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Marcelo Gomes Creates World Premiere in Sarasota

Marcelo Gomes and dancers of Sarasota Ballet in Ashton's "The Two Pigeons." Photo by Frank Atura, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet.

American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes heads south this winter to create a piece on Sarasota Ballet to premiere December 1 at the Sarasota Opera House. Following the success of his 2015 ABT main-stage production AfterEffect, the burgeoning choreographer is looking forward to continuing to create outside of New York City. "We all know the big companies, but there are some really beautiful groups all throughout the U.S. that deserve just as much praise, and I'm really looking forward to spreading my work to them," he says.

Gomes comes to Sarasota Ballet from a place of familiarity. After following Gomes' career for years, director Iain Webb invited him to guest star in Sir Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons for a company gala last season. "He seemed to fit like a glove with us down here," says Webb about the experience. He commissioned this premiere soon after. Gomes' work will be featured on the company's Metropolitan program alongside Balanchine's Theme and Variations and Ashton's Illuminations. When asked how it feels to be grouped in with these masters, Gomes broke into laughter. "It's intimidating. It takes a lot of courage for directors to take a chance on young choreographers. But I'm humbled and honored to be next to those geniuses of ballet."



Gomes will choreograph on a large cast featuring a male principal. The piece, Dear Life, will be set to Beethoven's Symphony No.7, which Gomes has lightly edited with the help of ABT music director Ormsby Wilkins. Though the work will be a blend of classical and contemporary ballet, it will include a narrative thread. "My choreography is a lot about commitment and pushing through that most tired moment that a dancer can have to regain the commitment to finish. I just hope that they'll come along for the ride."

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

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