New York City Ballet: Founding Choreographers II
(NYC Ballet Website)
Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Founding Choreographers: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children’s Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Honorary Chairmen: Julia and David Koch
Managing Director, Communications, Robert Daniels
Assoc. Director, Communications, Joe Guttridge
Assoc., Communications and Special Projects, Caitlin Gillette
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 18, 2009
(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).
Conductor: Maurice Kaplow
Ballo Della Regina (1978): Music by Giuseppe Verdi (from Don Carlos), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Ben Benson, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Benjamin Millepied, Ashley Laracey, Kathryn Morgan, Erica Pereira, Ana Sophia Scheller, and the Company.
Set to Verdi’s opera score, Ballo della Regina is true Balanchine, a “founding choreographer”. Megan Fairchild and Benjamin Millepied, both spritely and spirited, zipped through the rapid footwork, in front of lines of corps, with a formal “ball” motif. The choreography moves toward the audience and then in right-left fashion, with handsome, regal pageantry. Mr. Millepied’s backward leaps were executed with vitality and zest. However, Ms. Fairchild, a bit wooden in personality, seemed not to relate to her partner, who was equally self-absorbed. Individually they were virtuosic, but, as a duo, they needed chemistry. On the other hand, Kathryn Morgan and Erica Pereira exuded passion and warmth on their own. Ben Benson’s flowing chiffon costumes almost stole the show.
Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze" (1980): Music by Robert Schumann, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Cameron Grant, Performed by Darci Kistler, Sara Mearns, Jennie Somogyi, Janie Taylor, Jared Angle, Charles Askegard, Nilas Martins, and Philip Neal.
This perfumed, twilight extravaganza is one of my favorites with Balanchine at his most romantic. Cameron Grant, to the sideline, plays Schumann, while Schumann momentarily appears in dark silhouetted visions, amidst ecstatic and angst-filled dances, of rapturous or forlorn lovers, leaping and spinning to each musical turn. Unrequited as well as love fulfilled are enacted by four duos, and it was good to see Nilas Martins again, partnering Jennie Somogyi with sentiment and strength. An elegant Darci Kistler was partnered by an attentive Jared Angle, while Janie Taylor and Philip Neal were stormy and persuasive. Sara Mearns and Charles Askegard seemed like Robert and Clara Schumann, with Mr. Askegard wandering with distress and Ms. Mearns dancing with internalized fire, before disappearing into the wings with tiny, en pointe steps, hands crossed over her face.
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, Performed by Rebecca Krohn, Rachel Rutherford, Savannah Lowery, Tyler Angle, Jason Fowler, Ask la Cour, Wendy Whelan, Sébastien Marcovici, and the Company.
It was wonderful to experience Glass Pieces once more, with the striking multiple, moving silhouettes and the spellbinding score. Rubric is contemporary and energized, with the full cast walking rapidly, in bright casual costumes, occasionally spinning or lunging, before and after sets of dancers stop for pastel pas de deux. Facades is more mesmerizing, with Wendy Whelan and Sébastien Marcovici in a slower pas de deux, as the silhouetted corps moves in punctuated steps across the dim background. There is a contrast of rhythms, as staccato and silky choreography plays out against each other. Ms. Whelan and Mr. Marcovici were at their finest, like stark surreal statues in motion. Akhnaten brings out the best in the male corps, with hormonal jubilance and natural, percussive coordination. Kudos to Jerome Robbins, the other “founding choreographer”.
Maria Kowroski and Philip Neal
in Jerome Robbins' "Glass Pieces"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik