I can’t believe that I am writing this, but Albert Evans has passed away. I am stunned and heartsick by the news. It makes me ache to think that no more blood courses through that once strong, beautiful body. Albert was the kind of guy who would pass by a studio, notice a partnering issue, and step in to effortlessly hoist a girl in the air in demonstration. He was incomparable in roles like Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ash, Bugaku, Herman Schmerman, Red Angels, Barber Violin Concerto, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Agon, Fearful Symmetries, Jazz, Liturgy, Open Strings, the Russian pas de deux in Swan Lake, Symphony in Three Movements, The Waltz Project, and Russian Seasons. He was such an incredible artist, intense and a little mysterious. His noble mien contrasted with his animalistic power. In my mind, nobody can top his Phlegmatic in The Four Temperaments. Oftentimes when people perform the difficult attitude front balance in Phlegmatic they look like
On Sunday I closed out the spring season by dancing Helena in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is always such a blast to perform. It is so wild and silly; it is one of my very favorite roles. Typically of Midsummer, something unplanned and hilarious occurred during Sunday’s show. During my first pas de deux with Amar Ramasar—which is a violent one in which I throw myself at him and he in turn throws me off—his sleeve got stuck to his pageboy wig and we did much of the crazy partnering one-handed while he struggled to wriggle his arm free without ripping his headgear off and exposing the bald cap underneath! It was a hilarious wardrobe malfunction. We have dubbed it the “sleeve to weave” incident and have added it to the long list of Midsummer bloopers and outtakes. Like restless kids at the end of the school year, we dancers revel in these accidental Midsummer antics.
There are so many props, bulky costumes, moveable set pieces, slippery fog effects, dark lighting, and masks in Act I of Midsummer that often enough, something goes awry. In keeping with the spirit of the ballet, these gaffes are usually hysterically funny. (Act II has one static set, bright lights, and short tutus so it is generally safe from mishap.) Wig issues like Amar’s are a major problem. I remember when one of my best friends—Carla Körbes—was dancing Titania and lost her fake curls during the bower pas de deux. They flew off her head and landed dead middle of the stage. The splatted hairpiece looked like blonde roadkill! James Fayette was playing the Jolly Green Giant, her squire, and he picked the curls up and threw them into the wings and the audience erupted