AfterEffect: Prevailing After Loss

American Ballet Theatre’s world premiere of AfterEffect took place this past Wednesday. Choreographed by Marcelo Gomes, the ballet examines how people deal with tragedy. AfterEffect is dedicated “to those who have fallen…and those who prevail.”

As the ballet begins, an isolated man (James Whiteside) mopes around in despair. While the man is deep in thought, it  becomes clear he is mourning the loss of his love. The man begins to make peace with his loss (Misty Copeland) after an ephemeral reunion that includes a goodbye kiss.

Throughout, the lighting reflects the man’s changing moods as the community bears witness to his journey. Throughout the journey, he is mocked by pain. But finally, as he gets in sync with Hope (Zhiyao Zhang), he is able to go on.

During the finale, the man rejoins the community as they triumphantly dance to Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence.” The man has gone on living his life and has given himself permission to feel something other than grief.