School of American Ballet

June 3, 2005

School of American Ballet

36th Annual Workshop Performances
The Juilliard Theater

New York, New York

June 3, 5, 2000

Reviewed by Lynn Garafola

This year?s School of American Ballet workshop performances opened with Balanchine?s Danses Concertantes, closed with a bang-up performance of his Stars and Stripes, with Bournonville?s rarely seen Konservatoriet (Danish for The Conservatory) sandwiched in between.

Only the dancing school scene survives from Bournonville?s 1849 ballet. But as staged by New York City Ballet principal Nikolaj Hübbe, that excerpt is a jewel of romantic style, a cascade of solos, duos, trios, and ensemble dances that seem to rush from an imagination brimming with choreographic ideas. Although the pointe work is limited, there are killer promenades, feet that dart with the quickness of hummingbirds, and slow, unsupported developpes?challenges the dancers did not always meet. Missing, for the most part, were the rounded arms and classical epaulement that are hallmarks of Bournonville style.

Balanchine first choreographed Danses Concertantes in 1944 for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and then rechorographed it in 1972 for New York City Ballet?s Stravinsky Festival. Staged by Susan Pilarre, it is an odd piece: jazzy, sparkling with wit, a parade of sophisticated vaudevillians?showgirls with endless legs in fluffy tutus and surrealist harlequins?before an Italianate décor by Eugene Berman. There is a spectacular role for a male lead, danced by Bronx-born Amar Ramasar, who has the effortless jump and ebullient personality of a star.

Suki Schorer staged Stars and Stripes, homage to the cheerleaders, baton twirlers, and marching bands of Main Street, with pizzazz and classical dazzle. Leading the all-male “regiment” of the Third Campaign was 16-year-old Daniel Ulbricht, whose double tours and entrechat-sixes even now are the stuff of virtuosity. But it was 16-year-old Ashley Bouder, SAB?s latest whiz kid from Marcia Dale Weary?s Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, who stole the show as Liberty Bell. There is nothing she cannot do. Her jump is sensational, her aplomb, control and panache astonishing. And she loves to perform. As her partner, California-trained Andrew Veyette danced El Capitán with high-jumping verve and the bearing of an all-American prince.