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New York City Ballet - Concerto Barocco, Chiaroscuro - The Play of Light and Shadow, Soirée, Symphony in C
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(www.nycballet.org)

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children's Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Andrea Quinn

Conductor, Maurice Kaplow

New York State Theater, Lincoln Center

Review by Dr. Robert E. Zlokower
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
February 19, 2003

Concerto Barocco (1948): All the performers were the same tonight as on February 4, 2003, including Deanna McBrearty and Saskia Beskow (Danskin Spokespersons). On second viewing, and from farther back in the orchestra, I concentrated this time on the choreography, although Jean Ingraham and Nick Danielson were fabulous, once again, in the violin solos, inherent in the score of Bach's Double Violin Concerto in D Minor.

The intricate groupings of two and three dancers; the extreme focus and superb technicality of Charles Askegard, alone with ten female dancers; the spatial quality of the hands and arms, as they create a visual sculpture, reminiscent of Giacometti; the signature black screens, blue backdrop, and white costumes; Wendy Whelan's amazing, centered torso; Jennie Somogyi's speedy, sophisticated entrances, were all apparent on this night. I was granted my wish to see this wonderful piece, once again.

Chiaroscuro "The Play of Light and Shadow" (1994): Music by Francesco Geminiani, Edited by Walter Kolneder, after Arcangelo Corelli's Op. 5, No. 12 (Concerto Grosso, La Follia), Choreography by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Artwork by Michael Zansky, Costumes by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Jock Soto, Miranda Weese, Jennie Somogyi, Pascale van Kipnis, James Fayette, and Tom Gold. Ms. Taylor-Corbett calls this highly charged work a tribute to Mr. Soto. The ballet is a play on light and shadow, due to the fast/slow movements between Mr. Soto, three women, and two men. Geminiani was known for his contrapuntal technique and harmony. He is known for virtuosic compositions. (NYCB Notes). Tonight's Kudos are wide and first presented to Mr. Stanley, for his complex lighting, with spotlights focused on Mr. Soto and his supportive dancers. The lighting achieved a dramatic effect, replete with Italian Baroque styled art screens, hung in the rear of the stage, against a black backdrop.

The dancers were in defiance of gravity, as Mr. Soto and his male counterparts would form figures that shifted weight and balance. At one point, the athletic, Mr. Gold, like a Jack-in-the-Box, leaped into Mr. Soto's arms. There were a series of interlocking and inter-connecting figures. Ms. Somogyi reappeared in this work, after a brief intermission, following her lead in the previous work. The fact that Mr. Soto will reappear in the final work lends credence to the belief that the NYC Ballet dancers have an amazing professional capacity and unbound energy level.

Ms. Weese expressed the right combination of technicality and tension, as this is an angular and wild series of dissonant combinations. Ms. van Kipnis and Mr. Fayette were equally dramatic and skilled in the unique interpretations of this rare score. Ms. Taylor-Corbett is to receive the second portion of Kudos for her loving perfectly conceived choreography, so intrinsic to Mr. Soto's strengths. And, finally, Kudos to Mr. Soto, who never ceases to amaze me.

Soirée (2001): Music by Nino Rota, Choreography by Richard Tanner, Costumes by Carole Divet, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Pianist: Susan Walters, Performed by Janie Taylor, Benjamin Millepied, Carla Körbes, Seth Orza, Amanda Edge, Daniel Ulbricht, and the Company. This is a work designed to showcase Corps members, as it is youthful and highly athletic. Dancers are costumed in fin-de-siécle clothing. Mr. Rota's music develops dance forms, such as cancan and waltz. Ironically, Mr. Rota also wrote the scores for Coppola's The Godfather, Parts I and II, as well as Fellini's La Strada and La Dolce Vita. Mr. Stanley uses atmospheric lighting to enhance the moods. (NYCB Notes). I will begin with the fact that I know I will see this piece again, soon, and I look forward to unwrapping the layers of its virtuosity.

Mr. Rota's music was reminiscent of Poulenc, Prokofiev, Grieg, Stravinsky, and Chopin. I heard snippets of music that were familiar and fascinating, as his composition was so new to me, and I usually like to compare new music with that which is more familiar. The flair of this piece is in the dramatic groupings and duets, inherent in the choreography and attitude. This was not passionate. It was professional. My Kudos, this time around, to Mr. Ulbricht, for a bravura performance. Ms. Edge was a substitute tonight for an injured, Lindy Mandradjieff, and I purchased her signed slippers for my niece, Jessie, who has begun a collection, similar to mine, of signed ballet slippers.

Symphony in C (1948): In this performance, Philip Neal replaced Robert Tewsley, who has sustained an injury. Also performing were Deanna McBrearty and Saskia Beskow (Danskin Spokespersons). Here it is. I have seen Symphony in C four times, and I am becoming fast addicted to the little, percussive trills that hearken the next soloist/s onstage. In fact, I will look for the CD of Bizet's four movement Symphony, as I love the way the energy level remains high, the choreography is predictable, but so satisfying, and, of course, that magical Adagio (Second Movement) with Jock Soto and Darci Kistler, both of whom are such Pros. Mr. Soto never removed his gaze from Ms. Kistler, as he bends and escorts her, front stage, in such exquisite embraces. Ms. Kistler seems to have this piece within her soul, as she so effortlessly, with a constant appearance of joy, spins and collapses, with her gallant partner. Remarkable, as well, were, again, Janie Taylor and Antonio Carmena.


Ballet: Symphony in C
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Dancers: Darci Kistler and Jock Soto
Photo by Paul Kolnik
 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net