New York City Ballet:
An All American Season Finale
(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
March 1, 2009
(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).
Conductor: Maurice Kaplow
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, Maria Kowroski, Philip Neal, and the Company.
In this re-visiting of Glass Pieces, I focused on the creamy grid backdrop of the first and third segments, and the dim blue of the second. Also of note, Maria Kowroski and Philip Neal were gripping in their stark, second segment pas de deux. As music and momentum swell, the audience is drawn into the magic. Robbins’ choreography reveals new nuances on each viewing. For example, in the third Akhnaten segment, I focused on the men crouched on their quads, arms out like low wings. I also thought about Robbins’ clear influence on Christopher Wheeldon’s choreographic gestures.
Hallelujah Junction (2001): Music by John Adams, Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Kirsten Lund Nielsen, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Duo Pianists: Cameron Grant and Richard Moredock, Performed by Janie Taylor, Sébastien Marcovici, Andrew Veyette, Lauren King, Erica Pereira, Brittany Pollack, Stephanie Zungre, Daniel Applebaum, Allen Peiffer, David Prottas, and Troy Schumacher.
On this second viewing of Hallelujah Junction, I noticed, once again, Andrew Veyette’s masterful, muscular control and bravura spins en air. This work seemed tonight to be one of Mr. Martins’ finest, with the cast now ripe in the roles. Mark Stanley’s lighting is exquisitely textured, and Janie Taylor and Sébastien Marcovici seized the viewer’s attention.
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, 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).
At this point, Joaquin De Luz and Megan Fairchild have this dance down perfectly, so that they can improvise and enjoy the moment. In fact, Ms. Fairchild exuded some chemistry, delightful to see, with Mr. De Luz enhancing her personality with flirtation and wild glances. This performance was ebullient and superbly entertaining.
Stars and Stripes (1958): Music adapted and orchestrated by Hershy Kay after music by John Philip Sousa, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by David Hays, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Erica Pereira, Savannah Lowery, Daniel Ulbricht, Teresa Reichlen, Charles Askegard, and the Company. Balanchine created five "campaigns" with changing Sousa themes. This ballet was performed for the opening ceremonies for the New York State Theater. (NYCB Notes).
Always a crowd pleaser and ever so American for this “All American Season Finale”, Stars and Stripes tried out a new cast. Erica Pereira, as leader of the First Campaign, caught her baton with ease. She is one stunning dancer, and I was pleased to see her in a lead role. Savannah Lowery was quite enthused as leader of the Second Campaign, while Daniel Ulbricht, incomparable in muscular momentum and dizzy spins, drew vocal accolades as leader of the Third Campaign. Teresa Reichlen and Charles Askegard filled out the lead cast for the Fourth Campaign, while the full cast returned for the Fifth Campaign. Balanchine’s adopted country is duly celebrated here, with Hershy Kay’s Sousa orchestrations, and David Hays’ all-America flag and other iconic sets are splendid. The corps was jubilant in each and every segment, and, in “Thunder and Gladiator” (the all-male Third Campaign), the men spun and jumped with super-human vitality. Teresa Reichlen shone brightly, with her magnetic appeal and lanky limbs. Kudos to City Ballet for another exceptional Winter Season.
A final note: On February 21, 2009 I revisited the “Tradition and Innovation” program, already reviewed on February 10, 2009. On this repeat viewing, I found Guest Conductor, David Briskin, full of pep, and Concerto Barocco was remarkable for Justin Peck and Megan Johnson’s refreshing interpretation of the adagio pas de deux. Oltremare shone, with Sean Suozzi, Robert Fairchild, and Craig Hall in outstanding theatrical-dance virtuosity. Teresa Reichlen and Georgina Pazcoguin also grabbed my attention with dramatic gesture that was genuine and impassioned. Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3 was different for Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette’s “Tema con Variazioni”, the long fourth segment that stands alone on some programs. They were naturally effervescent and sophisticated in their astute performance.
Maria Kowroski and Philip Neal
in Jerome Robbins' "Glass Pieces"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik