New York City Ballet: Divertimento from "Le Baiser De La Fee", Duo Concertant, Romeo and Juliet, Fanfare
-Onstage with the Dancers
New York City Ballet
Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Founding Choreographers, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children's Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Andrea Quinn
Managing Director, Robert Daniels
Associate Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns
Press Coordinator, Joe Guttridge
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 14, 2006
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
Divertimento from "Le Baiser de la Fée" (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Guest Conductor: Colin Metters, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Joaquin De Luz, Amanda Edge, Carrie Lee Riggins, and the Company. Stravinsky's theme for this ballet was "The Ice Maiden", and the music is a tribute to Tschaikovsky. The original ballet was choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska. (NYCB Notes.)
Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz are perfectly matched and performed with energy and ease, in this frothy, upbeat work, which includes generous solos, here presented with charismatic charm. There is magnetism in the Fairchild - De Luz partnership that seems to work consistently, as the two are similarly proportioned and seem to truly enjoy dancing with one another. The Tschaikovsky-like score is imbued with Stravinsky-edge.
Duo Concertant (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Violinist: Arturo Delmoni, Pianist: Susan Walters, Performed by Yvonne Borree and Nilas Martins. Stravinsky had dedicated this "Duo Concertant" to Samuel Dushkin, a violinist friend, and the two performed this for years in Europe, starting in 1932 in Berlin. Balanchine choreographed to this score for the Stravinsky Festival, and Kay Mazzo danced with Peter Martins. (NYCB Notes).
Mr. Martins and Ms. Borree were casually placed by Ms. Walters' piano, with Mr. Delmoni nearby on violin, and they seemed to chat silently, as the music played on. As if by musical inspiration, the two began dancing, in an abstract, but affectionate manner. Mr. Martins exudes joy in his presentation, and this dance was no exception. Ms. Borree's freshness and ingénue manner work well with Mr. Martins' somewhat campy style, and their dance was infused with whimsy, lyricism, and playfulness. They took time to draw the audience's attention to the Walters-Delmoni Duo, and then to themselves, as they created kisses and hand extensions in a right stage spotlight.
Romeo and Juliet (1991): Music by Serge Prokofiev, Choreography by Sean Lavery, Scenery by Drew Miller, Costumes by Thomas Augustine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Guest Conductor: David Briskin, Performed by Stephanie Zungre and Tyler Angle.
A star to watch is Stephanie Zungre, with her partner, Tyler Angle, already making news. Ms. Zungre and Mr. Angle had the youthfulness so requisite to this work, and Sean Lavery's choreography made the most of the dramatic Prokofiev score. This excerpted version, under the nurturing guidance of guest conductor, David Briskin, could not have been better suited for Valentine's Day. Ms. Zungre's exhilarated and ethereal interpretation was enchanting. One could hear her dash up the stairs to her balcony, as the orchestra fell silent, after the grandly rapturous pas de deux. Mr. Angle know how to sweep a dancer up and carry her about, how to kneel in longing and desire, and how to dash about in his long cape. There have been hundreds of Romeos and Juliets, but this performance was quite special.
Fanfare (1953): Music by Benjamin Britten (The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34), Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Scenery and Costumes by Irene Sharaff, Text by Eric Crozier, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Conductor: Maurice Kaplow, Major Domo: David Lowenstein, Performed by Abi Stafford, Edwaard Liang, Rachel Rutherford, Teresa Reichlen, Adam Hendrickson, Daniel Ulbricht, Tom Gold, and the Company, as Woodwinds, Strings, Brass, and Percussion. The original cast of this unique work included Jacques D'Amboise. The score was composed by Britten to honor the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and premiered on Coronation Night. It also celebrates the various instruments and families of instruments in the modern orchestra. (NYCB Notes).
Fanfare is a genuinely fun ballet, and educational as well. Even for seasoned balletomanes and avid concert enthusiasts, it's always good to focus on each instrument, in solo and ensembles, and, to have a corps de ballet dressed as the instruments and dancing to the instrumental showcases, is a treat. Henry Purcell's theme was a joy to watch, as the full corps quickly presented itself in woodwinds, brass, strings and percussion. Teresa Reichlen was a well-proportioned harp, tall and lanky, elegant and elastic. Other noteworthy performances were Daniel Ulbricht's mime of the tuba, Tom Gold's drum dance, as he's lifted and carried off by Amar Ramasar and Sean Suozzi, and Mr. Ramasar's magnetic rhythmic dance. Rachel Rutherford was remarkable with Adrian Danchig-Waring as violas, and Sterling Hyltin shone brightly as a flute. Kudos to David Lowenstein as a Major Domo par excellence.
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Yvonne Borree and Nilas Martins in Duo Concertant
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik