Bringing Balanchine Back

Teresa Reichlen in Movements for Piano and Orchestra. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Teresa Reichlen in
Movements for Piano and Orchestra. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

New York City Ballet has been going from strength in a series of all-Balanchine programs. I review ballets with music by Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky here. A short excerpt:

“On the Stravinsky program (Sept. 25), Robert Fairchild returned to Apollo…He has relaxed into this challenging role and is now able to take risks, tilting dangerously (and excitingly) off-balance and pushing the tempo to create moments of surprise and wildness. Like the unruly young god he depicts, Fairchild tests his strengths and weaknesses before us on the stage.”

Kyle Abraham Takes on the Big Questions

Connie Shiau, Winston Dynamite Brown and Jeremy "Jae" Neal in "The Watershed. Photo by Ian Douglas.
Connie Shiau, Winston Dynamite Brown and Jeremy “Jae” Neal in “The Watershed. Photo by Ian Douglas.

Race, love, history, Kyle Abraham takes them all head-on in his latest work, The Watershed. I review it here, for DanceTabs.

A short excerpt: “How does a choreographer and man of ideas like Kyle Abraham, an artist who identifies himself as a “Black Gay American Man” (and recent Macarthur Fellow) begin to pull apart the layers of his experience while allowing himself the freedom to think, not just about issues, but about form?”

So many ballets, so many dresses…

New York City Ballet put on its fall gala on Tuesday, with three new works by Liam Scarlett, Justin Peck, and Troy Schumacher (this was Schumacher’s first for the company.) I reviewed the program for DanceTabs, here.

Here’s a short excerpt:

“It’s as pointless to complain about ballet galas as it is to grumble about the weather. They serve a purpose – replenishing the cash drawer – and they keep the plutocrats happy. For the rest of us, there are the new works to look forward to, often unveiled en masse at the opening of the season….As in previous seasons, fashion was the [gala’s] subtext. Each choreographer was paired with a designer whose eye, at least in principle, was called upon to enhance the work. That these designs also create buzz in fashionable circles just adds to their appeal.

A few shots of those dresses:

Justin Peck's Belles-Lettres with designs by Mary Katrantzou. Photo credit Paul Kolnik
Justin Peck’s Belles-Lettres with designs by Mary Katrantzou. Photo credit Paul Kolnik

 

ler Peck and Robert Fairchild in Liam Scarlett's Funérailles, with designs by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. Photo credit Paul Kolnik
Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild in Liam Scarlett’s Funérailles, with designs by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. Photo credit Paul Kolnik

 

Sara Mearns and Ask la Cour in Peter Martins' Morgen, with designs by Carolina Herrera. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Sara Mearns and Ask la Cour in Peter Martins’ Morgen, with designs by Carolina Herrera. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Movin’ on Up

Next week, at the New York City Ballet gala (Sept. 23), the young choreographer Troy Schumacher will see his work performed by his home company for the first time. (Schumacher dances in the corps.) I’ve been following his work for a while; he’s an interesting and thoughtful guy, and determined as hell. I wrote this feature on him for the Times’ Arts and Leisure (officially out on Sunday). There’s some background on him—his approach to choreography and collaboration, his fascination with dancers and the way they move, and his commitment to contemporary music.

And if you’re hungry for more, here’s a long interview with Schumacher from last year.

Dancers at rest, by Troy Schumacher
Dancers at rest, by Troy Schumacher

 

 

Please Don’t Go

Carla Körbes.<br />© Angela Sterling. (Click image for larger version)

 

Carla Körbes just announced her retirement at the end of the season. This is terrible news for ballet lovers, especially for those of us who live far from Seattle, her home these last ten years, ever since leaving New York City Ballet for Pacific Northwest. We haven’t seen nearly enough of her. She has such a radiant quality, and such an instinctual musicality, and her manner is so pure and unforced–all qualities that are incredibly rare. More troubling still are her apparent reasons for retiring: “I have done the company lifestyle for 16 years, and ballet has changed. It is evolving, and we’re being pushed in ways that just doesn’t feel like it’s working for me right now,” she told Gia Kourlas in the Times. Could this ever-evolving athleticism be shortening the careers of our great ballerinas? Let’s hope not. In any case, her departure will be a huge loss.

She is one of the loveliest people to speak to, as well. Here is our interview for DanceTabs, from last year.

 

At the Delacorte, Dancing in the Mist

Ron Prime Tyme Myles in Bend in the Road, by Tammy Shell
Ron Prime Tyme Myles in Bend in the Road, by Tammy Shell

 

The fall season begins. As a preview to its October run, Fall for Dance held two performances at the Delacorte this weekend. Saturday’s show had to be postponed for a day because of rain—a hazard—but the weather on the rain date, Sunday, was glorious: crisp, crystalline. Planes flew overhead, blinking their lights in salute. The program, consisting of Hubbard Street, two dancers from City Ballet, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance company, and a group gathered by Damian Woetzel, had its highs and lows. Here’s my review of the evening, for DanceTabs.

And a short excerpt:

“The most heart-felt, and probably the finest, piece of the evening was Bill T. Jones’s D-Man in the Waters (Part I), danced by his marvelously eclectic company. These dancers look like a cross-section of humanity, and they move that way as well. The piece, set to Mendelssohn’s propulsive Octet – played by the Orion String Quartet plus four – is an anthem, a cry of defiance against death; it was made in 1989, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, as a member of Jones’s company was dying of the disease. ”

A moment from D-Man in the Waters, by Bill T. Jones. Photo by Tammy Shell.
A moment from D-Man in the Waters, by Bill T. Jones. Photo by Tammy Shell.

 

NYCB dancers Amar Ramasar and Maria Kowroski in Forsythe's Herman Schmerman Pas de Deux. By Tammy Shell. NYCB, FFD2014, by Tammy Shell
NYCB dancers Amar Ramasar and Maria Kowroski in Forsythe’s Herman Schmerman Pas de Deux. By Tammy Shell.