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DANCE REVIEW : McKerrow Gives Sensitivity to ABT's 'Leaves Are Fading'

December 15, 1987|LEWIS SEGAL | Times Dance Writer

Young couples meet in a misty forest; an older woman watches them and reminisces. . . . With profound surety and simplicity, Antony Tudor's ballet "The Leaves Are Fading" creates a nostalgic mood and provides a poignant lesson in seizing the moment, accepting love when it's offered to you.

As the centerpiece in the final American Ballet Theatre program at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, Tudor's 1975 masterwork to music by Dvorak received a performance of impressive refinement Sunday night.

In particular, Amanda McKerrow danced with a sensitivity utterly missing in her technically accomplished but emotionally vacant performance in Shrine Auditorium nine months ago. Her line and phrasing were again exquisite, but here (except for the pro forma ending) her dancing seemed to flow from feelings, from an apt, mercurial sense of character and from responses to her partner.

As her suitor, Ross Stretton developed from a bland heartiness to deepening levels of awareness and involvement--an intriguing approach strongly danced.

In the new suite from Petipa's "Raymonda," Kevin McKenzie fumbled several major lifts and transitions between step combinations but looked highly proficient and even stylish in other passages. Martine van Hamel (previously reviewed) again danced the prima ballerina role.

Three dancers appeared in Clark Tippet's "Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1" for the first time Sunday night. In the first section, Marianna Tcherkassky triumphed over John Gardner's rough partnering by investing her performance with an exciting urgency matched with fine technical control.

In the last section, Robert Wallace looked overtaxed by the nonstop bravura of his role, but Amy Rose delivered sensational jumping-jack bravado.

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