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Opening Night at New York City Ballet

Janie Taylor and Anthony Huxley in Ivesiana. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Janie Taylor and Anthony Huxley in Ivesiana. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

The company kicked off its spring season — a.k.a. the American Music Festival — on April 30, with an all-Balanchine program. (The date also marked the thirtieth anniversary of Balanchine’s death.) On the program: Who Cares?, Tarantella, Stars and Stripes, and the revival of that most mysterious ballet, Ivesiana (not performed since 2004). The cast of Ivesiana was mostly new, and included Ashley Laracey in her first big role since being promoted to soloist int the spring. And what a striking, chilling ballet it is. You can read my review (for DanceTabs) here.

And here’s a short excerpt:

“Made in 1954 (the same year as Western Symphony, of all things) for a cast of dancers that included Janet Reed, Allegra Kent, Tanaquil LeClercq, Francisco Moncion, and Todd Bolender, Ivesiana is one of Balnachine’s simplest, and most unnerving, compositions. Four ideas, four sections, not many steps, and no pointe-work – except in the crazed third chapter, “In the Inn,” which is crammed to the gills with steps and performed on pointe…. The entire thing is steeped in an atsmophere of suffocating irresolution, of irratonal occurrences and otherworldliness.”

Taylor’s Tales

Laura Halzack and Michael Trusnovec in Paul Taylor's "Beloved Renegade," from 2009. Photo by Paul B Goode.
Laura Halzack and Michael Trusnovec in Paul Taylor’s “Beloved Renegade,” from 2009. Photo by Paul B Goode.

On March 13, I saw a Paul Taylor program consisting of: Cascade, To Make Crops Grow, and Beloved Renegade. Here is my review for DanceTabs.

And a short excerpt:

“This year’s premières are like a negative image of what came before. Perpetual Dawn, which opened last week, is a happy couples dance, set to generically upbeat music by the German baroque composer, Johann David Heinichen. Lovers frolic, embrace, chase after each another in a bucolic setting. Even the lone single girl (Michelle Fleet) eventually finds a man. Then there is To Make Crops Grow, which I saw for the first time last night. It turns out to be a rather creepy fable about society’s willingness to sacrifice one of its own to satisfy some sort of higher law – order, convention?”

Paul Taylor, Back at Lincoln Center

Aileen Roehl and Amy Young in Paul Taylor's "Junction." Photo by Paul B Goode.
Aileen Roehl and Amy Young in Paul Taylor’s “Junction.” Photo by Paul B Goode.

The Paul Taylor Dance Company opened its second season at Lincoln Center with a gala performance. For once it wasn’t the usual “best-of” compilation, but a typically eccentric Paul Taylor quadruple bill. You can read my review here.

And here is a short excerpt:

“The surprise of the evening (for me) was the closer, Offenbach Overtures (1995). The last time I saw this dance, several years back, it struck me as forced and cartoonish. This time it won me over completely. Has it changed or have I? Set to appealing Offenbach polkas and waltzes and costumed (by Loquasto) in simplified versions of soldier uniforms (including mustaches) and chorine outfits straight out of Toulouse Lautrec (all red), the piece pokes fun at ballet, at puffed-up nineteenth-century European conventions, at operetta, at heterosexual coupling.”