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Fall Season Retrospective

George Balanchine's Theme and Variations. © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo: Gene Schiavone.
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Fall Season Retrospective

Now that warm summer sunsets have given way to chilly mornings and pumpkin spice, ABT’s studios have been buzzing with preparations for the upcoming Fall season at the David H. Koch Theater, October 16–27.

While Twyla Tharp, Gemma Bond and James Whiteside are keeping ABT’s dancers on their toes with new choreography, many dancers are also learning challenging roles from iconic ballets for the first time. As we look forward to exciting debuts in these important works, join us as we chassé down memory lane with images from three ballets ABT will be reviving this Fall season.


George Balanchine choreographed Apollo for the Ballets Russes in 1928 when he was just 24 years old. Set to Stravinsky’s score and one of the few story ballets Balanchine created, Apollo was a milestone ballet, and the title role is a challenging one for male dancers. During ABT’s Fall season,  Principal Dancer Herman Cornejo and Soloists Joo Won Ahn and Calvin Royal III will take the stage as Apollo for the first time in New York.

Herman Cornejo.
Photo: Erin Baiano, courtesy Vail dance Festival.

Now at the pinnacle of his career, Principal Dancer Herman Cornejo will make his ABT debut as Apollo on October 26 in an evening celebrating his accomplishments in 20 years at with the Company.

Susan Jaffe, Jose Manuel Carreño,
Julie Kent, Paloma Herrera.
Photo: Paul Kolnik.

A previous generation of ABT stars strikes the ballet’s iconic pose: Jose Manuel Carreño as Apollo, with Susan Jaffe, Paloma Herrera and Julie Kent.

Julie Kent, Jose Manuel Carreño,
Stella Abrera, Irina Dvorovenko.
Photo: Gene Schiavone.

Here, the young god lifts a lute in sacrifice to Zeus, as the muses Terpsichore (dance), Polyhymnia (mime) and Calliope (poetry) circle around him.

Christine Spizzo, Cheryl Yeager,
Susan Jaffe, Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Photo: Richard N. Greenhouse.

Apollo is the oldest ballet of Balanchine repertory still performed. Though it wasn’t seen onstage for many seasons in the middle of his career, the choreographer revived his early masterpiece for Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1979.


George Balanchine’s Apollo. © The George Balanchine Trust.


Apollo Performances

Some Assembly Required

This season marks 30 years since Clark Tippet’s Some Assembly Required first premiered to audience delight.  The emotional pas de deux was inspired by the relationship of Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, former ABT dancers who served as frequent collaborators with Tippet.

Isbella Boylston and Isaac Stappas.
Photo: Katsuyoshi Tanaka.

The dramatic duet was unconventional for its time, from the costumes to the choreography. Mastering the emotional and physical feats of partnering in this pas de deux is a challenge.

Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner.
Photo: Martha Swope.

Former ABT Principal Dancer Amanda McKerrow and former Soloist John Gardner premiered the pas de deux. Tippet created never-before-seen lifts and unusual shapes for the couple.

Maria Riccetto and Jared Matthews.
Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

Some Assembly Required was last performed by ABT in 2009 by former Soloists Maria Riccetto and Jared Matthews. Ten years later, two new casts will take on the roles: Principal Dancers Sarah Lane and Cory Stearns on October 18 and 20, and Soloists Skylar Brandt and Roman Zhurbin on October 19 and 24.

Clark Tippet, John Gardner, Amanda McKerrow.
Photo: Paul B. Goode.

Here, choreographer Clark Tippet works with Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner in the studio. This season, McKerrow and Gardner are back in ABT studios staging the work and passing on their expertise to the current generation of dancers.



Some Assembly Required Performances

Theme and Variations

This brilliant, abstract classical ballet was created for ABT by George Balanchine in 1947.  Since its premiere, ABT has performed six different productions of the ballet, each with variations to the staging and costumes.

Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevitch.
Photo: Alfredo Valente.

Principal Dancers Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevitch famously premiered the ballet in 1947 at New York’s City Center.

Sarah Lane and Joseph Gorak.
Photo: Gene Schiavone.

Principal Dancers Sarah Lane and Joseph Gorak will lead the ballet in two performances this month. Theme and Variations will kick off ABT’s Fall season at the Opening Night Gala on October 16, with Principal Dancer Devon Teuscher debuting opposite Cory Stearns. At the Family Friendly Fall matinee on October 26, Soloist Joo Won Ahn will premiere the role alongside Principal Dancer Isabella Boylston.

Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg.
Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

Principal Dancers Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg performed the ballet together in 2005, sparkling in costumes by Theoni V. Aldredge. The vibrantly colored costumes currently used were designed by Zack Brown in 2013.


George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations. © The George Balanchine Trust.


Theme and Variations Performances


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