When the curtain rises, we are greeted by a tableau that at the same time feels familiar and foreign; it is reminiscent of Jules Perrot’s 19th century Pas de Quatre in formation and dress yet with a more contemporary indigo palette and design. Principal Dancer James Whiteside’s New American Romance, which is his first ballet created for the company (which had its premiere at the Vail Dance Festival earlier this summer), also hearkens another iconic romantic ballet, George Balanchine’s Serenade. The nod to this 20th century iconic work is evident in several instances of port de bras.
Organized into four movements featuring three relationships of varying temperament, the uniformity of the aforementioned indigo costumes is an aesthetically-pleasing thread that ties the piece together. It is a pleasant discovery of its effectiveness in representing an emotional span that ranges from sweet to humorous to tender; with billowing sleeves and romantic-style tutus, the eight dancers masterfully execute Whiteside’s very musical choreography. Devon Teuscher is especially stunning in the third movement. She is beautifully strong and sure while carrying a confident grace and femininity – a wonderful example for any budding ballet dancer.
As a related aside, at the end of the ballet I couldn’t help wondering why New American Romance replaced the scheduled Dream within a Dream (deferred) by Michelle Dorrance. The program was originally titled “Women’s Movement”, so this change resulted in a transformation of the essence of what was to be an appreciation of female choreographers.