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New York City Ballet: Danses Concertantes, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Barber Violin Concerto, Estancia
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New York City Ballet: Danses Concertantes, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Barber Violin Concerto, Estancia

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Danses Concertantes
Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux
Barber Violin Concerto

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Founding Choreographers: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Ballet Master in Chief: Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress: Rosemary Dunleavy
Assistant to the Ballet Master in Chief: Sean Lavery
Guest Teacher: Merrill Ashley
Children’s Ballet Master: Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director: Fayçal Karoui
Chairman of the Board: John L. Vogelstein
Managing Dir. Communications and Special Projects: Robert Daniels
Manager, Media Relations: Katharina Plumb
Assoc., Communications and Special Projects, Caitlin Gillette
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 28, 2010

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Clotilde Otranto

Danses Concertantes (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Eugene Berman, Scenery Recreation Supervised by David Mitchell, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Amar Ramasar, and the Company. Ms. Hyltin’s perky, cute playfulness is usually distracting, but tonight, in this witty ballet, Amar Ramasar exuded so much genuine personality that he offset Ms. Hyltin’s girlish gestures. This duo partnering actually was successful (Mr. Ramasar filled in for an injured Gonzalo Garcia), as they entertained and bounded about, with Eugene Berman’s backdrop, resembling chalk drawings in retro motif.

Balanchine has each of the four ensemble trios wearing costumes of the same bright color, e.g., red, green, blue, yellow...with Mr. Ramasar’s smile the brightest illumination on the stage. Together Mr. Ramasar and Ms. Hyltin captivated the audience and performed some rapid, staccato steps with bravura flair. Mr. Ramasar was a chivalrous partner, reaching out his hand with savvy charm. All four ensemble trios were captivating, vigorous, and ravishing, as they took the stage, one trio at a time. Daniel Applebaum’s trio, with Faye Arthurs and Ashley Laracey, was especially high-powered and amusing.

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (1960): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette. This music, not published with the original ballet score, was Originally intended for the Act III Black Swan Pas de Deux, but was first found by the Tschaikovsky Foundation of New York and subsequently scored for this pas de deux by Balanchine in 1960. (NYCB Notes).

This is a duo made in heaven for City Balletomanes, as both principals are virtuosic dynamos, attention-grabbers, and daring. There were gasp-inducing spins, leaps, upside down lifts, full body tosses into arms, and so on. The Tschaikovsky score, originally intended for Act III, Swan Lake, has striking expressiveness and flashy electricity, just that hot-blooded impetuosity we know from the renowned Grand Ballroom Act III theatrics. Mr. Veyette has rapidly emerged as an exciting danseur, while Ms. Bouder seems to have been born in fouetté position.

Barber Violin Concerto (1988): Music by Samuel Barber (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 14), Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by William Ivey Long, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Solo Violinist: Arturo Delmoni, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Jared Angle, Sara Mearns, and Charles Askegard. Barber, usually considered a classicist, moved into a contemporary motif with his "Violin Concerto", with its dissonance and starkness. This work includes melodic movements as well as a rapid scherzo. (NYCB Notes).

Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto is one of his most riveting, and I always wish he’d changed the ending. The overture is gripping, and the first three pas de deux are ingenious, as one duo, Sara Mearns and Charles Askegard dance in ballet motif, formal, romantic, refined, then the second duo, Megan Fairchild and Jared Angle dance in contemporary motif, no pointe shoes, less chemistry, more casual, before the third configuration dances, Sara Mearns and Jared Angle. In this third sequence, Ms. Mearns seduces Mr. Angle, in mood and moment, to partner her with authenticity and passion. This sequence is evocative of Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun. However, the fourth and final sequence brings out Megan Fairchild and Charles Askegard, with an apoplectic Ms. Fairchild attacking him (she’s half his height), by climbing up his back, kicking around and through his legs, and scurrying against his torso. She wants her share of authentic passion from him, as well, and it doesn’t happen. The alternate ending I had in mind would be Mr. Askegard beseechingly trying to gain Ms. Mearns’ favor again, or something along that line, if I were to thicken this abstract plot. Arturo Delmoni is solo violinist, and the Concerto includes challenging passages that shift from smooth, sumptuous romanticism to rapid, staccato dissonance.

Estancia (2010): Music by Alberto Ginastera, Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Scenic Design by Santiago Calatrava, Costumes by Carlos Campos, Costumes Supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Singer: Thomas Meglioranza, Performed by Tiler Peck as Country Girl, Tyler Angle as City Boy, Andrew Veyette as Wild Horse, and the Company as Wild Horses, Estancia Workers, and City Folk.

On second viewing within a few days, Estancia was just as satisfying on so many levels. The original casting of Tyler Angle and Tiler Peck as City Boy and Country Girl brought out the leads most seasoned in the roles, with added gesture and nuance in their nighttime pas de deux. Andrew Veyette was even more comical and primal in his Wild Horse characterization, while Georgina Pazcoguin was even more poignant and persuasive as the tamed filly. The familiarity of scenery, uncluttered plot, and happy ending of this recent Wheeldon ballet allow the viewer to focus on Santiago Calatrava’s gorgeous, painted Pampas and twinkling, starry sky. We can visually explore Carlos Campos’ (supervised by Marc Happel) warm brown horse costumes, with fillies en pointe, as well as the retro Argentine City costumes, in refined grays and white. Plus, we can listen to the explosive and ever-changing Ginastera score, so expertly conducted by Clotilde Otranto. Kudos to all.

Tyler Angle and the NYCB Cast
of Wheeldon's "Estancia"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Tyler Angle and Tiler Peck
in Wheeldon's "Estancia"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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