Jerome Robbins' Real People

The following is guest blog by New York City Ballet soloist (and February/March 2010 cover girl) Kathryn Morgan. Stay tuned for more posts from Kathryn!

 

Tonight I will be debuting in Jerome Robbins' 2 & 3 Part Inventions. He first choreographed it on School of American Ballet students for the annual workshop performance in 1994. (Benjamin Millepied was one of the original boys!) It is a ballet for four couples, and I believe it is about pure classical dance. The women wear white leotards and skirts, and the men are in classic white shirts and blue tights, very much like school uniforms.

While it appears to be basic, effortless ballet, it far from easy! Everything is deceivingly difficult--there is tricky partnering, jumps, turns, and the piece is just downright tiring. In spite of all this, it is such a joy to dance. While there is no story line, we all interact as if we are friends having fun being together. And that's actually true! I am in a great cast of all really close friends--Erica Pereira, Ashley Laracey, Stephanie Zungre, Chase Finlay, Allen Peiffer, Daniel Applebaum, and Joshua Thew--so that part is easy.

The other interesting thing about the ballet is that the music, by J.S. Bach, is for solo piano. So the whole piece feels very intimate. There isn't a huge bellowing orchestra, and there isn't a stage full of people. It is one of those ballets where you seem to forget about the audience and just concentrate on the people with you onstage and the beautiful steps you are dancing.

That is something the ballet masters are always stressing to us in Robbins' ballets: Interact with the people around you and be a real person. One example they are always using is to pretend that it is a beautiful day outside, and you are just out enjoying the sunshine with friends. "Be natural!" and "Easy!" are phrases heard often in rehearsal for a Robbins piece. But I think this is one of the things that make Jerry's ballets so pleasurable. You are urged to just be yourself. It has been a few years since the company has performed 2 & 3 Part Inventions, so I am very happy to be a part of its revival.

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

2020 Stars of the Corps: American Ballet Theatre's Wanyue Qiao

When the curtain opens on Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, there are two women onstage, wearing striped pants and tops, and sneakers. By the end, after almost 40 minutes of high-intensity dancing, they've stripped down to red leotards, their fists lifted victoriously. Wanyue Qiao danced one of these athletic superwomen last year during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. It was her first major role, after three years in the corps, and she couldn't have been more fierce. "To be honest, I had never done this kind of dance before, and I wasn't sure if it was my style," she says. Tharp encouraged her, and helped her to find her warrior side. "She showed not just her strength, coordination and ability, but courage," says ballet master Susan Jones, who assisted Tharp in the staging.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Butternut Squash Takes Center Stage This Fall—Plus, 2 Easy Recipes

Whether it's cubed and roasted or puréed into a comforting soup, butternut squash takes center stage this fall. The flavorful seasonal favorite is an excellent nutritional choice for dancers. Here's what's packed into one serving:

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks