Ashley Bouder debuted in "Serenade" on Saturday night, in the role of the Russain girl. It was a wonderful performance, with her dancing so effortlessly musical, assured, and secure. She was light as a feather, and the music really did seem to carry her along as though she were a sail in the wind. But what was also remarkable was how she snapped into every pose fully and with great detail; it wasn't a half arabesque because the music was so fast, it was a complete picture and it looked so effortless. Her two other principals on Saturday, Darci Kistler and Sofiane Sylve, looked a bit less effortless. Kistler, as the girl who falls down, seems to be reaching many limitations as her career grows longer, and though she had the right temperment for "Serenade" - something which I noted last week - on second viewing, her technical limitations looked odd in comparison to everyone around her. Sylve, in the Dark Angel role, doesn't seem right for "Serenade." Her eternally cool demeanor fights against the effortlessness of the choreography, and in her dancing, you can definetly see her preparations for each step - they don't flow quickly and easily as, say, Bouder's for example. While Sylve is able to incorporate this into other ballets such as "Agon," it works to her disadvantage here. On the whole, however, a decent "Serenade" from the corps, but of course Ashely Bouder was the highlight.
"Stravinsky Violin Concerto" was the same cast as last week, and a similarly fun performance.
"Carnival of the Animals" was cute, but I didn't take to it. Some interesting choreography here and there from Wheeldon, e.g. the pas de deux for the boy's mother, and the dance for the fossil ballerinas. On the whole, however, I found the narrative a stretch, and the set up distracting and cumbersome. I should note I've never seen a "Carnival of the Animals" before, so maybe the ballet itself is like this - there doesn't seem to be too much in the score to provide transitions between the various animals that come and go in the ballet.
Friday night's "Agon" was very good, with Maria Kowroski in the pas de deux. Personally, I prefer Kowroski to Whelan, who did the pas de deux on Wednesday. Whelan's very extreme physical attributes at times made the acrobatics of the pas de deux look freakish, whereas Kowroski looked a bit more human in the role. Sylve again impressed in the second pas de trois.
In "Symphony in C," Whelan did the second movement this time, and again, I personally liked Kowroski on Wednesday and Sylve last week in the role. Whelan has her own special qualities - the fluidness of her dancing being one of them - but I preferred Kowroski and Sylve's projection of stately personality in that role more than Whelan's comparative cleanliness.
Saturday afternoon was indeed a downer. "Concerto Barocco" seemed subdued, and Kowroski did the adagio movement quite adequately but I felt no spark. The main highlight of the afternoon was "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux" with Alexandra Ansanelli and Stephen Hanna. "Hallelujah Junction" was a repeat of Thursday, and because I was so tired, I decided to skip out of "I'm Old Fashioned" this time around - though, according to reports above, I didn't miss much...