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New York City Ballet: "Concerto Barocco", "Other Dances", "Neverwhere", "Who Cares?"
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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Concerto Barocco
Other Dances
Who Cares?

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 28, 2014

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Concerto Barocco (1948): Music by John Sebastian Bach (Double Violin Concerto in D Minor), Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrews Sill, 1st Violin: Kurt Nikkanen, 2nd Violin: Arturo Delmoni, Performed by Maria Kowroski, Sara Mearns, Justin Peck, and the Company.

Once again, duo violinists, Arturo Delmoni and Kurt Nikkanen provided depth and dynamism to this virtuosic score by Bach. Andrews Sill kept the pace brisk and buoyant. Maria Kowroski and Sara Mearns were joined by the gallant Justin Peck, who partnered Ms. Kowroski with focus and chivalry. Ms. Kowroski flowed with full leg sweeps against the stage. Also, when carried by Mr. Peck, she created swimming motions, pushing the air with Bach refrains. Ms. Mearns was smooth and relaxed, and both principals were in Balanchine’s preferred, white silky tutus. The women’s footwork was rhythmic and rapid, bouncing off the stage en pointe.

Other Dances (1976): Music by Frédéric Chopin, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Pianist: Cameron Grant, Performed by Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia.

In youthful fervor, arms held in romantic poses, Robbins’ Youthful Dances sprung forth onstage tonight with the luscious Chopin score. Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia stand near Cameron Grant, at the piano, before they proceed toward center stage. The fantasy work brings art and life together in sumptuous musicality. Each dancer aggrandizes the other’s stage entrance, through gestural mime. The series of solos, somewhat same or similar, are like a stream of sensuous interludes, here actually presented between Bach and Muhly. Mr. Grant breezed through the Chopin Mazurkas and Waltz with dramatic mastery. Santo Loquasto designed the woman’s pink dress and the man’s purple tights and flowing shirt with a perfect sense of musical imagery.

Neverwhere (2013): Music by Nico Muhly, Choreography by Benjamin Millepied, Costumes by Iris Van Herpen, Costumes supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Viola: Susan Pray, Piano: Nancy McDill, Performed by Emilie Gerrity, Sterling Hyltin, Lauren Lovette, Joseph Gordon, Tyler Angle, Craig Hall.

On second viewing tonight, of this recent Millepied work, with Marc Happel’s modernistic black costumes, shiny in plasticity, I was even more enthused. Iris Van Herpen’s shiny woven costumes, with plasticized ballet-boots were even more light-catching, as women danced “en pointe, en boot”, so to speak. One vignette evokes David Parson’s Caught, with darkness and spotlight following a quasi-firefly dancer en air. Chamber soloists were Susan Pray on viola and Nancy McDill on piano, for Nico Muhly’s Drones and Viola. In addition to the spotlighted segment, dancers spun in hand-held circles and partners shifted. Mark Stanley’s lighting included a moving pyramid backdrop to expand the stage design. Craig Hall and Lauren Lovette created stunning lifts, while Emilie Gerrity and Joseph Gordon merged nicely into this modern mix. Kudos to Marc Happel and Mark Stanley, and kudos to Mr. Millepied..

Who Cares? (1970): Music by George Gershwin, Adapted and Orchestrated by Hershy Kay, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by Jo Mielziner, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Clotilde Otranto, Pianist: Elaine Chelton, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Teresa Reichlen, Ashly Isaacs, Ask la Cour, and the Company. Balanchine and George Gershwin collaborated on “Goldwyn’s Follies” in Hollywood, but before it was released (1938) Gershwin tragically died. Thirty-three years later, Balanchine choreographed “Who Cares?” to sixteen of Gershwin’s songs that had been composed between 1924 and 1931, including “Embraceable You”, “I Got Rhythm”, and “The Man I Love”. Balanchine used these songs to celebrate the energy and style of Manhattan (with assistance from NYCB Notes).

This ebullient ballet is a tribute to George Gershwin, with whom George Balanchine had collaborated. The sixteen songs include “S’ Wonderful”, “My One and Only”, and “Who Cares?”. The background scenery, designed by Jo Mielziner, is red, white, blue, and glistening New York skyline. For certain dances, stars shine and a moon appears over the landscape. Santo Loquasto’s bright, shiny costumes are just perfect for the mood and motif. Clotilde Otranto made an appearance, as well, to conduct this scintillating score. Also appearing tonight, although with the orchestra, was Elaine Chelton, solo pianist, whose magnificent interpretations of “Liza”, “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”, and “I Got Rhythm” were incomparable. Her tonal dynamics and flourishes were captivating.

Ask la Cour had the honors of the male solo, who partners Megan Fairchild, Teresa Reichlen, and Ashly Isaacs. His “Liza” was smooth and debonair, cooler and more restrained in personality than were previous solo performers in this role. Yet, he partnered Ms. Isaacs with care and suavity in “Embraceable You”, Ms. Fairchild in “The Man I Love” (adorable with the enormous difference in height), and Ms. Reichlen in “Who Cares?”. Ms. Isaacs, a Corps dancer, wowed the crowd, as tonight’s new face, in “My One and Only”. Ms. Reichlen’s “I’ll Build a Staircase to Paradise” was stunning and sensuous. Ms. Fairchild burned the floor in “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”. In the Corps, Lauren King, Devin Alberda, and Peter Walker caught my eye. Kudos to George Gershwin.

Maria Kowroski and Sara Mearns in
George Balanchine's "Concerto Barocco"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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