Yesterday afternoon I had the delightful experience of “Zoom” watching choreographer Lauren Lovette rehearsing her new work “La Follia Variations,” with nine dancers from American Ballet Theatre (ABT). In partnership with The Segerstrom Center For The Arts these ABT dancers have been living in a safe “Ballet Bubble” to rehearse and perform works by choreographers Lovette, Jessica Lang and Darrell Grand Moultrie.
Lauren Lovette is a former member of New York City Ballet moving from the Corp De Ballet, to Soloist, to Principal in 2015. She has created two works for New York City Ballet. “La Follia Variations” is her second piece for American Ballet Theatre.
This was a rehearsal in the truest sense and not a showcase for an audience. With her back to us and with the dancers facing us, or in actuality the mirror, Lovette worked quietly on nuance and timing with individuals and small groups. The dancers sometimes “marked” their part as she spoke or listened with quiet discipline occasionally nodding their understanding. On the surface this was a quiet affair with Lovette speaking with only occasional input from Clinton Luckett ABT Associate Artistic Director. Ms. Lovette will leave the piece in his capable hands once the choreography is fully taught. Watching the process was soothing in its meticulous focus as the dancers absorbed minute changes that made maximum impact on the dance itself.
“La Follia Variations” looks to be a frothy even exhilarating work to come. Technically not overly demanding the strength of the dance is its attention to the details of the music and the imaginative staging. “La Follia” a popular Concerto by 17th century composer and violin virtuoso Francesco Geminiani is a lively variation with scintillating texture. It is this texture that Ms. Lovette captures with her choreography. Her Balanchine background is evident in her choreographic style but uniquely she has mixed standard ballet steps with sharp modernistic movement to add interest to the piece. Because of her musicality and impressive attention to staging this piece is lifted out of the ordinary to become something more.
Now and again Ms. Lovette would ask for the music to be played from a particular point and the dancers would leave the “marking” behind and jump into action. At the end of the hour a full section was run and finally we got a taste of what is to come. To my eye it looks to be a wonderful and comprehensive pairing of music and movement A classic in the making? Time will tell.
The superb ABT dancers are Kiely Groenewegan, Emily Hayes, Jonathan Klein, Tyler Maloney, Joseph Markey, Abbey Marrison, Joao Menegussi, Chloe Misseldine and Jose Sebastian.
This article was edited 4/13/2021 to add the following information: Complete performances will be recorded on Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24, and streamed on demand May 12 – 26. Tickets are $25 per household. ABT will give a final performance of Uniting in Movement before a live audience on Sunday, April 25 at 1:30 pm. Seating will be limited and available in two-person, safely distanced pods. Ticket prices start at $50. Complete information and tickets for on- demand access and the live performance are available now online at www.SCFTA.org or by calling the box office at (714) 556-2787 weekdays between 10am and 2pm.
This “Zoom” viewing was a lovely interlude to an otherwise ordinary day.
To learn more about The Segerstrom Center for the Arts, click HERE.
To visit the American Ballet Theatre website, click HERE.
Written by Tam Warner for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Lauren Lovette (wearing face mask) in rehearsal with ABT – Photo by Carlos Lopez