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The ABT Studio Company

Reviewed by Phyllis Goldman

Presented by the American Ballet Theatre at the Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College, E. 68th St. and Lexington Ave., NYC, Dec. 13 only.

The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College hosted the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company performing choreography by several new faces on the creative scene. From Petipa (the Pas de Deux from Act III of "The Sleeping Beauty") to Julia Adam, a member of San Francisco ballet, the young company was put to the test in works ranging from classical to whimsical modern. Adam, who is proving herself a first rate choreographer, won with "WON," a robotic yet charming ballet with perky, almost zany allegro movements.

Adam used the stage space with a deft hand. From the first entrance back of the stage, Adam showed the importance of bringing on your dancers to spike the attention immediately. Most entered from the side wings and traveled across the stage in fits and starts that were provocative and unpredictable. She had considerable help from a marvelous score composed by Matthew Pierce, clearly illustrating just how in sync the two creators were. The music played live did not hurt, either.

Robert Hill, principal dancer at ABT, offered "Helix," a solo danced by Masayoshi Onuki—a quick, startling dancer—hampered only by an unflattering costume. Misty Copeland and Craig Salstein pulled off the difficult Tchaikovsky with considerable aplomb, considering their youth. Both appeared nervous—understandable, as it's a killer variation. Whoever coached them seemed to be content with getting them through it, calculating the fish dives instead of the risk-taking that is so endearing to the moment. Perhaps sparkle will come later.

Opening the program was "Blackberry Winter," choreographed by Ann Marie De Angelo, a former Joffrey ballerina. There was an awful lot going on to music by Conni Ellisor ("Concerto for Strings and Dulcimer"), including flips, cartwheels, and one-handed lifts. (The girls arched over the extended arm, a lift memorable from Glen Tetley's masterpiece, "Voluntaries.") This ballet may have been chosen to show the versatility of the ABT-trained dancers, a sort of "they can do anything" marketability.

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