BWW Review: NYCB World Premiere of “dance odyssey” is a Winter Season Smash
It's easy for a premier ballet company to delight and amaze, but it's even more exciting when they leave you surprised, and on February 1 2018 at the David H. Koch Theater, New York City Ballet did just that. With an eccentric program that ran the gamut in both content and cadence, it was the world premiere of "dance odyssey" that ended up stealing the show.
Kicking off the evening was Martins' "The Red Violin", a meditative piece that explores the sensuality of touch and human contact. At the start, the dancers marked their territory with power and precision in a series of stunning arabesques, which showcased their definition and strength. Corigliano's complex strings score continued to build and evolve, and the dancers too found depth through unusual lift sequences that paid homage to the evolution of the arabesque by using their lovely, classical lines. While there were some timing issues and a lull in energy toward the end of the piece, it concluded on a high note and left the audience ready for more.
The world premiere of "dance odyssey" by NYCB's own Peter Walker followed, and as the first ballet I've ever seen to feature an introductory light "show", the high-octane, quirky mood was instantly set, cleansing the audience's palette. With neon '80s workout video-inspired costumes, the choreography matched the pulsating energy of the set architecture, designed into a rippling wave. The dancers flew through the air, showing off their speed and fervor as only Balanchine dancers can. Walker's movement vocabulary is acrobatic in both timing and skill; it was often as if the dancers were suspended in the air and able to create dynamic shapes through will alone. It was breathtaking and so unlike what I was expecting that it made it all the lovelier. Principal Dancer Tiler Peck was a true standout and though very different from the roles she normally dances, the piece highlighted her adaptability beautifully. When she dances, you never see the effort; she is simply like the wind, blowing the sweetest breeze into every corner of the stage. Peck was born to be a dancer; it's as simple as that.
The program ended with Ratmansky's "Russian Seasons", which exposes the beautiful complexity of human emotions, emphasized by the boldness of a striking aria accompaniment. The company brought passion to the stage with every flick of a wrist and turn of a head; it was truly a compelling study about character. NYCB legend Maria Kowroski made her debut in the lead role with undeniable assurance. Her long, lithe limbs as dramatic and powerful as ever, Kowroski commanded the stage, her years of experience and deep understanding of who she is as an artist breathing life into every single movement.
Watching such an incredible, historic company perform is a true gift. And that is no surprise.
Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik