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Dance in America: Born to Be Wild: The Leading Men of American Ballet Theatre banner
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Ballet Alert!: Dancers: Jose Manuel Carreño
Angel Corella (in Spanish) Barre Side Chats: Ethan Stiefel
Vladimir Malakhov
Mark Morris Dance Group


By Gia Kourlas

In Judy Kinberg's hour-long DANCE IN AMERICA documentary, BORN TO BE WILD: THE LEADING MEN OF AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE, four stars are profiled -- Jose Manuel Carreño, Angel Corella, Vladimir Malakhov, and Ethan Stiefel. Each dancer is spectacular. The Cuban Carreño is distinguished by his innate sensuality and earthy, passionate approach. Corella, who hails from Madrid, Spain, is both a marvelous dancer and a fine actor, just as capable of being a charming sailor in Jerome Robbins' "Fancy Free" as the noble Prince Siegfried in "Swan Lake." Corella radiates joy when he dances, but his style is not just about tricks; the more he dances, the better he becomes.

The Ukrainian Malakhov boasts exceptionally long legs, a beautiful buoyant jump, and extraordinary flexibility, but his ballet dreams weren't so easy to reach; BORN TO BE WILD highlights the struggles he experienced during his artistic journey. The profile includes interviews (and a reunion) with his mentor Sofia Golovkina, the former Bolshoi ballerina and teacher. And the American dancer Stiefel -- his line and classical purity make him one of the most captivating and noble dancers of his generation -- reveals how he made his way to New York's School of American Ballet from Madison, Wisconsin. Stiefel is filmed riding his treasured Harley.

The culmination of this program is a ballet created especially for the four dancers by the American modern-dance choreographer Mark Morris, easily the most important dance maker of his generation. The rehearsal sessions of the seven-minute piece, set to the fourth movement of Schumann's "Piano Quintet, Op. 44," provide the spine of this documentary, in which audiences are given a rare opportunity to experience the artistic process. Morris isn't the sort of choreographer who would make a work that had nothing going for it but the ability to please a crowd with pyrotechnics. He just makes music with bodies instead of instruments.

Top banner photos: Angel Corella as Conrad's Slave in ABT's 1999 production of "Le Corsaire"; Jose Manuel Carreño, Ethan Stiefel, Vladimir Malakhov, and Angel Corella (photo by Don Perdue); Vladimir Malakhov.

Vladimir Malakhov, Jose Manuel Carreno, Ethan Stiefel, and Angel Corella (photo by Howard Schatz)

Vladimir Malakhov, Jose Carreño, Ethan Stiefel, and Angel Corella (photo by Howard Schatz).

Mark Morris

Choreographer Mark Morris.

Nearly twice as many people saw DANCE IN AMERICA: FROM BROADWAY: "Fosse" in 2002 than during its entire run on Broadway.
Celebrating 30 Years of Great Performances