A weekly, highly personal and subjective list of performances and artists we want you to know about:
After an injury that took more than two years to heal, David Hallberg is finally back. His quest has been a dance Odyssey, searching for artistic challenges by uprooting from American Ballet Theatre and working at the Bolshoi. After his injury, he lived in Melbourne, Australia for a year while rehabilitating. The searching shows in his dancing as well: his princes and counts in the classical repertory were known for his long, pure lines, but what made them compelling were their shadows, the darker thoughts you sensed behind Hallberg’s sunken eyes. You can see him tonight at ABT in Alexei Ratmansky’s new “Whipped Cream” and on Saturday night as Albrecht in “Giselle.” He’s dancing with Gillian Murphy, but for future reference – if he is ever billed to dance with Natalia Osipova again, get on a plane, a bicycle, or crawl. Buy a ticket, or get one at gunpoint. Just see it.
Lincoln Center released casting last week for the dance centerpiece of their summer festival, “Jewels,” performed by New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. I’m not as sold on “Jewels” as some – for me, it’s less an extension and more a recapitulation of Balanchine’s gifts, puffed up to fit the larger stage of the New York State Theater. And the gimmick here, three companies, each doing a ballet, has been done before, but still. New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and the Bolshoi on the same stage is nothing to sniff at.
Again, it’s all about casting. Sara Mearns can deliver an astounding Diamonds but also, as with Megan Fairchild in Rubies, one New Yorkers can see at other times. Friends who know the Bolshoi buzz about Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin. Either cast of Emeralds from Paris has dancers worth seeing: opening night’s is more seasoned; the second night has the up-and-comers.
Elegant Anna Sperber will be offering her beginning thinking for a new work, “Wealth from the Salt Seas” (a working title) at this week’s showing at Center for Performance Research (CPR.) Sperber is an beautiful mover, who constructs ideas with detail and precision. The work is scheduled to premiere at the Chocolate Factory in 2018, so the solo material she’s presenting is built from her early research, including work developed at Yaddo this Spring. Also showing work in the same program are Lauren Bakst and Kathleen Kelley. On Wednesday, May 23 at 8 pm.
Cover: Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg in “Giselle.” Photo © Khalid Al-Busaidi.
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