BWW Reviews: Balanchine Has the Last Laugh at New York City Ballet
Wednesday, May 28th, New York City Ballet presented a program bookended by Balanchine. Concerto Barocco articulated propriety and decorum in delicate glances; Jerome Robbin's Other Dances promulgated gentle desire in the pas de deux; Benjamin Millipied's Neverwhere delved into power plays; and Balanchine had the last laugh with the exuberant laissez-faire Who Cares? In each of the four works, the progression of relationships unfolded.
Accompanied by Justin Peck, the busiest man in ballet, Maria Kowroski and Sara Mearns elaborated on the intricacies of position and status in Balanchine's Concerto Barocco. As Mearns took her first B+ position in the opening movement, her fingers twitched in anticipation. Kowroski strode on stage as though on a runway. Kowroski led Mearns and the corps de ballet in piqué after piqué and blistering sissones in petite allegro. Strictly business, Kowroski's gaze and torso drove her body forward. The ghost of Gelsey Kirkland appeared in Mearns' reverent épaulement - softly leading from the heart, gaze uplifted. Peck kept hold of Mearns and Kowroski as they wound over and around the rising and receding wave of the corps. Kowroski ruled as queen in this opening piece, Mearns and Peck as crown princess and prince.
Pianist Cameron Grant accompanied Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia onstage in Robbins' Other Dances. Unrushed, Peck and Garcia's lingering gazes and tender port des bras filled their partnership with both flirtation and melancholy. Robbins deconstructed folk steps in acknowledgement of Chopin's score with flexed feet, skipping, hands on hips, a slap of the floor and tapping of toes. In his solo, Garcia's gargouillade dangled in the air, so natural and free. Together, Garcia and Peck achieved delightful sensuality as he supported Peck in suspended développé turns. Peck's playful sparkle slowly emerged from her winding and unwinding soutenus to the ending lift as her skirt fell over Garcia's head, which she laughingly pulled down even as he stoically continued a blind lift.