Every step is dedicated to the cause, there is no superfluous pas de deux or lengthy, questionable dream scene. Because of this, the first act is a whirlwind of events, moving from one moment to the next. The result gives the feeling of following rather than running alongside, at times the story overshadowing Ratmansky’s inventive choreography.
His steps are intricate, vigorous, and folksy at times. He takes the best of older classical movements and infuses them with new shapes. While a more classic pas de deux, for example, would call for typical partnering grips, which tend to be straight forward hand-in-hand, Ratmansky weaves limbs together, new geometric patterns emerging.
Corps members partner each other, indifferent of gender, in trios and pairs, on the floor or in lifts. It creates complexity and depth.
A true choreographer will build a pattern or theme to reprise. In the lovers’ first meeting, they each carve one knee in and out, like an affectionate nuzzle of two lovebirds. Later, when things are tumultuous, that same step is laborious, almost painful.
The female corps dancers also have a move, a gentle cascade of the arm down the front of the face which is at first seductive but melancholic when repeated.