Solid Gold

As the dance approaches its end, she increases its density. Oksana Konobeyeva, Ekaterina Shelkanova, Giuseppe Picone, and Belotserkovsky plunge into the full-throttle dancing, form trios with Gomes and Stewart. Roberts and Braun take back the Castor and Pollux routine. The original pairs swirl in and out; they've got 10 seconds to say everything they know and then say it again differently. Tharp loves dancers and dancing and expresses that better than just about everyone.

Duato's Without Words, set to Schubert songs arranged for cello and piano, is a slow, sweet piece. The four couples who inhabit it tend to suddenly intensify their gestures, as if delving into their thoughts. Resilient dancing (the women wear soft slippers), imaginative partnering, and images of waiting suggest a community of lovers for whom regret is always just over the hill. Sandra Brown and Belotserkovsky, Paloma Herrera and Corella, Sara Mau and Roberts, Kent and Malakhov mold it beautifully.

Details

Garth Fagan Dance
Joyce Theater
Through November 22
American Ballet Theatre
City Center

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Indeed, most of the performing I saw was superior, from corps to principals. Among the highlights were the marvelous Stiefel in Frederick Ashton's charming Currier and Ives skating party Les Patineurs, Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner in the fleet and loving duet from Antony Tudor's The Leaves Are Fading, sparkling Yan Chen and the plushier Herrera opening Clark Tippet's Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, Ashley Tuttle and Roberts in its second movement, and the entire cast of Tudor's wicked Gala Performance. Commenting on what appears to be an indifferent ballet company around the turn of the last century, Tudor also satirized ballerina styles: the Russian who bends so far toward the audience that her balance is in peril (a Danilova cartoon?), the icily stalking, steel-legged Italian, and the effusive French flirt. Christine Dunham, Jaffe, and Chen excelled in the roles. Since Tudor gave their weary partners (Ethan Brown and Malakhov) and every corps de ballet girl a distinct personality too, you don't just laugh at the jokes, you take in a whole foolish little world. And think to yourself: ballet companies have come a long way.

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