What Wendy's Watching

Sarasota Ballet Brings Ashton—And Marcelo Gomes—To the Joyce

Marcelo Gomes and Victoria Hulland in The Two Pigeons, PC Frank Atura

Sarasota Ballet is returning to New York City's Joyce Theater with a batch of rarely-seen Ashton works. But the big news is that guest artist Marcelo Gomes will be performing with the company. Yes, Gomes is back performing in New York, possibly for the first time since he resigned from American Ballet Theatre in December after an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Gomes is one of the greatest male ballet dancers ever to grace the ABT stage—which he did for 20 years. Watching him dance, it's easy to see why he was every woman's favorite partner: He lavishes attention on his ballerina. The audience can feel his connection and his passion.


He will be dancing the tender final pas de deux from Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons. I was lucky to see him dance this with Sarasota's Victoria Hulland when they performed at Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum last fall. They are exquisite together.

A little background: Iain Webb, the current director of Sarasota, has worked closely with Ashton and is devoted to staging his ballets in the United States. His company is bringing two programs to the Joyce.

Program A includes Monotones I & II, which are slow and steady moonscapes. They have no narrative, which is atypical of Ashton. It's possible that he was inspired by seeing Merce Cunningham's Nocturnes in 1964. Nocturnes was all in white, to music by Satie. Ashton's ballet, too, is all in white, with music by Satie. Also on this program are There Where She Loved, by Christopher Wheeldon, and Symphony of Sorrows, by Sarasota principal Ricardo Graziano.

Program B repeats the Wheeldon and Monotones, plus four excerpts of longer Ashton works, including the pas de deux from The Two Pigeons.

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