New York City Ballet Presents its Here and Now Festival
New York City Ballet continues to include new choreographies in its repertoire, billed this season as the Here and Now Festival. On May 12, 2017 NYCB performed four newer works created in 1994, 1998, 2006, and a world premiere.
The 1994 piece was Chiaroscuro, The Play of Light and Shadow, choreographed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett to music by Francesco Geminiani, edited by Walter Kolneder after Arcangello Corelli's Op.5, No. 12 [Concerto Grosso La Follia], a beautiful score. The variety of gray colored costumes were by Holly Hynes. The lighting by Mark Stanley contributed to the illusion of three dimensions, referred to by "Play of light and shadow". The six dancers: Andrew Veyette, Lauren, King, Ashley Laracey, Brittany Pollack, Justin Peck, and Giovanni Villalobos demonstrated true Balanchine style, although they were dancing Corbett's modern approach. I'd have liked to see smoother flow through the movements, as a result.
The jewel of the evening was the 2006 Slice to Sharp, by Jorma Elo, the resident choreographer of the Boston Ballet. This ballet, to music of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber and Antonio Vivaldi, with two solo violinists, Arturo Delmoni and Nicolas Danielson, opened with fascinating patterns and off-center partnered turns created by couples of beautiful dancers. Ashley Bouder, Maria Kowroski, Rebecca Krohn, Teresa Reichlen, Joaquin De Luz, Gonzalo Garcia, Russell Janzen, and Taylor Stanley added depth of character to this work of non-stop movement. The costumes were grey-violet leotards for the women and tights for the men, by Holly Hynes. Flow and exquisite technique were evident throughout, with exciting patterns emerging from other patterns. Strong performances from all the dancers were crowned by the beauty of Kowroski and Krohn and the magnetism of De Luz. Energy abounds.
Peter Martins' 1998 Stabat Mater was created as a tribute to Martins' mentor, Stanley Williams, who died in the fall of 1997. The music by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, with soprano, Mary Wilson and mezzo soprano, Meg Bragle; scenery and costumes by Alain Vaes; and lighting by Mark Stanley all added to the atmosphere of ancient times. "The text of Stabat Mater, sung in Latin, depicts the lament of the Virgin and the Passion of Christ. Although loss is a central theme, of this ballet, it has been choreographed without specific religious references." While not dancing, the dancers, Sterling Hyltin, Ashly Isaacs, Lauren Lovette, Jared Angle, Joseph Gordon, and Chase Finlay posed by or sat on the ruins on one side of the stage, taking turns dancing solo, in pairs, or in groups of three or more. This contributed to the other worldly feel of this ballet.
The World Premiere of Soloist and Resident Choreographer Justin Peck's new piece, The Decalogue, closed the program. Peck not only choreographed this work, his fourteenth for the company, but he also designed the costumes, in gray. The music, a commissioned piano score by Sufjan Stevens, is pensive and deep. Lighting, by Jennifer Tipton, was an important feature, lending atmosphere to the work created on the stage. Sara Mearns, as usual, took over every time she appeared on stage. She grabs our attention with her strong presence, regardless of the choreography. Mearns solos created focal points to draw the audience in. Rebecca Krohn also made a stunning impression, as the dancers moved through changing patterns. A section with four men: Gonzalo Garcia, Harrison Coll, Daniel Applebaum, and Aaron Sanz was particularly engaging. There was plenty here to stimulate the audience.
NYCB will continue to perform at the David H. Koch Theater through May 28, 2017.
Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik