Kings of the Dance
Angel Corella, Johan Kobborg, Ethan Stiefel and Nikolay Tsiskaridze Perform Premieres and Classic Works Including Flemming Flindt’s “The Lesson” at New York City Center February 23–26, New Dances by Christopher Wheeldon, Roland Petit, Nils Christe, Tim Rushton and Stanton Welch
Four of the world’s greatest male ballet dancers––Angel Corella (American Ballet Theatre), Johan Kobborg (Royal Ballet), Ethan Stiefel (American Ballet Theatre) and Nikolay Tsiskaridze (Bolshoi Ballet)––will perform new dances by Christopher Wheeldon, Roland Petit, Nils Christe, Stanton Welch and Tim Rushton. And that’s only part of the spectacular story of “Kings of the Dance,” which will be presented at New York City Center, February 23–26.
Each of the artists will perform a new solo made especially for him. Johan Kobborg will perform Tim Rushton’s “Afternoon of a Faun” made anew to the Debussy score of the same name, while Ethan Stiefel will present the New York premiere of Nils Christe’s “Wavemaker” to music by John Adams. Roland Petit is making a solo, “Carmen,” for Nikolay Tsiskaridze to the Bizet music and Stanton Welch is readying a new dance for Angel Corella. Each will also perform a male variation from the classical ballet repertoire: Stiefel will perform excerpts from Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux;” Tsiskaridze, an excerpt from Grigorovich’s “Nutcracker;” Corella, an excerpt from Petipa’s “Le Corsaire;” while Kobborg’s variation will be from Bournonville’s “Flower Festival in Genzano.”
All four dancers will also appear in a new dance created for them by New York City Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, which he is setting to music by Franz Schubert.
Another highlight will be “The Lesson,” choreographed by Flemming Flindt, former director of the Royal Danish Ballet. The 1963 classic, Flindt’s first and most renowned ballet, was inspired by Eugene Ionesco’s play of the same name. Flindt relocates Ionesco’s sinister tale to a ballet studio, where the demonic teacher is driven to murdering his female student. Each night a different “king” will dance the role of the teacher, joined by Royal Danish Ballet principal Gudrun Bojesen as the pupil and Royal Ballet soloist Deirdre Chapman as pianist. The darkly haunting work features Georges Delerue’s score and Bernard Dayde’s set. Casting is as follows: Corella, February 23; Kobborg, February 24; Stiefel, February 25; and Tsiskaridze, February 26. The role represents a debut for all but Kobborg, whose performance in the role with the Royal Ballet recently earned him a 2006 Laurence Olivier Award nomination.
Prior to its City Center engagement, “Kings of the Dance” will be seen at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, February 16–19, where the commissioned ballets will receive their world premieres.
The evening curtain at New York City Center, Thursday through Saturday, is at 8pm; there is also a 3pm matinee on Sunday.
Where To Go
Ticket prices are $150, $100, $75, $50 & $35 and can be purchased at the City Center Box Office, through CITYTIX at 212-581-1212 or online at www.nycitycenter.org. City Center is located on 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.
Angel Corella began his ballet training in Colmenar Viejo, a region of his native Madrid, followed by studies with Victor Ullate and Karemia Moreno, also in Madrid. He joined American Ballet Theatre as a soloist in 1995 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1996. His broad repertoire with the company includes Prince Siegfried in “Swan Lake,” Albrecht in “Giselle,” Solor in “La Bayadère,” Franz in “Coppélia,” Basilio in “Don Quixote,” Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” and multiple leading roles in “Le Corsaire.” Corella originated leading roles in Twyla Tharp’s “The Brahms-Haydn Variations” and “Known by Heart,” Stanton Welch’s “Clear” and “HereAfter (earth)” (choreographed with Natalie Weir), James Kudelka’s “Sin and Tonic,” Mark Morris’s “Gong,” Lar Lubovitch’s “…smile with my heart, ” David Parsons’s “The Pied Piper” and Robert Hill’s “Baroque Game” and “Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra.” Corella has been guest artist with the Royal Ballet, the Australian Ballet and at La Scala. He was awarded First Prize in the 1991 National Ballet Competition of Spain, the 1994 Grand Prix and Gold Medal at the Concours International de Danse de Paris and the 2000 Prix Benois de la Dance. In 2003 he received the National Award of Spain.
Born in Odense, Denmark, Johan Kobborg entered the Royal Danish Ballet School in 1988 at age 16. After a year at the school he became an apprentice with the company, and in 1991 joined the Royal Danish Ballet as a full-time member. After his debut as James in “La Sylphide,” Kobborg was promoted to principal dancer by Peter Schaufuss in 1994. In 1999, he left Denmark to join the Royal Ballet as a principal. His classical repertoire includes Albrecht in “Giselle,” Solor in “La Bayadère,” Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” and Basilio in “Don Quixote” and the roles of Prince in “The Nutcracker,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake.” Choreographers who have created work on him include Flemming Flindt, Peter Schaufuss, David Bintley, Ashley Page, Stanton Welch, Anna Laerkesen, William Tucket and Christopher Hampson. He has guested with the Kirov Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, La Scala Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Teatro San Carlo (Naples), Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Hungarian National Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, National Ballet of China, South African Ballet Theater and Stuttgart Ballet, among others. In 1994, Kobborg won both the Grand Prix at the Nureyev Ballet Competition in Hungary as well as the Grand Prix at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson. He also received a Gold Medal at the 1993 Erik Bruhn Competition in Canada and placed third in the 1991 Eurovision Ballet Competition in Helsinki. In 2001, he received Britain’s Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Male Dancer. Recently, he was nominated for the 2006 Laurence Olivier Award for his Royal Ballet performance of “The Lesson.”
Pennsylvania-born Ethan Stiefel began his dance training at the age of eight in Madison, Wisconsin. He studied for two years at the Milwaukee Ballet School with both Ted Kivitt and Paul Sutherland, as well as with Marcia Dale Weary at the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He moved to New York to attend American Ballet Theatre’s School of Classical Ballet and The School of American Ballet on scholarship. At 16, Stiefel joined the corps de ballet of New York City Ballet. After leaving to perform with the Zurich Ballet for a year, he returned to NYCB in 1993 as a soloist and was promoted to principal dancer in 1995. He remained with NYCB until 1997 when he joined American Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer. Stiefel has danced principal roles in a range of George Balanchine’s masterpieces including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Four Temperaments,” “Apollo,” “Symphony in Three Movements,” “Stars and Stripes,” “Harlequinade,” “Theme and Variations,” “Divertimento #15,” “Valse Fantasie,” “Symphony in C,” “Tarantella,” “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux,” “Chaconne” and “The Nutcracker.” His repertoire of Jerome Robbins’s ballets includes “Dances at a Gathering,” “West Side Story Suite,” “The Goldberg Variations,” “2+3 Part Inventions,” “Interplay,” “The Cage” and “Quiet City.” Peter Martins created “Fearful Symmetries,” “Ash,” “Tchaikovsky Pas de Quatre” and “Mozart Piano Concerto” on him, and he was featured in “Eight More,” “Les Gentilhommes,” “Sinfonia” and in Martins’s production of “The Sleeping Beauty” as Prince Désiré. Choreographers who have created original roles for him also include William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Kevin O’Day, David Allan and Robert La Fosse. His classical repertoire includes roles as Solor in “La Bayadère,” Lensky in “Onegin,” Cassio in “Othello” and Franz in “Coppélia,” among many others. Stiefel won a Silver Medal at the Prix de Lausanne in 1989 and received a 1991 Princess Grace Foundation-USA grant. In 1998, Stiefel was nominated for the Benois de la Danse Award as one of the rising stars in ballet. He starred in the 2000 film “Center Stage” and in 2004, was named artistic director of Ballet Pacifica in Orange County.
A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, Nikolay Tsiskaridze began dancing in 1984 at age 11 at the Tbilisi Ballet School, and in 1987, continued his studies at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography under Petr Pestov. Upon his graduation in 1992, he was invited to join the Bolshoi Ballet where he has worked with legendary Bolshoi ballerinas Galina Ulanova and Marina Semyonova, as well as balletmasters of the theater Nikolay Simachev and Nikolay Fadeechev. As a principal dancer, he presently performs almost the entire Bolshoi repertory, including Mercutio in Yuri Grigorovitch’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the King in Vladimir Vasiliev’s “Swan Lake,” Albrecht in “Giselle,” James in “La Sylphide” and Jean de Brienne in “Raymonda,” among others. Tsiskaridze has won numerous awards, including the 1995 Silver Medal at the Japan World Ballet Competition in Osaka, the 1997 First Prize and Gold Medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition, Peter van der Sloot’s personal prize “For Confirmation of Russian Classical Ballet Traditions” and the 1999 National Theatre Prize “Golden Mask” for the best male ballet performance in 1998 (for his role as Albrecht in “Giselle”). In 1999, he won the Laureate Prize of the International Choreography Association for the best male performance (for his role as Jean de Brienne in “Raymonda”).
“Kings of the Dance” is a co-production of Ardani Artists & Orange County Performing Arts Center. Sergei Danilian is the producer.
Photo by Sergei L. Loiko.