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New York City Ballet: Serenade, Mozartiana, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2
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New York City Ballet: Serenade, Mozartiana, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2

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New York City Ballet
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Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2

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 26, 2013 Matinee

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Daniel Capps

Serenade (1948): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, new Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Ashley Bouder, Megan LeCrone, Sara Mearns, Jared Angle, Adrian Danchig-Waring, and the Company. Set to Tschaikovsky's "Serenade for Strings, this was Balanchine's first ballet choreographed in America. (NYCB Notes)

If it’s winter, it’s time for Serenade, Balanchine’s first work for City Ballet.
Tonight’s lighting was mesmerizing, as the blues of the chiffony gowns were darker and deeper. Each segment of this luscious Serenade for Strings expanded the experience. Ashley Bouder danced with new softness, fullness, and sweep, with a sensuality that glowed. Megan LeCrone, as well, has developed a depth of emotion and graceful lines, this season. Sara Mearns, as always, grabs the stage’s spotlight with her joyous and genuine warmth. This is a ballerina who feels the music and psychic tone of the moment. Adrian Danchig-Waring, a muscular and spellbinding performer, brought gravitas and sophistication to the stage. However, Jared Angle seemed detached emotionally and somewhat stiff, not blending into the theatrics of this dramatic ballet.

Balanchine designed this ballet from an actual rehearsal, with one dancer falling, one arriving late, one out of step. He never plays the humor, rather always the refinement and regality of his choreography. The Corps is awarded its own applause, and rightly so, as this ballet opens with synchronized subtle motion of legs, arms, feet, in hypnotic stillness. This music haunts the mind for days.

Mozartiana (1981): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Maria Kowroski, Anthony Huxley, Tyler Angle, Marika Anderson, Amanda Hankes, Gwyneth Muller, Gretchen Smith, and students from the School of American Ballet: Fiona Brennan, Claire Layton Fishman, Isabella Fonte, and Anna Greenberg. Tschaikovsky studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine also studied piano and dance. The original NYC Ballet cast included Suzanne Farrell, Ib Andersen, and Christopher d’Amboise. (NYCB Notes).

Tonight was another all-Balanchine homage, and this second work, like the first, opens in stillness and fascinating imagery, in the “Preghiera”. Maria Kowroski was serene and graceful, with her arms in an open circle, her shoulders broad, with four young dancers from School of American Ballet in exact poses and fixed expressions as Ms. Kowroski. This ballet is a chance for the Company to showcase a few stars from its school, and that showcase is always a success, as each student is so filled with presence and confidence.

Anthony Huxley danced the vibrant “Gigue” with spunk, but physically he doesn’t command stage space for such a solo. I have seen Daniel Ulbricht eat the stage in this same role. Mr. Huxley is better cast on busier choreography. Tyler Angle and Ms. Kowroski danced the “Theme and Variations’ with warmth and engaging enthusiasm. Their tightly timed landings, after solo and partnered jumps, were extraordinary. This third movement requires complicated, choreographed footwork and muscularity of motion, and they both prevailed with ease. Their astounding coordination was seasoned yet refreshing. Rouben Ter-Arutunian’s black costumes are bold and striking.

Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 (1964): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Gary Lisz, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Susan Walters, Performed by Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, Ana Sophia Scheller, Daniel Applebaum, Sean Suozzi, Lauren King, Brittany Pollack, and the Company.

Daniel Capps, tonight’s Conductor, did a splendid job of maximizing the Orchestra, but especially in this third and final Balanchine work, scored to Tschaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Susan Walters was solo pianist, and she drew the romanticism out onto the stage. Teresa Reichlen and Ask la Cour are perfectly cast here and with each other. Mr. la Cour dances like a prince, always exuding a storybook level of passion, always dramatizing the mood, while Ms. Reichlen’s long limbs add flourish and style to the moment. Their pas de deux was gripping. Gary Lisz’ white silky tutus sparkled, adding luster to Ms. Reichlen’s abundant gusto. Ana Sophia Scheller has matured and blossomed into a fervid and luminous dancer, sprightly and animated. In the ensemble, Lauren King and Brittany Pollack drew my eye in the leads, and Taylor Stanley and Zachary Catazaro drew my eye in the Corps. Kudos to George Balanchine.

Sara Mearns and the Cast of
Balanchine's "Serenade"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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