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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 1:22 pm 
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Siobhan Burke reviews the Wednesday, April 30, 2014 performance of Justin Peck's "Year of the Rabbit," Angelin Preljocaj's "La Stravaganza" and Christopher Wheeldon's "DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse."

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 4:20 pm 
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In the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay reviews the Tuesday, May 6, 2014 performance of an All-Balanchine program: "Raymonda Variations," "Symphony in C," "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" and "Le Tombeau de Couperin.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 4:24 pm 
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Broadway World previews the May 8, 2014 Spring Gala.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 8:17 am 
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Location: New Jersey
New York City Ballet
David H. Koch Theater
Lincoln Center
New York, New York

May 8, 2014
Spring Gala:
“Allegro Brillante”; “Everywhere We Go” (Peck World Premiere)

-- by Jerry Hochman

In each of its three ‘seasons’ in the course of an annual performance year at Lincoln Center, New York City Ballet has a Gala performance. The goal of each of these galas, at least for the past few years, has been to amplify a particular season’s overall thematic thrust, to premiere a new piece, or just to honor someone who may or may not have a connection to ballet. Underneath it all is a common purpose – to generate funds from well-heeled patrons. There’s nothing wrong, or particularly unique, about that. It goes with the territory. But although they’re frequently great fun, these galas have often ranged from being artistically insignificant to being artistically brain dead.

But for this year’s Spring Gala, to celebrate its Fiftieth Anniversary of performances at Lincoln Center’s David H Koch Theater (originally the New York State Theater), NYCB got it right. This gala was classy, and classic, in nearly every way. The theater’s ‘Grand Promenade’ was bedecked in glittering but understated off-white elegance, and packed with tables indicative of a larger than usual turnout of celebratory (i.e., financially prosperous) guests. Champagne flowed – and even the hoi polloi got free high-quality vodka (to toast the past 50 years and the years to come).

And this time, they got the world premiere of a ballet to fit the occasion.

Justin Peck’s “Everywhere We Go” may not be one of the world’s great ballets. I have some quibbles with it – one of them being that it’s almost too rich a choreographic brew; too much of a good thing, and difficult to digest. Especially when a little tipsy on vodka. But when was the last time one went to a NYCB ballet premiere and complained that maybe it was too much of a good thing?

Consistent with an evening that commemorated the opening of the theater as well as the Company’s first performance there, the first half of the evening was dedicated to saluting the past, and unfolded as if unpacking a time capsule. First, a rendition of Igor Stravinsky’s “Fanfare for a New Theater,” a piece specially composed for Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine (and, according to the program notes, the world’s first 12-tone fanfare) and which proclaimed NYCB’s first performance at the State Theater on April 24, 1964, opened last night’s Gala. The National Anthem, in an arrangement by Stravinsky that was played at the theater’s ‘official opening’ one night earlier, followed that.

A brief film then was shown that chronicled the theater’s opening, with both moving and still images of the construction phases, the opening night speeches and interviews (one that included George Balanchine, who was involved in the theater’s construction, and Jacques D’Amboise, who performed on that opening night), and comments by architectural critics and Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins on the glories of the theater. Mr. Martins, whose love for the theater was apparent, observed that architect Philip Johnson was trying to express in the theater was what Balanchine was trying to express in ballet; that the building took classical values and presented them in new ways. He also gushed that every other dance company wants to perform at this theater, which was specifically designed for dance, and at how NYCB was the luckiest company in the world to have a theater like this as its home.

At the film’s conclusion, Mr. Martins appeared on stage, and introduced dancers who had performed with the company during its opening year at the theater: Mr. D’Amboise, Karin von Aroldingen, Jillana, Allegra Kent, Conrad Ludlow, Kay Mazzo, Patricia McBride, Arthur Mitchell, Mimi Paul, Suki Schorer, and Edward Villella.

This was followed by a performance of “If I Loved You” from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” in honor of the Music Theater of Lincoln Center, directed by Mr. Rodgers, which was a resident company of the theater from 1964 to 1969 (the program note stated that an excerpt from “Carousel” was performed on the theater’s opening night). It was sung beautifully last night by Kristen Bell (yes, that Kristen Bell – she can sing too, and quite well), and Aaron Lazar, a Broadway veteran – and seeing the stunningly-outfitted Ms. Bell on the red carpet outside the theater prior to the performance, standing in place and looking both elegant and unperturbed for what seemed like hours while being bombarded by a constant barrage of flashing lights from hordes of photographers, provided a smashing pre-show show. But to me it was the only misstep of the evening. First, under the circumstances, the vocal performance, fine as it was, called for some dance accompaniment, even in the background. More importantly, if you’re going to include a salute to the Music Theater of Lincoln Center, it would have been equally appropriate, and magnanimous, to have also included some recognition of the New York City Opera, which for decades shared the State Theater with NYCB (even though City Opera apparently was not involved in the theater’s opening night performance – it did not become a constituent until 1966).

The first half of the evening concluded with the first ballet of the evening. “Allegro Brillante,” choreographed by Balanchine to music by Tchaikovsky (“Piano Concerto No. 3”), was the first ballet that NYCB performed on its first program at the New York State Theater, and it has rarely been out of NYCB’s repertory since. That it’s one of a plethora of Balanchine masterpieces is not surprising. But even more astounding is that “Allegro Brillante,” a concentrated study in classical vocabulary and development, was created in 1956, a year before Balanchine created “Agon,” a very different kind of masterpiece, and within two years, either way, of “Ivesiana,” “The Nutcracker,” “Western Symphony,” and “Square Dance.” The breadth of Balanchine’s creative genius is astounding.

I’ve seen “Allegro Brillante” on several previous occasions, but had never before seen Sara Mearns assay the lead. While I would have preferred more modulated phrasing, that’s nitpicking -- Ms. Mearns, partnered by a supremely attentive Jared Angle, danced the piece delicately and impeccably. More notable is the fact that she danced it without a hint of the pathos that dominates many of her performances. On the contrary, she danced throughout with appropriate celebratory enthusiasm, as did the rest of the cast: Lauren King, Ashley Laracey (a particularly glorious standout), Megan LeCrone, Lydia Wellington, Ralph Ippolito, Austin Laurent, Allen Peiffer, and Andrew Scordato.

“Everywhere We Go” was commissioned by NYCB, as was the accompanying score by Sufjan Stevens, who created the score to which Mr. Peck choreographed “Year of the Rabbit,” his first mega-hit. There are similarities between “Year of the Rabbit” and “Everywhere We Go,” but not enough to call the latter a carbon copy. The similarity is in its style, its audacity, and in Mr. Peck’s singularly brilliant use of his corps dancers as a sort of collective featured dancer with multiple individual parts. Just as they were as important to “Year of the Rabbit” as were the individual featured dancers in that piece, so they are in “Everywhere We Go.”

What Mr. Peck does with his corps dancers is astonishing, and almost indescribable. They come individually, in pairs, in groups; they come from the left, they come from the right; they enter, they leave; they form lines that promptly reform in other forms; they form patterns I cannot recall ever seeing before, their patterns form patterns, and then form new patterns as they change patterns, all moving (most of the time) at Balanchinian/warp speed, with dancers racing to get into position for the next spectacular movement pattern. And Mr. Peck’s skill at presenting signature, indelible images (of which there are many) and repeating them later in the piece, sometimes in a slightly different way but unmistakably echoing the prior image, is breathtaking. For example, in the opening segment (the piece is divided into nine sections, corresponding to the nine movements in Mr. Stevens’s score), which is predominantly male, Mr. Peck has the men repeatedly collapse from perimeter positions into a ‘ring’ at center stage, circle while holding hands, quickly separate into another pattern, and then collapse again (which is repeated almost, but not quite, one too many times), and then at the end of the piece one suddenly sees the same image, but this time with the men and women together. It’s a moving kaleidoscope. Similarly, and exemplary of an identical moving image repeated in a different context, is a particularly vibrant and lyrical and spectacular lift. During a pas de duex between Sterling Hyltin and Andrew Veyette, Mr. Veyette suddenly lifts Ms. Hyltin above him, and turns individually (while holding her) as he travels circularly on the stage from one point to another, gently places her back on the floor, and then repeats the process. I thought of a particular type of firework image, spectacular turns of color within broader turns of color, as I watched. The series of images is repeated again in the final segment of the piece, while the pair is surrounded by other dancers doing other things.

If this sounds a little like a three ring circus – it is, a little. Mr. Peck’s use of stage space – breaking the space up into segments and then dissolving the invisible borders – is as remarkable as his brilliant corps work. But it’s all controlled and coherent and never looks busy, with distinctive components that fit together, disappear, and then reappear. Although they do not resemble each other choreographically in any way, “Everywhere We Go” prompts the same sense of visual and kinetic euphoria that one feels after seeing certain dances by Twyla Tharp.

When any new ballet premieres, particularly a piece as noteworthy as this one, the focus is on the choreography and the concept. But the dancers in "Everywhere We Go," from principal to corps, executed with individual brilliance. In addition to Ms. Hyltin and Mr. Veyette, who to me were the most dynamically spectacular, the leads included Maria Kowroski and Robert Fairchild, Tiler Peck and Amar Ramasar, and with sparkling solo work, Teresa Reichlen. The featured soloists were Georgina Pazcoguin, Brittany Pollack, Gretchen Smith, Daniel Applebaum, Mr. Scordato, and Taylor Stanley, and all were complemented by a corps of six women and six men. I should also recognize Michale P. Atkinson, who orchestrated Mr. Stevens’s score (as he did for “Year of the Rabbit”), and who was guest conductor for this occasion.

As I said earlier, I have some minor quibbles. The movements of the composition, which I found every bit as pleasantly inventive as his score to “Year of the Rabbit”) are titled in descriptive terms (e.g., segment 2: ‘Happiness is a Perfume’; segment 4: ‘To Live in the Hearts We Leave Behind; segment 6: ‘Every Flower That Stirs the Elastic Sod’; segment 8: ‘The Gate of Heaven is Love’) that to me bear little relationship to the music or to the choreography to it. But perhaps the thematic connection, if there is one, is too ephemeral to see(or hear) on first viewing. And I have a prejudice against a piece that ends, inexplicably, with dancers lying horizontal on the stage floor. Even though this sequentially staged image that closes the piece is another example of a series of images echoed from an earlier appearance (but his time with both men and women rather than just men), the closing image would have worked better, to me, had it been uplifting, physically as well as emotionally. But it fits the composition’s closing sound framework, so there really was nothing else Mr. Peck could have done.

But in the overall scheme of thing, these minor criticisms don’t matter. “Everywhere We Go” is a hit. And it concluded the Spring Gala with an appropriate vision of one prong of NYCB’s next fifty years (another, perhaps, is the announcement that a new version of “La Sylphide” will be created for its 2015 Spring Season). It will be repeated later this season as well as next year, and should be seen. Too much of a good thing is not at all a bad thing.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 12:07 pm 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews the Thursday, May 8, 2014 Gala Performance for the New York Times.

NY Times

Pia Catton reviews the same performance for the Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal

Rebecca Adams discusses the creation of Justin Peck's "Everywhere We Go" for the Huffington Post.

Huffington Post


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 12:46 pm 
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Apollinaire Scherr reviews Justin Peck's "Everywhere We Go" for the Financial Times.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 6:42 pm 
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In the New York Times, Siobhan Burke reviews the Friday, May 9, 2014 performance of three works by Jerome Robbins: "Glass Pieces," "Opus 19/The Dreamer," and "The Concert."

NY Times


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 1:43 pm 
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Apollinaire Scherr reviews "Union Jack" and "Davidsbundlertanze" for the Financial Times.

Financial Times


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 6:59 pm 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews "Union Jack" and "Davidsbundlertanze" for the New York Times.

NY Times


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 12:01 pm 
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Robert Johnson reviews the May 8, 2014 Gala Performance for the Newark Star-Ledger.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 11:40 am 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews several debut performances over the May 16-18, 2014 weekend for the New York Times.

NY Times


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 1:31 pm 
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Jessica Abejar reviews the May 17, 2014 evening performance of Christopher Wheeldon's "A Place for Us," Peter Martins' "Todo Buenos Aires" and Balanchine's "Davidsbundlertanze" for Broadway World.

Broadway World


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 12:29 pm 
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In the New York Times, Brian Seibert reviews the Thursday, May 22, 2014 performance of Balanchine's "Walpurgisnacht Ballet" and "The Four Temperaments" and Justin Peck's "Everywhere We Go."

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 7:19 pm 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews Jonathan Stafford's farewell performances in "Jewels" for the New York Times.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2013-14
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 7:24 pm 
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Location: New Jersey
New York City Ballet
David H. Koch Theater
Lincoln Center
New York, New York

May 6, 10m, 13, 17m, 2014
“Raymonda Variations;” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier;” “Le Tombeau de Couperin;”
“Symphony in C” (May 6, 13)
“Glass Pieces;” “Opus 19/The Dreamer;” “The Concert” (May 10m)
“Robert Schumann’s ‘Davidsbundlertanze’;” “Union Jack” (May 17m)

-- by Jerry Hochman

New York City Ballet continued its Spring, 2014 season with performances of six classic ballets by George Balanchine and three by Jerome Robbins that exemplify the extraordinary legacy of both, as well as the company’s incomparable repertoire. These ballets, several of which were performed during the company’s inaugural season at Lincoln Center fifty years ago (which this season celebrates), are as significant now, and as entertaining to today’s audiences, as they were when they premiered.

Except for “Robert Schumann’s ‘Davidsbundlertanze’” and “Le Tombeau de Couperin,” which are seen less frequently, these ballets are known quantities. Consequently, this review will focus on the two less familiar pieces, and then on several notable debuts.

When “Robert Schumann’s ‘Davidsbundlertanze’” premiered in 1980, the audience, of which I was a part, didn’t seem to know what to make of it. I recall it being received with respectful applause, but not the rapture that accompanied the premiere of “Ballo della Regina” two years earlier (and which is long overdue for a revival). It had none of the excitement and accessibility of those Balanchine ballets that were instant classics, but also none of the quirkiness of his experimental works. It was different, and with its overwhelming somber ambience befitting testaments or chronicles on the eve of judgment, it was a difficult piece to like. And yet, despite its dark tone, there was something about ‘Davidsbundlertanze’ that struck a nerve, and I’ve remembered that performance vividly ever since.

It’s been thirty four years since I’d seen ‘Davidsbundertanze’. It looks the same now as it did then, but its craft is more apparent now, and its significance is more clear. It may be ‘about’ Balanchine’s own reflections as he approaches death, as I and others thought on that first viewing. (How else to interpret the ‘messenger angels/scriveners’ who briefly emerge from the wings dressed in black, appear to notate the confessional memories, and then depart? How else to view the fearful, remorseful, and mortified – in the truest sense of the word – danseur who withdraws into himself at the ballet’s end, than as a Balanchine surrogate judging himself before being judged?) But its appeal strikes as more universal now.

Choreographed to Robert Schumann’s piano suite of the same name, which purportedly was a celebration of Schumann’s reconciliation with his future wife Clara Wieck, the music is heavy with emotional weight, alternating between expressions of joy and of grief. The composition is considered by many to be Schumann’s finest achievement. The ballet is certainly one of Balanchine’s. On one level, it’s a suite of exquisite dances that break relationships into component emotional parts. On another, it’s a monumental ode to the human condition as one particular human approaches death and takes account of the joys and agonies of those relationships that are the real building blocks of a life. It’s a startling, astonishing piece of work.

The piece is set in a space that, in another ballet, might have been a palatial ballroom, but instead of glittering lights and an air of pageantry or celebration, here the space appears as old as eternity, draperies sagging with the weight of years, a sense of dimly-lit weariness, a place to wait for something else to happen. (The set, by the estimable Rouben Ter-Arutunian, reportedly was inspired by the work of the 19th Century German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich.) A piano is set midstage right. As the Schumann composition is played (by Cameron Grant, with appropriate passion), four couples take turns dancing. The dancers at times dance solo or change partners, but the four pairs generally reflect separate memories, recounting episodes of joy and turbulence within each relationship. Dances at a different kind of gathering. Eventually, one of the men becomes the central figure, but it isn’t clear whether the other men are different men or different incarnations of the same man.

In the performance I saw, each role was a debut, but each dancer performed as if he or she had been dancing it for years. The couples were Rebecca Krohn (looking extraordinarily like Suzanne Farrell in the original) and Zachary Catazaro, Teresa Reichlen and Russell Janzen, TIler Peck and Tyler Angle, and Ashley Laracey and Sean Suozzi. Each performed memorably, but Mr. Janzen did a particularly remarkable job with the role that required the most emotional resonance. I can still see Adam Luders in that role on opening night, but Mr. Janzen’s performance now blurs the memory.

As I’ve observed previously, the company, particularly its young principal and soloist ballerinas, is performing at an extraordinary level, top to bottom. And its corps is unusually strong. Exemplary of this are the two performances of “Le Tombeau de Couperin” that I saw on May 6 and 13, each with the same cast. The score, in the style of French Baroque composer Francois Couperin, was originally composed by Maurice Ravel in 1919 as a piano suite with six movements to commemorate the loss of six friends in World War I. In 1920, Ravel orchestrated four of the movements, and Balanchine choreographed the ballet to this orchestration for the company’s Ravel Festival in 1972, incorporating, according to the program notes, a French Baroque style and devices. The eight pairs of dancers are separated into left and right quadrilles, both of which form varying geometric patterns that morph into new patterns as the piece progresses, and the steps are within the chosen stylistic boundaries. At times it resembles a French Baroque Square Dance.

But this description makes the ballet sound dry and academic. It’s not. On the contrary, for a ballet with its feet in 17th-18th century France, it’s remarkably modern-looking. It’s exciting to watch the interplay of the dancers within and between the quadrilles, and the patterns form and dissolve and re-form. And one can see a connection between this piece and ballets by contemporary choreographers, including NYCB soloist Justin Peck’s recent success, “Wherever We Go.”

But how the ballet works is only half the story. The half that matters equally is how it’s performed. The eight couples, all members of the corps in role debuts, were given an opportunity to shine. And shine they did. Each dancer executed very well, and performed with the enthusiasm essential to make something obviously abstract into a collage of personal statements. The pairs of dancers were Marika Anderson and Ralph Ippolito; Olivia Boisson and Andrew Scordato; Likolani Brown and Troy Schumacher; Jenelle Manzi and David Prottas; Gwyneth Muller and Austin Laurent; Gretchen Smith and Devin Alberda; Lara Tong and Daniel Applebaum; and Lydia Wellington and Allen Peiffer. And at each of the two performances, the audience saluted these corps dancers with sustained applause and well-deserved repeated curtain calls.

In addition to the casts for ‘Davidsbundlertanze’ and ‘Couperin’, many of the other ballets on these programs included several notable debuts in featured roles.

The most stunning of these debuts was Stering Hyltin’s in “Opus 19/The Dreamer” at the May 10 matinee. It’s difficult to believe that there are roles that Ms. Hyltin still has not tried and conquered, but this was one. She always performs roles with a somewhat different interpretation, so even though she dances the same steps as everyone else, the performance looks and feels unique. To me, she was an equal partner in the ‘dream/search’ that is at the heart of the piece. She’s both the pursued and the pursuer, prickly and vulnerable, and totally her own character. Partnered by Gonzalo Garcia at his best, Ms. Hyltin delivered a performance of extraordinary depth, and one to treasure.

“Symphony in C” is one of those Balanchine masterpieces that one never tires of seeing. Choreographed to Bizet’s “Symphony No. 1 in C Major” in 1933 for the Paris Opera Ballet, and titled “Le Palais de Crystal,” Balanchine simplified the sets for the NYCB premiere the following year. The piece is danced now with no set, but the ‘crystal’ reference has been restored, to a degree, in the costumes created by Mark Happel in 2012, which are adorned with Swarovski crystals. The ballet, and the costumes, look spectacular.

The piece works well no matter who dances it, but at the two performances I saw, it sparkled with renewed energy. Emblematic of this was the debut of Ashly Isaacs is the Third Movement. Following a lengthy absence (presumably the result of an injury), Ms. Isaacs is now back in full command, and her execution was on the mark in all respects. The May 6 cast was finished with fine performances from Abi Stafford and Andrew Veyette, Maria Kowroski and Mr. Angle, Mr. Garcia (who partnered Ms. Isaacs), and Lauren King and Adrian Danchig-Waring. On May 13, Ms. Peck, who had debuted as the lead ballerina in the First Movement a few days earlier, danced a scintillating First Variation with Mr. Catazaro; and Ashley Laracey, who also debuted in her role a few days earlier, excelled in the Fourth Variation with her partner, Taylor Stanley. The May 13 cast was completed by Ms. Reichlen and Mr. Angle in the Second Movement, and by Ms. Isaacs and Mr. Garcia.

“Raymonda Variations,” which premiered in 1961, isn’t in the same league as “Symphony in C.” It’s may be no less a masterwork, but to me it’s more academic. Using portions of Alexander Glazounov’s score from Act I of the full ballet, here Balanchine did not so much distill “Raymonda” to its essence as he removed the essence of “Raymonda” from his dance. The result is an abstract ballet that, to me, is considerably less interesting than either its plotted original or other abstract pieces. Be that as it may, the performances on May 6, led by Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz, were crisp and vibrant. But of greater interest were the supporting featured roles danced by Brittany Pollack, Kristen Segin, Ms. Laracey, Meagan Mann, and Savannah Lowery, all of which were role debuts. Of these, and although all executed admirably, Ms. Pollack first variation and Ms. Laracey’s fifth variation were particular triumphs. (Ms. Laracey is having an extraordinary season.)

These supporting roles were repeated at the May 13 performance, with the leads danced by Lauren Lovette and Anthony Huxley, in role debuts. Ms. Lovette was particularly exciting as her legs moved like pistons and she varied her phrasing and demeanor appropriately. Mr. Huxley executed with his usual classical clarity, but looked stiff (particularly compared to Ms. Lovette) and had a pasted-on smile that never varied – both of which are indicative of appropriate nerves. But in the partnering segments, some work still needs to be done. At one point, I could see Mr. Huxley pull Ms. Lovette slightly off center as he caught her mid-pirouette– not a major problem at all, just something clearly noticeable – and at another the timing or centering seemed off (I couldn’t see the cause from my vantage point), effecting the demeanor of both. They recovered, but the partnering glitches marred what otherwise were excellent debuts.

These programs were completed with fine performances of “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” on May 6 and 13, with Erica Pereira and Daniel Ulbricht once again playing off each other brilliantly; a superb performance of Robbins’s “Glass Pieces” (led by Ms. Laracey, Ms. King, Ms. Wellington, Mr. Appelbaum, Peter Walker, and Mr. Janzen in the first segment, Ms. Krohn and Amar Ramasar in the second, and excellent corps work throughout); “The Concert,” a Robbins comic masterpiece, with Maria Kowroski, Mr. Veyette, and Ms. Muller, which closed the program on May 10; and “Union Jack,” featuring Ms. Fairchild and Mr. Ramasar in the ‘Costermonger Pas de Deux’, which served the same function on May 17th.

“Union Jack” bears particular mention. I’ve previously stated that it’s too much of a spectacle for my taste, and the pairing with ‘Davidsbundlertanze’ seemed unwise. But there’s something to be said for an audience ingesting a ballet like candy, and the audience on the 17th did. From my vantage point, they looked as entranced as children at fireworks; smiling and wide-eyed and enjoying every colorful second. During the curtain calls, the cheers were enthusiastic and boisterous, and several audience members broke NYCB tradition and gave the cast a standing ovation. The audience reaction was epitomized by a man seated several rows in front of me in the orchestra, outfitted in shorts and a white tee shirt, who entered the theater with perhaps a second to spare (perhaps The Game ran late), sat through ‘Davidsbundlertanze’ respectfully, but registered his pleasure with “Union Jack” at every opportunity with applauding hands held high over his head. At several points, the man’s hands stopped applauding, briefly, and each hand converted into a feigned ‘revolver,’ with index fingers pointed forward and thumbs upraised. With his arms still above his head, he slowly angled his hands toward the stage and directed his pointing index fingers toward the lead dancers, and with a serious grin on his face, saluted them as if they had just scored a touchdown or anchored a double-play. The pointed fingers said ‘you the MAN!’ It didn’t matter that the ‘man’ was a ballerina. Whatever it takes.


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