New York City Ballet Review: All Balanchine
September 26, 2018 | David H. Koch Theater – New York, NY, USA
The manifestation of musical splendor into balletic treasure is Balanchine’s genius and there’s no better company than his own to share this with the rest of us. It’s a treat for the senses, especially when accompanied by an orchestra that is so first-rate you find yourself wondering if you appreciate more the music or the dancing. It’s sensory overload in the best of ways.
Upon seeing eight ballet dancers standing in fifth position, it may seem that one has happened on a school demonstration. And although Concerto Barocco was born inside SAB’s studios, it has since evolved into what is the epitome of a Balanchine ballet. The simplicity of production – blue-lit background, white-clad dancers – is an astute decision as this allows the audience to truly appreciate the marriage of Balanchine and Bach.
Teresa Reichlen embodies the beautiful voice of Kurt Nikkanen‘s violin especially during the melancholic strings of the second movement; it is then when Russell Janzen seamlessly partners her in a series of double en dehors piqué turns which extend oh-so-luxuriously to à la seconde.
Abi Stafford as the ballerina to 2nd violin Arturo Delmoni is dynamic in her execution of grand jétes, and the corps of women (who, by the way, are on the stage for the entire 20-minute piece) are delightfully in control of their formations, timing, and iconic jumps on pointe.
Squealing out of excitement is not a typical reaction witnessed at the ballet, but Wednesday’s audience response to Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz was such that of The Beatles playing at Shea Stadium in the 1960s.
Peck’s command of the technically-challenging role plays equal importance to her sensitivity of Tchaikovsky’s music; the way she sustains her balances to the very 16th of a note is just as impressive as the ease of which she performs the fouetté turns in the coda. De Luz is the perfect counterpart landing each double-tour in the tightest of fifths all the while charming the viewers with his grace and strength.
Dressed sweetly in soft peaches and blues, the couple seems especially radiant and playful; perhaps it’s a display of the trust and joy they experience while dancing together or maybe it’s because it is most likely the last time they will perform this pas with each other. For their gifts and excellence, the world is a better place.
Exuding energy among a constantly changing grouping of five dancers – female leading males, male leading females, five women, or five men – the opening movement of Stravinsky Violin Concerto showcases what one would expect of a work set to its namesake. It’s quirky, intelligent, and full of detail
To note are Lauren Lovette and Adrian Danchig-Waring, the latter who seems to have been injured never returning to the stage after leaving near the beginning of the fourth movement. Both dance with such keen deliberation, moving precisely to create just the right lines and sinewy tension.
In the two pas de deux (Lovette partnered with Jared Angle and Danching-Waring with Maria Kowroski), there are several choreographic moments of comic relief so intelligently worked into the otherwise intense piece as if suggesting that nothing should be taken so seriously.
Despite the exquisite Swarovski-speckled costumes, something about Symphony in C this evening feels lackluster. It is often subtitled the company’s signature work and a masterpiece, and for Balanchine’s choreography and Bizet’s score, it is. But perhaps a ballet with a cast of around fifty dancers is an ambitious undertaking for a company that has no leadership.
The principal couples dance well (Ashley Bouder and Sara Mearns are clearly the seasoned headliners and corps de ballet member Sebastian Villarini-Velez is particularly eye-catching), but for much of the time the rest of the stage is often in disarray. Perhaps it was simply an off show for this piece, but it is definitely disappointing to end the evening on this note.
Featured Photo for New York City Ballet Review: A Feast for the Senses of New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s Concerto Barroco © Paul Kolnik
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