BWW Review: Shimmering Dancers in New York City Ballet's JEWELS
BWW REVIEW: Shimmering Dancers in New York City Ballet's JEWELS
Jewels, choreographed by George Balanchine, performed on Friday September 30, 2016 at The Koch Theater was a wonderful beginning to the weekend. This ballet is a truly priceless gem in the repertoire of the New York City Ballet. The three-act storyless ballet is quite distinctive with its style and music.
The green and glittering scenery and costumes were reminiscent of the Emerald City as depicted in the Wizard of Oz. Gabriel Faure, the composer, enhanced the dynamism that the dancers where given as a vehicle to create the sparkle of this gem. Abi Stafford and Jared Angle were not as dynamic together as I would have liked to see. However, on their own, they did shine. It appeared that the corps de ballet swallowed them up as they danced throughout the stage. The music felt larger and it also out-shined the couple. What I found interesting was that Balanchine did not give up the classic entirely. He has twinkles of Swan Lake movements within this segment. This made me smile and appreciate the neo with the classical.
One of the female soloists showed a musicality which was exhibited through a brightened smile with her pique turns which ended in extended held posé. Ashley Laracey's solo felt as if it was rather long and felt as if she performed in a dance room all to herself. If anything, this part of Mr. B's ballet is cast for those dancers who can withstand lengthy variations. The pas de deux between Ms. Laracey and Adrian-Danchig-Waring was a royal festivity. Both so regal and a piece of choreography that Ms. Laracey performed-staccato rising of arabesque-was attacked perfectly because it looked like it was done on purpose. Balanchine usually ends his finales with a huge company climax, but just when you thought it was finished, he continued. I especially enjoyed how he tricks you during the finale. He relaxes you with a pas de sept as a cool down to an energetic piece.
Don't expect the expected.
As the curtain opened to reveal the stunning ruby-red section, the audience collectively gasped at the splendor before them. The whole performance level of the dancers created a very sexy ambiance. The music of Igor Stravinsky supported Joaquin de la Luz who had flair, bravado, and was extremely clean in his technique. The fire from him is so distinct that it might have been pulled from his Mercutio character from the ballet Romeo and Juliet. During this performance, he is dominant and territorial. He captures the stage and truly owns it. His partner, Megan Fairchild, was not only cast appropriately in physique, but also with the strength of each other's abilities to make Rubies fiery. Overall, there were beautiful penchés, signature Balanchine detailed footwork, and the demonstration of honoring the female in her glory as a symbol of lust and love. And of course, the audience was always left wanting more.
Diamonds opens to the strains of Tschaikovsky's Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Opus 29. Despite the original length of this symphony, Mr. B edited the music his way-the way that allows the dancer and the audience to each play their theatrical role. The corps de ballet's opening was fluid and sweet. All of their formations and positions were executed in a tactful manner. It was the grand pas de deux of Teresa Reichlen and Russell Janzen that took over Diamonds. Their precision and chemistry were just a joy to watch. I believe that the choreography for the grand pas could be considered the closest form of classic-esuqe from Mr. B's earlier pre-Soviet training. Tutus were worn which gave it a traditional flair. The partnered side penchés, attitude cambré by Ms. Reichlen, wing-like arm positions, and her white tutu and headpiece put me into a Swan Lake frame of mind. Perhaps, was that Mr. B's purpose? Regardless, it all worked to bedazzle the audience with the evening's enchanted gems...the New York City Ballet company.
Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik