American Repertory Ballet">American Repertory Ballet

McCarter Dance

State Theater

War Memorial

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This column by Nicole Plett was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on September 15, 1999. All rights reserved.

Nicole Plett on Dance: Fall Arts Preview

Dance leads off on an enthusiastic footing this season,

thanks in part to the big audiences that voted with their feet to

greet Mikhail Baryshnikov and his White Oak Dance Project for their

unprecedented six-performance engagement at McCarter Theater in July.

Having taken on the mantle of modern dance proselytizer, the former

Soviet ballet superstar gratified modern dance enthusiasts at the

same time he astonished long-time ballet devotees with works by some

of the wittiest and most talented choreographers in the business —

Mark Morris, Neil Greenberg, and Lucy Guerin, to name just a few.

No matter that the national dance outlook has waned over the ’90s,

Baryshnikov’s shows demonstrated that audiences still love their stars.

Among the newest features of the new dance season is a home for dance

at the lavishly restored War Memorial in Trenton. The monumental Art

Deco venue lives up to its reputation by launching the season, September

28 and 29, with "Spirit of the Dance," a blockbuster Celtic-inspired

dance show by the touring Irish International Dance Company. Following

in the footsteps of the unexpected dance phenom, "Riverdance,"

the show promises a range of dances from traditional airs and reels

to ’90s jazz-funk.

Also new on the dance scene is the ascendant American Repertory Ballet

that opens its new season under artistic director Graham Lustig. The

former British principal dancer whose choreography has been compared

to that of the late Choo San Goh, will show his own ballet, "Borderlines,"

on the Opening Night program at State Theater, Saturday, October 9.

He takes the reins from Septime Webre, artistic director since 1993,

who leaves to head the Washington Ballet,

A lifelong dancer, Lustig joined Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet as a

principal in 1980, and over the course of seven years, also contributed

four new works to the esteemed company’s repertoire, and co-founded

his own small company, Dance Advance. After Sadler’s Wells, Lustig

became choreographer-in-residence at the Washington Ballet, where

he premiered a number of works, and also took on commissions for the

Hartford Ballet, and the American Ballet Theater Studio Company.

Keeping dancegoers voting with their feet, are strong touring seasons

at both the State Theater, New Brunswick, and McCarter Theater, where

featured companies include two Balanchine-inspired endeavors: Edward

Villella’s Miami City Ballet and Suzanne Farrell’s "Masters of

20th-century Ballet" program. Other ballet offerings include the

Opera Ballet of Bordeaux’s "Tribute to Diaghilev," and the

Moscow City Ballet’s "Cinderella."

Also waiting in the wings is an impressive group of modern-dance titans

that include the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the irrepressible Pilobolus,

and a solo appearance by Bill T. Jones.

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American Repertory Ballet
">American Repertory Ballet

American Repertory Ballet, State Theater, New Brunswick,

732-246-7469. Website:

Opening Night, State Theater. The new season under new

artistic director Graham Lustig opens with his sensual ballet, "Borderlines,"

set to music by Steve Martland. Also world premiere of Elaine Kudo’s

"Children of the Drum," George Balanchine’s "Concerto

Barocco," and Kirk Peterson’s "The Eyes that Gently Touch,"

to music by Philip Glass. October 9.

The Nutcracker, McCarter Theater, 609-258-2787. American

Repertory Ballet’s updated production of Tchaikovsky’s holiday treat

featuring professional dancers and 150 students. November 26-28; December

29-31; January 2. And at the State Theater, December 12 and 13.

Midsummer Night’s Dream, State Theater. Choreographed

by Graham Lustig to Felix Mendelssohn’s score, "Dream" is

paired with a new "Rite of Spring" choreographed by Salvatore

Aiello. March 11 and 12.

Premiere Evening, McCarter Theater. Premieres include

Graham Lustig’s duet, "Cadenza," a blend of formal courtliness

and modern athleticism, danced to Gorecki’s "Harpsichord Concerto."

April 16.

Romeo and Juliet, College of New Jersey, Kendall Performance

Center, Ewing, 609-771-2775. Septime Webre’s lavish production of

the story of the star-crossed lovers, to the music of Prokofiev, April


Romeo and Juliet, State Theater, Septime Webre’s choreographic

re-telling of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy. May 13.

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McCarter Dance

McCarter Theater, 91 University Place, 609-258-2787.

Miami City Ballet, Edward Villella’s regional company

that is earning international attention. October 6 and 7. Carmen,

The Lyon Ballet, on tour from France, presents a steamy danced production

of "Carmen." October 26.

Paul Taylor Dance Company, Modern dance’s brilliant and

original ensemble. November 9. Stuttgart Ballet, January 10

and 11. Garth Fagan Dance, February 1. Bill T. Jones,

A solo performance by one of the most influential and controversial

dance artists of the past decade. February 29. Trinity Irish Dance

Company , March 9. Pilobolus Dance Theater, April 18.

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State Theater

State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 877-782-8311.

Masters of 20th-Century Ballet, Suzanne Farrell, the former

New York City Ballet principal dancer known as Mr. B’s "muse,"

Farrell stages works by Balanchine, Robbins, and Bejart performed

by an ensemble of 16 dancers. $20 to $32. October 29.

Cinderella, the Moscow City Ballet presents its company

of 65 in Golovanov’s choreography performed to Prokofiev’s score.

$20 to $32. November 9.

Gregory Hines, The tap dance star in a special benefit

show for DancePower, American Repertory Ballet’s dance partnership

with the New Brunswick public schools. $22 to $42. November 12.

The Don Cossacks of Rostov, $20 to $38. November 13.

Csardas, Tango of the East, featuring the Budapest Ensemble.

$20 to $34. January 14.

Tribute to Diaghilev, Ballet de l’Opera de Bordeaux presents

Fokine’s revolutionary "Chopiniana," "Le Spectre de la

Rose," and "Petrouchka," together with Nijinsky’s "Afternoon

of a Faun." $20 to $38. March 22.

Romeo and Juliet, Ballet de l’Opera de Bordeaux presents

Shakespeare’s tragic tale to Prokofiev’s enchanting score. $20 to

$38. March 23.

Swan Lake on Ice, The ballet classic performed by the

St. Petersburg State Ice Ballet. $20 to $32. March 29.

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War Memorial

War Memorial, West Lafayette Street, Trenton, 609-984-8400.

Spirit of the Dance, The Irish International Dance Company

in a dazzling dance show of traditional airs, reels, and ’90s jazz-funk

that follows in the footsteps of the popular "Riverdance."

$20.50 to $32.50. September 28 and 29.

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