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New York City Ballet: Thou Swell, Carousel (A Dance), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
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New York City Ballet: Thou Swell, Carousel (A Dance), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Thou Swell
Carousel (A Dance)
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

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
May 7, 2013

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Clotilde Otranto

Thou Swell (2003): Music by Richard Rodgers, Music Arranged by Gene Kelly, Orchestrations by Don Sebesky, Choreography by Peter Martins, Scenery by Robin Wagner, Costumes by Julius Lumsden, Costumes Supervised by Julie Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Guest Singers, Chloe and Joe Paparella, Trio, Alan Moverman on Piano, Ron Wasserman on Bass, James Saporito on Drums, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Robert Fairchild, Sara Mearns, Jared Angle, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, Jenifer Ringer, Amar Ramasar, and the Company.

For me, Peter Martins’ Thou Swell is always a draw and a high point of the evening. The Richard Rodgers songs, like “Getting to Know You”, “My Heart Stood Still”, and “The Lady Is a Tramp” are played by the full City Ballet Orchestra, tonight conducted by the dynamic Clotilde Otranto, and a three-man jazz trio of orchestra members, plus two guest singers. Robin Wagner’s scenery has elegant stairs and achieves the concept of an onstage nightclub, with bistro tables and the Corps as waiters.

Amar Ramasar partnered Jenifer Ringer, and I noticed Mr. Ramasar’s extra styling, a Broadway beat, with his knee forward. Ms. Ringer was dazzling and intriguing. With the immediacy of the live singers and onstage trio, the audience is swept in. Sterling Hyltin’s red-ruffled dress wowed the crowd, especially with her charismatic partner, Robert Fairchild. Mr. Fairchild dances like a Broadway star here, only with balletic prowess, and he captivates the imagination. Sara Mearns and Jared Angle lusciously spun about, and Mr. Angle even took a few bars at the keyboard. Ask la Cour, who partnered the magnetic Teresa Reichlen, was beaming and took extra risks, with high kicks to his head that matched the long-limbed Ms. Reichlen. I thought, while watching this lovely performance, that this piece should be expanded with a story line for a two- or three-act theatrical ballet.

Carousel (A Dance) (2002): Music by Richard Rodgers, Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Arranged and Orchestrated by William David Brohn, Costumes by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Tiler Peck, Andrew Veyette, Georgina Pazcoguin, Daniel Applebaum, Brittany Pollack, Taylor Stanley, and the Company.

This Wheeldon choreography from 2002 always reveals a new image, a new surprise. Tonight I focused on the cartwheels that the Company presented that mimic a circular carousel, even a Ferris wheel. When the Corps women were carried atop the shoulders of the males, holding poles, they were a rapturous carousel in motion. Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette were the young lovers here, with Ms. Peck graceful and ingénue. Mr. Veyette was more distant emotionally, but his dance dynamic was robust and vibrant. Mark Stanley’s lighting is intrinsic to the popularity of this ballet, with his tiny stars on a nighttime sky. The warmth of the carousel lighting is remarkable. Also in the spotlight were Taylor Stanley and Brittany Pollack, Daniel Applebaum and Georgina Pazcoguin. These two couples danced with ravishing jubilance and youthful fervor. In the Corps, Harrison Ball caught my eye.

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1968): Music by Richard Rodgers (from On Your Toes, 1936), Re-Orchestrated by Hershy Kay, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by Jo Mielziner, Costumes by Irene Sharaff, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Fayçal Karoui, Performed by Robert Fairchild, Sara Mearns, Justin Peck, David Prottas, Ralph Ippolito, Russell Janzen, and the Company.

It was fascinating to see this campy, retro Balanchine work with a different cast, as each lead dancer interprets the role uniquely. Sara Mearns was the Striptease Girl, a role most often danced by Maria Kowroski. Instead of accenting the limbs, as Ms. Kowroski does splendidly, Ms. Mearns accented her upper torso and head, throwing them back with high humor. Robert Fairchild was the Hoofer, a role often danced by Tyler Angle. Instead of the facial gestures usually accented by Mr. Angle, Mr. Fairchild accented his tap talent, especially in the final minutes, when the armed thug can be seen, gazing from his box seat. Ralph Ippolito and Russell Janzen were splendid in their tough guy roles. Justin Peck was in the role of Big Boss, usually performed by the tall, angular Ask la Cour. Physically, Mr. Peck can be more menacing, as he has also danced Tybalt in Romeo.... There was edge and heft in tonight’s presentation. Ms. Mearns and Mr. Fairchild are both compelling and gripping to watch, on any level, and here they were astounding.

Kudos to Richard Rodgers, for all the gorgeous music in tonight’s three-piece program.

Sara Mearns and Jared Angle
in Peter Martins' "Thou Swell"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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