|Anastasia Barsukova. Photo: Igor Siggul|
This production, choreographed primarily by Michael Chernov after Vasali Vainonen, takes few shortcuts other than using recorded music. The steps for the group scenes are smartly kept simple, garnering the basic desired effects. The costumes (also by Chernov) look of high quality, even from the close distance afforded by the wide house at Pace's Schimmel Center. With its shallow stage, there is nowhere to hide at such a proximity; jitters, sweat, and cheap fabrics could be easily detected by viewers, and the costumes fared well in this test (as did the jitters and sweat).
With tickets ranging from $39—59, it's not the cheapest (ABT's tickets began at $20, but again, that's not an option starting next winter), but nowhere near the gulp-inducing range at the Koch Theater for NYCB's: $71—260. But it's the best production if you want your children to connect with the dancers; proximity and overcoming human vulnerability are its strengths. Kudos to Kirkland and company for making a real go at enriching ballet life in New York City. In May, the company takes on no less than a full-length Don Quixote.