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New York City Ballet: Carousel (A Dance), Intermezzo No. 1, Slice to Sharp, Friandises
-Onstage with the Dancers

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New York City Ballet
(NYC Ballet Website)
Contemporary Quartet

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children's Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Marketing and Communications, Managing Director, Robert Daniels
Assoc. Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns
Manager, Press Relations, Joe Guttridge
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
www.lincolncenter.org



Guest Conductor: David Briskin

Review by Dr. Robert E. Zlokower
February 11, 2007
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com


Carousel (A Dance) (2002): Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Music by Richard Rodgers, Arranged and Orchestrated by William David Brohn, Costumes by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Kathryn Morgan, Seth Orza, and the Company.

On second viewing this season, Carousel (A Dance) was even more poignant. Kathryn Morgan, an apprentice in a silky yellow dress, is a true ingénue, wispy, innocent, and enchanting. Partnered theatrically and attentively by Seth Orza, with that bright red neck scarf, her pas de deux were flawless and breathless. I noticed the silent moments tonight, or maybe that was Maestro Briskin's addition, but those quiet passages were pregnant with anticipation. The ensemble, in bright blues and purples, shone against the night sky, as the carousel lights lit the stage with glamour. The cartwheels and lyrical flow were all Wheeldon, so well suited to today's theme, "Contemporary Quartet". Soloist and corps ensemble leads were Amanda Hankes, Craig Hall, Rebecca Krohn, and Jonathan Stafford, all in persuasive abandon. Carousel (A Dance) could beckon the child within us all to this charming scene.


Intermezzo No. 1 (1969): Music by Johannes Brahms (Opus 117, No. 2, Opus 118, No. 2, Opus 39), Choreography by Eliot Feld, Costumes by Stanley Simmons, Costumes supervised by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Allen Lee Hughes, Pianist: Cameron Grant, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Robert Fairchild, Jenifer Ringer, Charles Askegard, Sterling Hyltin, and Tyler Angle.

Eliot Feld's Intermezzo No 1 took on a campy motif, in spite of the off-shoulder, pastel tutus and classical imagery. Jenifer Ringer gave a nuanced interpretation, with the turn of the head, the position of the hand. Megan Fairchild, always the dynamo, moved with rapid acrobatics, while Sterling Hyltin danced her role in rapture, body arching in circular stretches. The male partners, Robert Fairchild, Charles Askegard, and Tyler Angle, in vested velvet, played it straight with a touch of wit. Mr. Angle's performance drew the eye. Cameron Grant, on virtuosic solo piano for the Brahms, seems to exude his own inherent personality at each appearance.


Slice to Sharp (2006): Music by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber and Antonio Vivaldi, Choreography by Jorma Elo, Costumes by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Violin Soloists: Arturo Delmoni and Nicolas Danielson, Performed by Ashley Bouder, Maria Kowroski, Teresa Reichlen, Wendy Whelan, Joaquin De Luz, Craig Hall, Edwaard Liang, and Amar Ramasar. Jorma Elo was born in Finland, and, in addition to choreography, he designs costumes, lighting, and video effects for ballets. Von Biber is known for virtuoso violin works, with special tunings to create chordal effects.(NYCB Notes).

This ballet, and the one that follows, could exhaust even the youngest and hardiest of performers, let alone the audience, and, one after the other, they sparked lightning in State Theater. Jorma Elo choreographed this dance for last year's "Diamond Project", and it was an immediate hit. The movement and still positions defy gravity and expectation. The eight dancers, including those whom we know can meet the challenge, were ultra-exceptional. Maria Kowroski was at one with the music (von Biber and Vivaldi) and off-kilter genre, and Ashley Bouder seemed to love every moment.

With Arturo Delmoni and Nicolas Danielson on brilliantly timed solo violins, Joaquin De Luz, Craig Hall, Edwaard Liang, and Amar Ramasar literally flew about the stage, catching and lifting the women in split-second bursts of music. Teresa Reichlen, always a fascinating dancer, plus Wendy Whelan, who is superbly showcased in abstract choreography, stretched their ever-so-long legs in sharp slices of air. Mr. Elo's design also calls for dancers crouching below each other's arms, tossed aside effortlessly, light as air, and dramatically deft. He also works their arms in sharp circles, like a clock gone wild. This addition to City Ballet repertoire is fortunate.


Friandises (2006): Commissioned Music by Christopher Rouse, Choreography by Peter Martins, Leotards by Yumiko, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Tiler Peck, Daniel Ulbricht, and the Company. "Friandises" in French means morsels or bits. The French dance suite includes an "Intrada", a "siciliane", a "sarabande", and a "gallop". (NYCB Notes).

Another recent addition to City Ballet repertoire, Friandises is also a gift to its audience. So, too, are Tiler Peck and Daniel Ulbricht. When these two soloists pair for propulsion, they take State Theater by storm. Peter Martins has the two leads create a playful, aerobic movement, and then the ensemble, soloists and corps, echo in electric excitement. Christopher Rouse's score, cast in French dance suite format, builds in syncopation and sound. The dancers seem to explode with energy and spin like whirling dervishes. Daniel Ulbricht is almost super-human in his capacity for mid-air elevation, a truly engaging dancer. Tiler Peck is all muscle, a wild colt, and, together, they rivet the crowd. In the ensemble, Sterling Hyltin, Sara Mearns, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Craig Hall, Amar Ramasar, and Seth Orza performed with exceptional momentum.


Kathryn Morgan and Seth Orza in NYCB's Carousel (A Dance)

Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Sterling Hyltin and Tyler Angle in NYCB's Intermezzo No. 1

Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net