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BWW Review: New York City Ballet Celebrates Jerome Robbins

BWW Review: New York City Ballet Celebrates Jerome Robbins

Choreographer Jerome Robbins was born in New York City in 1918. On this, the occasion of what would be his 100th birthday, the New York City Ballet, for whom he choreographed and became Associate Artistic Director, presents Jerome Robbins 100 with five different programs. On Friday, May 18, 2018, I was in the David Koch Theater to see program #5.

Opus 19/The Dreamer was first on the program, with Sterling Hyltin and Taylor Stanley in the lead roles. Arturo Delmoni, playing the violin solo of Sergei Prokofiev in his Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, was inspired, beautiful. Originally choreographed for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Patricia McBride in 1979, this ballet focuses on the male protagonist's elusive interactions with his ethereal counterpart. The lighting by Jennifer Tipton is an important element, creating the dream-like atmosphere. Stanley wore white, the corps in purple, and Hyltin in midnight purple, costumes by Ben Benson. Hyltin danced more beautifully than I have ever seen her.

Dances at a Gathering, to 18 of Chopin's piano pieces, mazurkas, waltzes, and etudes, which premiered in 1969, has always been a treat to see. Robbins was brilliant at creating human characters through dance choreography. The original cast: Allegra Kent, Sara Leland, Kay Mazzo, Patricia McBride, Violette Verdy, Anthony Blum, John Clifford, Robert Maiorano, John Prinz, and Edward Villella were all unique individuals with extraordinary talent. This years' cast did not disappoint, for the most part. The spritely Lauren Lovette was delightfully fresh spirited. Tiler Peck was sweet and lovely, demonstrating exquisite musicality. Sara Mearns showed herself to be the strong, precise, and balanced (great balance) personality, which is her trademark. This is a great vehicle for Joaquin De Luz's abilities. His personality and bravura exploded onto the stage first, before the others entered in groups or alone. He partnered beautifully, particularly partnering Peck, with shared expressive musicality and tenderness in their pas de deux. Joseph Gordon and Lovette danced together with exuberance, showing them both to be artists. Zachary Catazaro's princely confidence was a pleasure to behold. Certainly, I have to say that this was the jewel of the evening for me.

Last on the program was Glass Pieces, to music by Philip Glass, with a much more modern feel to it, demonstrating Robbins' enormous range. It premiered in 1983. "Robbins incorporated concepts from postmodern dance into the traditional ballet vocabulary, and he infused the work with distinctive urban energy." Of particular note was Maria Kowroski partnered by Russell Janzen, in the second section, Facades. She is breathtaking in aura and flexibility, contrasted by the pedestrian corps de ballet.

NYCB will be performing other programs through June 3, 2018.

Photo credit: Paul Kolnik

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