As a dancer, Marcelo Gomes has it all—a magnetic stage presence, impeccable musicality, technique for days and world-renowned partnering skills. But the American Ballet Theatre star has also been gaining ground as a choreographer lately, creating works for Complexions Contemporary Ballet, galas and festivals. (He also choreographed Misty Copeland's famous Under Amour ad.) Tonight marks a major milestone in his choreographic career: His first full ballet for ABT, AfterEffect, has its world premiere at the David H. Koch Theater in New York.
Gomes, who was just announced a 2015 Dance Magazine Award winner, has created short works for ABT galas in the past, including the first movement of AfterEffect in 2013. This expanded version, set to Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence, includes a whopping 26 dancers and stars James Whiteside and Copeland (who has been something of a collaborator and muse for Gomes over the years). Fast-rising soloist Cassandra Trenary will perform the lead with Cory Stearns on Saturday afternoon. (You may have caught a glimpse of rehearsals during the World Ballet Day live-stream earlier this month.)
Gomes' new choreographic opportunity is a positive step for ABT, which has received criticism in the past for relying too heavily on guest stars and not developing its own dancers. With the recent promotion of Copeland and Stella Abrera, a talented roster of homegrown soloists and a 2016 Met season conspicuously light on guest artists, it looks like the company is making a serious effort to cultivate more from within.