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New York City Ballet: Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Dances at a Gathering, Symphony in Three Movements
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New York City Ballet: Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Dances at a Gathering, Symphony in Three Movements

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Walpurgisnacht Ballet
Dances at a Gathering
Symphony in Three Movements

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 Master, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects, Robert Daniels
Manager, Media Relations, Katharina Plumb
Assoc., Communications &Special Projects, Caitlin Gillette
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 29, 2011

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Clotilde Otranto

Walpurgisnacht Ballet, from Gounod’s “Faust” (1980): Music by Charles François Gounod, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Maria Kowroski, Ask la Cour, Ana Sophia Scheller, Alina Dronova, Georgina Pazcoguin, and the Company. This is a Balanchine choreographed scene from the last act of the opera "Faust" on the eve of May Day, a dance of wandering souls, joyful revelry. (NYCB Notes).

Maria Kowroski was ravishing and stunning in this opera ballet of wandering souls, with Ask la Cour regal, proud, and compelling. Ana Sophia Scheller glowed from within. I noticed ribbons added to Karinska’s confectionary lavender costumes, that evoked essential abandon. This is one of my favorite ballets in the repertoire, with a smooth ensemble of fluttering nymphs, in the midst of an exotic Gounod score. Balanchine created a highly structured flow of choreographed shapes and creative shadows, as the figures and spotlights played with the lavender finery. As the fantasy storm arrives, the music is windswept, the women’s hair comes down, and they spiritedly speed across the stage. Alina Dronova seemed to dance with rigidity to the arms, unlike the others in the Corps ensemble. Ms. Pazcoguin, however, was fluid and refined.

Dances at a Gathering (1969): Music by Frédéric Chopin, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Joe Eula, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Pianist: Susan Walters, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Rebecca Krohn, Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck, Abi Stafford, Tyler Angle, Joaquin De Luz, Adam Hendrickson, Sébastien Marcovici, Christian Tworzyanski.

Each of the ten dancers, in mostly differently colored costumes (women in wistful dresses and men in tights and flowing shirts), is alternately part of an ensemble, duo, trio, or solo. At one point, a trio, Abi Stafford, in blue, Rebecca Krohn, in mauve, and Tiler Peck, in pink, work the stage together, as Chopin’s Waltzes, Mazurkas, Études, and the Nocturne Op. 15, No 1 (18 piano pieces in all) enhance the seamless couplings, through Susan Walters’ insightful keyboard interpretations. From little prancing steps, to upside down lifts, to fanciful tableaux, to macho gestures, Robbins’ choreography nourishes the viewers. Joaquin De Luz, in brown, and Mr. Tworzyanski, in blue, seemed bursting with sentiment.

Sterling Hyltin, in apricot, bounds about in confident stride, while Sébastien Marcovici and Sara Mearns, both in green, add depth and dance nuance to the spring-like ambiance. At one point, Mr. De Luz and Tyler Angle, in purple, lift and swing each other in a circular gravitational duo, using each other’s arms as springboards. Mr. Tworzyanski matched Abi Stafford in some sprightly, soaring lines, while Adam Hendrickson, in brick, seemed to enter and exit the proceedings with bounce. Kudos to Susan Walters.

Symphony in Three Movements (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Megan LeCrone, Erica Pereira, Janie Taylor, Andrew Scordato, Anthony Huxley, Jared Angle, and the Company.

One of my favorite dances in City Ballet repertoire, Balanchine opens the curtain to stark pony-tailed females in white, then sideways leaps, angularity of arms, and imagery of internal space. Tonight’s cast was different than in past viewings, and that keeps the work fresh and unpredictable. Janie Taylor and Jared Angle danced the second movement “Andante” with precision and intensity. Maestro Otranto led this powerful Symphony. Erica Pereira and Anthony Huxley, along with Ms. Taylor and Mr. Angle, were especially agile in the first movement, while Ms. Taylor and Mr. Angle’s second movement pas de deux, mentioned above, riveted the audience with their undulating arms, intertwining torsos, and exotic figures. Kudos to Maestro Otranto.

Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour
in "Walpurgisnacht Ballet"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Joaquin De Luz and Tiler Peck
in "Dances at a Gathering"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Anthony Huxley and Erica Pereira
in "Symphony in Three Movements"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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