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New York City Ballet: Paz de la Jolla, Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir, Concerto DSCH
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New York City Ballet: Paz de la Jolla, Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir, Concerto DSCH

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Paz de la Jolla
Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir
Concerto DSCH

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 31, 2013

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Paz de la Jolla (World Premiere): Music by Bohuslav Martinů, Choreography by Justin Peck, Costumes by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, Costumes Supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrews Sill, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Tiler Peck, Amar Ramasar, and the Company.

Justin Peck is a native-born Californian, so Paz de La Jolla, choreographed to a score by Bohuslav Martinů, brings him home. This is a playful, lyrical ballet, with the Corps adding blue cotton skirts, when they lie down to morph into a human ocean. Amar Ramasar is the lucky guy at the beach who gets the girl, Sterling Hyltin. Another girl, Tiler Peck, a perky ingénue, serves as a one-girl Greek Chorus, who helps the young lovers reclaim each other amidst the waves and crowds. Mr. Ramasar is dressed in a costume of beach shorts, as Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung have kept the costume design inherently “at the shore’. The Corps is lively, as well, dancing cartwheels and jumping about, even clapping to wake the two lovebirds. When Ms. Hyltin wades into the rolling waves of Corps dancers, she seems more alive and abandoned. Mr. Ramasar is assisted by the beach-goers to find his soul-mate. They sleep, they wake, they swim, they frolic, all to the Southern California motif. In the Corps, Brittany Pollack and Christian Tworzyanski caught my eye.

Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir (1974): Sonority by Pierre Henry, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Maria Kowroski and Daniel Ulbricht.

In full contrast to the earlier, light-hearted Premiere, the revival of Balanchine’s puzzling Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir, choreographed to Pierre Henry’s grating, grinding, electro-acoustical score, sounded like hammers, squeaking doors, creaking floors, and train tracks. Au contraire, the costume-set, an enormous gray material, hung from the ceiling, encircling and encompassing Ms. Kowroski, who was dressed by Rouben Ter-Arutunian in chiaroscuro, sexy and dazzling. Her movements were technically perfect, with her abundance of charisma, to grab the audience’s attention in this showcased role. Daniel Ulbricht, another master dancer, renowned for his en air jumps and turns, was made up in silver body paint. He becomes enveloped in Ms. Kowroski’s giant material that flies to the rafters, echoing Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, in which Ms. Kowroski also hovers over and tortures Mr. Ulbricht, but with a storyline and music. This is more spectacle than ballet, but, like Peter Martins’ Bal de Couture, it’s a uniquely contemporary ballet, even though Balanchine’s work was conceived in 1974.

Concerto DSCH (2008): Music by Dmitri Shostakovich, Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, Costumes by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Daniel Capps, Piano: Cameron Grant, Performed by Janie Taylor, Ashley Bouder, Tyler Angle, Joaquin De Luz, and the Company.

Of note, Justin Peck danced in this piece, after premiering his new work earlier in the evening. Ratmansky’s ballet, Concerto DSCH, was conducted by Daniel Capps, for the very dynamic Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2. Cameron Grant was on solo piano, and the Orchestra and Mr. Grant put on quite a musical show. Immediately the viewer notices similarities in this ballet and Mr. Peck’s new work, with one couple dancing, while an ensemble remains side stage. Holly Hynes’ orange-red, green-orange costumes, matching colors for each duo, were stunning, with Mr. De Luz in blue-grey. This striking visual enhances the score, especially in the soulful “Andante” pas de deux, slow motion, a weightless feat. Janie Taylor kneels in Tyler Angle’s arms and then flutters her feet in rapid motion. Ratmansky’s work is angular with dancers positioned with bent elbows, leaping about each other with powerful ensemble athletics and vigorous surprises. Yet, the style remains balletic, never modern.

Tyler Angle and Joaquin De Luz leaped about in brisk dynamics, with tight timing. Mr. De Luz executed full body springs that defied gravity. Ashley Bouder, another lead Principal, was rapid, rambunctious, coy, and connected. Concerto DSCH is replete with eloquence of mood, momentum, direction, and space. Now they fall on the stage, now they huddle, now they toss themselves about with abandon. There’s a taut design to this visual integration, and we cannot stop gazing at the gestalt. Moods shift, with flirtation, humor, the unexpected, and the audacious. Kudos to Alexei Ratmansky.

Maria Kowroski and Daniel Ulbricht in
Balanchine's "Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Tyler Angle and Janie Taylor in
Ratmansky's "Concerto DSCH"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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