Jewels of the World, Unite!

Lincoln Center Festival put together a big show this week: a multinational staging of George Balanchine’s 1967 ballet Jewels, with performances by the Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, and the Bolshoi. The contrasts were fascinating, and paradoxically, had the effect of focusing attention on the ballet itself, revealing more clearly than ever why Arlene Croce described it as an “unsurpassedbBalanchine primer, incorporating in a single evening every important article of faith to which the choreographer subscribed”. My review is at DanceTabs.

Teresa Reichlen in Rubies, from Jewels. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Bournonville in the House

Lauren King and Rebecca Krohn in Bournonville Divertissements. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Lauren King and Rebecca Krohn in Bournonville Divertissements. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

At the spring gala, New York City Ballet unveiled a program of Bournonville works. In the first half, a suite of excerpts, including Flower Festival in Genzano and the tarantella from Napoli. In the second, La Sylphide (performed without an intermission). How did they do? You can see my DanceTabs review here.

Harlequinade—Back to Petipa

Edward Villella and Patricia McBride in Harlequinade, 1965. Photo credit: Photofest
Edward Villella and Patricia McBride in Harlequinade, 1965. Photo credit: Photofest

 

This week, NYCB is bringing back “Harlequinade,” Balanchine’s 1965 remake of the Petipa ballet “Les Millions d’Arlequin,” with Joaquín de Luz in the title role. Like his “Nutcracker” and “Coppélia,” “Harlequinade” is a nostalgic look at another age, the cozy world of 19th century fantasy ballets. And like those other works, it’s full of children. See my review of last night’s performance here.

Balanchine x 6

Here’s my review of the Jan. 20 and Jan. 22 programs at New York City Ballet, which included six works by Balanchine: Serenade, Agon, Symphony in C, Donizetti Variations, La Valse, and Chaconne. Not bad for two nights at the ballet.

A little excerpt:

“These Balanchine evenings quickly establish the company’s core values: musicality, speed, lightness of touch, spaciousness, style. They also impress upon the audience the vast range of balletic modes in which the choreographer worked…. The ballets are not only worlds in themselves but, taken as a group, they seem to encompass most of ballet.”

Teresa Reichlen in Serenade. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Teresa Reichlen in Serenade. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

The continues through March 1.

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.”

Goodbye and Hello

Xiomara Reyes and Sascha Radetsky in Coppélia. Photo by MIRA.
Xiomara Reyes and Sascha Radetsky in Coppélia. Photo by MIRA.

The end of American Ballet Theatre’s spring season brought a trio of farewell performances for the soloists Sascha Radetsky, Yuriko Kajiya, and Jared Matthews. Each led a cast of Coppélia; two were débuts. Quietly, Joseph Gorak also débuted this week as Franz. Recently promoted to soloist, Gorak is a young danseur noble in the making. So it goes in ballet, an art for the young, ambitious, and blindly devoted. Here’s my review for DanceTabs.

Radetsky in Fancy Free. Photo by Marty Sohl.
Radetsky in Fancy Free. Photo by Marty Sohl.
Joseph Gorak in Frederick Ashton's Cinderella. Photo by Gene Schiavone.
Joseph Gorak in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

The Spell of “Dances at a Gathering,” and other things

Tiler Peck and Joaquín de Luz in Dances at a Gathering. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Tiler Peck and Joaquín de Luz in Dances at a Gathering. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

For DanceTabs, I reviewed two programs at NYCB, “Just for Fun” (Carnival of the Animals, Jeu de Cartes, and The Four Seasons), and “Tradition and Innovation” (Vespro, Duo Concertant, and Dances at a Gathering). Yes, the company has taken to “naming” its programs, and also to grouping them by theme, which I often find to be problematic–too much of a good thing, not enough contrast. But still, serendipity happens. The seasons’ single performance of Jerome Robbins’ “Dances at a Gathering” turned out to be one of the freshest renditions I’ve seen in a long time. Tiler Peck, in particular, was ravishing as the “girl in pink” (see photo above).

Christopher Wheeldon’s “Carnival of the Animals,” which the company hasn’t done for a while, turned out to be a be a bit of a disappointment. It’s flat, and tries too hard to be funny (without succeeding). But there are some lovely images, like this one, of a mermaid, danced here by the beautiful Lauren Lovette.

Lauren Lovette in Carnival of the Animals, by Christopher Wheeldon. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Lauren Lovette in Carnival of the Animals, by Christopher Wheeldon. Photo by Paul Kolnik.