To call Alexei Ratmansky, some of whose works have their obvious flaws, the most fascinating choreographer alive is unfair to such illustrious and older choreographers as Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris and Matthew Bourne, each of whom has made several more provably enduring masterpieces. Yet it's tempting to do so.More
The finest Russian choreographer since George Balanchine and for some years the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Mr. Ratmansky has already subtly changed the course of Russian ballet. In his work with American Ballet Theater (where he is artist in residence) and New York City Ballet he is now quietly changing the course of ballet in the West.
The remarkable ways in which, at the Bolshoi, he applied Western sophistication to the Russian ballet tradition (so coarsened by the Soviet era) are now equaled by the ways in which he has choreographed Russian music in the West and dramatized the Russia that might have been. He is, above all, refreshing the musical and theatrical aspects of ballet more successfully than anyone since the deaths of Balanchine (1983), Frederick Ashton (1988), Kenneth MacMillan (1992) and Jerome Robbins (1998). The achievement is remarkable. At 42 he is still an evidently growing artist.
His two-act comedy ballet The Bright Stream, new with the Bolshoi in 2003 and danced by that company at the Metropolitan Opera House in 2005, joined Ballet Theater's repertory this January and is being danced at the Met through Wednesday. Though it's neither as poetic nor as accomplished as works he has created in the last five years, it's the most sheerly entertaining of his ballets. It shows why it put him on the map internationally. He gets the Metropolitan audience gurgling with laughter, and he wins applause for every level of Ballet Theater.
Ratmansky shines in ABT's 'The Bright Stream'
6th July 2011