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New York City Ballet: Cortège Hongrois, Outlier, I’m Old Fashioned
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New York City Ballet: Cortège Hongrois, Outlier, I’m Old Fashioned

- Onstage with the Dancers


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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Cortège Hongrois
I’m Old Fashioned

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
February 5, 2011

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Andrews Sill

Cortège Hongrois (1973): Music by Alexander Glazounov (from Raymonda), Choreography by George Balanchine, Décor and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Ana Sophia Scheller, Charles Askegard, Savannah Lowery, Ask la Cour, and the Company. The ballet title derives from "corteggio", or Italian divertissements, with a Hungarian enhancement. There are references to Glazounov's score for Petipa's full-length Raymonda and also for Balanchine's Raymonda Variations. (Program Notes).

Two distinct ensembles appear in this vivacious Balanchine ballet, one in formal white Hungarian costumes, capped with green, and one in white/green tutus and scintillating ornaments. Savannah Lowery was aglow as the lead Czarda dancer, partnered by Ask la Cour. Ms. Lowery’s performance was enhanced and expanded upon by Mr. la Cour, with his sweeping chivalry and attentive partnering. Ana Sophia Scheller and Charles Askegard were stunning and effervescent in the Pas de Deux, with Mr. Askegard turning multiple spins in bravura balance. The Company, in each unique Variation, was buoyant and beautiful. Rouben Ter-Arutunian's costumes were characteristically embroidered, with gold, glitter, ribbons, and bows. "Corteggio" means courtly parade, and these two energetic ensembles received audience accolades for this powerful performance. I did miss Maestro Maurice Kaplow in the pit, as he has retired now. His Orchestra didn’t seem the same here under Andrew Sills’ baton.

Outlier (World Premiere): Music by Thomas Adès, Choreography by Wayne McGregor, Set by Wayne McGregor and Lucy Carter, Costumes by Moritz Junge, Lighting by Lucy Carter, Solo Violinist: Kurt Nikkanen, Performed by Ashley Bouder, Sterling Hyltin, Maria Kowroski, Tiler Peck, Wendy Whelan, Devin Alberda, Joaquin De Luz, Robert Fairchild, Craig Hall, Amar Ramasar, and Christian Tworzyanski.

Tonight’s cast is the same as on previous viewings, and, once again, I would have liked to see a fresh cast here, so balletomanes could view featured repertory with fresh presentations, nuanced differences. Dancers become too settled, there’s little of the rawness of the premiere, when the exact same cast dances the exact same way, in the exact same choreography, music, and costume, on each presentation. However, a repeat viewing gives the audience an opportunity to focus on background elements, such as lighting, the violin solo, the backdrop. Lucy Carter’s lighting is surreal, with the stark red or white illuminated backdrop in close coordination. Dancers stand in solo isolation, a stark image so inherent with mystery and remoteness. Mr. Nikkanen’s solo was searing, soul searching, stirring. Of the cast, I was most drawn tonight to Craig Hall, a dancer with depth and esprit.

I'm Old Fashioned (1983): Music by Morton Gould (based on music by Jerome Kern), Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Florence Klotz, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Performed by Rebecca Krohn, Sara Mearns, Jenifer Ringer, Justin Peck, Jared Angle, Tyler Angle, and the Company. Film sequence from You Were Never Lovelier, starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth.

This is one of Robbins' most brilliant conceptions. With the backdrop of the Astaire-Hayworth romance flick, appearing and re-appearing, as the dancers take on the specific steps and turns, it's art replicating art. Florence Klotz’ long ruffled dresses have a sheen and satiny elegance that grabs the imagination and literally makes you want to dance, just like Rebecca Krohn, Sara Mearns, and Jenifer Ringer. Their partners, especially Jared Angle, also captured the imagination, although there's only one Astaire. The Gould (after Kern) music flows in feathery fashion, and one can only think of tuxedoes and champagne, à la 1942 (when the film debuted).

The Company stood backs to the audience, waving to Fred and Rita, as they walked through the French doors, and Ronald Bates' lighting effects were dramatic and dynamic. Kudos to Jerome Robbins.

Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall
in "Outlier"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Jenifer Ringer and Tyler Angle
in "I'm Old Fashioned"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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