"Raymonda Divertissements", "Seven Sonatas", "Fancy Free"
American Ballet Theatre
David H. Koch Theater
New York, NY
October 25, 2014, matinee
by Mary Cargill
copyright © 2014 by Mary Cargill
Variety is one of the benefits of ABT's fall season--the collection of one-act works don't have to be programmed in blocks, so it is possible to see the ballets in various arrangements. The Saturday matinee opened and closed, like the opening night performance, with "Raymoda Divertissements" and "Fancy Free", but the middle work was the modern, plotless "Seven Sonatas" instead of Wednesday's dramatic "Jardin aux Lilas". The casting, too, was new, with several debuts. Gillian Murphy and Alexandre Hammoudi were the new couple in "Raymonda Divertissements". Murphy danced stylishly and confidently, seeming to let that luscious music pull the steps out of her. She has always been a fearless technician but her dancing has developed a luxurious patina and a majestic, three-dimensional quality; there is a stateliness about her upper body that suits Petipa's glorious, ideal women. She did eschew the audible claps in the solo, unfortunately, barely bringing her fingers together. I know this is the current Russian style, but in an interview Freddie Franklin said that he had learned "Raymonda" from Alexandra Danilova, who knew the Petipa production, and that Raymonda's solo had an audible clap. For me, this gives the performance a unique and distinctive snap, though even without it, Murphy's solo ravishing combination of openness, as she bourréed towards the audience with her arms seeming to offer them joy, and mystery, as she seemed be pulled inwards by that intoxicating music.
Xiomara Rejes and Herman Cornejo in "Seven Sonatas" Photo © Rosalie O'Connor