Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
In the final mixed repertory evening of the current engagement, American Ballet Theatre at the Kennedy Center Tuesday looked much more like its good old self. The program was an assortment of minor works, but its contrasting idioms and diversified roles gave the company a chance to display one of its basic, underlying strengths - the range and pluck of its dancers, even in their present wearied condition on the heels of a grueling tour.
Kenneth MacMillan's "Concerto" has costumes in colors of sherbet (orange, lemon and raspberry) and choreography to match - sugary and porous - but it makes a useful showcase.
Karena Brock and Warren Conover, neat, fleet and unmannered, were well cast in the opening movement. Nanette Glushak didn't have quite the kind of supple nuance it takes to raise the Andante above its maudlin underpinnings (perhaps only Makarova can do that), but Jolinda Menendez was aptly vivacious in the bouncy finale.
There's not any more substance to MacMillan's "Pavane," but the little that's there was magnified into poetry by the lyrical enhancements of Gelsey Kirkland and Ivan Nagy. Kirkland's figure, as light and lissome as ever, seemed almost to melt into the wreathy poses the brief idyll calls for.
Glen Tetley's "Sphinx" continues to look like hand-me-down Graham that fails in its mythic ambitions. It is, however, put together with a craftman's fine eye, and in any case the performance, by Martine van Hamel as Sphinx, Kirk Peterson as Anubis and John Meehan as Oedipus, was a decided triump of manner over matter. All three were superb.
Conductor Akira Endo and the orchestra gave a lucid, forceful account of Martinu score in "Sphinx," and were generally in fine form throughout the evening. A large cast distinguished itself in witty characterization for the concluding "Graduation Ball."