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New York City Ballet: Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Sonatine, Mozartiana, Symphony in C
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New York City Ballet: Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Sonatine, Mozartiana, Symphony in C

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Walpurgisnacht Ballet
Symphony in C

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: Andrew Litton
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects: Robert Daniels
Associate Dir. Communications: Katharina Plumb
Communications Associate: Kina Poon
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 26, 2016

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Andrew Litton

Walpurgisnacht Ballet, from Gounod’s “Faust” (1980): Music by Charles François Gounod, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Sara Mearns, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Erica Pereira, Alina Dronova, Kristin Segin, and the Company. This is a Balanchine choreographed scene from the last act of the opera "Faust" on the eve of May Day, a dance of wandering souls, joyful revelry. (NYCB Notes).

A luscious purple background and dark pink tutus warm this ballet, with its swelling musical momentum and its spritely solos. Sara Mearns and Adrian Danchig-Waring appear in white classical Karinska costumes, and their elegant pas de deux was combined with Ms. Mearns’ solo, to be followed by Erica Pereira’s stunning spotlight. Mr. Danchig-Waring’s magnetic muscularity and presence expanded his charisma. Figures of four corps dancers on each side of the leads made this iconic Balanchine work both predictably symmetrical and unpredictably dramatic. Ponytails shift to tumbling hair, Ms. Mearns leaps onto Mr. Danchig-Waring’s shoulders, and Ms. Pereira and the corps hold arms up, while on bent knees below. What seemed destined for familiar fashion, was, instead, sumptuously stirring. Ms. Mearns expanded the genre with aplomb, and, among the corps, Kristen Segin and Lara Tong caught my eye.

Sonatine (1975): Music by Maurice Ravel, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Pianist: Cameron Grant, Performed by Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz. This ballet was presented in the 1975 NYC Ballet Ravel Festival. It is about a gentle stroll for two onstage with the pianist. (Program Notes).

Ravel’s Sonatine for Piano is scintillating and oft surreal, tonight performed by Cameron Grant, pianist. Balanchine’s ballet is interactive on stage, showcasing two dancers and pianist, amidst shades of blue. Joaquin De Luz, ever the chivalrous cavalier, partnered Tiler Peck, ever the effervescent, technically pure ballerina. The gestalt was superb. Mr. Grant would play an introduction to a stage segment, and Mr. De Luz would walk back to the spotlight, spinning deliriously. Ms. Peck, whirling with electricity and imbued with warmth, exuded sparks of chemistry with Mr. De Luz. Mr. Grant brought out the spellbinding tones of the impressionistic piano piece. Those tones lent luminosity to nuanced choreography, such as Mr. De Luz placing Ms. Peck’s arms on his shoulder. This ballet was ravishing and romantic.

Mozartiana (1981): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (Suite No. 4, Op. 61), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Daniel Ulbricht, Anthony Huxley, Marika Anderson, Megan Johnson, Emily Kikta, Gwyneth Muller, and students from the School of American Ballet (SAB): Emily Fassberg, Elizabeth Hasapis, Valencia Hochberg, Holly Wersinger. Tschaikovsky studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine also studied piano and dance. The original NYC Ballet cast included Suzanne Farrell, Ib Andersen, and Christopher d’Amboise. (NYCB Notes).

Sterling Hyltin’s wing-like arms (hands down and fingers open) were held in a precise arch, with the children of SAB in equally precise positions, an amazing feat. Tschaikovsky's evocation of Mozart plays exquisitely to this stark yet ethereal imagery. The black lace dresses, black tutus, and the mostly female ensemble (with the exception of Anthony Huxley in Theme and Variations as a sensitive, silent presence and Daniel Ulbricht as the seasoned dynamo in Gigue) created a stillness and starkness that were palpable. The violin solo was rapturous, and Mr. Huxley’s white/black/purple costume added just a touch of color to the charged ambiance. The SAB students were exceptional in form and affect.

Symphony in C (1948): Music by Georges Bizet, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Gonzalo Garcia, Teresa Reichlen, Tyler Angle, Erica Pereira, Antonio Carmena, Brittany Pollack, Taylor Stanley, and the Company.

It is not possible to see Symphony in C too many times. This is one ballet to which I could wake each day and never tire. The repetitive and rapturous Bizet symphony is contagious and cohesive, as each of the four movements builds upon the earlier one. Megan Fairchild and Gonzalo Garcia tore into the Allegro Vivo with energy abounding. Marc Happel’s Swarovski-crystaled white tutus shimmer brightly to the bouncy score, juxtaposed to the men in black. Teresa Reichlen captured the etherealness of the Adagio, effortlessly partnered by the able, Tyler Angle. Ms. Reichlen was sophisticated and effervescent in this surreal role.

Erica Pereira and Antonio Carmena were literally coltish in their prancing, leaping, and cavorting in the Allegro Vivace, while Brittany Pollack and Taylor Stanley brought up the finale with energy and spirit. The company was in great form, timely and synchronized. Kudos to George Balanchine.

Kudos to all.

Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz
in George Balanchine's "Sonatine"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

The David H. Koch Theater
Photo Taken the Night of the 9/15 Lunar Eclipse
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

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