American Ballet Theatre streams digital program of works by Ratmansky

Catherine Hurlin and Aran Bell in the Alexei Ratmansky’s ‘Bernstein in a Bubble’. Photo: Christopher Duggan.

Live from New York City Center, American Ballet Theatre streams a program devoted to works by choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, the Company’s Artist in Residence.

Highlights of the program, filmed onstage at the City Center, include excerpts from Ratmansky’s The Seasons, Seven Sonatas, The Sleeping Beauty and the World Premiere of Bernstein in a Bubble.

During the intermission, there’s a conversation about the four works between Ratmansky and Linda Murray, curator of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at the New York Public Library.

Born in St Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow, Alexei Ratmansky has choreographed ballets for the Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Kiev Ballet and the State Ballet of Georgia. He has also created works for Nina Ananiashvili, Diana Vishneva and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Devon Teuscher in Seven Sonatas. Photo: Christopher Duggan.

Winner of a Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia in 1998 for Dreams of Japan, Ratmansky was named Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet in 2004, during which tenure the Bolshoi Ballet was named “Best Foreign Company” in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics’ Circle in London. Ratmansky was awarded a 2005 Benois de la Danse prize for his creation of Anna Karenina for the Royal Danish Ballet, and received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream in 2006. He won a second Benois de la Danse prize in 2014 for his Shostakovich Trilogy – a co-commission with ABT for San Francisco Ballet – for which he also received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreography in 2020.

Ratmansky was made Knight of the Order of Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in 2001, and was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 2013. 

Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside in ‘The Seasons’. Photo: Christopher Duggan.

Alexei Ratmansky’s The Seasons, is set to music by Alexander Glazunov, and received its World Premiere at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House on May 20, 2019. Glazunov composed the music for Marius Petipa’s original 1900 ballet, The Seasons, created whilst he was Premier Maître de Ballet of the Imperial Theatres in St Petersburg. Whilst Petipa’s abstract ballet featured characters representing Snow, Frost, the Faun and the Rose, Ratmansky’s version revolves around Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. This ABT presentation features the main pas de deux, danced to the Petit Adagio from the Autumn section of Glazunov’s score.

Herman Cornejo in ‘Seven Sonatas’. Photo Christopher Duggan.

Seven Sonatas was written for six dancers, simply but delicately costumed in white, and focuses on the relationships between these six friends – the camaraderie between the men, the spirited rapport between the women, as well as the characteristics that define the relationships of each couple. One pair is going through a time of conflict, another is bound together by fun and playfulness, and the third couple is buoyed up by the sheer joy and humor which they share. This variation is danced to Scarlatti’s Sonata in E Minor K. 198.

Skylar Brandt and Aran Bell in the Rose Adagio from The Sleeping Beauty. Photo: Christopher Duggan.

In 2015 Ratmansky created for ABT his reconstruction of Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty, using the notations of Petipa’s original choreography, and setting the work to Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous score. It’s the Rose Adagio from Act I which features in this digital presentation, the variation in which each of four suitors presents Princess Aurora with a rose, hoping that he will be the one she chooses to marry. The costumes for Ratmansky’s interpretation were designed by Richard Hudson, inspired by those created by Léon Bakst for the original production which was premiered by the Imperial Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg on January 15th, 1890.

Tyler Maloney in the Alexei Ratmansky’s Bernstein in a Bubble. Photo: Christopher Duggan.

This program also features the World Premiere of Ratmansky’s Bernstein in a Bubble, a work set to Leonard Bernstein’s Divertimento which the legendary composer and conductor wrote in 1980. This set of eight bagatelles was composed on commission from the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of the Orchestra’s centennial. It is the first work which Ratmansky has choreographed since March 2020, and was created in January and February of this year, during a quarantined ‘ballet bubble’ in Silver Bay, New York.

ABT Live from City Center – A Ratmansky Celebration, is hosted by Susan Fales-Hill, author and American Ballet Theatre Co-Chair of the Trustees Emeriti. The stream is available from today, March 23rd, at 7.00 pm ET on the website, and is available on demand until April 18th, at $25 for digital access.

Information sourced from:
American Ballet Theatre program notes
Alexei Ratmansky
Marius Petipa
Bernstein’s Divertimento – San Francisco Symphony program notes

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