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New York City Ballet: Jenifer Ringer Farewell: "Dances at a Gathering", "Union Jack"
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New York City Ballet: Jenifer Ringer Farewell: "Dances at a Gathering", "Union Jack"

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Jenifer Ringer Farewell
Dances at a Gathering
Union Jack

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 Master, Dena Abergel
Orchestra, Interim Music Director, Andrews Sill
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects, Robert Daniels
Manager, Media Relations, Katharina Plumb
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 9, 2014

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Daniel Capps

Dances at a Gathering (1969): Music by Frédéric Chopin, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Joe Eula, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Pianist: Susan Walters, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Maria Kowroski, Rebecca Krohn, Jenifer Ringer, Abi Stafford, Jared Angle, Antonio Carmena, Zachary Catazaro, Gonzalo Garcia, Amar Ramasar. .

Farewell performances are sometimes routine passages, wherein dancers move from the stage to the school, to teach young, upcoming dancers the craft of their trade. And sometimes farewells are momentous, as was today’s, as Jenifer Ringer is so beloved at the Company. She dances with embracing warmth and luminosity, always womanly, always impassioned. She appeared in both ballets, the first choreographed by Robbins, and the second by Balanchine, fitting for a member of City Ballet since 1989. Susan Walters was solo pianist for the Chopin waltzes, mazurkas, etudes, nocturne, and scherzo. (I wish the Company would consistently list exact music that scores each ballet).

Mr. Ringer reprised her signature role as dancer “in pink”. The ensemble was Megan Fairchild (apricot), Maria Kowroski (green), Rebecca Krohn (mauve), Abi Stafford (blue), Jared Angle (purple), Antonio Carmena (brick), Zachary Catazaro (blue), Gonzalo Garcia (brown), and Amar Ramasar (green). Women wear silky flowing dresses, and men wear tights and billowy, long-sleeved shirts. It was appropriate to pair this work with Union Jack, as both are at least an hour long. Each of the eighteen piano pieces provides the score for a solo, duo, or ensemble passage. Since the composer is native Polish, there is an Eastern European motif to gesture, step, arms, and attitude. And since the music was composed in Paris, Robbins added some flair and flourish. Among the ensemble, Mr. Ramasar and Ms. Krohn continually caught my eye. But, this was Ms. Ringer’s afternoon, and she danced with refreshing luminosity, as always.

Union Jack (1976): Music by Hershy Kay (Adapted from Traditional British Music), Music commissioned by New York City Ballet, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Joaquin De Luz, Tyler Angle, and male Company as Scottish and Canadian Guards Regiments, Lennox and Dress MacLeod, by Abi Stafford and female Company as Green Montgomerie, by Jared Angle and male Company as Menzies, by Sterling Hyltin and female Company as Dress MacDonald, by Savannah Lowery and female Company as MacDonald of Sleat, by Ashley Bouder and female Company as RCAF, by Jenifer Ringer, Amar Ramasar, Shelby Mann, and Maya Rosefsky in Costermonger Pas de Deux, by Troy Schumacher, Savannah Lowery, Giovanni Villalobos, Tyler Angle, Abi Stafford, Joaquin De Luz, Sterling Hyltin, Jared Angle, and the Company as Royal Navy, and by Ashley Bouder and female Company as Wrens.

As the curtain rises for Union Jack, one has the same sensation as if this would be a four-hour opera or a powerful Shakespeare play. One settles in for a big production, and, as the drums roll, and the Company begins marching in, in its tartans, bagpipes, boots, and British background regalia, an air of high sophistication encircles the stage. Various Scottish and Canadian Regiments are represented in the costumes, marching music, and jigs. Later the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS) presentations wow the crowd, with British Navy costumes and hand flag signaling, as the Union Jack flag is prominently created as backdrop. Ashley Bouder led the RCAF segment, while, earlier, Joaquin De Luz and Tyler Angle led the initial syncopated marches for men. The syncopated Green Montgomerie marches for men and women were led by Abi Stafford, with Jared Angle and Sterling Hyltin in charge of the ensemble marches and dance.

But, it was Ms. Ringer, partnered with Amar Ramasar, in the Costermonger Pas de Deux, a music hall comedic routine, that brought down the house. Even a pony cart and two children joined this vaudevillian moment. Ms. Ringer was all dressed up with her feathered hat and coat, bejeweled black, downing a flask of whiskey and cavorting with Mr. Ramasar, in flirtatious fervor, all in the show. It’s always amazing that George Balanchine’s ballets were so thoroughly diverse in nature and style. Meanwhile, at the curtain, confetti and roses abounded, and James Fayette, Mr. Ringer’s husband, a former Principal with the Company, brought out the final bouquet. Kudos to Jenifer Ringer.

New York City Ballet
in Balanchine's "Union Jack"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Jenifer Ringer Farewell Curtain Calls
Accolades from the Audience and the Company
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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