The curtain opens to reveal a stunning verdant portrait of dancers framed by luxurious drapes, shimmering like dewdrops under an early-morning sun. Tiler Peck and Taylor Stanley mark the center of the stage and from the very first movement Peck makes, it is clear that it will be difficult for my eyes to be drawn away from her. She possesses an elegant strength, a capacity to radiate energy through the very ends of her fingertips, and a musicality so impeccable that the line between the dance and Gabriel Fauré’s score is unclear – she is one with the music. She is especially radiant in the solo made so famous by Violette Verdy. Stanley, too, is lovely to watch in his solo, although it seems that he is still in the process of really making the role his own (his debut was a mere few days ago).
Unity Phelan also made her debut in Emeralds this season. I look forward to seeing her perform this role more in the future. She has a beautiful quality about her that is sometimes interrupted by downcast eyes; it is as if she is yet to become aware of just how much she can shine.
Balanchine is a master of creating not only aesthetic formations but of choreography that enables the dancers to (seemingly) effortlessly move from one part of the stage to another. There is a magic to witnessing a field of green romantic tutus sweeping, swirling, and settling, especially when the corps de ballet is completely in sync. This they were, but unfortunately the same praise cannot be given in respect to the cleanliness of their lines. At moments I wondered if perhaps they were under-rehearsed.