In celebration of its 80th anniversary, American Ballet Theatre (ABT) is offering fans around the world an online treat: "American Ballet Theatre Offstage: A 2020 Virtual Season".
The eight-week online program replaces ABT’s planned New York 80th Anniversary Spring Season and includes orchestral concerts, conversations, ballet classes, guest artist spotlights, hair and make-up tutorials and a historical review.
Program highlights include:
#ABTMetMemory Video Diaries
Each Monday, beginning May 11, individual ABT artists will reflect on their personal memories of performing at the Metropolitan Opera House and share their thoughts on a particular full-length ballet from ABT’s repertoire. ABT Principal Dancers Stella Abrera, Isabella Boylston, Herman Cornejo and former Principal Dancer Paloma Herrera are among the notable names scheduled to share their favorite Met memories.
Debut Deferred Series
Each Wednesday, dancers scheduled for major debuts in the Spring Season will discuss their roles and perform a brief rehearsal while sheltering at home. Soloists Aran Bell, Skylar Brandt, Thomas Forster, Catherine Hurlin, Calvin Royal III and Cassandra Trenary will answer viewer questions submitted online and discuss their preparation for leading roles in La Bayadère, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty.
ABT@80: A Fond Look Back
Each Thursday, ABT Offstage will celebrate the milestones of its eight decades and honour dancers from its past with historical images, videos, and testimonials featuring its legendary artists. On Thursday, May 21, Natalia Makarova will participate in a special celebration of the 40th anniversary of her staging of La Bayadère, which was given its ABT premiere on that date in 1980. ABT will also pay tribute to Alicia Alonso, famed Cuban ballerina and pioneering member of Ballet Theatre (as ABT was originally known).
Ballet Classes Inspired by the Classics
Each Friday, ABT Offstage will feature former and current ABT dancers teaching a class inspired by one of this season’s scheduled ballets. Christine Shevchenko, Sarah Lane, Luciana Paris, Susan Jaffe and Sascha Radetsky are among the guest teachers lined up to conduct classes influenced by the ABT productions Of Love and Rage, The Sleeping Beauty, Jane Eyre, La Bayadère and Fancy Free.
ABT Weekend Talk Series
Each Saturday, ABT will present conversations on YouTube focused on the ballet that would have been performed, as well as a special July 4th exchange between two heroes: former ABT dancers-turned-first-responders Gray Davis, a Deputy Sheriff in Abbeville County, South Carolina and New York City 911 paramedic Patrick Ogle. ABT Offstage conversations also include Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie discussing “ABT Then and Now” with Herman Cornejo and choreographer Jessica Lang, Misty Copeland and Calvin Royal III discussing their roles in Romeo and Juliet, former principal dancer and ABT JKO School Artistic Director Cynthia Harvey and Isabella Boylston parsing the role of Gamzatti in La Bayadère, and Catherine Hurlin and Aran Bell sharing their experiences creating ABT’s World Premiere production Of Love and Rage.
Virtual Meeting Backgrounds
Unique virtual backgrounds of ABT productions will be available for download at www.abt.org. Fans can access a new background each week, representing the weekly repertoire aligning with ABT’s planned 80th Anniversary Spring season.
For more information head to the ABT website.
Pictured top are Misty Copeland and Calvin Royal III. Photo: Ruth Hogben.