Cast of Characters

The word “character” in ballet can be used to describe a type of dance, such as the folk dances in Swan Lake, or the act of embodying role. At the "American Ballet Theatre: A Cast of Characters" event at the Guggenheim museum, the dancers performed excerpts from a range repertoire that ABT will presenting at New York City's Metropolitan Opera House this coming season, and spoke about their artistic process with panelist John Meehan, a professor of dance at Vassar College and former ABT studio company director.

 

According to Roman Zhurbin, who studied character dancing in Russia from the age of 5 before coming to the U.S., folk dancing is more about “musicality and personality.” Zhurbin performed a character medley in which he embodied Lord Capulet from Romeo and Juliet, the inspector from The Bright Stream and Von Rothbart from Swan Lake, one after the other. His seamlessly transitions between such different characters showed off his talents in acting.

 

Misty Copeland gave the audience a sneak peek of Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird. The sheer athleticism and originality in the choreography captures the essence of the magical creature perfectly. “Being a second or third cast is not easy because you have to adapt to other dancers’ strength,” Copeland said, but noted that Ratmansky amalgamated all three dancers—Copeland, Natalia Osipova and Isabella Boylston—into the role of the Firebird. Though Copeland was not in full costume, she was completely convincing as a mythical creature through the way she executed each step with such intent and fierceness while maintaining the fluidity of her arms as wings.

 

You can watch the whole event here. To find out more about ABT's Met season, go to abt.org.

 

Latest Posts


Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan, photographed by Jayme Thornton for Pointe

The Radiant Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan: Why She's One to Watch at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Hollywood could make a movie about Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan's big break at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

It was November 2017, and the company was performing Crystal Pite's film-noir–inspired Plot Point, set to music by Bernard Hermann from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Ryan, then a first-year corps member, originally was understudying the role of another dancer. But when principal Noelani Pantastico was injured in a car accident, Ryan was tapped to take over her role.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Lauren Veyette corrects a student during class. Ariel Rose, Courtesy Veyette Virtual Ballet School.

COVID-19 Has Made It Easier to Train Outside Your Studio—but Should You?

Of all the unprecedented effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the dance world, perhaps the most unthinkable a year ago was the forced pivot to online training. With many studios mandated to close, we've outfitted our homes with barres and marley and harnessed technology to create more learning opportunities than ever before. And now, as some studios reopen for in-person classes (either fully or in hybrid form) and others remain online, it's easier to supplement your school's offerings by adding virtual master classes—or even going to another school for in-studio time. But while being able to take class from anyone, anywhere, offers great opportunities, there are pitfalls to jumping from teacher to teacher. It's important to balance out the pros and cons of creating your own "COVID curriculum."

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Daniil Simkin gives advice during his master class series. Courtesy Dance Masterclass.

In This Master Class Series, Stars Like Daniil Simkin Share Their Technique and Artistry Secrets

Have you ever wondered what Daniil Simkin thinks about when he whips off a series of effortless pirouettes? Or how Polina Semionova initiates her "swan arms" when she dances Odette/Odile? Both dancers are now part of a new streaming platform called Dance-Masterclass, which offers targeted lessons from the ballet world's biggest stars to dancers of all levels. Launched in February, the platform presents 10 to 12-plus gorgeously filmed lessons from a new master teacher each month, with options allowing for private feedback.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks