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New York City Ballet: Apollo, Agon, Rubies
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New York City Ballet: Apollo, Agon, Rubies

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)


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, Dena Abergel
Orchestra, Interim Music Director, Andrews Sill
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
October 14, 2012 Matinee

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Daniel Capps

Apollo (1928, Paris: 1951, NY): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Sébastien Marcovici, Sterling Hyltin, Tiler Peck, Ana Sophia Scheller. Balanchine looked upon Apollo as the turning point of his life, "in its sustained oneness of tone and feeling". (NYC Ballet Notes).

It was good to see Sébastien Marcovici again in this role that seems to draw a revolving cast of City Ballet males every season. He was joined by Sterling Hyltin as Terpsichore, muse of dance and song, Tiler Peck as Polyhymnia, muse of mime, and Ana Sophia Scheller as Calliope, muse of poetry. The muses danced with gestures of wonder, humor, intellect, and rapture. Each dancer created flowing statuesque shapes with refined sophistication. Their arms encircled Apollo’s face with quiet serenity. Mr. Marcovici seemed to have slimmed down, and his profile here was muscular and mesmerizing. Balanchine’s angular choreography, with its fluid, seamless lines, enhances the melancholy dissonance of the Stravinsky score. The visual effects of a fan of the muses’ legs appearing from Mr. Marcovici’s torso are spiritual and spellbinding.

Agon (1957): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Maria Kowroski, Rebecca Krohn, Amar Ramasar, Sean Suozzi, Amanda Hankes, Gretchen Smith, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Craig Hall, and a Corps ensemble.

The high point of the evening was the exquisite Pas de Deux by Amar Ramasar and Maria Kowroski. Her dramatic and characteristic legs wrapped around Mr. Ramasar, as if magnetized and drawn into his space, slowly and purposefully. Ms. Kowroski surrounded and sculpted a new visual form, reminiscent of an Isamu Noguchi stage sculpture. Additional couples were Rebecca Krohn and Sean Suozzi, Amanda Hankes and Adrian Danchig-Waring, and Gretchen Smith and Craig Hall. They all gave inspired performances.

The ballet is divided, as Balanchine often does, into three Parts, with Part I consisting of various Pas de Quatre for the cast, referring to them in the program as Boys and Girls. Part II consists of Pas de Trois, Sarabande, etc., naming the lead dancers, then Part III indicates Duos and Trios and Four Boys. It’s all very retro, yet all very contemporary in style. The orchestral score contains jazzy and dissonant chords on the harp, with full percussion, such as, perhaps, castanets, wooden blocks, and bells, and also wild violins and horns. At times, one duo dances to dissonant horns, and, at other times, one duo dances to soft, dissonant strings. The Stravinsky score was occasionally reminiscent of Bernstein or Gershwin. The syncopated rhythms generated unique choreography, ending with a daring leap into waiting arms.

Rubies (from the ballet “Jewels”): Music by Igor Stravinsky (Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra), Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by Peter Harvey, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano Solo: Cameron Grant, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Joaquin De Luz, Teresa Reichlen, and the Company.

Rubies always stuns for its vivid, modern imagery, with sensuality that sears the imagination, and for its propulsive jumps, leg lifts, and instantaneous spins. Teresa Reichlen is always a show-stopper for magnetizing the audience and presenting herself with scintillating, powerful limbs and a coy, confident manner. At one point, the male dancers, in Karinska’s velvet and brocade, ruby-colored costumes, manipulate her leg at varying levels. Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz appeared and re-appeared, with rolling arms, angular wrists and ankles, high running steps, and seasoned chemistry. They anticipate each other’s next step and feed off each other’s energy with sly sprightliness. Among the soloists and corps, Giovanni Villalobos, Georgina Pazcoguin, and Troy Schumacher most galvanized this vibrant Stravinsky jewel.

Teresa Reichlen and Company
in George Balanchine's "Rubies"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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