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New York City Ballet: Baroque to Jazz
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New York City Ballet: Baroque to Jazz

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New York City Ballet
Baroque to Jazz
(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 21, 2008

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).
Conductor: Maurice Kaplow

Brandenburg (1997): Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Megan Fairchild, Gonzalo Garcia, Janie Taylor, Philip Neal, and the Company. Using segments of four of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti, Robbins (This season is the Jerome Robbins tribute.) brings out two duets, an ensemble, and then the entire cast.

Megan Fairchild and Gonzalo Garcia seemed to spark each other’s imagination and confidence, inspiring one another to push the envelope of space. Additionally, it was wonderful to see Janie Taylor again, who was absent from the stage for so long until this season, partnered by Philip Neal in the second “Andante” of Concerto No. 2, with her expansiveness of limbs and etherealness of spirit. The choreography of the third “Menuetto-Polacca” of Concerto No. 1 called for a large swirling circle of dancers, and Tiler Peck, Tyler Angle, and Adrian Danchig-Waring caught my eye. One of Robbins’ signature exits involves the male carrying his partner upside down into the wings, and, here that image was added to dynamic effect.

In the Night (1970): Music by Frédéric Chopin, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Anthony Dowell, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Pianist: Cameron Grant, Performed by Rachel Rutherford and Tyler Angle, Sara Mearns and Charles Askegard, Wendy Whelan and Jared Angle. In contrast to the previous work, so classically structured and scored, In the Night evokes rapture, spontaneity, angst, and captivating imagery. This is truly a ballet to revisit often.

Three couples exit from and enter into a starry sky, in inspired theatricality, their relationships on view with conflict and chemistry. Cameron Grant plays Chopin Nocturnes (Opus 27, 55, and 9), and the music is driven, dramatic, and deep. Rachel Rutherford is partnered by Tyler Angle, and again we see them exit with Ms. Rutherford upside down. Mr. Angle is growing into a romantic, attractive partner. Sara Mearns, always smooth and lusty, is partnered by the more restrained Charles Askegard. Yet, when he lifts her, so she can fly with her arms, timeless grace appears. Wendy Whelan is partnered by Jared Angle, in a frantic, impassioned pas de deux. After she drops to the floor, beseeching his return, he carries her off, cradled in his arms.

N. Y. Export: Opus Jazz (1958): Music by Robert Prince, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Florence Klotz, Scenery by Ben Shahn, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Georgina Pazcoguin, Andrew Veyette, Antonio Carmena, Adam Hendrickson, Amar Ramasar, Sean Suozzi, Craig Hall, and the Company. This work was first performed in Spoleto, Italy, in June, 1958, by Jerome Robbins' Ballets. The choreography is illustrative of "the drives and coolness' of jazz steps". Robert Prince wrote music for Robbins and for Broadway. (NYCB Notes).

This is a jazzy, contemporary work, even though it premiered a half-century ago in Italy. Robert Prince’s music uses pure jazz instrumentation, with vibes and saxophone, and a colorful, geometric backdrop by Ben Shahn adds pizzazz and energy. There are silhouetted figures, thanks to Jennifer Tipton’s brilliant lighting, and the “Statics” are casually attired. The most poignant segment of the work is the “Passage for Two”, for Rachel Rutherford and Craig Hall. They had been seen at the 2007 Opening Night Gala in a film sequence of this ballet, in the outskirts of the City, but, tonight they were onstage in sensual, intertwining togetherness, which ends in surprise detachment, the aloof alienation of youth, perhaps. There was mood and choreography in the ballet evocative of Robbins’ West Side Story Suite, in the pulsating ensemble dance.

Kudos to Jerome Robbins. And, kudos to Peter Martins for creating this full-season tribute to a master choreographer.

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