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New York City Ballet: Donizetti Variations, La Valse, Chaconne
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New York City Ballet: Donizetti Variations, La Valse, Chaconne

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Donizetti Variations
La Valse

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, Music Director Designate, Andrew Litton
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
January 22, 2015

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Daniel Capps

Donizetti Variations (1960): Music by Gaetano Donizetti (from Don Sebastiano), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Ashley Bouder, Joaquin De Luz, and the Company.

What a start for the Winter Ballet Season, with Ashley Bouder and Joaquin De Luz springing as if on batteries from the wings. Ms. Bouder arrived on stage as a determined sprite, ebullient and spirited. Both Principals were elated and outdoing each other in solo competitions, smiling as the other spun and leaped and dashed. The Donizetti score, conducted by Daniel Capps, was propulsive and sparkling. Each Variation of the theme brought new energy and pizzazz to the two-dancer “let’s show them” motif. Mr. De Luz is the quintessential partner, chivalrous and generous, as well.

La Valse (1951): Music by Maurice Ravel, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by Jean Rosenthal, Costumes by Karinska, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Jared Angle, Amar Ramasar, Lauren King, Antonio Carmena, Georgina Pazcoguin, Sean Suozzi, Ashley Laracey, Zachary Catazaro, and the Company. According to NYCB Notes, the Waltz was "...a dance craze (that) swept across Europe. Although first denounced as immoral, it soon became the most common social dance on the continent and has remained in the repertory of ballroom dancers to this day." Diaghilev originally asked Ravel to write "La Valse" for the Ballet Russes, but then he rejected the work. Balanchine used this work here, but added additional Valses from Ravel. (NYCB Notes).

It seemed surreal to experience Balanchine’s La Valse without Janie Taylor as the tragic heroine. Ms. Taylor had owned this role and retired with this work in her Farewell. However, Sterling Hyltin brought new style and fascination to the heroine, in the tulle Karinska costume with jeweled neck and hair pieces. In Part II, when she puts on the long black gloves and black filmy cloak and dies in dance, Jared Angle danced with impassioned angst, as her lover. Amar Ramasar, as the imposing figure of death, added deep, dark shadings of devilish doom in his restrained motion. Among the ensemble, in the seventh of eight waltzes of Part I, Zachary Catazaro, as the lone male with Marika Anderson, Gretchen Smith, and Lydia Wellington, was magnetic and charged. Georgina Pazcoguin and Sean Suozzi, in the fourth Part I waltz, and in Part II, could have entertained all night. A ballet for this duo would be in order, as they so easily complement each other’s powerful presence.

Chaconne (1976): Music by Christoph Willibald von Gluck (Ballet music from the opera “Orfeo ed Euridice”), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Maria Kowroski, Tyler Angle, and the Company.

Maria Kowroski has never danced better than now, as she performs in her prime. Her reliable partner, Tyler Angle, generously nurtured her throughout the lead of Chaconne, the third and final Balanchine ballet of the evening. This ballet in luscious Karinska gowns, amid a backdrop of clouds, could be painted on a museum mural. It’s so totally aesthetic, choreographed to von Gluck, from the opera, Orfeo ed Euridice, that it’s surreal. The Pas de Deux was rapturous and resplendent. Among the ensemble and corps, Erica Pereira and Anthony Huxley caught my eye with their spritely speed and spirit. The Chaconne, a dance built on a phrase in the bass…to end an opera in a festive mood (NYCB Notes), was led by Ms. Kowroski and Mr. Angle, with the entire ensemble in motion.

Kudos to George Balanchine.

Ashley Bouder in
George Balanchine's "Donizetti Variations"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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