Review Roundup: American Ballet Theater's WHIPPED CREAM
American Ballet Theatre presented the World Premiere of an all-new production of Whipped Cream, a two-act ballet choreographed by Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, with sets and costumes by artist Mark Ryden. It opened on March 15, 2017 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California.
For more information, visit www.abt.org.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
ALASTAIR MACAULAY, NY Times: Especially in Mr. Ratmansky's dances, abundant marvels of style keep turning the light story into poetry. Although Ballet Theater has presented many new Ratmansky productions since 2009, this one goes furthest in making the company look more brilliantly refined than ever.... Though there are exciting steps here, all of them come in intricate, dense phrases. The upper body continually complements the lower body; torsos tip, twist and fold; wrists circle and flourish; angles of the head and eyes are a constant pleasure. Not all Strauss's dances have easy dance meters, but Mr. Ratmansky invests some of the trickiest sequences with a rhythmic structure that feels inevitable.
Laura Bleiberg, LA Times: Ryden, an art-world star who did the scenic and costume designs, has an equally perfectionist mind-set and simpatico high-low sensibility. The five major set changes - outside a village church, a pastry shop, a whipped cream world, a hospital room and a European-style plaza - are devastatingly tasteful and lavishly detailed, both realistic and fanciful. (Note the portrait of Lincoln, a Ryden signature.) The carriage driver, parish priest, chef and doctor have oversized heads, reminiscent of Mardi Gras. There's a white horse with pink bows in its mane to pull the carriage, and a giant snow yak (the best stuffed animal ever).
Claudia Bauer, DanceTabs: The ballet is indeed as fluffy as Schlag, comprising high-concept characters in spun-sugar divertissements - it's the Land of the Sweets writ large, and veers close to being a children's ballet. Actual children in the cupcake costumes adds a drizzle of treacle. Ratmansky rightly doesn't try to make the ballet more than what it ever was: an indulgent distraction from the hard times of post-World War I Vienna. On the other hand, Whipped Cream is essentially eye candy. Ratmansky adds contemporary interest by tweaking the classical idiom, mixing bent arms into the lush port de bras, restraining extensions to quick flicks, and including expressive floor work.