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New York City Ballet: "Robert Schumann’s Davidsbundlertanze", "Union Jack"

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New York City Ballet
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Robert Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze
Union Jack

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
May 17, 2014 Matinee

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Clotilde Otranto

Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze" (1980): Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Cameron Grant, Performed by Rebecca Krohn, Tiler Peck, Ashley Laracey, Teresa Reichlen, Tyler Angle, Russell Janzen, Zachary Catazaro, and Sean Suozzi.

Balanchine’s Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze" is always an intriguing, sumptuous piece, with candelabras, chiffon draperies (Kudos to Rouben Ter-Arutunian), twilight to midnight lighting, and the image of a far-away land, with the ocean and a castle painted on the backdrop. Romance is everywhere, all passion and eloquence. The four couples danced with exquisite skill and emotional projection. Rebecca Krohn, Tyler Angle, Tiler Peck, Russell Janzen, Ashley Laracey, Zachary Catazaro, Teresa Reichlen, and Sean Suozzi were all at one with Schumann’s music, as duo relationships took twists and turns, when the score became impassioned, tumultuous, or yearning. Each female dancer threw romantic drama and conflict into the mix, while the men added their own machismo, madness, or magnetism. Cameron Grant’s onstage piano performance of this superb Schumann score was especially poignant.

Union Jack (1976): Music by Hershy Kay (Adapted from Traditional British Music), Music commissioned by New York City Ballet, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Gonzalo Garcia, Andrew Veyette, and male Company as Scottish and Canadian Guards Regiments, Lennox and Dress MacLeod, by Abi Stafford and female Company as Green Montgomerie, by Jared Angle and male Company as Menzies, by Sterling Hyltin and female Company as Dress MacDonald, by Sara Mearns and female Company as MacDonald of Sleat, by Ashley Bouder and female Company as RCAF, by Megan Fairchild, Amar Ramasar, Elizabeth Haarsgaard and Shelby Mann in Costermonger Pas de Deux, by Troy Schumacher, Sara Mearns, Giovanni Villalobos, Andrew Veyette, Sterling Hyltin, Gonzalo Garcia, Abi Stafford, Jared Angle, and the Company as Royal Navy, and by Ashley Bouder and female Company as WRENS.

This one hour, one-act ballet is always riveting, as it opens with that everlasting drum roll, each ensemble clan marching and filing, one batch of colorful tartans at a time. Maestro Otranto kept the Hershy Kay score of British music seamlessly shifting, from marching to jigs to Vaudeville to nautical whistles. Of the leaders of various clans, Sara Mearns, of MacDonald of Sleat, was especially glowing and mesmerizing, radiating joy and expansive energy. Sterling Hyltin, leading Dress MacDonald, across from Jared Angle, leading Menzies, was sparkling, with extra fast kicks and entertaining presence. Megan Fairchild assumed the role of Amar Ramasar’s flask-guzzling partner, in Costermonger Pas de Deux, usually reserved for the now retired Jenifer Ringer. Mr. Ramasar and Ms. Fairchild were campy, charming, and ever-so-delightful. Mr. Ramasar danced and mimed with exuberance and audience connection, along with the donkey cart and two students from School of American Ballet.

The comedic scene is followed by the Royal Navy in navy bellbottoms and caps. Troy Schumacher was especially electrified in his lightning spins. Andrew Veyette re-appears in the lead, as do Sara Mearns, Sterling Hyltin, Gonzalo Garcia, Jared Angle, and Abi Stafford, having earlier led the regiments in kilts. Ashley Bouder, as lead RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) and WRENS (Women’s Royal Naval Service), has expanded the role with winking perkiness. She was sly with technical prowess. The full Company was onstage for the hand flag signals in homage to British royalty, spelling “God Save the Queen”. Finally, a large British flag forms in the backdrop, with bursts of cannons. Union Jack is a must-see ballet for all ages.

Rebecca Krohn in George Balanchine's
"Robert Schumann's 'Davidsbündlertänze'"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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