January 27, 2021

ABT Studio Company Presents Winter Festival

VIRTUAL VIRTUOSITY: Aleisha Walker, a member of American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company, will perform in “Escapades” as part of a two-night festival on American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube channel. (Photo by Jojo Mamangun)

World premieres by Hope Boykin and Lauren Lovette will be presented over two evenings during the ABT Studio Company Winter Festival on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 9 and 10, at 7 p.m., on American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube channel.

The virtual event features 14 dancers from the company, which is affiliated with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and often serves as a feeder into the main troupe. It is hosted by ABT Studio Company alumni Isabella Boylston and Calvin Royal III, and also includes works by Amy Hall Garner, Marius Petipa, Alexei Ratmansky, Brendan Saye, Antony Tudor, and Rostislav Zakharov.

Company members gathered last fall for a “ballet bubble” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, CT, and at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in Tivoli, New York, following protocol to protect against the pandemic. The performances were filmed at Kaatsbaan. They highlight the studio company’s mission to develop the next generation of ballet dancers, choreographers, and audiences.

On February 9, the festival will open with a mix of classic and neo-classical works, along with Studio Company premieres and a world premiere. Lovette, who is a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, choreographed La Follia Variations just before the pandemic forced the studios to close. It is her second work for the company. Also on the program are Garner’s Escapades and a suite from Seven Sonatas by Ratmansky, who is the resident choreographer at ABT. The ballet was premiered by ABT in 2009. The evening will also include excerpts from the Ukrainian folk dance “Gopak” by Zakharov, and from Antony Tudor’s The Leaves are Fading.

The festival continues February 10 with For What Is It All Worth? by Boykin, who has been a leading dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Class Concert choreographed by Studio Company director Sascha Radetsky; Grey Verses by Saye, a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada; and a suite from the classic Le Corsaire by Petipa, staged by Radetsky.

“The repertoire in these programs, which ranges from classical and neoclassical to modern works, reflects ABT’s commitment to cultivating both innovative new choreography and a promising new generation of dancer,” said Radetsky.“We all feel deeply fortunate to have safely gathered in our ballet bubble. The opportunity to train, create, and perform in person once again, after a long period of isolation and during a crucial point in our young dancers’ artistic development, was a gift. We are grateful as well for the privilege of working with choreographers like Hope, Lauren, Amy, and Brendan, who animated our studios  — in person and virtually —with artistry and imagination.”

For more information, visit abt.org.