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New York City Ballet: Two Hearts, Soirée Musicale, A Place for Us, Hallelujah Junction
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New York City Ballet: Two Hearts, Soirée Musicale, A Place for Us, Hallelujah Junction

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Two Hearts
Soirée Musicale
A Place for Us
Hallelujah Junction

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 15, 2013

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Daniel Capps

Two Hearts (2012) Music by Nico Muhly, Commissioned by New York City Ballet, Choreography by Benjamin Millepied, Costumes by Kate & Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, Costumes Supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Roderick Murray, Singer: Dawn Landes, Performed by Tiler Peck, Tyler Angle, and the Company.

On third viewing of this soporific piece, by Benjamin Millepied, some of the spoken refrains were literally incomprehensible and unbearable. The macabre Nico Muhly score, sung by Dawn Landes, remains annoying and distracting. . It occurred to me that a flute accompaniment to the same tune would work better. Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle, who have consistently been cast in this duo ballet, however, shone brightly in Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte’s chiaroscuro leotards, as they groped and grasped each other’s bodies in this less than satisfying dance. The choreography is gravity testing, as the ensemble of twelve refigures about the stage. Finally, after Ms. Peck winds down Mr. Angle’s legs, she leaps into his open arms.

Soiree Musicale (1998): Music by Samuel Barber, Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Costumes by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Penny Jacobus, Performed by Chase Finlay, Lauren Lovette, Brittany Pollack, Taylor Stanley, and the Corps.

Two Wheeldon works were placed back to back, the first being his Soirée Musicale, from 1998, originally choreographed for School of American Ballet. This piece was exceptionally exuberant, somewhat like a French ballroom dance school’s end of week social, with Tango, Two-Step, Waltz, and a Scottisché. Samuel Barber’s “Souvenirs Ballet Suite” was radiant and elated, as was the ensemble. Holly Hynes’ long tutus were beautifully designed in bright colors, with men in faux tuxedo motifs, and the deep midnight sky, thanks to Penny Jacobus’ lighting, included twinkling stars, after a black curtain rose.

The Waltz segment reminded me of ballroom class practice, with balanced and poised posture, angled affect, refined sophistication. The crème de la crème of youthful dancers appeared here, Sara Adams, Harrison Ball, Lauren Lovette, Chase Finlay, Brittany Pollack, and Taylor Stanley. The Scottisché, performed by Indiana Woodward and Kristen Segin, plus Ralph Ippolito and Peter Walker, was filled with youthful courtship. Brittany Pollack starred in the Tango, with twelve male dancers, as she comically slid across the stage, and as they kept arriving in their formal attire. The Two-Step featured three women and two men, with Sara Adams and Taylor Stanley drawing me in, and the Pas de Deux featured Lauren Lovette and Chase Finlay, a well-matched duo, in ingénue freshness of spirit. I look forward to seeing this piece again in coming seasons.

A Place for Us (2013): Music by André Previn and Leonard Bernstein, Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Costumes by Joseph Altuzarra, Costumes Supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Penny Jacobus, Clarinetist: Steven Hartman, Piano: Nancy McDill, Performed by Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild.

The second Christopher Wheeldon work tonight was A Place for Us, a recent premiere, with an André Previn - Leonard Bernstein score. Steven Hartman was on clarinet and Nancy McDill on piano for the two intersecting Sonatas for Piano and Clarinet. This was a brilliant concept from an ingenious choreographer, and the entire work was effervescent. It’s a Pas de Deux for Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild. Ms. Peck luxuriantly swings around Mr. Fairchild, who was ever chivalrous and charismatic, attentive and animated. Joseph Altuzarra’s costumes had flair and fashion, and the duo picked up on this ravishing imagery with pure joy. I look forward to seeing this new work again soon, as well as the previous Wheeldon revival..

Hallelujah Junction (2001): Music by John Adams, Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Kirsten Lund Nielsen, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Duo Pianists: Cameron Grant and Susan Walters, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Gonzalo Garcia, Daniel Ulbricht, Lauren King, Erica Pereira, Brittany Pollack, Lauren Lovette, Daniel Applebaum, Allen Peiffer, David Prottas, and Troy Schumacher.

Peter Martins’ Hallelujah Junction is a work I enjoyed revisiting. It’s rapidly timed, with building momentum and vibrancy, choreographed to a John Adams score. Two pianists, Cameron Grant and Susan Walters, sit rear stage at two dimly lit grand pianos, and three Principals lead the ensemble of eight. Sterling Hyltin was zestfully partnered by Gonzalo Garcia, while Daniel Ulbricht had the central dynamic role of dizzying spins and jumps. This angular, fast-spinning ballet brings the ensemble to every corner of the stage, at breakneck speed. The rhythms of the word, “Hal-le-LU-jah” are the centered rhythms of this dance. Ms. Hyltin and Mr. Garcia were in white, with Mr. Ulbricht in black. The imagery I came away with was Ms. Hyltin draped about Mr. Garcia’s neck, snake-like. The ballet is challenging and charged.

Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild
in Christopher Wheeldon's "A Place for Us"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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