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New York City Ballet: Bournonville Divertissements, Moves, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Symphony in Three Movements
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New York City Ballet: Bournonville Divertissements, Moves, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Symphony in Three Movements

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Bournonville Divertissements
Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux
Symphony in Three Movements

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
Resident Choreographer: Justin Peck
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
April 22, 2016

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Daniel Capps

Bournonville Divertissements (1977): Music by Edvard Helsted and Holger Simon Paulli, Choreography by August Bournonville, Originally staged by Stanley Williams, Staged by Nilas Martins, Scenery by Alain Vaes, Garden Drop by David Mitchell, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Erica Pereira, Troy Schumacher, Sara Mearns, Tyler Angle, Sara Adams, Lauren King, Brittany Pollack, Indiana Woodward, Russell Janzen, Andrew Scordato, Anthony Huxley, and the Company.

Peter Martins, Ballet Master in Chief, originally with the Royal Danish Ballet, is a master of the Bournonville genre and has happily brought works by Bournonville into City Ballet repertory. Nilas Martins, a former principal with City Ballet, recently staged the Bournonville Divertissements, originally staged by Stanley Williams, whom Balanchine hired for his School of American Ballet. The first dance, Ballabile, Music by Holger Simon Paulli, from Napoli, Act I, was performed by Erica Pereira and Troy Schumacher, smiling throughout, buoyantly leading an ensemble of six women and six men, with a spring-like pulse. Among the Corps, I noted that Devin Alberda caught my eye with a rapid, joyful entrance. The pas de deux was folkloric and frolicsome. The ensemble danced with verve and vitality.

The next Divertissement was the Pas de Deux from Flower Festival in Genzano, Music by Edvard Helsted. The duo, Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle, sparkled with springtime radiance. Ms. Mearns and Mr. Angle evoked imagery from a Fragonard painting. The following Divertissement was the Pas de Six from Napoli, Act III, and Abdallah, music by Edvard Helsted and Holger Simon Paulli. Sara Adams, Lauren King, Brittany Pollack, Indiana Woodward, Russell Janzen, Andrew Scordato, and, for a solo virtuoso, Anthony Huxley, all took the stage. With shapes of legs lifted at slight angles, ankle beats, and joyful and elegant personas, this ensemble created perfect Bournonville stylizing.

Soon the entire cast from the Divertissements was together onstage for a grand Tarantella, from Napoli, Act II, music by Paulli. The dervish, dynamic ensemble dance brings one right into the South of Italy. However, the backdrop paintings, by Alain Vaes, are of Denmark. Given the tambourines and ribbons and robust choreography, I would like to see a new backdrop, maybe painted by Susan Tammany, a City Ballet usher!, who recently designed the sets for Peter Martin’s production of La Sylphide.

Moves, A Ballet in Silence (1984): Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Adrian Danchig-Waring, Brittany Pollack, and a Corps ensemble.

What a difference an intermission makes. Robbins’ 1984 Moves, choreographed for a dozen dancers, who count the beat in their heads in pure silence, no musical score, was in utter and total contrast to the previous work. Principal, Adrian Danchig-Waring, and Soloist, Brittany Pollack (who returned to the stage after Bournonville), were among an otherwise total Corps ensemble. With climbing, swimming, lying down, and intertwining motion, each dancer, or two, or four, or an ensemble, moves in synchronized fashion. A female dancer stands on a male dancer’s knee, the ensemble walks in profile, dancers jump up from flat stage position, lights flash (thanks to Jennifer Tipton), dancers put heads together, a female climbs over a male, a female dancer swims in the air, being carried by a male dancer, a pas de deux pops up, and so on. I noted an evocation of Robbins’ dynamic work to Philip Glass, Glass Pieces, which he created in 1983, one year earlier than Moves.

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (1960): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette. This music, not published with the original ballet score, was originally intended for the Act III Black Swan Pas de Deux, but was first found by the Tschaikovsky Foundation of New York and subsequently scored for this pas de deux by Balanchine in 1960. (NYCB Notes).

Tiler Peck, an athletic, breezy, confident performer, was well cast with Andrew Veyette, also athletic, breezy, and confident, although the gestalt of this magnificent Pas de Deux needed some chemistry. There was barely a mutual glance. The choreographic feats, with Ms. Peck leaping with speed into Mr. Veyette’s arms, were technically passable, but there was little spark or electricity to the moment. Mr. Veyette seemed to have issues with balance, speed, and elevation of legs en air, especially lifting toward rear space, using the higher leg muscles. Ms. Peck’s energy and personality were vibrant and vivacious, but she and her partner seemed in parallel spaces. I would certainly like to see this magnificent and renowned Pas de Deux again soon, on this very stage, but differently partnered. Perhaps Ms. Peck and Mr. De Luz, then Mr. Veyette and Ms. Bouder, two incomparable pairings.

Symphony in Three Movements (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Joseph Gordon, Megan LeCrone, Taylor Stanley, Ana Sophia Scheller, Daniel Ulbricht, and the Company.

This magnificent Balanchine work is one of his “black and white” ballets (men in white shirts and black tights, women in white or black leotards and white tights, and solo women in pink leotards and white tights). The opening bars of Stravinsky's percussive, dissonant score, in Part 1, are heard against the image of a diagonal formation, a female ensemble. Also in Part I, a male solo leaps sideways, legs in perfect formation, bent upwards, as if his legs have no connection to his hips. The Company performed, here, with clockwork timing, astounding agility, ecstatic elevation, lightning leaps, and seasoned technicality.

Part II, with the “Andante” Pas de Deux for Sterling Hyltin and Taylor Stanley, was, as always, exquisite and elegant. Stravinsky had originally composed this spellbinding section of the score, while in Hollywood, as an apparition scene for the movie “Song of Bernadette”, although the film score went to another composer. (NYCB Notes). Stravinsky's scintillating, transporting tones drove eloquent, luxurious momentum. Part III, for full cast, combined all the colors, all the dancers, and all the brilliant force of this lustrous work.

Sterling Hyltin and Taylor Stanley in Balanchine's "Symphony in Three Movements"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

The Company in Balanchine's "Symphony in Three Movements"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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