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New York City Ballet: Chaconne, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Glass Pieces
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New York City Ballet: Chaconne, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Glass Pieces

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux
Stravinsky Violin Concerto
Glass Pieces

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
October 5, 2010

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Clotilde Otranto

Chaconne (1976): Music by Christoph Willibald von Gluck (Ballet music from the opera Orphée et Euridice), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Maria Kowroski, Tyler Angle, and the Company. In quintessential Balanchine flair, flowing gowns, created by Karinska, evoke ethereal and mythical imagery. A slow introduction, followed by creamy white blue costumes and unrestrained hair, leads to flowing exits, luxurious lifts, and enchanting shapes, all in the space of a regal ballroom or other-worldly locale.

Chaconne refers to dances for court entertainment, but the energy tonight was more than courtly, with the youthful exuberance of the corps. Von Gluck’s music propelled the dancers into syncopated rhythms, as partnered Principals, Soloists, and Corps, in Pas de Deux, Pas de Trois, Pas de Cinq, and the full Chaconne exemplified silky classicism mixed with regal patterns. Clotilde Otranto conducted with the requisite resonance, as Maria Kowroski and Tyler Angle led the 1976 work with inventive rhythmic connections, a bit of bounce, and more than a bit of bravura. Among the soloists and corps, Gwyneth Muller, Erica Pereira (both artists to watch), and Daniel Applebaum caught my eye.

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (1960): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz. 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).

Once Again Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz were the stars of the day, as injuries caused a last minute change in the program. They danced this pas de deux with humor and virtuosity. Mr. De Luz was effusively chivalrous, regal, and full of fervor. Ms. Peck brought a little ball of fire in her belly, as she was propulsive and fiery, and their chemistry was delightful. Mr. De Luz landed with arms outstretched to the audience, proud and purposeful, his eyes never leaving Ms. Peck. This Balanchine ballet is uncluttered, buoyant, and joyful. Ms. Peck’s focused fouettés, spins, and leaps into his arms, in her peach Karinska tutu, were like fireworks, with both dancers illuminated from within. From without, Mark Stanley’s lighting design added glowing warmth.

Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major), Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Solo Violinist: Kurt Nikkanen, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Ask la Cour, Rebecca Krohn, Amar Ramasar, and the Company.

I was lucky for the change in program, as this was an opportunity to revisit Stravinsky Violin Concerto. First, Kurt Nikkanen was brilliant in the violin solo, especially on late notice. This Concerto was a full concert, equally as thrilling as the dance. The “Toccata” was danced by Sterling Hyltin, Ask la Cour, Rebecca Krohn, and Amar Ramasar. Unfortunately, Ms. Hyltin’s fixed smile was inappropriate in this sometimes severe, always significant Balanchine work from 1972. Amar Ramasar and Rebecca Krohn were strikingly spectacular, always in the rhythm, with captivating gestures and an adherence to the mood. Ask la Cour, as well, is a consistent, forceful presence, especially in the abstract Balanchine works. His pas de deux with Ms. Hyltin in “Aria II” was engaging and replete with mesmerizing shapes, but I kept wishing Ms. Hyltin would find her way into the psychic intent of the choreographer, not just the steps and style.

The pas de deux of “Aria I”, with Ms. Krohn and Mr. Ramasar, was stirring, sophisticated, and studied. The “Capriccio” brought the full cast out for a thrilling finale. The Corps was extraordinary in synchronized, structured figures, balance, lifts, and presence. Kudos to Stravinsky.

Glass Pieces (1983): Music by Philip Glass, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Production Design by Jerome Robbins and Ronald Bates, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Performed by Rebecca Krohn, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Ellen Bar, Chase Finlay, Faye Arthurs, Christian Tworzyanski, Wendy Whelan, Sébastien Marcovici, and the Company. I’ve seen this Robbins work many times, and it always unfolds with something new to explore. Tonight I focused on the timing of the Philip Glass score in “Rubric”, as three pairs of dancers in matching unitards pause, as the corps disappears, then each pair sequentially dances with the music, before the corps returns, after another pause, and so on. Of the three pairs, Rebecca Krohn and Adrian Danchig-Waring were spellbinding, with their miraculously muscular tone and ability to extend and wind their limbs and torsos for maximum visual fascination.

In “Facades”, Wendy Whelan and Sébastien Marcovici were stunning in their taut angular motion, arms up, with the corps in shadowy silhouette. Their arms extend with bent elbows like the wings of hawks. The corps walks in sharp pulsating steps. “Akhnaten” brings drums with accentuated, driven tempos, as the male corps makes the most of the throbbing beat. Soon the full corps, in brightly lit unitards fills the stage with hypnotic motion to this most hypnotic score. Kudos to Philip Glass.

Ask la Cour and Sterling Hyltin in
Balanchine's "Stravinsky Violin Concerto"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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