A preview of American Ballet Theatre’s spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, featuring the work of choreographer Twyla Tharp.

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> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'NYC ARTS ''. I'M PETER DI MONTEBELLO AT LINCOLN CENTER.

SPRING HAS ARRIVED AND FLOWERS ARE BLOOMING AND ONCE AGAIN WE HAVE THE PLEASURE OF SEEING AMERICAN BALLET THEATER AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE.

AMONG THE HIGHLIGHTS THIS SEASON IS WORLD PREMIERE BY RATMANSKI NOW CELEBRATING HIS TENTH YEAR AS ARTIST AND RESIDENCE WITH THE COMPANY.

IN ADDITION TO PRESENTING NUMEROUS WORKS BY RATMANSKI THE EIGHT-WEEK SEASON INCLUDES KEVIN McMILLIN AS WELL AS SUCH CLASSICS AS SWAN LAKE, SLEEPING BEAUTY AND LE CREUSET.

ALSO INCLUDED ARE THE COMPANY PREMIERES ARE JANE EYRE CHOREOGRAPHED BY KATHERINE AND TWILA THORPE.

THORPE HAS BEEN CAPTIVATING AUDIENCES AS BOTH A PERFORMER AND CHOREOGRAPHER FOR OVER 50 YEARS.

SHE'S KNOWN FOR EXPANDING THE BOUNDARIES OF BALLET AND MODERN DANCE BY COMBINING DIFFERENT FORMS OF MOVEMENT SUCH AS JAZZ AND EVEN BOXING WITH MORE TRADITIONAL STYLES.

IN ADDITION, THE COMMISSION WORKS FOR MAJOR DANCE COMPANIES CONTINUE TO BE PERFORMED AROUND THE WORLD.

HOWEVER, HER CHOREOGRAPHY IS NOT JUST LIMITED TO CONCERT DANCE.

SHE HAS ALSO CREATED BROADWAY SHOWS AND HAS WORKED IF FILM AND TELEVISION.

THIS SEASON THORPE IS REPRISING A TRIO OF HER ICONIC WORKS FOR AMERICAN BALLET THEATER.

NYC ARTS JOINED HER AT ABT'S MANHATTAN STUDIOS.

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I AM ALWAYS A DANCER.

I AM STILL A DANCER.

JUST BECAUSE YOU DON'T PERFORM DOES NOT MEAN YOU'RE NOT A DANCER.

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I NEVER PLANNED TO BE A CHOREOGRAPHER.

IT WAS NOT A PART OF THE JOB PROFILE.

I WAS A DANCER, BUT WHEN I BEGAN WORKING IN THE '60s I WAS SOMEWHAT SET, SHALL WE SAY, IN MY IDEAS ABOUT THE REACH OF ART AND FOUND NOWHERE TO DANCE.

SO I BEGAN TO REALIZE THAT IF I WANTED TO DANCE I WOULD BE NEEDING TO MAKE THE DANCES.

I HAD STUDIED ACROSS THE BOARD.

I HAD STUDIED TAP DANCING.

I HAD STUDIED HULA DANCING.

I COULD DOUBLE FIRE BATON TWIRL.

I HAD POINTE CLASSES WITH SOME VERY GOOD TEACHERS.

I STUDIED TAP AND I HAD HONEY COAL.

I HAD A RANGE OF TRAINING.

ANYTHING THAT I COULDN'T DO I WENT TO LEARN HOW TO DO IT.

A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AS I WAS FINISHING THE PLANNING FOR THIS SEASON I KNEW THAT TARGET WAS FOR US TO DO UPPER ROOM, AND WE ALSO HAVE BRAHMS'S HEIGHTENED WHICH IS A WORKSHEET SHE DID FOR US IN 2000 AND THEY ARE SUCH POLAR OPPOSITE WORKS.

ONE IS SUCH A CLASSICAL VERNACULAR, LITERALLY AND UPPER ROOM IS SUCH A GROUNDBREAKING WORK OF MINIMALIST ENDURANCE THAT UNCOMPASSES A WIDE RANGE OF VERNACULAR AND WE NEED ONE PIECE TO LINK THESE TWO TOGETHER THAT CAN CAN ACTUALLY PORTRAY THE SNAPSHOT OF HOW IMPORTANT TWILA THORPE HAS BEEN TO THIS ART FORM?

IN THE CASE OF THE COUP WHICH WAS REPRESENTED BY A MODERN, TECHNICAL KIND OF VOCABULARY AND THE CLASSICAL BALLET SORT OF MIXED IN TOGETHER, SO I INSISTED THAT A DANCER WAS A PERSON WHO DANCED.

NOT A CLASSICAL DANCER OR A MODERN DANCER.

THAT HAS COME TO PASS, BUT IT DIDN'T HAPPEN THEN.

SHE JUXTAPOSED THE CLASSICAL SYLLABUS AGAINST JUST ABOUT EVERY VERNACULAR OF PEDESTRIAN AND MODERN DANCE MOVEMENT THAT ONE CAN IMAGINE.

YOU KNOW, HERE'S THIS WOMAN IN POINTE SHOES DOING THE MOST DIFFICULT, CLASSICAL VOCABULARY SURROUNDED BY DANCERS WEARING SOCKS AND SLIDING OR TENNIS SNEAKERS TO THE BEACH BOYS' MUSIC.

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SO YOU HAVE THE FLOW OF MOVEMENT THAT COULD COME FROM PEDESTRIAN OUTSIDE WORLD AND THEN YOU HAVE THE COMMITMENT OF THE, IN THIS CASE, CLASSICAL BALLERINA, AND IT IS HER BUSINESS TO EXPEDITE THE ENTIRE VOCABULARY OF THE BALLET ALPHABETICALLY FROM A TO VOYAGE, AND THERE IS NO Z IN THE BALLET.

THERE IS A Z SO SHE DOES THAT WHILE AROUND HERE LIFE SWIRLS.

SHE SURVIVES.

LIFE DOES NOT.

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IT JUST CAPTURED A MOMENT IN TIME AND I REALIZED THIS IS MORE RELEVANT TODAY THAN IT WAS THEM PROBABLY.

SO, YOU KNOW, IT'S A NICE WAY FOR IT TO HAVE TURNED OUT AND THE DECISION LOOKED GOOD TO SAY LET'S PUT DEUCE COUPE INTO THIS PROGRAM.

SO SOMEHOW WE'RE TOUCHING THIS PROGRESSION OF AN ARTIST WHO, YOU KNOW, BROKE THE RULES, PERFECTED HOW SHE BROKE THE RULES AND THEN DEMONSTRATED THAT SHE KNEW THE CLASSICAL VOCABULARY WELL ENOUGH TO KNOW THE RULES.

THAT'S A VERY BIG STATEMENT.

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GOING INTO DEUCE COUPE I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.

THERE WERE NO VIDEOS OR FOOTAGE FOR ME TO WATCH.

ALL I KNEW WAS BEACH BOYS MUSIC AND I WAS SO EXCITED TO DANCE TO THE BEACH BOYS BECAUSE I'D NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE AND I LOVE THEIR MUSIC AND I THOUGHT THIS WAS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN.

LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT IT WAS GOING TO TAKE EVERY OUNCE OF MY BALLET TECHNIQUE TO PERFORM THIS ROLE WHICH I WAS JUST NOT EXPECTING.

SO THE FIRST REHEARSAL WHEN WE STARTED LANDING BALLET AND THEY WERE TEACHING IT TO US AND THEY WERE SHOWING US THE STEPS AND THE CHOREOGRAPHY, AND I JUST HAVE THIS LOOK OF JUST SHOCK ON MY FACE.

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DANCERS ARE TRADITIONALLY NON-VERBAL.

YOU READ A DANCER'S BODY AND YOU READ A DANCER'S RESPONSE.

YOU KNOW THEIR EYES AND YOU KNOW OF THEIR EYES OF THEIR GRATITUDE AND YOU KNOW IN THEIR EYES OF THEIR PAIN.

I COULDN'T BELIEVE HOW HARD IT WAS.

I COULDN'T BELIEVE HOW CHALLENGING THE BALLET TECHNIQUE WAS IN THIS BALLET AND ALL OF THE THINGS I HAD TO EXECUTE.

IT JUST SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE IN THE BEGINNING.

IT WAS EASIER TO DANCE SWAN LAKE THAN IT WAS TO DANCE DEUCE COUPE AND GOING INTO SWAN LAKE I KNEW HOW IT WAS GOING TO FEEL LIKE.

I KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE DIFFICULT AND I KNEW WHAT WAS REQUIRED TO BECOME A SWAN.

SO I WAS MORE AT EASE WITH THAT GOING INTO SWAN LAKE THAN I DID WITH DEUCE COUPE, BUT TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, THERE -- DEUCE COUPE FOR ME IS LIKE ALMOST A 20-MINUTE SOLO, AND IT'S REALLY HARD.

YOU'RE DOING EVERY STEP OUT OF THE CLASSICAL REPERTOIRE ON STAGE AND YOU HAVE TO EXECUTE IT LIKE YOU'RE DOING THE MOST PERFECT CLASS WITHOUT ANY FLAWS.

SO THERE REALLY IS NO ROOM FOR MISTAKE AT ALL.

I DEVELOPED THAT SCORE BY REALIZING EVEN BEFORE IT EXISTED THAT SOMETHING CALLED A JUKEBOX MUSICAL WAS A BAD IDEA.

IT DIDN'T EXIST.

SO I SAID, OKAY, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO CREATE UNITY?

I SAID OKAY, CUDDLE UP IS A PRETTY GOOD THEME.

WE'LL TAKE THAT THEME OUT AND WE'LL BUILD FOUR LITTLE VARIATIONS AND WE'LL SPACE THEM OUT AMONGST THE SONGS SO THAT IT WILL DEVELOP THIS SO BY THE TIME WE GET TO CUDDLE UP, THERE IS A FOUNDATION AND A BASE FOR CUDDLE UP TO GROW OUT OF.

IN OTHER WORDS, THERE WILL BE A FINALE.

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IN THE OTHER ROOM IS A WORK THAT PHILIP GLASS CREATED, AND TWILA CREATED THE WORK TO IT AND WHEN SHE DID UPPER ROOM SHE DID IT ON HER OWN COMPANY AND IT TRANSFERRED TO ABT AND WE ABSORBED A FEW DANCERS FROM HER COMPANY AND THEY DID IT TOGETHER SO THAT THERE WAS A PASSAGE OF THE ORIGINAL INTENT FOR THE BALLET DANCERS AND THE MINIMALIST DRIVE OF THE SCORE PROPELS A CERTAIN ENERGY OF POWER THAT ENERGY BEGETS ENERGY.

THERE IS A POINT IN THE BALLET WHERE IT ALWAYS CROSSES MY MIND.

IT'S AMAZING THESE PEOPLE ARE STILL STANDING.

IT'S A KILLER.

IN THE UPPER ROOM THERE'S A KILLER AND THE DANCE REPERTOIRE, PROBABLY PHYSICALLY JUST FROM A STAMINA AND A MUSCULAR POWER, DRIVE IS PROBABLY THE MOST DEMANDING PIECE THERE IS.

I'M NOT SAYING THAT YOU DON'T GET TIRED DANCING IN THE PIECES AND IN THE UPPER ROOM WHEN YOU HAVE ANYTHING LEFT WHEN THE CURTAIN GOES DOWN YOU HAVEN'T GIVEN ENOUGH.

DANCE IS A LIVING MUSEUM.

ITS ARTIFACTS AND TREASURES MUST BE RE-PRESENTED TO EACH NEW GENERATION AND THAT HAS TO BE RESPECTED TO BY EVERYBODY, THAT THEY'RE DOING IT FOR A VERY GOOD REASON AND THAT THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO IT IN THEIR OWN WAY.

SO WHEN I SEE SOME OF THE CASTS HERE REHEARSING, SAY, IN THE UPPER ROOM.

IN A WAY -- YOU WANT TO WEEP BECAUSE THEY WANT TO DO IT.

THEY WILL FIND A WAY TO DO IT AND YOU ARE HONORED THAT THEY CARE.

THAT IT'S IMPORTANT, AND I STAY HERE FOR PETTY PAW, BALANCING AND EVERYBODY ELSE WHO PEOPLE ARE STILL TRYING TO SERVE, AND SO IT'S ABOUT COMMUNITY, AND IT'S ABOUT COMMUNITY THAT REACHES BACK GENERATIONS, CENTURIES TO WHAT IT IS TO BE A DANCER AND YOU'RE ALL ONE FAMILY.

ALL ONE DANCER.