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New York City Ballet: "Bal de Couture", "DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse", "The Four Seasons"
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New York City Ballet: "Bal de Couture", "DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse", "The Four Seasons"

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Bal de Couture
DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse
The Four Seasons

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
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 12, 2014

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Guest Conductor: Nicolette Fraillon

Bal de Couture (2012): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Valentino, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Costume Supervision by Marc Happel, Performed by Savannah Lowery, Jared Angle, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, Rebecca Krohn, Jonathan Stafford, Ashley Laracey, Andrew Veyette, Sterling Hyltin, Robert Fairchild, Abi Stafford, Amar Ramasar, Erica Pereira, Anthony Huxley Lauren Lovette, Antonio Carmena, Brittany Pollack, Taylor Stanley, Janie Taylor, and Sébastien Marcovici.

The past two years, there’s been a revolving series of Guest Conductors, and today another arrived, named Nicolette Fraillon. She had her work cut out, with three scores by Tschaikovsky, Nyman, and Verdi. Peter Martins’ Bal de Couture, created in 2012 for a Fall Gala, is light and resplendent. Valentino’s fanciful red, black, white, and bright pink costumes are evocative of “Gaîté Parisienne”. The piece is quasi-fashion show, with a sloping runway and elegant romanticism. Ten couples include Janie Taylor and Sébastien Marcovici, partners on and off stage, who will retire in a week or so. There’s a tiny drama, within the theatrics, with Janie Taylor conflicted between two men. Ms. Taylor could make any costume dazzle like diamonds, as she’s so glamorous and porcelain in her demeanor. Some of the deep pink pointe shoes were reminiscent of The Red Shoes, an eloquent film of yore. I find this ballet dreamlike and fanciful, somewhat in the mood of Mr. Martins’ Thou Swell. The Tschaikovsky score, from Eugene Onegin and Élegie in G for Strings, is refined and dramatic. The dance choreography seems secondary to the catwalk-styled fashion presentation, but its waltz-like swirling hints at actual Gala dancing. Throughout, this ballet is eye candy, lovely. Fred Astaire would have been comfortable.

DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse (2012): Music by Michael Nyman, Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Scenery and Costumes by Jean-Marc Puissant, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Lighting recreated by Jesse Belsky, Performed by Sara Mearns, Robert Fairchild, Megan Fairchild, Gonzalo Garcia, Lauren Lovette, Craig Hall, Brittany Pollack, Amar Ramasar, and the Company.

DGV, another masterpiece in the Wheeldon repertoire, is exciting and thrilling to watch and experience. Its propulsive motion, with Jean-Marc Puissant’s set and Michael Nyman’s score, is evocative of a speeding train. This piece is cacophonous and wild, with Megan Fairchild and Gonzalo Garcia substituting for Ashley Bouder and Joaquin De Luz, both out tonight. Sara Mearns and Robert Fairchild fed off each other’s dramatization, but one problem with this dance is distance. It was very hard to see individual dancers, as they are almost all rear stage in dimness. The front line bent forward, shifting single shapes and group figures. The train imagery, that implodes near the end of the piece, overwhelms the performers. The ballet is thrilling, but no one dancer is able to achieve compelling momentum, with all the energy absorbed through ensemble choreography and scenery. Lauren Lovette was partnered by Craig Hall, and Brittany Pollack was partnered by Amar Ramasar. Among the Corps, Zachary Catazaro and Gretchen Smith caught my eye.

The Four Seasons (1979): Music by Giuseppe Verdi, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Scenery and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Joshua Thew as Janus, Russell Janzen as Winter, Stephanie Chrosniak as Spring, Dana Jacobson as Summer, Aaron Sanz as Fall, Ralph Ippolito, Erica Pereira, Troy Schumacher, Sterling Hyltin, Tyler Angle, Teresa Reichlen, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Tiler Peck, Andrew Veyette, Daniel Ulbricht, and the Company. Verdi was known as a prolific composer of opera and was active in Italian politics. “The Four Seasons” draws upon Verdi's operas, I Vespri Siciliani, I Lombardi, and Il Trovatore. (NYCB Notes).

It was wonderful to re-visit Robbins’ The Four Seasons, with some changes in the former casting. Once again, Joshua Thew was Janus, the caped figure, who invites and dismisses the leads and casts of each of the four seasons. Russell Jansen summoned Winter, with Ralph Ippolito, Erica Pereira, and Troy Schumacher in the lead. The audience always loves the shivering, freezing Corps gestures, as they huddle in projected snow. Ms. Pereira, a Soloist, deserves kudos for her luscious leaps and charismatic charm. In Spring, summoned by Stephanie Chrosniak, Sterling Hyltin and Tyler Angle starred in a lengthy pas de deux, backed by a Corps quartet. While Ms. Hyltin and Mr. Angle were warmly lyrical, it was the Corps quartet, dancing like the Cygnettes in Swan Lake, that transported me, with synchronized choreography that was widely applauded.

Summer was summoned by Dana Jacobson and led by Teresa Reichlen and Adrian Danchig-Waring. For me this was the highlight of the evening, with two hugely charismatic dancers in brilliant form. Together they breathed the heat of summer, and the Corps of six included the always smiling Gwyneth Muller. The final Fall segment was summoned by Aaron Sanz and led by Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette. Here humor returned, as Ms. Peck and Mr. Veyette wowed the audience with fancy flourishes and snappy footwork. Daniel Ulbricht is the consummate, spritely Pan. His mid-air bouncing jumps were electric and spirited.

Janie Taylor and Sébastien Marcovici
in Martins' "Bal de Couture"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Erica Pereira and NYC Ballet
in Robbins' "The Four Seasons"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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