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New York City Ballet: "La Stravaganza", "A Place for Us", "Todo Buenos Aires"
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New York City Ballet: "La Stravaganza", "A Place for Us", "Todo Buenos Aires"

- Onstage with the Dancers


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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

La Stravaganza
A Place for Us
Todo Buenos Aires

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
www.lincolncenter.org


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 25, 2014


(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

La Stravaganza (1997): Music by Antonio Vivaldi (Concerto No. 8, RV 249, excerpts from Dixit Dominus, Laudáte puéri Dóminum), Evelyn Ficcara (Sources of Uncertainty), Serge Morand (Naïves), Robert Normandeau (Éclats De Voix), Ake Parmerud (Laureats), Choreography by Angelin Preljocaj, Scenery by Maya Schweizer, Scenery Supervised by Mark Stanley, Costumes by Herve-Pierre, Costumes Supervised by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Asst. to Mr. Preljocaj, Naomie Perlov, Performed by Sara Adams, Brittany Pollack, Gretchen Smith, Devin Alberda, Joseph Gordon, Allen Peiffer, Emilie Gerrity, Claire Kretzschmar, Lydia Wellington, Daniel Applebaum, Craig Hall, and Sean Suozzi. .

Against Maya Schweizer’s background painting, that looks like a home falling onto burning brush, three contemporary couples happen onto three “Vermeer-like” couples in Herve-Pierre’s traditional Dutch white collars and formal costumes. This is a ballet with excerpts from music by five composers and with surreal meanings and innuendos. Passages include women biting or sniffing men’s arms from hand to shoulder, electronic bursts in the midst of Vivaldi, and confused characters meeting society from another world, as centuries collide. A high point for me was the sound of twittering birds, as recorded nature introduced and closed the score of this fragmented work. Among the brave performers, there were interestingly no Principals, but Gretchen Smith, Joseph Gordon, Daniel Applebaum, Craig Hall, and Sean Suozzi caught my eye. I have seen this full ballet twice and once in excerpt, and I have no desire at all to experience it again.


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.

This special pas de deux for the offstage/onstage couple, Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild, was all too brief. Dancing eloquently to Christopher Wheeldon’s customized choreography (the piece was created on them), both Principals stretched around each other, intertwining in contemporary, yet classy imagery. The motion was elastic, expansive, elegant. The Previn “Interlude” and Bernstein “Sonata”, both for clarinet and piano, were combined for the score of this ballet. It’s intimate, romantic, fanciful, and never maudlin or overdone. Replacing words, Mr. Fairchild claps rhythmically to beckon Ms. Peck, somewhat in the Graham style. At times, the dancers silently related to Steven Hartman on clarinet and Nancy McDill on piano. Kudos to the stage chemistry that was an act on its own.


Todo Buenos Aires (2000): Music by Astor Piazzolla (Pachouli, Escualo, La Mufa, Todo Buenos Aires, Michelangelo 70), Music Arranged by Ron Wasserman, Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Violin: Kurt Nikkanen, Clarinets: Steven Hartman, Double bass: Ron Wasserman, Piano: Nancy McDill, Bandoneón: JP Jofre, Performed by Joaquin De Luz, Maria Kowroski, Jared Angle, Robert Fairchild, Ashley Laracey, Adrian Danchig-Waring, and Amar Ramasar.

The original production of "Todo Buenos Aires" premiered in 2000 and was choreographed to two Piazzolla tangos, "La Mufa" and "Todo Buenos Aires". This expanded version uses five Piazzolla tangos, see above. Argentinean Astor Piazzolla fused tango, jazz, and classical elements for social and performance Argentine Tango and for cultural/classical concerts. (NYCB Notes).

Tonight was a rare night off for the orchestra and conductors. The first piece was danced to recorded music, while the final two were danced to onstage chamber music. Full disclosure, as a former, avid tanguera, I could watch Peter Martins’ Todo Buenos Aires once a week. Piazzolla is an intoxicating and magnetic composer, with rhythms and repetitions that stir and pierce the soul. Although this ballet is imbued with humor and sexiness, music and mood still throb with fervor and fever. Joaquin De Luz, a powerhouse performer from Spain, was central to the choreography, a dervish, one-man Greek Chorus, setting up the scenes. The five Piazzolla songs melded with the six dancers, only two of whom were women. Amar Ramasar and Mr. De Luz, of the entire cast, exuded the most intense affect, so requisite to the tango genre.

Maria Kowroski and Ashley Laracey, with Jared Angle, Robert Fairchild, Adrian Danchig-Waring, and Mr. Ramasar, executed ganchos, boléos, sentadas, and many basic tango steps with grace and mastery, interwoven within the ballet design. Of course, tango purists would argue it’s not authentic tango, but it’s not supposed to be. This is not ballroom or tango studio presentation, but rather a tribute from the ballet world to Argentine Tango. In fact, for the expanded 2005 version of this ballet, Argentinean, Guest Artist Julio Bocca, then a Principal with Ballet Theatre, starred here, across the Plaza from his comfortable stage, on Mr. Martins’ invitation. Ron Wasserman arranged the tangos for ballet for each version. Bravo to all!



NYC Ballet in
Preljocaj's "La Stravaganza"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik



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



Ashley Laracey
in Martins' "Todo Buenos Aires"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net