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New York City Ballet: Serenade, Sonatas and Interludes, In Creases, N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz
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New York City Ballet: Serenade, Sonatas and Interludes, In Creases, N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Sonatas and Interludes
In Creases
N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz

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
June 1, 2013 Matinee

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Serenade (1948): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, new Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrews Sill, Performed by Megan Fairchild, , Megan LeCrone, Janie Taylor, 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)

Megan Fairchild danced one of the solos in tonight’s performance of Balanchine’s Serenade, a hypnotic and gripping early choreography, with simplicity of motion, feet sweeping the air like a rushing breeze. She was a tour de force with the expansive Corps in Karinska’s blue tulle tutus. Janie Taylor, another solo dancer, with Jared Angle and Adrian Danchig-Waring in male leads, was also windswept with blustery footwork, cutting space as she flew. Mr. Angle moved with focus and spark, but it was Mr. Danchig-Waring who caught my eye with his intensity of demeanor and ability to create muscular imagery that fits the mood. The Corps was exquisitely in sync, as the Tschaikovsky score unfolded, under the baton of Andrews Sill. At one point the Corps created a four-leaf clover figure of pastel blue, four dancers with arms spread up and forward. The audience was vocally enthused.

Sonatas and Interludes (1988): Music by John Cage, Choreography by Richard Tanner, Costumes by Carole Divet, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Pianist: Nancy McDill, Performed by Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar.

This duo is incomparable in City Ballet repertory, with Amar Ramasar and Sara Mearns both so fluid in technique and posture, so filled with exuberance and brio, so at one with the musicality. The John Cage score, with repetitive rhythms and wooden block tonality, with Nancy McDill on prepared piano, was fascinating. Without the visual of the Richard Tanner choreography, the music would have been dry and bland, but, here, with such sparkling performers, the sounds of a grandfather clock and bells were noticeable in this mesmerizing mix. Carole Divet’s white unitards with gold belts shone prominently in Mark Stanley’s lighting. The mix of retro and au courant genres added edge to the performance, with each dancer making the most of a showcased solo.

In Creases (2012): Music by Philip Glass, Choreography by Justin Peck, Costumes Conceived by Justin Peck and Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Pianos: Elaine Chelton and Cameron Grant, Performed by Sara Adams, Brittany Pollack, Emilie Gerrity, Gretchen Smith, Daniel Applebaum, Taylor Stanley, Robert Fairchild, and Christian Tworzyanski.

This 2012 Justin Peck work, with dancers in Mr. Peck’s and Marc Happel’s warm-up-styled leotards, that resemble Henri Rousseau’s 1908 painting, “The Football Players”, only without the stripes, is fairly brief but fresh and inviting. Elaine Chelton and Cameron Grant are on duo pianos, in the rear dimness. The ensemble of eight, almost all Corps, except for Robert Fairchild, a Principal, and Brittany Pollack, a Soloist, create kaleidoscopic figures, either facing the audience, with upward arms, or standing in horizontal lines, with arms stretched out, shifting position and shape periodically. Every level of stage and space are utilized. Mr. Fairchild’s solo includes scissors kicks in motion, a propulsive feat. Philip Glass’ Four Movements for Two Pianos was ever so captivating, with Ms. Chelton and Mr. Grant maximizing the effect of so many chords. In the ensemble, Ms. Pollack, Taylor Stanley, and Daniel Applebaum danced with extra vitality and vim. Mr. Peck continues to rise in the community of new ballet choreographers.

N. Y. Export: Opus Jazz (1958): Music by Robert Prince, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Florence Klotz, Scenery by Ben Shahn, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Conductor: Clotilde Otranto, Performed by Emilie Gerrity, Ashley Isaacs, Lauren King, Ashley Laracey, Meagan Mann, Kristen Segin, Gretchen Smith, Lydia Wellington, Zachary Catazaro, Cameron Dieck, Justin Peck, Allen Peiffer, Taylor Stanley, Christian Tworzyanski, Giovanni Villalobos, and Peter Walker. This work was first performed in Spoleto, Italy, in June, 1958, by Jerome Robbins' Ballets. The choreography is illustrative of "the drives and coolness' of jazz steps". Robert Prince wrote music for Robbins and for Broadway. (NYCB Notes).

On second viewing this season, with some shifts in casting, Jerome Robbins’ N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz was even more ebullient, with Gretchen Smith and Zachary Catazaro leading the “Statics” segment, so perky, edgy, and casual. Taylor Stanley and Ashley Laracey were heated in “Passage for Two”, with its luscious lifts and youthful romanticism, a contemporary pas de deux that’s evocative of Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun. The male-female partners are wound so close, but there’s a sense of emotional distraction, of inner contemplation, of ennui. The saxophones used for Robert Prince’s jazzed-up classical score were haunting, with Clotilde Otranto in the pit, and the finger-snapping, head-tossing motifs were, in themselves, evocative of Robbins’ “West Side Story Suite. The dancers’ shoulders propelled them in circular motion, while the sneakered feet hopped about like life was a gym.

Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar
in Richard Tanner's "Sonatas and Interludes"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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