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New York City Ballet: Symphony in Three Movements, Afternoon of a Faun, Tarantella, Glass Pieces
-Onstage with the Dancers

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New York City Ballet
George Balanchine's
(NYC Ballet Website)

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
Marketing, Managing Director, Rob Daniels
Assoc. Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns

New York State Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 25, 2005
Originally Published on

Symphony in Three Movements (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrea Quinn, Performed by Jennifer Tinsley, Ashley Bouder, Wendy Whelan, Adam Hendrickson, Jared Angle, Jock Soto, Faye Arthurs, Melissa Barak, Saskia Beskow (Danskin spokesperson), Pauline Golbin, Jamie Wolf, Darius Crenshaw, Seth Orza, Henry Seth, Sean Suozzi, Jonathan Stafford, and the Company.

This is certainly one work that never tires in repetition, in costume shades of white, black, and pink, against a blue backdrop, and, in fact, it inspires and entrances, on each and every viewing. If only Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto could be partners forever in Movement II. At this point in time, they seem to dance as one, even when they do not face each other, with arms and legs, torso and head moving in rhythmic connection. In Movement I, Adam Hendrickson jumped so high, mid-air, that he seemed to be on an invisible trampoline.

Ashley Bouder and Jared Angle were well partnered, and Mr. Angle seemed to dance with renewed energy, feeding off Ms. Bouder's buoyancy. Jennifer Tinsley held her own, and with Mr. Hendrickson's assistance, brought life and lyricism to her role. The Company, in Movements I and III was scintillating in Stravinsky-esque angularity. Andrea Quinn kept the magical momentum alive.

Afternoon of a Faun (1953): Music by Claude Debussy, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Scenery and Lighting by Jean Rosenthal, Costumes by Irene Sharaff, Conductor: Maurice Kaplow, Performed by Janie Taylor and Damian Woetzel.Debussy is known for "musical impressionism" and wrote a large repertoire of works for piano and for orchestra, including "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune", 1892-94. (NYCB Notes).

With the same duo as the last viewing, I was amazed at the pure physicality of Janie Taylor, her waist-length blond locks, curled and wild, a quintessential nymph, pouted lips, wide eyes, and internalized emotions. Damian Woetzel, the superb faun, was sexual, sensual, and sizzling. There seemed to be at once both elusiveness and tautness in their connections, and Mr. Woetzel, in stylized stillness, looked again into the invisible mirror, as Ms. Taylor quietly departed en pointe.

Tarantella (1964): Music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Reconstructed and Orchestrated by Hershy Kay, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano Solo: Nancy McDill, Conductor: Maurice Kaplow, Performed by Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz. This music is from Gottschalk's Grande Tarantelle for Piano and Orchestra. Gottschalk was well known in the Nineteenth Century as a pianist and composer from Louisiana. He was praised by Chopin and toured Europe. Hershy Kay was an orchestrator and composer of Musicals and Ballets. The Tarantella is a classical dance with instantaneous spins and directional changes. NYCB Notes.

Joaquin De Luz is a fiery, exciting, and compactly built dancer, and, when partnered by the fiery, exciting, and compactly built Megan Fairchild, in a fiery, exciting, and compact ballet, what an adventure was in store for NYC Ballet fans tonight. Tarantella is a brief Gottschalk work, with tambourine and costumed streamers in reds and black. Karinska would have been proud of the sight of her designs, showcased in spinning, lightning, leaping, and electric motion.

Glass Pieces (1983): Music by Philip Glass, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Production Design by Jerome Robbins and Ronald Bates, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Conductor: Maurice Kaplow, Performed by Jennifer Tinsley, Rachel Rutherford, Rebecca Krohn, Arch Higgins, Jason Fowler, Ask la Cour, Maria Kowroski, Philip Neal, and the Company

Philip Glass' music, in 3/6 measures of repetitive music, was celebrated tonight in Rubric, Facades, and Akhnaten excerpts. The Rubric movement is set against a rubric-designed backdrop in cream and black, and it leads the repetitive motion that matches the music in colorful, pulsating imagery. Especially noteworthy performances were presented by Ask la Cour, Maria Kowroski, Rachel Rutherford, Jason Fowler, and Arch Higgins. Philip Neal was in good form and timing, but the partnering seemed stretched. Glass Pieces is a dramatic and uncomplicated work to close an electrically charged evening at NYC Ballet.

Kudos to Maurice Kaplow for his conducting of such a precise and intense score. NYC Ballet Spring Season tickets can be viewed and purchased on their website.

Megan Fairchild in NYCB's Tarantella
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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