ABT's Fall Season To Celebrate Herman Cornejo, Includes Premieres by Twyla Tharp and Gemma Bond
If like us you're already mourning the end of American Ballet Theatre's marathon Met season, don't fear. The company just announced the lineup for its fall season, and there's a lot to look forward to.
Running October 16-27 at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater, ABT's fall lineup includes world premieres by choreographers Twyla Tharp and Gemma Bond. While Tharp has been creating for ABT since 1976 (the company's Met season included a trio of her works), corps dancer Gemma Bond will be making her choreographic debut for ABT's main company. The season also shines a spotlight on principal Herman Cornejo, who will be celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company.
Tharp's ballet will have its premiere at ABT's October 16 Fall Gala, sharing a program with Jessica Lang's Let Me Sing Forevermore (in its New York premiere) and George Balanchine's Theme and Variations, as well as a performance by students of ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. Tharp's new work, her 17th for ABT, will be set to Johannes Brahms' String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111 and will feature Cornejo.
In recent years, Bond has created works for companies including The Washington Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and ABT's Studio Company, and has received a 2017 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship among other awards. She's been a member of ABT's corp de ballet since 2008, making it all the more exciting to see her home company giving her this major opportunity. Her ballet, premiering on October 23, will be set to Benjamin Britten's Suite on English Folk Tunes, with costumes by Sylvie Rood.
Herman Cornejo in La Bayadère
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT
October 26 will mark a special all-Cornejo program, celebrating his long tenure with the company. He's slated to dance in works by Tharp and Balanchine.
This diverse season will also feature revivals of Balanchine's Apollo and Clark Tippet's Some Assembly Required, as well as the return of Alexei Ratmansky's The Seasons, Lang's Garden Blue, Tharp's Deuce Coupe and Michelle Dorrance's Dream within a Dream (deferred).
Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.