Music Compostion

Pavlovsk

Karen's second ballet, Pavlovsk, choreographed by Roger VanFleteren, was premiered in 2010 by ABT 2 in New York and continues to tour across the country and in Europe. In April 2013 the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra performed a concert version of the Statue Dance of Pavlovsk under the direction of Maestro Long Yu.
See photos from Karen's Shanghai trip

Reviews

Pavlovsk” reminded me of “Le Spectre de la Rose”, with the ingénue left with rapturous memories, after dancing with a lost vision. Roger VanFleteren choreographed this work about a Russian General’s widow, who visits his statue, at Pavlovsk Palace. The statue springs from the pedestal and dances with his wife, before stiffening into the statue again, high on the cold, concrete pedestal. Karen LeFrak’s lush score made this dance memorable and riveting. Meaghan Grace Hinkis was the young widow, and Alberto Velazquez was the come-to-life statue. Ms. Hinkis danced with Mr. Velazquez like the breath of spring, animated and emboldened, filled with ecstatic desire. Mr. Velazquez danced with storybook charm and lively lyricism.
—Roberta on the Arts

ABT II's Rising Stars, Dance Spirit Magazine
Throughout the evening's other pieces — Le Corsaire, Pavlovsk, Swan Lake and Ballo Per Sei — it became clear that ABT II's artistic director, Wes Chapman, really knows how to cast his dancers in fitting roles. Brittany, with her classic beauty (she reminded me of New York City Ballet's Kathryn Morgan), lovely extension and total control, was a total joy to watch. You never worried that she was going to fall out of a pirouette or slip on the stage. She displays exceptional confidence onstage, which is so refreshing to see in such a young dancer. I especially loved her in Pavlovsk, which was both romantic and heartbreaking.
—Alison Feller, April 16, 2010

"Pavlovsk" (2009), choreographed by Roger Van Fleteren, provided another highlight. This duet for Brittany DeGrofft and Alberto Velazquez tells the story of a widow visiting her husband's grave a year after his death. When he briefly returns to life, they enjoy a passionate reunion, told through flowing, expressive movement interpreted by each dancer with maturity beyond their years.
—StarTribune.com, Minneapolis-St. Paul

Pavlovsk was stunning out of all of them and brought tears to my eyes. The music and story and of course dancing were just breathtaking. There was one point in Pavlovsk where they were right in front of me on stage left and the music was still and the girl was resting her back against his chest and their cheeks were pressed together and they were looking off into the distance, their arms extended to both sides and the expression on their faces was nothing but passion and then there was the sound that you can never hear when you are in a big theatre. I could hear their breathing and you could hear how hard they were working and how passionate they felt towards the peice. It was so amazing.
—Mt. Holyoke College attendee

The evening's true surprise, however, was the duet Pavlovsk by Roger Van Fleteren, associate director of the Alabama Ballet. On paper, the work portended a certain degree of pathos, or worse, melodrama in performance: The duet tells the story of an assassinated Russian general and his mourning wife. But Brittany DeGrofft and Alberto Valezquez performed this pas de deux with a refined grace and tenderness that conveyed emotional authenticity. DeGrofft's arms gathered, cradled, and flowed through space in lightly veiled expressions of grief. Valezquez embraced DeGrofft through soaring joyous lifts, after which she wrapped herself around his shoulders and chest with feathery elation. They moved like ghosts as they waltzed, a statue come to life and his beloved, their separation momentarily allayed by flowing choreographic expressions of joyous reunion, sealed with a kiss.
—Camille LeFevre October 20, 2010 MN Artishts.org

Between these two classics, a new duet in the classic-style: PAVLOVSK is a dramatic work choreographed by Roger VanFleteren to an almost Tchaikovskian score by Karen LeFrak. A young widow brings a rose to place at the statue of her late husband - the characters are based on real people: the man was a Russian general assassinated in 1799. In the woman's grief and steadfastness she imagines the statue has come to life; the reunited spouses revel in the tender miracle of being together again but it is all too short an idyll: after a long, ecstatic kiss the man resumes his place on the pedestal leaving his wife to her sorrow and loneliness. PAVLOVSK was danced with expressive beauty by Meaghan Grace Hinkis (reminding me a bit of Lindy Mandradjieff - high praise!) and her immaculate, handsome partner Alberto Velazquez. The work is touching and the score is well-suited to the drama although in the piece is just a few minutes too; a bit of tightening would make it all the more impressive.
—Oberon's Grove, March 2010

Brittany DeGrofft and Brian Waldrep were terrific in Pavlovsk, a romantic duet with choreography by Roger Van Fleteren to a lushly traditional score by Karen LeFrak. In a talkback after the performance, ABT II artistic director Wes Chapman said that Waldrep recently signed a contract to join Houston Ballet. There was a purity about Wednesday's program that was inspiring: A bare stage, marvelous costumes (thanks to the resources of the parent company), a smart mix of classic and contemporary ballet. And most important, a group of poised young dancers on the cusp of their careers.
—Tampa Bay

Meaghan Grace Hinkis and Alberto Velazquez performed as lovers separated by death in the ballet entitled Pavlovsk to music by Karen LeFrak. Choreographer Roger VanFleteren has created a duet that has a feeling of another era. A bygone era that created profound ballets for dancers such as; Richard Cragun, Marcia Haydee, Lynn Seymore, Sir Anthony Dowell, and Carla Fracci. The opening solo for Ms. Hinkis was danced without hesitation or apprehension. This gave us the audience the freedom to follow her journey. We first encounter her as she enters the grounds of the Pavlovsk Palace on the one-year anniversary of her husband's (the general) assassination. After placing a single red rose at the base of the statue of her husband (Mr. Velazquez) the inanimate statue comes to life. The duet was danced with great abandon, and refreshingly spontaneous partnering. The drama was an extension of the movement complimenting the romance fantasy but not overwhelming the choreographic intent.
—Harlem World