Robert Gottlieb writes six paragraphs about the final performances of the season in his latest NY Observer article, which I’d been eagerly awaiting. (Thanks for the link, dirac). He calls Taylor and Marcovicci’s final performances "underpowered but valiant." He says that La Valse was “dead on arrival” due to "the company’s failure to grasp,” right from the opening waltz by the Fates, “what it’s about, what its highly specific perfume has been through most of its 63-year history.”
Whoever is responsible for this section of La Valse is either mood-deaf or ignorant. The wrists are all wrong, the ominous gestures are empty, the great costumes and hairpieces have been disastrously “freshened.”
He observes, as Arlene Croce did about the repertory in general in 1993, that dancers “who could explain Balanchine’s intent” aren’t welcome to come coach. He praises Bouder as Choleric in The Four Temperaments, Mearns in Walpurgisnacht Ballet, and all four principals – Kowroski, Ramasar, Hyltin and Fairchild – in Stravinsky Violin Concerto. He also writes that
Scarlett is beginning to look pretentious—the opposite of City Ballet’s own young star choreographer, Justin Peck, who, in the manner of Balanchine, takes everything seriously except himself.
I'm so grateful for critics with long ballet memories.