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.
Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB
We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.
Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.
We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.