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New York City Ballet: The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Le Tombeau de Couperin, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Union Jack
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New York City Ballet: The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Le Tombeau de Couperin, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Union Jack

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New York City Ballet
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The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Le Tombeau de Couperin
Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux
Union Jack

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 18, 2012

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Fayçal Karoui

The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1975): Music by Georges Bizet, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by David Mitchell, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Erica Pereira and Daniel Ulbricht.

Erica Pereira dances with a sense of wonder, no grandstanding, all ingénue enthusiasm. She’s charming and cherubic in this iconic role as the Christmas doll, who loves a toy soldier, with her red, bursting heart. Daniel Ulbricht is perfect in this role, but it’s time to see him in more substantial roles, with depth and character. However, here, he was unusually poignant and danced with stiff, determined limbs. This duo should dance together more often, as they are physically and dramatically well matched.

Le Tombeau de Couperin (1975): Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Maurice Ravel, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by an Ensemble of 16 from the Corps in Left Quadrille and Right Quadrille in Four Movements: Prélude, Forlane, Menuet, and Rigaudon. This remarkable Balanchine work, with a score by Ravel, employs a right and left quadrille for the corps dancers. Sixteen corps dancers, paired as eight couples, perform to the “Prélude, Forlane, Menuet, and Rigaudon” segments. Those dancers who caught my eye were Taylor Stanley, Daniel Applebaum, Gwyneth Muller, Lauren King, and Brittany Pollack. Individually, their posture, balance, and airiness were exceptional. The dance is regal, with choreography taking dancers under and over raised arms, and the visual symmetry is astounding. The corps has grown each season to perfect timing, with arms rising and falling simultaneously. Their legs were in mirror images.

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 Gonzalo Garcia. 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 brief work for a dynamic duo, and Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia did not disappoint. This lost Tschaikovsky score, originally intended for Swan Lake, is rambunctious, racing, and rich. Ms. Peck fed off Mr. Garcia’s propulsion and wit, and their mutual glances told it all. They were here to entertain, and they did. When Mr. Garcia rapidly spun Ms. Peck against his torso, her whole body turned into a top, as if on centrifugal force. The lifts, as well as photo finishes in a flourish, were dazzling.

Union Jack (1976): Music by Hershy Kay (Adapted from Traditional British Music), Music commissioned by New York City Ballet, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Joaquin De Luz, Tyler Angle, and male Company as Scottish and Canadian Guards Regiments, Lennox and Dress MacLeod, by Abi Stafford and female Company as Green Montgomerie, by Jared Angle and male Company as Menzies, by Janie Taylor and female Company as Dress MacDonald, by Wendy Whelan and female Company as MacDonald of Sleat, by Maria Kowroski and female Company as RCAF, by Andrew Veyette, Megan Fairchild, Leah Chen, and Callie Reiff in Costermonger Pas de Deux, by Adam Hendrickson, Wendy Whelan, Sean Suozzi, Tyler Angle, Janie Taylor, Joaquin De Luz, Abi Stafford, Jared Angle, and the Company as Royal Navy, and by Maria Kowroski and female Company as Wrens.

”Union Jack” was designed by Balanchine as a tribute to the British heritage of America in the Bicentennial year of 1976. With Scottish military marches, British Music Hall entertainment, British Navy jigs, and Royal Navy drills and hand flags, Union Jack is Balanchine’s ballet gift to a national historical moment. (NYCB Notes).

I was so mesmerized in this expansive work, I could barely take notes. The Scottish and Canadian Guards Regiments, led by Joaquin De Luz and Tyler Angle, opened with the iconic steady drum beats. Endless patterns shift with the percussive intonations. The all-male dancers are a mixture of soloists, corps, and apprentices, and the audience was enthralled. Abi Stafford expertly led the Green Montgomerie, with nine all-female dancers also chosen from soloists, corps, and apprentices. Ms. Stafford exemplified a more lyrical, smooth, and aesthetic aura to her solo role than in past years. The Menzies and Dress MacDonald were led by Jared Angle and Janie Taylor. Dancers in boots and colorful kilts move grippingly with the drums and rhythmic music, adapted by Hershy Kay from traditional British music.

Wendy Whelan, leading women in MacDonald of Sleat, used extra outsized personality gestures that showed how much she was enjoying this moment. Union Jack is one work that gives many principals a chance to appear together in equal measure, each leading a different clan or contingent. In fact, it seemed that much of the Company was onstage at one moment or another. Maria Kowroski led RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force), with sass and pizzazz, as always the pro. Tonight’s Costermonger Pas de Deux was riotous, with Andrew Veyette and Megan Fairchild in witty abandon. Their act was true vaudeville. Royal Navy was led by Adam Hendrickson, Wendy Whelan, Sean Suozzi, and Tyler Angle, then later by Janie Taylor, Joaquin De Luz, Abi Stafford, and Jared Angle. This is a lively, thrilling, and propulsive segment, all in Navy blue costumes, thanks to Rouben Ter-Arutunian’s designs. Maria Kowroski led the WRENS (Women’s Royal Naval Service), with the hand flags and signals, followed by the Union Jack giant flag as backdrop. Kudos to all.

New York City Ballet Corps
in Balanchine's "Le Tombeau de Couperin"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

New York City Ballet
in Balanchine's "Union Jack"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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