Ballet Star Angel Corella to Leave ABT

A favorite dancer in the U. S. since 1995, Angel Corella will retire from American Ballet Theatre this spring. Audiences have been elated by his exuberance, his astounding leaps and pirouettes, and his warmth in classical roles from the Slave in Le Corsaire to all the prince roles. He has also created roles in works by Tharp, Wheeldon, Stanton Welch, and Mark Morris. Companies where he has been a guest artist include the Kirov Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet, and La Scala.

 

In Dance Magazine's cover story on him in November 1995 (cover below), Elizabeth Kaye wrote: "In class other dancers gather around him when he does 20 pirouettes from a single preparation."

For his farewell performance on June 28, he will dance Swan Lake with Paloma Herrera. (I hope Nina Ananiashvili comes to his farewell, because I have a fabulous memory of Corella at her farewell.)

Corella will continue to lead Corella Ballet, both as artistic director and as principal dancer. The company, now known as Barcelona Ballet, appears at NY City Center, April 17–20.

 

 

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Ballet BC dancers Tara Williamson, left, and Darren Devaney in RITE by Emily Molnar. Photo by Chris Randle, Courtesy Ballet BC

Why Do Mixed-Rep Companies Still Rely on Ballet for Company Class?

In a single performance by a mixed-rep company, you might see its shape-shifting dancers performing barefoot, in sneakers and in heels. While such a group may have "ballet" in its name and even a rack of tutus in storage, its current relationship to the art form can be tenuous at best. That disconnect grows wider every year as contemporary choreographers look beyond ballet—if not beyond white Western forms entirely—in search of new inspiration and foundational techniques.

Yet dancers at almost all of the world's leading mixed-rep ensembles take ballet classes before rehearsals and shows. Most companies rarely depart from ballet more than twice a week and some never offer alternative classes.

"The question, 'Why do you take ballet class to prepare you for repertory which is not strictly classical?' has been in the air since Diaghilev's time," says Peter Lewton-Brain, Monaco-based president of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. "What you're doing onstage is often not what you're doing in class."

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