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New York City Ballet - Mercurial Manoeuvres, Burleske, Sonatas and Interludes, Chaconne
-Onstage with the Dancers

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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
January 31, 2003

Mercurial Manoeuvres (2000): Music by Dmitri Shostakovich, Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Costumes by Carole Divet, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Alan Moverman, Trumpet: Ray Mase, Performed by Miranda Weese, Jared Angle, Benjamin Millepied, Megan Fairchild, Lindy Mandradjieff, and the Company. With instant spins, vibrant trumpet, and passionate piano, the music of one of my favorite composers, Shostakovich, generated, with transparent red and blue screens, as backdrop, a brilliant ballet, one that I hope to see again, during the Spring Season. Mr. Millepied is a rising star, a Principal with extraordinary presence and verve, who can leap with amazing dexterity and elevation. Jared Angle is also an extremely talented Soloist, with charisma and charm. The shifting pattern and vertical levels of dancers was reminiscent of Symphony in Three Movements. At times, the music was funereal and somber, and at times grandiose and uplifting. According to NYCB Notes, Ms. Weese was in the original production of this ballet in 2000. This is a wild, although extremely classical ballet, with the trumpet solo announcing the motif. Mr. Wheeldon has choreographed a kaleidoscope of color and motion, with the ever-changing, transparent screens as a visually exciting highlight.


Ballet: Mercurial Manoeuvres
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Photo by Paul Kolnik

Burleske (2001): Music by Richard Strauss, Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Carole Divet, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano Solo: Susan Walters, Performed by Janie Taylor, Peter Boal, Darci Kistler, Jared Angle, and the Company. With chandeliers, lavender backdrop, evening gowns, and blue draperies, this dramatic and romantic piece is upbeat and brilliant. Mr. Martins has included music for solo piano and orchestra, which also injects strong percussion for elevation of emotional tension. This was a first rate selection of Principals, including the perfection of Ms. Kistler, who is obviously loved by the loyal NYCB audience. Mr. Boal is one of the male Principals who always attends to and relates to his partner, thus allowing the visual image of dance to match the romance of the music. Mr. Angle is a rising star and will learn the importance of focusing on his partner. Ms. Taylor is fast becoming an amazement of perfection.


Ballet: Burleske
Choreographer: Peter Martins
Dancers: Janie Taylor and Jared Angle
Photo by Paul Kolnik

Sonatas and Interludes (1988): Music by John Cage, Choreography by Richard Tanner, Costumes by Carole Divet, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Elaine Chelton, Performed by Maria Kowroski and Jock Soto. I have always been wary of John Cage scores, but this one is actually, somewhat melodic, and the prepared piano was not grating or annoying. Mr. Cage, himself, created the concept of prepared piano in 1938. He experimented with the sound of the piano by introducing bits of wood or paper between or on the strings to produce a more percussive sound. (NYCB Notes).

Mr. Soto and Ms. Kowroski, two extremely talented Principals, stars in their own right, expertly presented syncopated hands and feet. With the vision of black on black, Mr. Tanner has created a very fascinating and memorable piece, with single lights on Ms. Chelton's piano music and on the skin of Ms. Kowroski and Mr. Soto. These dancers shone throughout this ephemeral work.

Chaconne (1976): Music by Christoph Willibald von Gluck, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Wendy Whelan, Philip Neal, Amanda Edge, Tom Gold, Dena Abergel, Saskia Beskow, Pauline Golbin, Eva Natanya, Carrie Lee Riggins, Jason Fowler, Ask la Cour, Andrew Robertson, and the Company. Chaconne refers to dances for court entertainment. With varying groups of partnered Principals, Soloists, and Corps, in Pas de Deux, Pas de Trois, Pas de Cinq, and the full Chaconne, the music of von Gluck propels the dancers forward and through syncopated rhythms in daring choreography by Mr. Balanchine. Maurice Kaplow conducted the entire evening with aplomb, fully cognizant of his dancers' needs and timing. Wendy Whelan, as usual, was strongly instrumental in enhancing this production with the professional and perfectionist edge to carry the concept through so many choreographic and technical levels of virtuosity.

 

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