Edward Villella's New Ballet—on Ice

October 28, 2013

Edward Villella is basically a ballet saint. For years an incredibly charismatic principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, he went on to become the founding director of Miami City Ballet.

Villella photographed by Philippe Halsman in 1961

Now Villella is back in his native NYC, and his latest project involves…ice dancers.

Not where you thought I was going, is it? But in a way it makes total sense. Villella is married to former Olypmic figure skater Linda Carbonetto, after all. And there’s always been a bit of natural overlap between the ballet and figure skating worlds. (Ever get the urge to slap pointe shoes on Olympic figure skaters? No? Just me? Well, it’s at least true that the strongest ones are well-versed in ballet.)

Villella created his new piece, Reveries, for the Ice Theater of New York, which features some of the world’s best ice dancers. He chose to choreograph to the Élégie from Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3—a piece of music made famous by Villella’s former director, George Balanchine. And according to the very nice New York Times review, there are hints of Balanchine throughout Villella’s work.

An ice dance by a former ballet star paying tribute to a masterful ballet choreographer: Unexpected? Totally. Awesome? Definitely.

Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre performing “Reveries.” Photo Julieta Cervantes/NYT.