Dance: Smiles of a Winter Night

Classical troupes get a little help from the avant-garde

As the popularity of minimalist music spreads and the avant-garde of the '70s pushes further out into the culture, some odd alliances spring up in the artistic landscape. Who would expect to see dancers in the American Ballet Theater stride jauntily onstage carrying ordinary metal folding chairs and proceed to use them as partners? But that is what they do in Choreographer and Performance Artist David Gordon's clever new work--his first ballet ever --called Field, Chair and Mountain, and audiences on A.B.T.'s current national tour cheer them on at every performance. In a New York City Ballet premiere last week, Jerome...

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