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New York City Ballet: Symphonic Dances, The Cage, Andantino, Cortege Hongrois
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New York City Ballet: Symphonic Dances, The Cage, Andantino, Cortege Hongrois

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Symphonic Dances
The Cage
Cortège Hongrois

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
February 1, 2015 Matinee

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Andrews Sill

Symphonic Dances (1994): Music by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Teresa Reichlen, Zachary Catazaro, Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Unity Phelan, Ashley Hod, Indiana Woodward, Harrison Ball, Spartak Hoxha, Joseph Gordon, Peter Walker, and the Company.

Peter Martins’ Symphonic Dances is imbued with his requisite lushness and loveliness, with romance in the air, as Teresa Reichlen and Zachary Catazaro dash to and fro, swirl with arms outstretched, hands upright, and spin in dervish momentum. What could be more mesmerizing than Rachmaninoff symphonies (the specific score is sadly unlisted)? Andrews Sill was in the pit this afternoon, throughout, and he kept the orchestra sumptuous. One of Mr. Martins’ motifs for the lead couple was the image of turning together, arms twirling, plus tosses and lifts. Zachary Catazaro turned with arms like propellers, as did the men in the ensemble. Mr. Catazaro, a Soloist, has a bright future in the Company, as he makes each of his roles riveting and ravishing. Harrison Ball, Spartak Hoxha, Joseph Gordon, and Peter Walker, probably the four most dynamic men in the Corps, made an exceptional, propulsive quartet. This newly showcased, 1994 gem, with blue, green, white visuals, should be staged more often.

The Cage (1951): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Ruth Sobotka, Décor by Jean Rosenthal, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Sterling Hyltin as The Novice, Emily Kikta as The Queen, Justin Peck and Sean Suozzi as The Intruders, and the Company as The Group. A ballet about the female species as predators and the male species as prey. Score is "Concerto in D for String Orchestra, "Basler" (1946). (NYCB Notes).

With Wendy Whelan and Janie Taylor both now retired from the Company, Sterling Hyltin is enjoying a grand showcase in many of their renowned roles. She glows in La Valse and here, again, in Jerome Robbins’ The Cage. But, in addition to Ms. Hyltin’s stunning performance, as spidery women attack and consume male “intruders”, Justin Peck was extraordinary (he’s also an extraordinary choreographer) as the first “Intruder”. His height and muscularity in the very brief costume, made him gripping, as the usually winsome, wiry Ms. Sterling was in predatory mode, moving with lightning quick limbs. Sean Suozzi, as well, as the second “Intruder”, a powerful dancer, was taken down quickly, with the help of Emily Kikta as The Queen. The female spidery ensemble of twelve, in wild wigs and insect-like unitards, was fully dramatic and driven.

Andantino (1981): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (from 1st Piano Concerto, Second Movement), Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Piano Solo: Susan Walters, Performed by Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette.

Once again, the dream duo of Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette (he dances with renewed energy and prowess, when partnered with Ms. Bouder) appeared in Jerome Robbins’ Andantino, with Susan Walters on solo piano. The Tschaikovsky score, from the Piano Concerto No. 1, is scintillating and transporting, Mr. Veyette, in a flowing, silky shirt, and Ms. Bouder, in a pale, silky leotard, danced with chemistry and seasoned trust. The lifts and intertwining bodies enhanced the vibrant, rhythmic motion. Ms. Walters brought Tschaikovsky to life in the moment.

Cortège Hongrois (1973): Music by Alexander Glazounov (from Raymonda), Choreography by George Balanchine, Décor and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Maria Kowroski, Russell Janzen, Georgina Pazcoguin, Craig Hall, and the Company. The ballet title derives from "corteggio", or Italian divertissements, with a Hungarian enhancement. There are references to Glazounov's score for Petipa's full-length Raymonda and also for Balanchine's Raymonda Variations. (Program Notes).

The Glazounov score, from Raymonda, is filled with Eastern European rhythms and refrains, percussive chords, and swirling dervish musicality. Two Couples, Maria Kowroski with Russell Janzen and Georgina Pazcoguin with Craig Hall, led this ebullient Balanchine work. The Czardas, showcased by Ms. Pazcoguin (she should be seen in more lead roles), and Mr. Hall, a great partner here, were buoyant and enthused, then astounding. Brittany Pollack (another Soloist who should be seen in more leads) danced the enticing solo Variation I, with allure. The pièce de résistance, however, was the Pas de Deux for Maria Kowroski and Russell Janzen. Mr. Janzen, recently promoted to Soloist, provided the partnering needed to allow Ms. Kowroski to glow. And, glow she did. Ms. Kowroski, who has repetitive dance refrains with a clap and a turn of head and a bouncing knee, and so on, in Hungarian dance fashion, sparkled with personality and pulse. Kudos to all.

Justin Peck and Sterling Hyltin
in Jerome Robbins' "The Cage"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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