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BWW Reviews: NEW YORK CITY BALLET Stuns in All Bach Evening


As a part of its Hear the Dance program for the Winter 2015 season, the New York City Ballet presented two pieces featuring compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. They were choreographed by the Company's most renowned choreographers, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. With minimal set and costume designs, the evening allowed for music and dance to take flight, leaving the audience at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in awe as they watched Bach's music come to life in a pure dance experience.

The first piece of the evening was Balanchine's contemporary ballet piece Concerto Barocco, a breakthrough in its time. The minimalism allowed for a narrow focus on the marriage of music and dance. The piece lacked the grandiose set and costume pieces and the fantasy-filled storyline of typical ballets. But with its simple leotards and exquisite dancing, it was quite a pleaser. Set on a Company whose newer works often break through the mold, this piece brought these dancers back to basics, proving to the audience and the dance world that they've got the talent and technique as well as the theatrical drama and innovation.

Balanchine captured not only the essence of Bach's baroque piece but truly captured the music in the dance. Eight dancers melted into the bass line of the piece as principal Maria Kowroski and soloist Savannah Lowery embodied the first and second violins. Tyler Angle was also present for a wondrous duet. The choreography of the piece may have been shockingly fresh back in its day, but at this time it is merely beautiful and mesmerizing, especially in its final sequence where the music picks up its pace and musicians and dancers become one. Whether the dancers are conducting the music or the violinists are pulling the puppet strings of the dancers is certainly debatable, but what is not on the table is any doubt that this piece can be any more enthralling. It is music and dance at its finest, a great collaboration and a true show of raw talent.

The Goldberg Variations by Jerome Robbins also deviates from traditional style. It is the longest ballet without a storyline, and it is quite unheard of to think that the greatest storyteller through movement could conceive and deliver such a magnificent piece. His style and even little character idiosyncrasies may be found throughout, but this ballet is pure dance in its sense. While the piece may have premiered in 1971, it was as if this piece was made for this current corps, highlighting the various talents and strengths of the Company.

From rousing pas de deuxs to playful quartets to solemn trios to the captivating ensemble pieces, there were a variety of pieces to delight in. Each one was different, each one equally stunning. From simple leotards to an array of color at the finale, the ensemble was a visual treat. However, the star of the piece was lone pianist Cameron Grant, who was utterly fantastic.

This evening of dance was unlike any other at the ballet, even though ironically, it was all about dance. And, of course, music. And the visions of two brilliant master craftsmen and one music virtuoso to make the two art forms transform into each other and come alive.

Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik

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From This Author Jessica Abejar

Jessica Abejar is an artist with a love of storytelling. As a dancer/choreographer, she most recently performed at World Youth Day in Brazil, where she (read more...)