David Hallberg (left) and Joseph Gordon perform Maurice Bejart's Song of a Wayfarer at the Joyce Theater's Ballet Festival. Maria Baranova, Courtesy The Joyce Theater.

Standout Performances of 2019: David Hallberg and Joseph Gordon in "Song of a Wayfarer"

American Ballet Theatre's David Hallberg and New York City Ballet's Joseph Gordon are two very different dancers at very different points in their careers. Yet they each made striking debuts when they came together to dance Maurice Béjart's Song of a Wayfarer last August. Staged by Maina Gielgud for The Joyce Theater's annual Ballet Festival, Béjart's quietly intense male duet was originally created on Rudolf Nureyev and Paolo Bortoluzzi in 1971. Gordon and Hallberg, portraying the young wayfarer and his destiny, respectively, gave the ballet renewed significance.


Set to four sung pieces by Gustav Mahler, the ballet begins with Gordon slicing through the air with sharp battements, passés and arabesques, a simple theme of movements revisited again and again. An understated performer, Gordon beautifully embodied his character's youthful vigor, innocence and idealism. Hallberg observed patiently in the darkness, waiting for the right moment to introduce himself to his charge. For a short while, life looked full of possibilities as they danced together. Yet Hallberg expertly built tension, growing gradually more commanding and sinister and blocking the wayfarer's way before pulling him into a dark abyss. Gordon, in a role that expanded his artistic range, looked back in anguish, a dramatic image that many in the audience will never forget.

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks