JUST AS THE SHARDS of an ancient artifact can be reassembled, so can a 130- year-old ballet be reconstructed. Such is the case with Danish choreographer August Bournonville's full-length "Abdallah," now being presented by Ballet West at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Thanks to the efforts and expertise of Ballet West's Bruce Marks and Toni Lander, and the Royal Danish Ballet's Flemming Rybert, a ballet considered all but lost has been reborn.
Set in what is now Iraq, "Abdallah" is a spectacle replete with exotic panoramas, a magic candelabrum and an active harem. It is also a fine example of the celebrated Bournonville style: marvelously buoyant jumps, quick and intricate leg and footwork, elaborate passages of mime, and a stage peopled not only with dancers in their 20s and 30s, but also with children and older actor/dancers. Above all, the ballet overflows with mirth and feeling.
In addition to this East Coast premiere, Ballet West has brought an intriguing program of classic and contemporary works, including Fokine's romantic "Les Sylphides;" the ultra- flashy pas de deux from "Le Corsaire;" Balanchine's "Western Symphony," which suits this Utah-based company beautifully; and Bruce Marks' "Lark Ascending," an abstract piece for one ballerina and five men set to a score by Ralph Vaughn Williams.
BALLET WEST -- Friday at 8 (mixed bill); Saturday at 2 (mixed bill) and 8. ("Abdallah"); and Sunday at 1:30, ("Abdallah"), Kennedy Center Opera House.