Bard hosts American Ballet Theatre

Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes in The Leaves are Falling by American Ballet Theatre, October 5-7 at Bard. (photo by Gene Schiavone)

For the fourth year in a row, the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) will perform at Bard College, with a repertoire that preserves the great traditions of the past as well as works by the foremost choreographers of our time. On October 5, 6 and 7, the program at the Fisher Center for Performing Arts will feature three dances: Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading, José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, each accompanied by a full orchestra. This Bard performance series precedes ABT’s New York City season, which opens later this month at City Center and will include these pieces.

Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading is a haunting meditation of youthful romance and time’s bittersweet passing, set to music adapted from Antonín Dvorák’s little-known work, Cypresses for string quartet, and other chamber music written by the composer in the 1880s. One of Tudor’s last ballets, the dance premiered in 1975 at Lincoln Center.

Considered José Limón’s masterwork, The Moor’s Pavane retells Shakespeare’s tragedy of the hapless Moor Othello, his wrongfully suspected wife Desdemona, the Moor’s treacherous friend Iago and his wife Emilia, performed to a stately Renaissance court dance. Limón chose the music of Henry Purcell, arranged by Simon Sadoff, from Abdelazer, The Gordian Knot Untied and the pavane from Pavane and Chaconne for Strings. The Moor’s Pavane was first performed in New London, Connecticut in 1949, with Limón dancing the part of the Othello.

Accompanied by music by Philip Glass, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room is full of exhilarating locomotion, ranging from precise geometric patterns to seemingly free-form motion. It was first performed by Tharp’s company in 1986 at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois. The principal dancers performing in the three dances are Roberto Bolle, Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, Julie Kent, Veronika Part, Xiomara Reyes, Polina Semionova, Hee Seo and Cory Stearns.

Founded in 1940, the American Ballet Theatre is one of the premier dance companies in the world and has been recognized as America’s National Ballet Company. It tours nationally and internationally and has presented everything from Swan Lake and Giselle to works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mile, Tudor and Tharp. Former ABT principal dancer Kevin McKenzie is the company’s artistic director.

The Fisher Center for Performing Arts presents three dances by the American Ballet Theatre, Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading, José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, on October 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. and October 6 and 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20, $30, $40 and $50; to purchase, call the box office at (845) 758-7900 or visit http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

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