BWW Review: NYCB Lauds Balanchine and Creates Beautiful Harmony
Magic happened this past Thursday night at the gorgeous David H. Koch theatre as New York City Ballet lit the stage in the premiere week of their much-anticipated winter season. Getting back to their roots and showcasing what they do so well, the company's three-piece All Balanchine I program celebrated their master choreographer, dancing with undeniable effervescence as they attacked the movement to light up the music's striking affectations; it is an intrinsic quality, and one which makes the company so unique.
Ballo della Regina kicked off the night in a most celebratory way. Set to an inviting score by Giuseppe Verdi, a pristine corps de ballet in icy hues created a refreshed palette on stage. From the first sweeping développé, their exultant prowess showcased a mesmerizing feat of synchronicity and shapes, mimicking the brushed paint strokes that lit the backdrop and helped anchor the powerhouse partnership of NYCB favorites, Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz. The petite duo danced with such rigor and rapidity; it was difficult to know where one began and the other ended. A display of true trust and commitment, the intricacies of assisted promenades and sharp directional changes began to build the ballet's intensity, exemplifying impossibly flash-like speed with ease. Megan Fairchild wholly represents the modern-day ballerina, bridging the gap between traditional facilities with unmatched dynamism and speed; she moves like the most delightful whirling dervish and she can do it all, ending the piece on an ultimate high.
Kammermusik No. 2 began without notice or consequence, marked with staccato music that pierced the audience from the start. What set the movement quality apart was its innate buoyancy and sensuality; from each inverted flick of the wrist to every punctuated inversion of the knee, shades of nuance unfolded, as angularity and rigidity took on great importance. Leading the ballet and filling up the music's sparse nature, Sara Mearns and Teresa Reichlen danced with great force, exhibiting exciting complexity as they performed the same sequence, Reichlen just one beat behind Mearns. But I must admit, when Sara Mearns is on stage, it's nearly impossible to pay attention to anyone else. Dancing is not just something she does; it is her nature and the rhythms come out of her every pore, with every swing of her ponytail. When Amar Ramasar and Jared Angle appeared on stage to partner the women, a dynamic interplay developed between affection and playfulness, further demonstrated by the music's dimensional build; it was breathtaking.
The pièce de résistance, Tschaikovsky Suite No.3 was a regal triumph, as sweet whispers of music floated in the air and the harp sent chills down the spine in a most welcome way. Elegie set a regal scene, complete with dim lighting and a corps de ballet clad in dreamy tulle skirts with a touch of romance, hair cascading long down their backs. The beautiful Rebecca Krohn reinforced the whimsy of the scene, as she danced with an air of mystery, bringing to mind a young Suzanne Farrell in both body and fluidity of movement. Waltz followed, bringing an elevated spunk to the spotlight, as the movement vocabulary transitioned to play with exciting rotations and prancing leaps that heightened the sense of joy. The piece continued with Scherzo, pairing the gorgeous Georgina Pazcoguin with the spritely Daniel Ulbricht, an unpredictable duo that colored the stage with jubilation. A pair of tour de forces, Pazcoguin is the picture of speed and agility, as she executed perfect pirouettes while Ulbricht matched her with gravity-defying leaps.
The ballet came to a close with the regal Theme and Variations, bringing the opulence quota to an all-time high. Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette were the ideal pair; she, a brilliant technician and he, a masterful partner and the picture of clean, timeless dancing - his series of double tours en l'air and pirouettes was astounding. They exhibited precision and poise with each promenade and lift, dancing with just the proper amount of authority to close out the night on an exquisite note.
It is nights like these when I remember why ballet was my first true love, for it is the music and the movement coming together, creating something more powerful than could ever be anticipated. It transcends time and space because that feeling of magic lasts a lifetime.
Photo Credit: © Paul Kolnik