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New York City Ballet: Seasons

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New York City Ballet
(NYC Ballet Website)

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 Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Managing Director, Communications, Robert Daniels
Assoc. Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns
Manager, Press Relations, Joe Guttridge
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 8, 2008

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).
Conductor: Fayçal Karoui

Watermill (1972): Music by Teiji Ito, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Patricia Zipprodt, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Décor by Jerome Robbins in association with David Reppa, Performed by Nikolaj Hübbe (Special Guest), Kaitlyn Gilliland, Zachary Catazaro, Matthew Renko, Adam Hendrickson, and the Company, with Guest Musicians on Ancient Flutes and Asian Percussion.

I saw Watermill on this night, specifically to catch sight one more time of the recently retired Nikolaj Hübbe, in the lead role. Watermill is one of those must-see-only-once ballets, with Teiji Ito’s hypnotic Asian music, including a bamboo flute, of the sort played in 13th century Japan, a large gong, and so on. The score is intense, deliberate, and endless, with onstage choreography that would mimic hallucinatory imagery. Mr. Hübbe removes a robe and clothing down to white briefs, not in a sexual or even self-aware manner, but rather like sleep-walking or like drug-induced motion.

Large stacks of straw inhabit the stage, and figures move about, signifying in some way the character’s own youth. Kaitlyn Gilliland, one of the most mesmerizing of City Ballet’s female corps, is slowly seduced by Zachary Catazaro, and Mr. Hübbe observes the sexually charged encounter with dense affect. Adam Hendrickson appears as a wild lion, and Matthew Renko also appears, as a wandering figure. Throughout this one-hour intermission-less work, Mr. Hübbe remained transfixed in bare muscularity, noble and serene. However, snoring could be heard in several nearby rows.

The Four Seasons (1979): Music by Giuseppe Verdi, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Scenery and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Jason Fowler as Janus, Justin Peck as Winter, Kaitlyn Gilliland as Spring, Briana Shepherd as Summer, Henry Seth as Fall, Sean Suozzi, Sterling Hyltin, Christian Tworzyanski, Sara Mearns, Jared Angle, Rebecca Krohn, Amar Ramasar, Ashley Bouder, Joaquin De Luz, Antonio Carmena, and the Company. Verdi was known as a prolific composer of opera and was active in Italian politics. The Four Seasons draws upon Verdi's operas, I Vespri Siciliani, I Lombardi, and Il Trovatore. (NYCB Notes).
On revisiting The Four Seasons, another Jerome Robbins revival, I was struck by the Company’s refinement and fine-tuning of each of the four segments.

In “Winter”, the female corps is charming in its shivering images, while Sean Suozzi, Sterling Hyltin, and Christian Tworzyanski lead the incandescent choreography, in the frostiest white costumes against a snowy lit backdrop. In “Spring”, Sara Mearns and Jared Angle danced with smooth, perfumed polish, and both dancers are poised as memorable City Ballet stars. In “Summer”, Amar Ramasar, also poised for City Ballet stardom, partnered Rebecca Krohn with personality and poise. In “Fall”, Joaquin De Luz and Ashley Bouder were pulsating and propulsive in the most electrifying of the four “seasons”, while Antonio Carmena appeared as the faun, a cartoonish character that leaps and crawls about with wit and wildness. Kudos to Santo Loquasto for scenery and costumes. His design contributions to the dance community are vast.

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