BWW Reviews: New York City Ballet Keeps Jerome Robbins Work Alive

Jerome Robbins choreographic masterpiece, Goldberg Variations, to Johan Sebastian Bach's musical masterpiece of the same name, was first on New York City Ballet's program on Wednesday evening, May 13, replete with many stars of the company. Pianist Susan Walters sat far left on stage level, playing beautifully. The curtain opened on Faye Arthurs and Zachary Catazaro, in Baroque costume, dancing the Theme. Catazaro, a soloist with NYCB, showed himself to be an ideal classical danseur noble. He is handsome, debonair, confident, and secure, dancing with subtle nuances to his movement, which enriches the experience for the audience, as well, no doubt, for his own pleasure. Part I Variations featured dancers wearing contemporary leotards and dance skirts. With a distinctly Robbins flair, they became a painting in motion, exuding feeling. Emilie Gerrity, corps de ballet, and Lauren Lovette, soloist, were captivating in their duet. Part II Variations offered several gems. Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia were playful and fun to see. Amar Ramasar, who joined NYCB in 2001 and became principal dancer in 2009, continues to grow as he matures, with fully developed expression and superb partnering. Maria Kowroski's long lines filled the stage. There was a cornucopia of beauty and joy via this coupling of dancers and choreography. Only the second group of corps de ballet in blue seemed to misunderstand the Robbins' spirit, particularly in their runs with knees bent, kicking back. Towards the end of Part II, the dancers changed into Baroque style costumes. Arthurs and Catazaro then returned in contemporary costumes. Finally, there was a group salute to the pianist, unusual and fitting.

Another side of the Robbins personality was on display in West Side Story Suite, co-choreographer Peter Gennaro, to the music of Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, with marvelous scenery by Oliver Smith, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, and costumes by Irene Sharaff. This ballet had all of the energy and current appeal of a new work, although it premiered May 18, 1995. The dancers appeared to do their own singing, yet there were singers, often off stage. Andrew Veyette, as Riff (leader of the Jets) did his own singing very well, sometimes singing and dancing simultaneously, no small feat. Of particular note was Georgina Pazcoguin in the role of Anita, Bernardo's girlfriend. Her performance was electric, full of sass and character. The audience agreed with me. She appeared to be singing, also while dancing, but I did not see her microphone. In general, the dancers looked totally immersed in the story. The singers were Orville Mendoza, Courtney Bassett, Julie Price, Joanne Shea,, and Whitney Webster.

NYCB's 2015 Spring Season, at the David H. Koch Theater, will continue through June 7, 2015.

Photo credit: Paul Kolnik

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