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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, Andrea Quinn

New York State Theater, Lincoln Center

Review by Dr. Robert E. Zlokower
Originally Published on
January 17, 2003

Bach Concerto V (2002): Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (Keyboard Concerto No. V in F Minor), Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Emilio Sosa (NYC Ballet Artist in Residence), Costumes Supervised by Holly Hines, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano, Richard Moredock, Performed by Darci Kistler, Jock Soto, Alina Dronova, Amanda Edge, and the Company. With superb technical skills, Darci Kistler was scintillating, elegant, and demure. Jock Soto's muscularity and perfect timing enabled him to partner Ms. Kistler with magnetic presence and full collaboration with the pianist, Richard Moredock, who was the offstage partner to the dancers onstage. Mr. Martins created brilliant choreography in this new work, with Ms. Kistler fully collapsing into Mr. Soto's lifted arms, sweeping the stage with her emotion and physicality. The Company, in an upbeat and uplifting spirituality, offered the audience a springtime mood to offset the bleak winter coldness outside the New York State Theater.

Eight Easy Pieces (1980): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Duo Pianists: Nancy McDill and Susan Walters, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Glenn Keenan, Lindy Mandradjieff. This piece has not been performed for some time by New York City Ballet, and it was a total delight. As a precursor to Eight More, we were treated here to duo pianists and to a trio of ballerinas, who engagingly and exquisitely frolicked across the stage in coordinated fashion. They were flirtatious and witty, with lightning spins and hummingbird toes. This was a work of confection and airiness, with the three dancers in full complement to each other. Kudos to Ms. McDill and Ms. Walters, duo pianists, for their poise and elegance, both as musicians and as onstage personalities.

Eight More (1985): Music by Igor Stravinsky (Suites 1 and 2 for Small Orchestra), Choreography by Peter Martins, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Antonio Carmena, Adam Hendrickson, Daniel Ulbricht. This follow-through piece to Eight Easy Pieces, orchestrated by Stravinsky to sound like the previous work for duo piano, presents competition, while the former presents coordination. The three male dancers seem to compete for elevation, speed, and sheer virtuosity, a bravura performance that thoroughly arouses the audience to accolades. Mr. Ulbricht is a human, small airplane that dives and twists mid-air in gravity defying acts of sheer bravado and physicality. Mr. Hendrickson and Mr. Carmena were also in amazing form, as they turned the same Stravinsky score from interesting to inspiring. Their leaps from the wings of the stage seemed propelled by a superhuman force, and their extensions and elongations were very memorable. Kudos to Mr. Martins for creating these poignant pieces.

In the Night (1970): Music by Frédéric Chopin, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Anthony Dowell, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Pianist: Cameron Grant, Performed by Yvonne Borree and Sébastien Marcovici, Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard, Wendy Whelan and James Fayette. I have had many dreams of passionate dance partners, and many of those dreams were realized in this piece, which, I am happy to know, I will probably see again this season. Imagine Chopin's beautiful Nocturnes. Imagine wispy gowns and fainting lovers, dashing into each other's arms, in wild embraces, mixed with occasional bouts of anger and ambiguous emotions.

This piece gives us three sets of lovers, against a moonlit night, all in brilliant, flowing costumes by Anthony Dowell. The first pair, Ms. Borree and Mr. Marcovici, in ephemeral flight, seems to be in their own fantastic dream, swept off their feet and hearts, somewhat like fireflies, darting and waltzing to their own melodies and memories. The second pair, Ms. Kowroski and Mr. Askegard, in more formal fashion, performs miraculous feats of upturned partners and ballroom-style, emotional distance.

The third pair, Ms. Whelan and Mr. Fayette, survive an onstage, tumultuous relationship, dashing offstage in tears, running back to each others' arms, finding ultimate solace in their own swirling emotions, a world unto themselves, one in which only they know the force that propels them to each other, like human magnets. The audience seemed thrilled with their ultimate, impassioned reunion. Kudos to Jerome Robbins for this classical and challenging work, which, for this dancer, contains choreographic elements of Argentine Tango and Waltz.

Symphony in Three Movements (1972): I had my wish, and saw this piece three times. On this viewing, I was able to concentrate on the Stravinsky score, on this very Stravinsky evening. The strong rhythms allowed the opening image of the severe, pony-tailed female dancers, all in stark white leotards, to appear even more taught and muscular. I also took extra notice of the various, choreographic levels of dancers, with the arms used as ornaments, like Egyptian drawings, in up-stretched and angular fashion. It seems that on each viewing, the surreal, sideways leaps of the dancers in the First Movement appear to be stronger and higher. Jock Soto and Wendy Whelan were superbly matched in the Second Movement. Please note that the two official Danskin Dancers, Saskia Beskow and Deanna McBrearty both performed in this piece.

Ballet: Symphony in Three Movements
Choreography: George Balanchine
Dancers: Abi Stafford and Kipling Houston in his farewell NYCB performance
Photo by Paul Kolnik

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at