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New York City Ballet: Mozartiana, In Vento, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2
-Onstage with the Dancers

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New York City Ballet
(NYC Ballet Website)
Tradition and Innovation

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

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 18, 2007

Originally Published on

Guest Conductor: David Briskin

Mozartiana (1981): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (Suite No. 4, Op. 61), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Wendy Whelan, Daniel Ulbricht, Nikolaj Hübbe, Dena Abergel, Saskia Beskow, Savannah Lowery, Gwyneth Muller, and students from the School of American Ballet (SAB). Tschaikovsky studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine also studied piano and dance. The original NYC Ballet cast included Suzanne Farrell, Ib Andersen, and Christopher d'Amboise. (NYCB Notes).

Wendy Whelan's wing-like arms were held in a precise arch, with the children of SAB in equally precise positions, an amazing feat. Tschaikovsky's evocation of Mozart plays exquisitely to this stark yet ethereal imagery. The black lace dresses, black tutus, and the mostly female ensemble (with the exception of Nikolaj Hübbe in Theme and Variations as a strong, silent presence and Daniel Ulbricht as the engaging dynamo in Gigue) created a stillness and starkness that were palpable. Arturo Delmoni's violin solo was rapturous, and Mr. Hübbe's white/black/purple costume added just a touch of color to the charged ambiance.

In Vento (2006): Music by Bruno Moretti (In Vento, commissioned for NYC Ballet), Choreography by Mauro Bigonzetti, Costumes by Mauro Bigonzetti, Costumes supervised by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Edwaard Liang, Maria Kowroski, Benjamin Millepied, Saskia Beskow, Maya Collins, Tiler Peck, Teresa Reichlen, Antonio Carmena, Craig Hall, Jonathan Stafford, Sean Suozzi.

This recent addition to City Ballet repertoire, appearing in last season's Diamond Project, once again exuded remarkable glow, literally and figuratively. The lighting effects (thanks to Mark Stanley) against a dark abyss and against choreographer, Mauro Bigonzetti's black textured costumes were striking. Bruno Moretti's sweeping score of cello and bass played with the appearance and disappearance of the figures at rear stage. At times the dancers seemed to be huddling in a windy forest, at other times joining hands for a human chain as protection or bonding. Maria Kowroski's limbs were almost like sharp scissors, while her partner, Edwaard Liang, seemed oblivious to Benjamin Millepied, the lone dancer. Mr. Millepied is often better cast in lighter roles, but tonight he internalized the strength of the score. The ensemble swept through like stormy souls, and Tiler Peck is a dancer to watch.

Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 (1964): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Gary Lisz, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Susan Walters, Performed by Sofiane Sylve, Charles Askegard, Teresa Reichlen, Seth Orza, Vincent Paradiso, Faye Arthurs, Ashley Laracey, and the Company. City Ballet's performances are sometimes full concert/full ballet, and this is meant as the highest of compliments. Susan Walters' piano performance of Tschaikovsky's Second Piano Concerto was as fine a performance as it could be, and she had to time her notes to the dancers' steps, via Maestro Briskin's baton.

Teresa Reichlen, in pale blue, is a fascinating dancer, always magnetic, always in fine form. Sofiane Sylve's backward dance en pointe was indicative of her exceptional skills, but it was Ms. Reichlen who captured my eye. Charles Askegard could probably dance this in his sleep, as he seems so fine-tuned and ever attentive, and the flowing ensemble was evocative of the Russian origins of this Balanchine work. The third movement, rapid and symmetrical (two lines of four), was quintessential Balanchine. Kudos to George Balanchine.

Sofiane Sylve and Charles Askegard in NYCB's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2

Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Wendy Whelan and Nicolaj Hübbe in NYCB's Mozartiana

Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik


For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at