Your Majesties: With New Members and a New Rep, the Kings of the Dance Are Back

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No ladies necessary. A spectacular new crop of dance royalty presides over the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles Feb. 16-17 and New York City Center Feb. 19-21. American Ballet Theatre's Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, and Jose Manuel Carreno; Complexions' Desmond Richardson; The National Ballet of Canada's Guillaume Cote; the Kirov's Denis Matvienko; and the Bolshoi's Nikolai Tsiskaridze form the current "Kings of the Dance." Coming off of a nine-city tour of Russia, Latvia, Estonia, and Ukraine last November, where New York City Ballet's Joaquin De Luz danced in place of Richardson and the Bolshoi's Ivan Vasiliev filled in for Gomes in St. Petersburg and Moscow, the new incarnation of Kings returns to the U.S. after a four-year hiatus.

Gomes, whose wonderfully intuitive portrayals of princes and villains routinely earn standing ovations, feels honored to be a new addition to the program, which is produced by Sergei Danilian. "While I love Swan Lake and Romeo and Giselle, I'm really glad that the audience will see us in a different light. We get to show that we're human beings first." He is thrilled to dance Nacho Duato's intensely physical Remanso for the first time--when ABT performed it in 1998, he only got to hold a rose behind the onstage wall.

With so much talent and testosterone in the same room, is there an undercurrent of competition? "There is no competition," says Gomes. "Everyone is an accomplished artist and we all have something different to bring to Kings. We support each other."

However, Cote, whom Gomes calls "fantastic," tells a different story. …