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BWW Review: NEW YORK CITY BALLET a Trio of Ballets

BWW Review: NEW YORK CITY BALLET a Trio of Ballets

At Lincoln Center's Koch Theater on April 29, 2016, the ballet crowd filled the house that Friday evening. For this program, City Ballet presented Estancia, Pictures at an Exhibition, and Everywhere We Go. Each piece demonstrated a variance in style, yet conclusively was still in the realm of the dancers' undeniable Balanchine training.


This first piece took place on an estancia (ranch) in the Argentine Pampas. Most of roles of the Estancia Workers and City Folk had peasant-like choreography-angular, moderate, and predominantly mime. Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, created lovely group formations and gave the better choreography to the Wild Horses and its protagonists, Country Girl Ana Sophia Scheller and City Boy Adrian Danchig-Waring. Between the City Folk and the Wild Horses, the partnering had a dynamic colt-esque animation. The Wild Horses were wrangled by the push-pull elements to subdue them. Their costumes, created by Carlos Campos, were slightly campy, but they easily displayed who the characters were to the audience. I especially like the addition of having a gaucho recite the famous poem of the Argentine Pampas by Martin Fierro. Back to the protagonists, Ms. Scheller and Mr. Danchig-Waring were a well-matched pair. Although I thought their first pas de deux was a throwaway filler dance with no real physical interaction, their second pas should have been the one-and-only presented. With a reminiscence of sounds from the Red Shoes film, music by Alberto Ginastera brought these two into a nighttime balletic love affair at the ranch. So smooth were their transitions of lifts and pirouettes that I believed that Ms. Scheller danced in a manner that exhibited her more seasoned than her years. The finale was very Balanchine-like, with a large group setting to complete the piece. Even though Mr. Wheeldon brought a different setting and storyline to the company's repertoire, I feel that this would have had more of an impact for a company such as Mark Morris or David Parsons.

Pictures at an Exhibition

Love it! Wow, how did they keep going, clever, the crème de la crème of their dancers, and engaging are some phrases and adjectives to describe this ballet. The incorporation of the recognized art from Wassily Kandinsky Color Study Squares with Concentric Circles was a perfect marriage for this company. Ten dancers held my attention the entire time. The way choreographer Alexei Ratmansky configured Pictures was by having the dancers perform a series of sixteen short ballet scenes. There was no obvious storyline nor was one needed. There were moments when I spontaneously applauded mid act-one of the female soloists stayed on pointe and did petit battement in almost a full rotation. Wow. Then there was another distinct moment when the females performed a partnered standard double pirouette with arms in fifth position, but then the men removed their arms sideways and all the ladies were on balance. Clever. Within another solo, the choreography for the female dancer was so fast that I was surprised that she barely lost any technique to make it happen. Wow. Once again, I heard the strains of music from the film White Nights within one of the pas de deux. Overall, there were daring movements that could have looked messy, yet were extremely precise-four couples from finger pirouettes into whip turns. That is very hard to have all of the females rotating at the same angles with each other and yet they accomplished this. A great choice of a ballet for the repertoire.

Everywhere We Go

Justin Peck's ballet, and a long one it was, had interesting sections sporadically. I was drawn to the dance's femininity and softness while at the same time was sharp. For instance, even when I kept visualizing that the female dancers looked like sailors in their striped top and white tights accompanied by a bright red waist belt, they seemed to steer the male dancer(s) and were perhaps taking the metaphorical wheel. It was a female driven ballet of legs, extensions, and a few pyrotechnics. Within many of its sections it was picturesque in the sense that Mr. Peck might have wanted one to see it through a photo lens. This ballet was not the highlight of this evening's program. Even though this ballet was entertaining, my mind went wandering toward the blue yonder.

Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik

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From This Author Marsha Volgyi

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