American Ballet Theater gets Scathing Opening Night Reviews

Monday evening saw the opening gala for the American Ballet Theater, an opening that’s always highly anticipated as it re-enacts snippets of the most iconic plays and ballets; and gives theater-goers a chance to see that season’s talent for the first time. But after the opening early this week, the ballet may still be cowering from the scathing reviews received for its opening night.

The New York Times gave the ballet the harshest review of them all, criticizing everything from the audience that was too loud to the “solo violinist [that] was seldom in tune throughout the evening, but he reserved his flattest and scratchiest playing for the pas de deux from Act II of “Swan Lake.” The Times weren’t any more forgiving when the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School performed a number either, saying the “routine they danced made the students look efficiently trite.”

It wasn’t just felt by the Times either. The New York Post also noticed some problems, although they were much kinder about the event than the Times. The Post instead was content to keep themselves to saying that while the bright moments made it all worthwhile, “several of the dancers looked off form. Gilliam Murphy hunched her shoulders, more vulture than ‘Black Swan.’ Julie Kent’s dancing in ‘Onegin’ was intelligent, but tentative. Alina Cojocaru was miscast as the fallen woman Manon, striking no sparks with retiring principal dancer Angel Corella.”

But does a poor opening spell trouble for a theater’s entire season? As most art, it depends on what you’re looking for. The Post is hopeful, saying “With the gala over, the company is now setting into a run of one of its best productions yet.”

However, the Times doesn’t see it. “It represents far too many of the worst trends in ballet, and emphatically suggests that they are on the increase.” Well if that’s the case, the season may be saved after all.

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