Never on the cutting edge of dance, American Ballet Theatre has always evinced a certain conservatism in its programming. Even when presenting the most avant works, the company has given a nod to tradition.
L This recent go around at the Kennedy Center is no exception.
Artistic Director Keven McKenzie opened his six-day & 2/3 engagement Tuesday night at the Kennedy Center Opera House by presenting his dancers in the romantic classic "Paquita", Anthony Tudor's sentimental "The Leaves Are Fading" and Twyla Tharp's new dance "Americans We".
Tomorrow, the company's program will change with Kenneth MacMillian's full-length ballet "Romeo and Juliet".
Natalia Makarova's latest interpretation of the oft-reworked "Paquita" focuses on the variations and the dancing rather than any story. This "Paquita" is is expressively created to serve as a vehicle for stars. Fortunately, American Ballet Theater abounds with them.
Impressive were the crystalline dancing of Christine Dunham and her strong consort, Jeremy Collins, Yan Chen's remarkable and precise balances, and Shawn Black's fluid and expressive footwork. Even Julie Kent's and Paloma Herrara's off nights are worth seeing.
Anthony Tudor's storyless and evocative work "The Leaves are Fading" with its ever shifting boy-meets-girl scenarios gave us a glimpse at Amanda McKerrow's wondrous performance ability. Closing the program was "Americans We," choreographer Twyla Tharp's sentimental romp through a medly of marches and Stephen Foster memorabilia.
Particularly strong were the performances of Angel Corella and Paloma Herrara. But the eight-section work was too loosely stitched for any strong emotional connection.
Where: Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, D.C.
When: Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Call: (202) 467-4600
Pub Date: 3/28/96