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New York City Ballet: Square Dance, Mirage, The Four Seasons
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New York City Ballet: Square Dance, Mirage, The Four Seasons

- Onstage with the Dancers

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Square Dance
The Four Seasons

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 27, 2011 Matinee

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Square Dance (1957): Music by Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Clotilde Otranto, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Anthony Huxley, and the Company. Balanchine wrote, "The American style of classical dancing, its supple sharpness and richness of metrical invention, its superb preparation for risks, and its high spirits were some of the things I was trying to show in this ballet." (NYCB Notes).

Antony Huxley is a rising star in the Corps, while Megan Fairchild seems to have new-found exhilaration this season, so Square Dance was replete with some interesting surprises. Unfortunately, Mr. Huxley lacked majesty and personality, requisite to this work, but his form and style were precise. The arm extensions of the company, in ensemble dance and later in groups of four, illustrate Balanchine's choreographed exultation to the Corelli and Vivaldi scores. A rising star, Lauren King is a joy to watch, with inner glow and natural poise.

Ms. Fairchild literally glowed, and her pas de deux were energized and flawless. She was ever smiling, joyful perfection. Her tiny fast jumps were like a jack-in-the-box. Maestro Otranto added pizzazz to this score.

Mirage (2010): Music by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Choreography by Peter Martins, Scenic Design by Santiago Calatrava, Costumes by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrews Sill, Solo Violinist: Lydia Hong, Performed by Jennie Somogyi, Jared Angle, Ashley Laracey, Chase Finlay, Erica Pereira, Anthony Huxley, and the Company.

This Peter Martins recently choreographed work includes an Esa-Pekka Salonen commissioned score, gripping and atonal, with a lengthy violin solo. City Ballet’s violinist, Lydia Hong, added electrified refrains. Santiago Calatrava’s set, fashioned by Hudson Scenic Studios, moves, shimmers, and becomes a bird in flight that morphs into a heart held high. It’s spell-binding, made of steel spokes, rising and lowering. Mark Stanley’s lighting colors it whitish-steel grey, then toward the ballet’s finale it’s lit with a plaid, pastel rainbow, a stunning creation. Jared Angle appears and gazes toward the audience. I found Mirage to unfold in exceptionally satisfying simplicity, merging magically with the searing score.

Jennie Somogyi and Jared Angle were lone, then duo figures in the center, then sideline, with action happening simultaneously in various stage locations. Choreographic design included sequences of arms held toward the ceiling, in solo and duo combinations, plus sequences of propeller-like swinging motifs, catapulting the body into a spin. But, the enchanting image I walked away with was Jennie Somogyi, a stark, central figure, in full focus, entering under the set, with its bird-like wings. She exuded depth with a serious, internalized persona. She was partnered by Jared Angle, who has yet to fully present his emotional center. Erica Pereira and Anthony Huxley were poised and purposeful, as were Ashley Laracey and Chase Finlay, all stylistic dancers, but Ms. Pereira is the one with psychic presence. In the Corps, Brittany Pollack and Christian Tworzyanski caught my eye. City Ballet Orchestra was in impressive form tonight, thanks to Andrews Sill.

The Four Seasons (1979): Music by Giuseppe Verdi, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Scenery and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Conductor: Andrews Sill, Performed by Justin Peck as Janus, Russell Janzen as Winter, Gwyneth Muller as Spring, Marika Anderson as Summer, Henry Seth as Fall, Devin Alberda, Erica Pereira, Christian Tworzyanski, Sara Mearns, Tyler Angle, Teresa Reichlen, Robert Fairchild, Ashley Bouder, Andrew Veyette, Antonio Carmena, and the Company. Verdi was known as a prolific composer of opera and was active in Italian politics. The Four Seasons draws upon Verdi's operas, I Vespri Siciliani, I Lombardi, and Il Trovatore. (NYCB Notes).

It was wonderful to quickly re-visit Robbins’ The Four Seasons, with several changes in the previous casting. Once again, Justin Peck was Janus, the caped figure, who invites and dismisses the leads and casts of each of the four seasons. Russell Jansen again summoned Winter, with Devin Alberda, Erica Pereira, and Christian Tworzyanski in the lead. The audience always loves the shivering, freezing corps gestures, as they huddle in projected snow. Ms. Pereira deserves kudos for her luscious leaps and charismatic charm. In Spring, summoned by Gwyneth Muller (too small a role for this personality-plus dancer), Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle were showcased in a lengthy pas de deux, backed by a corps quartet. While Ms. Mearns and Mr. Angle were warmly lyrical, it was the corps quartet, dancing like the Cygnettes in Swan Lake, that transported me, with synchronized choreography that was widely applauded.

Summer was summoned by Marika Anderson and led by Teresa Reichlen and Robert Fairchild. These two animated dancers were in brilliant form. Together they turned summer into Broadway styling (after all, this is Jerome Robbins), and the corps of six included the always dynamic Georgina Pazcoguin. The final Fall segment was summoned by Henry Seth and led by Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette. Here humor returned, as Ms. Bouder and Mr. Veyette wowed the audience with fancy flourishes and snappy footwork. Antonio Carmena was well suited to the spritely role of Pan. His mid-air bouncing jumps were pulsating and spirited. Andrews Sill conducted to bring out the most in this Verdi score. Kudos to the Company.

Jennie Somogyi and Jared Angle
in Peter Martins' "Mirage".
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik.

Erica Pereira in
Balanchine's "The Four Seasons".
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik.

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