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New York City Ballet: Swan Lake, Allegro Brillante, Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3
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New York City Ballet: Swan Lake, Allegro Brillante, Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Swan Lake
Allegro Brillante
Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3

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
January 22, 2013

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Guest Conductor: Gregory Cornelius

Swan Lake (1951): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, after Lev Ivanov, Scenery and Costumes by Alain Vaes, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Sara Mearns as Odette, Queen of the Swans, Jared Angle as Prince Siegfried, Megan LeCrone as Lead for “Pas de Neuf”, Lauren King as Lead for “Valse Bluette”, Cameron Dieck as Von Rothbart, a Sorcerer, and the Company as Swans and Hunters. Balanchine based this one-act ballet on Lev Ivanov’s Act II of Swan Lake, using segments of Tschaikovsky’s score for Acts II and IV, both lakeside scenes. (NYCB Notes).

Sara Mearns is an exquisite Odette, with upper body stoicism and ethereal angst. She exudes a quintessential swan, as arms in motion pull her gravity outward and upward. Unfortunately, her Siegfried, Jared Angle, has essential partnering technique, but not a thread of Ms. Mearns’ charisma and depth. He was a dancer, she a swan. Mr. Angle’s outstretched arms seem stiff and poised, where Ms. Mearns’ arms have a life of their own. The Corps, in black tutus, in the image of the unseen Odile (this Swan Lake is only one act) was stunning and rapturous, a magnetic sight. Cameron Dieck was a threatening and compelling Rothbart, who pulled Ms. Mearns as if by an unseen chain, as he drew her back to the lake. Megan LeCrone has new lightness and lovely lyricism in her dancing, here as lead in “Pas de Neuf”, joining nine Corps dancers. Lauren King led “Valse Bluette”, with an ensemble of eleven, with sparkling fluidity. Alain Vaes’ costumes were radiant in the stage moonlight, thanks to Mark Stanley. Kudos to Balanchine.

Allegro Brillante (1956): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano Solo: Elaine Chelton, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Amar Ramasar, and the Company. The Tschaikovsky “Third Piano Concerto" was first written as a symphony and then altered to include piano and orchestra. Balanchine said that this ballet "contains everything I know about the classical ballet in 13 minutes". (NYCB Notes).

Amar Ramasar is fast becoming a rarified partner and soloist, who well deserves this spotlight. He gazed on Megan Fairchild, his partner, with elegance and enthusiasm. He had replaced Andrew Veyette, who was shifted to the final work of the evening, and he shone with radiance. Ms. Fairchild dances with allure and grace, but also quicksilver rapidity, and floats, spins, and leaps with abandon. Elaine Chelton, tonight’s piano soloist for the Tschaikovsky “Third Piano Concerto” maximized each and every phrase. The tone was scintillating and sophisticated, enhancing the partnered duo and the ensemble of four female and four male Corps. Karinska’s costumes are always splendid. The audience was thrilled with the virtuosic dynamism of this pulsating ballet, the centerpiece of this all-Balanchine program.

Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3 (1970): Music Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Nicolas Benois, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Rebecca Krohn, Zachary Catazaro, Abi Stafford, Justin Peck, Ana Sophia Scheller, Antonio Carmena, Ashley Bouder, Andrew Veyette, and the Company. In 1947, Balanchine produced “Theme and Variations” for Ballet Theater. Tschaikovsky composed Suite No. 3 in 1884, and it was premiered in 1885. Nicolas Benois, son of Diaghilev’s ballet designer, created scenery and costumes for Balanchine. (NYCB Notes).

This Tschaikovsky scored ballet is one of my favorites, with princely dreaminess in the “Elégie”, here led by Zachary Catazaro, a fast rising star in the Corps, and Rebecca Krohn, a mesmerizing, recently appointed Principal. They complimented each other with lushness, as an ensemble of six, female Corps dancers rush to and fro with long hair flying, in pastel, chiffony, Nicolas Benoit gowns. Mr. Catazaro was a beseeching quasi-prince, dashing toward his quasi-princess. Hair is down in the first three movements, giving this ballet a distinct, ethereal sublimity. Abi Stafford and Justin Peck, in the second movement, “Valse Mélancolique”, were more perky (she) and muscular (he) than my memories of this movement, but, with their own ensemble of six female Corps, they swept across the stage. Mr. Peck is capable of lifting the diminutive Ms. Stafford with ease, and the partnering was energized. In the “Scherzo”, Ana Sophia Scheller and Antonio Carmena were technically playful and propulsive, as the music turns rapid and rambunctious. Ms. Scheller dances with an inner glow.

The final “Theme and Variations” movement, often a stand-alone ballet, shifts the motif and mood from languorous dream to energetic formality, and the percussive, rapid momentum ensues. The short tutus are strikingly contrasted to the swirling chiffons of the previous movements, and the choreography, as well, is structured and ornate. Andrew Veyette filled in for Jonathan Stafford, with aplomb. His very attentive partnering and bravura dancing were outstanding. Ashley Bouder and Mr. Veyette were compelling in their spinning and jumping. When Ms. Bouder leaped en air into Mr. Veyette’s open arms, the audience gasped. The Corps captivated the eye in all four movements.

Andrew Veyette in Balanchine's
"Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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