How ABT Dancers Get Through Two Grueling Months of Met Performances

American Ballet Theatre's two months of performances at New York City's Metropolitan Opera House can be an exciting but demanding time for the dancers. With nine ballets in eight weeks including Whipped Cream and Harlequinade, a night off is hard to come by.




The dancers need the best possible support to get through this time injury-free. One of their secrets? Flooring from Harlequin Floors, which has been working closely with the dance community for many years to build a range of floors for all forms of dance. Harlequin develops floors that help reduce injuries, often in collaboration with some of the world's biggest dance companies. Trust, innovation and collaboration are at the core of everything they do.

ABT's director of production, James Whitehill, has sworn by Harlequin for years: "Flooring is a major consideration at ABT and continues its commitment to performing works that both honor our heritage and celebrate the innovative future of the art form. Whether in rehearsal or in performance, Harlequin meets the standard of excellence that ABT and its artists demand, which is why we look to Harlequin Floors as our official flooring provider."

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Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

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