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York City Ballet
'Interplay,' 'Tarantella,' 'Chichester
Psalms,' 'Eros Dreams,' 'I'm Old Fashioned'
by Kate Snedeker
June 2, 2004 -- New
York State Theater, New York City
On Wednesday night, New York City
Ballet's American Festival, part of the centennial salute to George Balanchine,
continued with the world premieres of two ballets by Peter Martins, "Chichester
Psalms" and "Eros Dreams." The program was rounded out
by Balanchine's "Tarantella" and two very different ballets
by Jerome Robbins, "Interplay" and "I'm Old Fashioned."
The high-spirited antics of Robbins' "Interplay" got the evening
off to an energetic start. The cheery and trick-filled choreography allowed
the four men to display their differing, but equally impressive talents.
Adam Hendrickson combined control and explosive jumps and leaps in his
solo, while Antonio Carmena showed off his impressive flexibility and
elegantly stretched jumps. Bettering his performance from Sunday, Daniel
Ulbricht pulled off four fully rotated double tours in a row, ending a
low, but precise fifth position.
In the ByPlay pas de deux, Stephen
Hanna and Carla Körbes tempered youth with a maturity obvious in the flawless
partnering. Lindy Mandradjieff, Carrie Lee Riggins and Jennifer Tinsley
completed the cast, and Maurice Kaplow conducted Martin Gould's score.
The colorful, yet simple costumes were by Santo Loquasto and lighting
by Ronald Bates.
Following "Interplay," Joaquin De Luz made his second appearance
in Balanchine's "Tarantella," this time opposite Megan Fairchild.
His debut in the role a few days earlier was marked by over-forceful dancing,
but in this performance De Luz backed off just a bit and delivered a sensational
performance. A short but long-limbed dancer, he is perfectly suited to
this role with his crisp beats, explosive jumps and enthusiastic attack
of the choreography. It was a sizzling performance, well-worthy of his
swagger off the stage following his bounding circle of tour jetes. De
Luz has established a pleasing partnership with Fairchild, and she seemed
to feed off his energy, dancing with pertness and power. The music was
by Louis Gottschalk, with Daniel Alfred Wachs conducting. Costumes were
two new ballets by Peter Martins were a study in contrasts. Set to Leonard
Bernstein's composition of the same name, "Chichester Psalms"
involves the 64 singers of the Julliard Choral Union and 38 dancers, led
by Carla Körbes and Amar Ramasar (replacing the originally listed Henry
Seth). Both the singers and dancers are initially arrayed on semi-circular
risers, with the dancers soon stepping down to dance in the ampitheater-like
space created by the risers. Catherine Barinas' stark toga-like black
and white costumes are appropriately biblical, the long skirted tunics
in black for the men and white for the women.
choreography is focused on the patterns created by the large corps, deliberate
and interweaving, with some intriguing partnering sequences for the male
corps, where the men support each other in low twisting lifts. Körbes
and Ramasar were dignified as the lead couple, who danced through and
in the middle of the corps -- he the tall, elegant partner, and she the
serene, almost angelic woman. The final tableau, with the corps in three
lines of alternating black and white, two on the risers, hands interlinked
is visually and choreographically stunning. With intriguing and beautifully
sung music and fascinating use of color and corps patterns, this is a
ballet deserving of multiple viewings. The enchanting young choral soloist
was James Danner and Andrea Quinn conducted.
The second new piece, "Eros Piano," again named for the musical
score, involves just three dancers, Alexandra Ansanelli, Ashley Laracey
and Nikolaj Hübbe. The ballet has a very aquatic feel, with Holly Hynes'
vivid blue-green unitards, John Adams' moody music and Martins' deliberate
and sinuous choreography. Hübbe's man begins and ends the ballet alone,
his dances with the two women seemingly a brief and exotic interlude.
Martins' choreography is well suited to his dancers, allowing Ansanelli
to show the full range of her talents, including dramatic extension and
flexibility and adaptability to unusual partnering. Laracey was equally
as enthralling, a long limbed and powerful dancer.
Though the dancing focuses on the
women, it was wonderful to see Hübbe given the chance to shine. The choreography
is perfectly suited to Hübbe, making use of his skills as a partner and
moving solo dancer without pushing him beyond the limits of his no-longer-young
body. He was electric in his solo, every step demonstrating his dramatic
and athletic power, and his partnering flawless. Maurice Kaplow conducted,
with Richard Moredock the solo pianist.
The evening concluded with a solid, if not totally inspiring performance
of Robbins' "Old Fashioned." A tribute to the talents of Fred
Astaire, the ballet is an elegant and heart-warming end to an evening
of dance. Carla Körbes, Arch Higgins, Jenifer Ringer and Sebastien Marcovici
were excellent in the leads, but it was Jared Angle, both alone and in
his duet with Rachel Rutherford, who was the real highlight of the performance.
Angle, who has spent much of the past several years out battling injury,
seems to finally be back for the long run. His dancing was poignant and
whimsical, emphasizing his elegant line and excellent partnering skills.
One hopes that he will remain healthy and continue to expand his repertoire
and develop his talents!
Edited by Lori Ibay
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