Magazine article Dance Magazine

Suzanne Farrell Stages the Masters of 20th-Century Ballet

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Suzanne Farrell Stages the Masters of 20th-Century Ballet

Article excerpt

SUZANNE FARRELL STAGES THE MASTERS OF 20TH-CENTURY BALLET TERRACE THEATER, JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, WASHINGTON, D.C. OCTOBER 21-24, 1999 --AND-- NEW VICTORY THEATER NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK NOVEMBER 27, 1999 REVIEWED BY GEORGE JACKSON

Suzanne Farrell is spreading her wings, staging not just the choreography of her first mentor, George Balanchine. The added choices, ballets by Jerome Robbins and Maurice Bejart, parallel Farrell's career as a dancer. However, only the opening work, the solos and pas de deux portions of Balanchine's Mozart Divertimento No. 15, was danced full-out on opening night. Even so, each piece on the program emerged distinctly. This clarity was due to the sensitive phrasing and attentive spacing of Farrell's stagings. A stickler for detail without losing sight of overall form. Farrell builds ballets from the inside out. Early in the run, the dancers often seemed to be thinking out loud, half counting and adjusting to the stage's small size, but by week's end they had stopped rehearsing and were performing.

Most difficult for this group, with its American experience, was "Scene d'Amour" from Bejart's Romeo and Juliet. To be effective, the work requires a seamlessness and pliancy that could have been at odds with emphatic articulation and step-by-step precision. Both alternate lead pairs, Veronica Lynn with Ben Huys and Christina Fagundes with Philip Neal, were beginning to suffuse passion into movement for the torso and back so that body pulses and arched spans no longer looked like mere wiggles and bends. Properly, though, they still made the choreography's neoclassical components seem etched.

Huys and Lynn, in Robbins's Afternoon of a Faun, didn't let the drama emerge as a surprise at first. This, too, was rectified in their subsequent performances, and by Neal dancing with Fagundes or with Argentina's Natalia Magnicaballi. …

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