Angel Corella Final Performance, June 28, 2012
I have had the honor of seeing the final performances of three great American Ballet Theatre dancers: Nina Ananiashvilli, Angel Corella, and Ethan Stiefel. Here are photos from Angel Corella’s finale in June 2012. Angel joined ABT in 1995 as a Soloist after Russian ballerina Natalia Makorova saw the young Corella perform in a competition and recommended that ABT take a look. At the time, he was a corps member for a small ballet company in his native Spain. At ABT, he quickly became a crowd favorite with daring bravado and boundless energy. He was known for his ability to pull off countless pirouettes with a violent whipping action.
Here is an example where he does nine pirouettes that go on forever (see “Pirouette” for the nine turns and “Tour de force” for a more elaborate turning section punctuated by a double tour to the knee). He was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1996.
I have seen Angel dance on many occasions and several stand out. I first saw him at a Don Quixote rehearsal at ABT studios shortly after he joined the company. During a break in a crowded village scene rehearsal, he wowed the dancers with numerous great tricks, pirouettes, tours, etc. Another highlight was Angel's version of Ali the Slave from Le Corsair. In the turning section at the end of the second solo (7:55), he pulls in from second and plies during his pirouettes-truly spectacular. Also, double sauté de basques with both legs bent (7:16).
Another notable performance was at New York City Center taped for PBS, probably around 1998. I was in attendance and saw him and Paloma Herrera in a very athletic version of the Don Quixote pas de deux that had an all out, on the edge quality that brought the house down. However, it wasn’t just his bravura dancing that made him special; he excelled in the dramatic area, ranging from a cocky and confident suitor in Don Quixote to a noble aristocrat overcome by grief in Giselle.
He started his own company, Corella Ballet in 2008 in his native Spain, now Barcelona Ballet. Over time he dedicated more of his time to the company as Artistic Director with fewer appearances in the ABT Spring seasons. His retirement from classical roles was motivated by a desire to focus on his ballet company and to go out while he was at his peak, at age 36, according to The New York Times.
Here are photos from Angel’s emotional post-performance goodbye. Plenty of hugs and tears as Angel is congratulated on a great career by current and former dancers in addition to a well-deserved goodbye from his many adoring fans, myself included.
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