality,” stager Nancy Raffa said. “He wanted them to be almost a caricature, expressing the sarcasm in parts of the score. But everything is abstract. He kept saying, ‘There’s no story, but there’s a lot of meaning.’ ”

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In the new ballet, Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, Ratmansky once again enters new choreographic terrain. Set to Bernstein’s five-movement violin concerto, the ballet for seven men and one woman is a kind of danced conversation. (Both the music and the ballet are inspired by Plato’s Symposium, which includes seven dialogues on the subject of love.) Here, the dancers “speak” with their hands and bodies, to each other and to us. Some of the dances are soliloquies, others are dialogues.

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In addition to the All-Ratmansky program, The Music Center will present ABT on Thursday July 7, 2016 in a special benefit performance of Firebird starring ABT principal dancers and Southern California natives Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera. Copeland, who rose from poverty and learned the art of ballet at the late age of 13, was named last year as the first black principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater in its 75-year history. Her promotion to principal dancer comes after a 14 year-career at the company, eight of which were as a soloist. For this Summer Soirée, which honors Rita Moreno. a pre-performance dinner and post-performance party with ABT dancers are available.

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THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY
July 7
7:30 p.m.
July 8
7:30 p.m.
July 9
7:30 p.m.
July 10
2:00 p.m.
GALA
Firebird
RATMANSKY
PROGRAM
Symphony #9
RATMANSKY
PROGRAM
Symphony #9
RATMANSKY
PROGRAM
Symphony #9
Misty Copeland,
Marcelo Gomes,
Stella Abrera,
Cory Stearns
Veronika Part,
Alexandre  Hammoudi,
Herman Cornejo,
Stella Abrera,
Craig Salstein
Devon Teuscher,
Marcelo Gomes,
Joseph Gorak,
Luciana Paris,
Aaron Scott
Veronika Part,
Alexandre  Hammoudi,
Herman Cornejo,
Stella Abrera,
Craig Salstein
SERENADE AFTER PLATO’S SYMPOSIUM SERENADE AFTER PLATO’S SYMPOSIUM SERENADE AFTER PLATO’S SYMPOSIUM
James Whiteside,
Jeffrey Cirio,
Calvin Royal III,
Daniil Simkin,
Marcelo Gomes,
Blaine Hoven,
Gabe Stone Shayer,
Devon Teuscher
Joseph Gorak,
Herman Cornejo,
Jose Sebastian,
Aaron Scott,
Alexandre Hammoudi,
Thomas Forster,
Tyler Maloney,
Hee Seo
James Whiteside,
Jeffrey Cirio,
Calvin Royal III,
Daniil Simkin,
Marcelo Gomes,
Blaine Hoven,
Gabe Stone Shayer,
Devon Teuscher
FIREBIRD FIREBIRD FIREBIRD
Isabella Boylston,
Alexandre  Hammoudi,
Cassandra Trenary,
Roman Zhurbin
Misty Copeland,
Marcelo Gomes,
Stella Abrera,
Cory Stearns
Isabella Boylston,
Alexandre  Hammoudi,
Cassandra Trenary,
Roman Zhurbin

Firebird-ABT-Posterphotos by Gene Schiavone

American Ballet Theatre
All-Ratmansky Program
Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave in Los Angeles
July 7-10, 2016
for tickets, call 213.972.0711 or visit The Music Center

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