Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center welcomes the return of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), America’s National Ballet Company®, led by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, July 16-19, with its full-evening production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. MacMillan's masterful interpretation of Shakespeare's enduring romantic tragedy entered American Ballet Theatre’s repertoire in 1985 and has since become one of the Company’s signature productions. Against the sumptuous setting of Renaissance Italy, MacMillan weaves a dance tapestry rich in character nuance and sensuality, and Sergei Prokofiev's stirring music underscores the lyric beauty and passion of this beloved ballet's star-crossed lovers.
Romeo and Juliet received its World Premiere by The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London on February 9, 1965, danced by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. Romeo and Juliet was given its American Ballet Theatre Company Premiere in Washington, D. C. at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on January 3, 1985, danced by Leslie Browne and Robert La Fosse.
Five casts will dance Romeo and Juliet beginning with Irina Dvorovenko and Roberto Bolle on Thursday evening, July 16. On Friday, July 17, Paloma Herrera and Marcelo Gomes will lead the cast. On Saturday, July 18, Hee Seo and Cory Stearns dance at the matinee, and Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg dance in the evening. The engagement ends on Sunday, July 19 with Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo leading the cast.
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Irina Dvorovenko began her ballet training at the age of 10 at the Kiev Ballet School. She joined the National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Kiev in 1990 as a soloist, rising to the rank of principal dancer in 1992. Dvorovenko's awards include a Gold Medal and the “Anna Pavlova” Prize at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow (1992), the Grand Prix at the International Ballet Competition Serge Lifar in the Ukraine (1994), a Diploma and the Grand Prix in the Junior Division of the Ukraine Ballet Competition (1987), a Diploma in the Junior Division of the Moscow Ballet Competition (1988), a Silver Medal at the Jackson International Ballet Competition (1990), and a Bronze Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Osaka, Japan (1991). Dvorovenko joined American Ballet Theatre in August 1996 and was promoted to Soloist in 1997 and Principal Dancer in August 2000.
Born in Casale Monferrato, Roberto Bolle, trained at the Theatre La Scala Ballet School where he was chosen by Rudolf Nureyev to dance Tadzio in Death in Venice. In 1996, two years after he joined La Scala Ballet, he was promoted to principal dancer. Since December 1998, Bolle has been Resident Guest Artist at La Scala Theatre. In 2002, he danced at Buckingham Palace in the presence of H. M. Queen Elizabeth II, in celebration of her Golden Jubilee. During the 2003/2004, season Bolle was promoted to Étoile. In 2004, he danced before Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square, celebrating Young People’s Day. Bolle also danced a solo, created for him by Enzo Cosimi, at the opening ceremony of the Winter Games in Turin, Italy in February 2006. Since 1999, Bolle has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. Bolle made his first appearance with American Ballet Theatre in 2007 dancing the roles of Des Grieux in Manon and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet.
American Ballet Theatre is recognized as one of the great dance companies in the world. Few ballet companies equal ABT for its combination of size, scope and outreach. Recognized as a living national treasure since its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the United States, performing for more than 600,000 people, and is the only major cultural institution to do so. It has also made more than 15 international tours to 42 countries as perhaps the most representative American ballet company and has been sponsored by the State Department of the United States on many of these engagements.
In October 1992, former American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Kevin McKenzie was appointed Artistic Director. Mr. McKenzie, steadfast in his vision of ABT as "American," is committed to maintaining the Company's vast repertoire, and to bringing the art of dance theater to the great stages of the world.
When American Ballet Theatre was launched in 1939, the aim was to develop a repertoire of the best ballets from the past and to encourage the creation of new works by gifted young choreographers, wherever they might be found. Under the direction of Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith from 1940 to 1980, the Company more than fulfilled that aim. The repertoire, perhaps unmatched in the history of ballet, includes all of the great full-length ballets of the nineteenth century, such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle, the finest works from the early part of this century, such as Apollo, Les Sylphides, Jardin aux Lilas and Rodeo, and acclaimed contemporary masterpieces such as Airs, Push Comes to Shove and Duets. In acquiring such an extraordinary repertoire, ABT has commissioned works by all of the great choreographic geniuses of the 20th century: George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille and Twyla Tharp, among others.
In keeping with the Company's long-standing commitment to bringing the finest in dance to the widest international audience, ABT has enjoyed triumphant successes with engagements in Tokyo, London, Paris, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Seoul.
In the Fall of 2000, American Ballet Theatre made its first visit to China, appearing in both Shanghai and Hong Kong. Over almost seven decades, the Company has appeared in a total of 126 cities in 42 countries. ABT has also appeared in all 50 states of the United States. In 2006, American Ballet Theatre was recognized by the United States Congress as America’s National Ballet Company.
Photo credit: Rosalie O’Conner