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New York City Ballet: For Clara, The Dreamers, ten in seven, Unframed, Everywhere We Go
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New York City Ballet: For Clara, The Dreamers, ten in seven, Unframed, Everywhere We Go

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

For Clara
The Dreamers
ten in seven
Everywhere We Go

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, Music Director: Andrew Litton
Resident Choreographer: Justin Peck
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects: Robert Daniels
Associate Dir. Communications: Katharina Plumb
Communications Associate: Kina Poon
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 1, 2016

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

For Clara (September 20, 2016): Music by Robert Schumann, Choreography by Lauren Lovette, Costumes by Narcisco Rodriguez, Costumes supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Clotilde Otranto, Solo Piano: Susan Walters, Performed by Emilie Gerrity, Unity Phelan, Indiana Woodward, Zachary Catazaro, Chase Finlay and the Company. The Clara in Lauren Lovette’s (a City Ballet Principal in her choreographic debut) For Clara is Clara Schumann, composer Roberta Schumann’s wife. The piano solo was performed masterfully by Susan Walters, and Clotilde Otranto, in the pit, imbued the score with dramatic nuance. Onstage, with the male ensemble bare-chested in black tights, and the women in silky, contemporary tutus, designed by Narcisco Rodriguez, the lighting design was critical, and Mark Stanley rose to the occasion.

The choreography was imbued with a sense of rapture and retro romance. Visions of women being carried offstage upside down and non-symmetrical groupings were two of my hurried notes, as my eyes were focused on the stage. My takeaway, on first viewing, was that Ms. Lovette put a great deal of thought and effort into this work, with a cast of seventeen, including a Principal and an apprentice. The ensemble moved with the musicality, nicely conducted and accompanied on piano. I look forward to a second viewing for more visual memories.

The Dreamers (September 20, 2016): Music by Bohuslav Martinü, Choreography by Justin Peck, Costumes by Dries Van Noten, Costumes supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Craig Baldwin, First Violin: Kurt Nikkanen, First Violin: Lydia Hong, Viola: Maureen Gallagher, Cello: Frederick Zlotkin, Performed by Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar. Justin Peck, City Ballet’s Resident Choreographer, has created many new ballets for this and other companies in recent years. This pas de deux for Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar, a seasoned duo in partnered ballets, is set to Bohuslav Martinü’s “Adagio” from his Piano Quintet No. 2. A live quintet, noted above, includes musicians on piano, two violins, viola, and cello.

The red-black-white costumes (all costumes for the new choreographies were designed for the 2016 Fall Fashion Gala.) by Dries Van Noten were eye-catching. The choreography utilizes several levels of the stage, with each relaxing quietly, lying on the stage, as the other dances, with Ms. Mearns meeting Mr. Ramasar en pointe, and then there were partial lifts and even higher elevated lifts, all to an atonal, fascinating score. On first viewing, I would very much like to see this work again for further details.

ten in seven (September 20, 2016): Music by Thomas Kikta (Commissioned by New York City Ballet), Choreography by Peter Walker, Costumes by Jason Wu, Costumes supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Guest Guitars: Thomas Kikta, Guest Keyboard: Arkadiy Figlin, Trumpet: Raymond Mase, Percussion: James Saporito, Performed by Rachel Hutsell, Ashly Isaacs, Emily Kikta, Gretchen Smith, Indiana Woodward, Daniel Applebaum, Spartak Hoxha, Russell Janzen, Peter Walker, and Sean Suozzi. In ten in seven, Peter Walker, a City Ballet Corps dancer, created seven movements for ten dancers. He actually filled in for an injured dancer, so he played many roles tonight, as he would also have, presumably, coached his new work. Thomas Kikta, Guest Guitarist, composed the score. The Guest Keyboardist was Arkadiy Figlin, and two members of the orchestra joined the music ensemble, Raymond Mase on trumpet and James Saporito on percussion.

Mr. Kikta’s daughter, Emily, also in the Corps with Mr. Walker, was joined by Corps and Soloists, here and there, in the seven movements. One visual takeaway on first viewing was Sean Suozzi’s leap into the other men’s arms, with his arms and feet forward, a stunning daredevil feat. Additionally, this high energy ballet, in green blue, black, and rust costumes by designer Jason Wu, differentiated each movement’s imagery, bonding it to the mood and motif of the music of the moment. Each of these movements was named in a French phrase, such as “Divertissement Harmonique”, a trio for one man and two women, and “Rapide Furieux” (composed by Mr. Figlin), a solo for Spartak Hoxha, an artist to watch. I look forward to a second viewing for further details.

Unframed (September 20, 2016): Music by Luigi Boccherini, Edward Elgar, Pëteris Vasks, Antonin Vivaldi, Choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Costumes by Rosie Assoulin, Costumes supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Daniel Capps, Guest Solo Cellist: Sara Sant’Ambrogio, Performed by Jacqueline Bologna, Sterling Hyltin, Lauren King, Alexa Maxwell, Tiler Peck, Jared Angle, Tyler Angle, Preston Chamblee, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Daniel Ulbricht, and the Company. Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Unframed, set to music of Boccherini, Elgar, Vasks, and Vivaldi, brought out an ensemble of Principals as well as Corps, in costumes by Rosie Assoulin. The design of these costumes is navy material trimmed in white, with long suits for men and short tutus for women. There’s a school uniform motif here, but classy, cool, and comfortable.

It was wonderful to see two female choreographers represented in new works tonight, and this work was stunning. Daniel Capps was in the pit, with Guest Solo Cellist, Sara Sant’Ambrogio performing in two pieces by Pëteris Vasks. Much of this score was atonal, and the stark white lighting concept by Mark Stanley was perfectly matched to the neat, white trimmed costumes. I noted that “the audience went wild” at one virtuosic point, with electrically charged music and dance, and I also noted a change in backdrop coloration for effect. The six movements in this ballet, featuring different movements of cello concerti and the other compositions, featured select dancers from the entire ensemble of eighteen. In the fifth movement, Elgar’s “Adagio” from his Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, Sterling Hyltin and Adrian Danchig-Waring danced an entrancing pas de deux, while in the fourth movement, danced to Elgar’s “Lento” from the same concerto, an ebullient quartet, with Alexa Maxwell, Jared Angle, Daniel Ulbricht, and Tyler Angle, was compelling. I look forward to further viewings after this initial experience with Ms. Ochoa’s ballet.

Everywhere We Go (2014): Music by Sufjan Stevens (Commissioned by New York City Ballet), Orchestrated by Sufijan Stevens and Michael P. Atkinson, Choreography by Justin Peck, Costumes by Janie Taylor, Costumes supervised by Marc Happel, Scenery by Karl Jensen, Scenery supervised by Penny Jacobus, Lighting by Brandon Sterling Baker, Conductor: Daniel Capps, Performed by Lauren King, Rebecca Krohn, Tiler Peck, Gonzalo Garcia, Robert Fairchild, Amar Ramasar, Teresa Reichlen, Megan Johnson, Daniel Applebaum, Mary Elizabeth Sell, Harrison Coll, Gretchen Smith, Andrew Scordato, and the Company.

For a finale tonight in this extraordinary lineup of new choreographies, Justin Peck was once again represented, this time with his Everywhere We Go. With Sufjan Stevens’ commissioned score, the 2014 ballet has nine “Musical Movements”, each numbered and labeled, like “The Shadows We Fall Behind” and “I Am In The House And I Have The Key”. Mr. Peck has choreographed to other Stevens scores, as for his Year of the Rabbit. Seven Principals took the stage, with numerous Corps dancers in the lead and support ensemble. Janie Taylor, who retired in 2014, designed the costumes, and Karl Jensen designed the black-white, geometric, shifting shapes, that form the backdrop design. With Brandon Sterling Baker’s lighting design, that backdrop and the very stage took on foreboding and frenetic shadows. Michael P. Atkinson orchestrated the music, and Daniel Capps conducted tonight.

The choreography of this Peck ballet is fragmented and cohesive, at once, with ensemble jack-in-the-box jumps, two-foot hops, a bit of turning “bunny hop” steps, and several solos and pas de deux. Lauren King is partnered by Gonzalo Garcia, Rebecca Krohn by Robert Fairchild, and Tiler Peck by Amar Ramasar. Teresa Reichlen dances a lead solo role with aplomb. The Corps and Soloist ensemble is dynamic in a floor-sliding motif, that occurs and reoccurs, to change the level of motion from mid-air to against the stage. Every surface and space is devoured. The sound and mood of the score are eclectic, with evocations of Bernstein and brassy blues. Sudden, spatial shifts in tempo and style match the bristling, bubbly, buoyant score. Busby Berkeley’s kaleidoscopic films come to mind, with fragments of dance imagery merging for a camera shot of momentary stillness. Catching my eye was Amar Ramasar, with extraordinary balance and presence, but each and every dancer uniquely lit up the stage.

Emilie Gerrity and the Cast of
Lovette's "For Clara"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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