BWW Review: NYCB Explores Surrealism at 2018 Spring Season

BWW Review: NYCB Explores Surrealism at 2018 Spring Season

As the weather warms up, the flowers stretch from their soil towards the sun in all their glory. So do the dancers of New York City Ballet. On May 1, 2018, the company celebrated the experimental prowess of great 21st Century Choreographers in a three-piece program to showcase both the present and future definitions of "ballet."

First up was a personal favorite: Peter Walker's ever-quirky "dance odyssey", which first premiered during the 2018 Winter Season. The choreography's finesse was just as sharp and precise as ever, represented through piercing arabesques, renverses, and rond de jambes on the stage's diagonals. And just like the set design's neon wave in the background, movement and emotion ebbed and flowed, bringing shades of levity to the choreography's vocabulary of controlled drama. Balanchine's inspiration was definitely easy to see, with the piece's emphasis on frenzied fast footwork and syncopation. Aside from a surprise appearance of the choreographer himself (stepping in for an injured Andrew Veyette), the piece's standout dancer was Anthony Huxley, whose command of petit allegro is masterful. His sense of buoyancy as a mover is mesmerizing, but what makes it even more impressive is his ability to stay grounded and solid in his body.

The second piece, Ratmansky's "Pictures at an Exhibition", brought life and movement to the art of portraiture. The dancers, representing different pieces of art at a modern museum, displayed an admirable sense of unity, one which can be lacking in a typical Ratmansky work. Elements of loneliness and togetherness coexisted effortlessly, allowing the dancers to be seen as both individuals and as striking pieces of a whole picture. Sara Mearns danced with her signature larger-than-life expanse, which beautifully offset Tiler Peck's easy abandon and penchant for quirk. But it was Sterling Hyltin who completely stole the show, her fluid movement quality like water, flowing in and out of each step effortlessly, which helped to frame Tyler Angle with poise in the movement The Old Castle. "Pictures at an Exhibition", while enjoyable overall, went on for too long.

The final piece of the evening was Justin Peck's "Year of the Rabbit," an exultant collaboration between Peck's athletic choreographic style and Sufjan Steven's flair for rhythmical exploration. Blending soft, supple movements with quick, rapid pacing created a breathtaking visionary installation, ever changing in shape, dimension, and quality, as the dancers used their physicality to express the color and timbre represented in the electronic music. Ashley Bouder, who originated in the piece during its 2012 premiere, was just as clean and crisp as ever; her dancing sharp when need be, and in the blink of an eye, transitioned to be soft and supple.

Congratulations to the entire cast - it was an evening full of experimentation, play, and fun twists and turns!

Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik

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From This Author Christina Pandolfi

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