New York City Ballet
Spirit of Discovery
(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, Fayçal Karoui
Managing Director, Communications, Robert Daniels
Assoc. Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns
Manager, Press Relations, Joe Guttridge
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 26, 2008
(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).
Conductor: Fayçal Karoui
The Goldberg Variations (1971): Music by J. S. Bach, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Joe Eula, Lighting by Thomas Skelton, Piano: Cameron Grant, Performed by Kaitlyn Gilliland, Jason Fowler, Abi Stafford, Megan Fairchild, Tyler Angle, Stephen Hanna, Adam Hendrickson, Andrew Veyette, Rachel Rutherford, Jared Angle, Maria Kowroski, Philip Neal, Wendy Whelan, Benjamin Millepied, and the Company.
The Goldberg Variations is a Two-Part ballet, each with its own Variations, that seems to be a full genre examination in style, costume, interpretation, balance, and solo virtuosic appearances. A simple grey backdrop allows the dancers to be featured in Jerome Robbins’ ornate oeuvre, and Joe Eula must have been exceptionally busy in 1971 as he created a wide array of costume changes of material, texture, and style. Kaitlyn Gilliland and Jason Fowler opened the Theme, and Ms. Gilliland, a long-limbed young lady with memorable shapes and poise is an artist to watch. The first set of Variations brought six principals and soloists onstage with an ensemble of twelve. The second set of Variations brought out three new sets of partners (just when I thought the ballet was winding down; apparently I had forgotten some of the “Goldberg Variations” for solo piano) and a new ensemble of twenty-three!
There were sudden shifts of stage direction, the use of partners for exquisite balancing formations, and some virtuosic male tours de force. Rachel Rutherford and Jared Angle in Part II were particularly effective in their pas de deux, replete with confidence and rapture. Other dancers that caught my eye were Abi Stafford and Tyler Angle in Part I, each buoyantly pronouncing the Bach score in their percussive physicality. Kudos to Cameron Grant.
Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (1960): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Ashley Bouder and Gonzalo Garcia. This music, not published with the original ballet score, was Originally intended for the Act III Black Swan Pas de Deux, but was first found by the Tschaikovsky Foundation of New York and subsequently scored for this pas de deux by Balanchine in 1960. (NYCB Notes).
Ashley Bouder and Gonzalo Garcia (the new City Ballet Principal, who has not been seen as often as I would have expected) played off each other’s wild energy in this brief, but bravura work. This is a partnership that should be seen more often, as Ms. Bouder is growing into a Prima Ballerina, who seizes the stage and every single step in perfect timing, balance, personality, and that something extra that ballet audiences love. She holds that leg en air just a few moments extra, and she releases her hand with a smile, one leg en pointe. Her dance is flawless, fancy, and fresh, at every entrance and exit. Mr. Garcia almost matched Ms. Bouder’s confidence and skill, and he seemed thrilled to be showcased in this Balanchine favorite.
Western Symphony (1954): Music by Hershy Kay, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by John Boyt, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Abi Stafford, Nilas Martins, Sterling Hyltin, Albert Evans, Teresa Reichlen, Damian Woetzel, and the Company. Some of the American folk songs in this ballet are "Red River Valley", "Good Night Ladies", and "Rye Whiskey". (NYCB Notes).
It was good to see Nilas Martins, with his infectious smile and chivalrous interpretation. Abi Stafford, a new Principal, is well matched to Mr. Martins, and their “Allegro” pas de deux was joyous and authentic. Mr. Martins uses his cowboy hat to good use, and he takes on the Western role with generous style. Ms. Stafford has come into her own starring roles this season, with split-timed spins and bountiful bounce. In the “Adagio”, Sterling Hyltin was flirtatious and fun, entering and exiting with tiny rapid steps, captivating Albert Evans and capturing his heart, at least for the moment, before he uses the female corps as a faux horse-drawn carriage. In the “Rondo”, we were lucky to see Damian Woetzel once again, with his magnetic charm and endless energy. Teresa Reichlen was sensual in this duo and caught the Western fever with flourish.
Kudos to Karinska for such colorfully coordinated and ruffled showgirl costumes and those black Western cowboy outfits and hats. Kudos to Hershy Kay’s memorable music and George Balanchine’s rousing, iconic choreography.