October 27, 1999
The figure appears and a roar goes
through the audience. He jumps effortlessly across the stage,
legs slicing through theair. Cries are heard. Blessed with a
perfect ballet physiqueand a handsome face below tight black
curls, the stops andexecutes six perfect revolutions. "Oohh!!!
Bravo!!!" With every graceful step he takes, the crowd goes
Thank God, Jose Manuel Carreno
actually can dance. Overcoming the circus-like hysterics that
take place anytime he arrives on stage, Carreno of American Ballet
Theatre is our Dancer of the Week.
Born into a family of dancers in
Cuba, Carreno studied at the Provincial School of Ballet and
the National Ballet School. He won the gold medal at the New
York International Ballet Competition in 1987, and the Grand
Prix at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi
With his noble bearing, Carreno
has danced all the princes and leads in classics such as La
Bayadere, the Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Giselle, Romeo and
Juliet, Cinderella, Coppelia, Swan Lake, and Le Corsaire.
But at each stop in his career,
he has spread his net wider, taking in Petruchio in The Taming
of the Shrew, Graduation Ballet and Prince Igor at
the English National Ballet, where he spent three seasons.
In 1993, Carreno joined the Royal
Ballet and was able to add Frederick Ashton's The Dream
and William Forsythe's Herman Schmerman to his role list.
Two year's later a move to ABT
brought the opportunity to take in American classics. Carreno
is particularly good as the Latin charmer in Fancy Free
by Jerome Robbins. Other triumphs included the lead in George
Balanchine's essay on the Petipa style, Theme and Variations,
and in Stepping Stones by Jiri Kylian.
In addition, Carreno always exhibits
an old world courtesy towards his partner, creating a perfect
backdrop to show off Susan Jaffe, Alessandra Ferri, Viviana Durante,
Nina Ananiashvili, Paloma Herrera or Julie Kent.--Dale