October 30, 2014
American Ballet Theatre Dance Critique
I have done a lot of research on American Ballet Theatre’s performance of Fancy Free. For starters, Jerome Robbins choreographed this incredible dance that I saw on Thursday, October 23, 2014. Jerome Robbins was an American Theatre producer during the 20th century.1 He was recognized for his work in classical ballet and in musical theatre. 2 Jerome Robbins choreographed Fancy Free in the 1940’s and its first premiere took place on April 18th, 1944 at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.3
It is important to note the background information of this wonderful ballet piece. The scene of Fancy Free takes place at a bar and at the outside sidewalk in New York City, during wartime.4 Three Sailors arrive, and have a drink and then head outside looking for women. A beautiful woman passes by and the three sailors fight for her attention. She then escapes pursued by two of the sailors. The Third sailor, encounters another beautiful women passing by, and invites her to have a drink with him. He impresses her with a pantomime of his military accomplishments, and they dance passionately.5 The other two sailors come back with the first girl, who sees the second girl and realizes it is her friend. The sailors realize their situation, which is that there are three men, but only two girls.6 The couple’s dance and change partners, with one always left dancing by himself. Finally, it is decided that the three sailors will have a dance contest, and the loser will go with no date.7 Each sailor performs a solo variation dance but they're so equally matched that the girls can't decide and the boys begin to fight. While the boys are fighting, the girls escape in terror. Seeing their dates disappear, the sailors pick themselves up and go outside again. Another beautiful women passes by, and the three sailors attempt to pursue her. I think the music that was played in Fancy Free is important to note as well because it set the mood for the story plot line. The music was by Leonard Bernstein who is an American composer and is considered one of the first conductors to receive attention nationwide.8
The actual dancers in Fancy Free consisted of the three sailors Herman Cornejo, Cory Stearns and Marcello Gomes. Herman Cornejo is originally from Argentina and joined ABT in 1999 and was made a principal dancer in 2003.9 Cory Stearns is originally from New York and joined ABT in 2005 and was made a principal dancer in 2011.10 Marcello Gomes was the last sailor who came from Brazil and joined ABT in 1997 and was made a principal dancer in 2002.11 Next we have the women who are passers-by in Fancy Free. Stella Abrera joined the company in 1996 and became a successful soloist in 2001.12 Julie Kent from Maryland joined ABT in 1986 and became a principal dancer in 1993.13 Finally there was Leann Underwood who joined ABT in 2006.14
I did some further research on the inspiration behinds Jerome Robbins choreographing Fancy Free. His inspiration came from a 1934 painting done by Paul Cadmus whose painting gave Robbins the idea of having the Sailors and the girl’s dance together.15
Before further critiquing Fancy Free I observed many ways in which it connected to World Dance. First off, Robbins had the idea for the dance during the time of war in the United States so that alone has everything to do with how the world helped inspire him for choreographing that dance. Also, Fancy Free was first performed in 1944 and until this day tons of famous ballet company’s worldwide continue to perform this incredible ballet piece.
The description in Fancy Free involves many things. In Fancy Free the dancers cover a lot of ground and space. They take up a lot of the stage and move around either by themselves or while dancing with their partners. Specifically, when the three sailors go into the bar with the two women, they dance around using their whole space. For the most