BWW Reviews: NEW YORK CITY BALLET Offers Faithful and Flawless Renditions of Some of Mr. B's Greatest Hits

BWW Reviews: NEW YORK CITY BALLET Offers Faithful and Flawless Renditions of Some of Mr. B's Greatest Hits

I have always told my ballet students that because the art form is kept alive by each new generation of dancers, we must be as proficient in historical styles as we are in contemporary techniques. The important works of the past cannot be hung on museum walls the way the paintings of the masters are. Instead, we have to recreate what came before us or else the ballets will be lost. Years ago when I made that speech, I was referring to the centuries-old ballet classics. Yet on the afternoon of October 13th 2013, when the New York City Ballet offered a mixed bill of Balanchine's iconic "black and white" ballets at the Koch Theater, I was reminded that now the dance gems of the 20th Century must also be danced with historical correctness if they are to survive.

Thankfully, NYCB did exactly that. The first work on the program was "The Four Temperaments" to the music of Paul Hindemith, affectionately known in the ballet world as "Four T's." The premiere was on November 20th 1946 as part of the opening program of the Ballet Society, the precursor of the New York City Ballet. The unlikely venue for that momentous event was the Central High School of Needle Trades in NYC and the original cast included Tanaquil Le Clerq, William Dollar, Todd Bolender, and Francisco Moncion, among others. Now, 67 years later, a fresh crop of dancers schooled in Mr. B's neoclassic style moved through the signature hip thrusts, intertwining arms, echoing poses, and flexed feet with absolute authenticity. Legend has it that one reason Mr. B. opted for "leotard ballets", eschewing elaborate costumes and sets, was because the Ballet Society was launched on a shoestring. Nevertheless, the artistic reason makes just as much sense. He reportedly wanted to focus attention on the movement and the music with no distractions. Nothing is hidden in these "black and white" ballets and the dancers on that recent Sunday afternoon did Mr. B proud.

More From This Author

Sondra Forsyth Sondra Forsyth is Editor-in-Chief of Broadway World Dance. A National Magazine Award winner and a member of Dance Critics Association, she founded Ballet Ambassadors in New York City and was the Artistic Director for 16 years with support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Currently, she teaches ballet and pointe at Ovations Dance Academy on Long Island and is the Ballet Mistress of Ovations Dance Repertory Company. Sondra has served as a guest teacher for the American Ballet Theatre open classes and on the faculty of The School at Steps on Broadway, the Harkness Dance Center of the 92nd Street Y, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and Studio de Ballet Opera in Beirut, Lebanon. She was Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director with Jan Hanniford Goetz of the Huntington School of Ballet and the Huntington Ballet Theatre on Long Island. Sondra is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of and formerly held the posts of Executive Editor at Ladies? Home Journal, Features Editor at Cosmopolitan, and Articles Editor at Bride?s. Sondra?s byline has appeared in Dance Magazine and Dance Teacher as well as many major publications. She is the author or co-author of twelve books and holds an M.A. from Harvard.

Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement