American Ballet Theatre – Jane Eyre – New York
By Marina Harss
6 June 2019
There is a huge imbalance in the number of new works created by men and women for the ballet stage. Evening-length narrative ballets by women are even more of a rarity. So the American première of Cathy Marston’s Jane Eyre on June 4 was a big event. According to the newly-formed Dance Data Project, which tracks the leadership roles of women in the field, Marston’s ballet is one of only nine such premieres at the top 50 companies this season. That is out of several dozen.) The Metropolitan Opera House was full of dance luminaries who had traveled from other cities – Julie Kent from Washington, Jorma Elo from Boston – to be there.
Cathy Martson is a British choreographer with a lengthy portfolio and a specialty in telling stories, particularly stories drawn from the literary canon. In her twenty years as a choreographer, she has made ballets based on Ibsen, Shakespeare, and D. H. Lawrence. Her Jane Eyre, based on Charlotte Bronte’s classic Gothic novel about a woman searching for her place in the world, débuted at the Northern Ballet in 2016, to relative acclaim, and she recently created a one-act ballet based on Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, for San Francisco Ballet.
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