Photo by Rosalie O’Connor, for ABT, of Craig Salstein acting as angel between a warring Ethan Stiefel (airborne) and Herman Cornejo (crouching) in Tharp’s Rabbit and Rogue.
So last night I went to Christopher Wheeldon’s Morphoses at Central Park’s SummerStage, who were performing to live music by Martha Wainwright. Of course I would have gone no matter, but hearing that my favorite, Marcelo Gomes, was guest-performing with the company, made it all the more urgent.
Anyway, Morphoses events are often very well-attended and there was a bit of a mix-up with my tickets — they’d issued me a guest, rather than press pass and so my friend and I got ousted from the section up front. I understand these things happen, especially with very popular dance companies and it wouldn’t have been a big deal if I could see well at long distances at night (and if I hadn’t helped others get in whose tickets weren’t mixed up….) But whatever, I could deal I thought, even though I felt like a total loser.
So, my friend and I walked to the back dejectedly. But, then, when we got all the way to the back, it ended up our tickets weren’t for the reserved risers but for the skybox, a tent-covered, elevated section that put us far above the standing crowd. And in that elevated section, sat (among others) ABT soloist and one of my favorite dancers, Craig Salstein! He was sitting next to a really cute dancer-looking guy who turned out to be Marcelo’s bf 😀 Then a waitress came by serving us free wine and I knew this was THE place to be, not down there on the ground with those earthlings! I still couldn’t see tremendously well, but I can always see Marcelo from wherever I am and I kind of felt better being with the ABT peeps anyway.
So my friend Susan and I ended up chatting with Craig and Marcelo’s friend throughout the show and they are the sweetest guys! Craig seemed so different than he is onstage! For people who don’t know him, he’s the type of dancer who always gets the bravura roles that require a big personality, and very good acting (not to mention dance) skills, like Mercutio in R&J and the bespectacled nerdy guy who can nevertheless dance up a storm in Taylor’s Company B, and the poor guy who gets girls tossed at him from every which way in Tharp’s Baker’s Dozen, etc. etc. So because he has such a way with comedy I expected him to be cracking jokes every five seconds and acting all clownish and all. But he wasn’t like that at all – -he was really serious and calm, albeit gregarious and easy to talk to. I told my friends, who I went out with afterward, the same and one said, “well, he can’t be Mercutio ALL the time; he’d go crazy.” True.
He’d just got back from vacation (in Italy, where he saw “Roberto Bolle and Friends” — hmmm, didn’t know there was a “Roberto Bolle and Friends”!), and was sporting a serious tan. We talked about ABT’s upcoming season at Avery Fisher Hall and Italy and his choreography and how much I liked it and how great Marcelo is and what I tweet about (you, tossing your mandolin into the wings instead of Jared Matthews’s hands during R&J I said; he seemed bemused) and other chit-chat. Fun fun fun to meet a favorite dancer and another favorite’s boyfriend
Okay, I’m running off to another Morphoses performance today and have to get going but will write about the actual show tonight or tomorrow morning. Obviously Marcelo was god, Martha Wainwright was good but to me it was too much about her — too much music, almost a music performance with some dancing thrown in — highlights were Edwaard Liang’s premiere and Wheeldon’s Fools’ Paradise (which I saw anew thanks to Marcelo), Tiler Peck, Gonzalo Garcia, a duet between Maria Kowroski and Jared Angle, Wendy Whelan, Rory Hohenstein, a funny joke by Wainwright about lying down and having people do things to her and Wheeldon’s somewhat embarrassed response, and did I mention Marcelo Gomes…