BWW Reviews: New York City Ballet Presents 21st Century Choreographers
On May 21, 2015, at the David Koch Theater, New York City Ballet performed three works created by choreographers of today.
Opening the evening was Symphonic Dances, choreographed by Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins, which premiered in 1994. Teresa Reicheln and Zachary Catazaro danced the principal roles, with four soloist couples and a corps de ballet of 16 dancers, to music of Sergei Rachmaninoff. Costumes were designed by Santo Loquasto; lighting by Mark Stanley. This ballet was dry. The dancers, particularly the men, danced with no sense of center (core stability and involvement in movement), therefore leaving expression to be desired. Even Catazaro, with his enormous capacity, often lacked center. His sheer talent, brilliant lower limbs, and spirit of an important dancer made him the most interesting to see, although not up to the level of his dancing last week in Robbins' Goldberg Variations. Reicheln would do well not to try so hard to get her legs higher, front and side, than her ability permits, as this makes her look disconnected, rather than fluid. When the dancers in a major company look uniformly uncomfortable, it makes me wonder how much of the sensation of this work comes from the dancers and how much is created by the choreography and coaching.
Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes, choreographed by resident choreographer and NYCB soloist Justin Peck, to Aaron Copeland's lively score, was a fun change in mood. This seemed a daring choice to include in a program, where across the plaza, at the Metropolitan Opera House, American Ballet Theatre has been performing Agnes de Mille's Rodeo this season. Although dressed simply in shades of brown, with a large cream colored stripe across the chest or grey with a similar stripe in pale blue for men, the character of a rodeo was not lost. The costumes by Reid Bartelme, Harriet Jung, and Justin Peck and the choreography created an interesting kaleidoscope of patterns. The dancers in this ballet did not appear disconnected. On the contrary, they were invested in the movement, bringing joy to the stage and beyond. Brittany Pollack and Adrian Danchig-Waring danced the principal roles, replacing originally scheduled Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar. These two pairs are very different in style. Dashig-Waring had an elegant, rather cool approach, which was, I imagine, lighter than Ramasar, who is a powerful, soulful dancer. He was fun to watch. Pollack lacks strength in the gluteus muscles of her upper thighs, which creates instability, contributing to a lack of flow in her movement. Mearns, on the other hand, is a powerhouse. There were dynamic solos by Gonzalo Garcia, Daniel Ulbricht, and Andrew Veyette. The musically driven turns by Ulbright were a great hit.
Christopher Wheeldon's Mercurial Manoeuvres, to Dimitri Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No 1, Opus 35, closed the program. The curtain opened on a dimly lit stage, lighting by Mark Stanley, with red material of graduating lengths hanging on either side of the stage and at the rear, lighting by Mark Stanley. After the opening dance, the red curtains lifted and were replaced by red light filling the stage. This was impressive. Tiler Peck, Tyler Angle and Anthony Huxley in the principal roles added substance to this performance. Peck's honest technique and exuberance were a pleasure to behold. For me, her embodiment of this role brought all the aspects of this piece together. The corps de ballet, however, did not display a thorough knowledge or proficiency in the style of the Balanchine/Robbins tradition. Still, the overall impression of this ballet was a positive one.
Photo credit: Paul Kolnik