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2017 Spring Season

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I neglected to mention in my earlier post that one of the four women in Spectral Evidence was Ashly Isaacs. Her role in Preljocaj’s ballet also—obviously—contrasted interestingly with the one in Stabat Mater. Isaacs was actually scheduled to dance in Fearful Symmetries instead of Unity Phelan. Regardless, I think both women had a very productive Festival. 

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How is it that the lighthearted Namouna, A Grand Divertissement follows on a program Russian Seasons, a serious work whose ending is somber and deeply moving, yet does not seem misplaced or anticlimactic? Great beauty in art, I would argue, is inherently serious and poignant; and Namouna—with its unfaltering stream of ravishing movement (for soloists and corps members alike) and delectable melodies—is dazzlingly beautiful. Credit belongs not just to Alexei Ratmansky, but also to the little-known nineteenth century French composer Édouard Lalo: his score abounds with wit and charm, and genuinely touching moments. Although the intimate Russian Seasons is absorbing throughout, its evocative final scene stands out as the finest. Choosing a favorite part from Namouna is not easy. In the spring I was particularly enchanted by the “cigarette segment,” featuring a self-assured, impish Ashley Bouder backed by three of the best women from the corps: Marika Anderson, Mary Elizabeth Sell and Lydia Wellington.

 

Like every other ballet Ratmansky has choreographed for NYCB, Russian Seasons, too, benefits from a splendid score—by Leonid Desyatnikov. Using the schema from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as a framework for the composition, and relying on traditional tunes (and text) for a ballet depicting major passages in the lives of ordinary Russian people are both felicitous. Additionally, the soprano voice is employed to haunting effect, especially in the chilling last segment.

 

Again, just like in the other three ballets, the colors utilized for the apparel and scenery background in Russian Seasons and Namouna are exceptionally vivid and intense—they contribute handsomely to a rich visual experience. (The costumes in the latter—including the headpieces—are fantastic!)

 

Out of the entire, engaging cast of the evening, the indefatigable Sara Mearns deserves special mention for her efforts in both pieces. None of the women on the NYCB roster looks more like an American than Mearns. However, no doubt partly owing to her passionate nature, no one seems more convincing as a Russian in Ratmansky’s ballets either.

 

So, from my vantage point, there were no longueurs in Program No. 2 of the Festival!

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Polyphonia and Liturgy were the 2nd and 3rd ballets respectively out of the four which made up the all-Wheeldon Program 1 of the Festival.

 

In addition to Unity Phelan, the solid cast for Polyphonia included Sterling Hyltin, Brittany Pollack and Sara Mearns. My familiarity with György Ligeti’s strange, mysterious, transfixing music (used in Polyphonia) extends only to hearing it on film soundtracks. Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet (new to me) is divided into ten sections, of which the sixth—beginning as a pas de deux and ending as a solo featuring the always reliable Mearns in the spring—was particularly alluring. Two more pas de deux, with Phelan and Zachary Catazaro, exemplified how appropriate peculiar, contortive movement in ballet can seem when accompanied by suitable music. What impression this work will make with the young dancers in the cast for the upcoming performances remains to be seen.

 

Liturgy, on the other hand, will again be interpreted by the seasoned Maria Kowroski and Jared Angle. Set to Arvo Pärt’s ethereal music also, this piece resembles the more affecting After the Rain Pas de Deux. I am looking forward to viewing it again though.

 

These two ballets amounted to neither the best nor the worst of Program 1.

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Since I have recently commented on the works in question in this thread, I will add my thoughts on Tuesday evening’s Here/Now program here. From my perspective, the evening was spectacular!

 

Performances of Liturgy and After the Rain Pas de Deux, especially if the same ballerina is featured in the pair, should not be offered in proximity to one another. However, Liturgy is quite affecting a piece in its own right; and if anything, Maria Kowroski was even more brilliant and dignified Tuesday night in it than she was a few months ago.

 

György Ligeti’s piano pieces in Polyphonia sounded, in point of fact, accessible. Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet is enjoyable, and the fledgling cast, which included Emilie Gerrity and Ashley Hod, performed satisfactorily. To those watching it for the first time, Polyphonia is as neoteric as it is to Unity Phelan. This enchanting young dancer was ravishing in a leading role newly assigned, and her interpretation will only improve in the future. Furthermore, Lauren Lovette, who seems to have regained the weight she had unhappily lost at the start of the year (making Princess Aurora’s transition in The Sleeping Beauty from girlhood to womanhood then less persuasive), looked gorgeous: her elegant rendering of the ballerina’s portion only confirmed my favorable impression of the work’s sixth section.

 

Partly on account of its underlying thematic gloominess and darkness, Alexei Ratmansky’s resplendent Odessa virtually gave me goose bumps. Its profusion of beauty—musical and choreographic, as well with regard to color, lighting and costumes—flabbergasted me. And, in contrast to the previous ballet, what a stellar, expert cast performed it! Tyler Angle, Joaquin de Luz and Taylor Stanley were superb; the masterly trio of Ashley Bouder, Sterling Hyltin, Sara Mearns, awe-inspiring. Yet again, Ratmansky in this work employs the members of the corps throughout with unmistakable assurance and effectiveness. 

 

Becoming familiar with the music only enhanced my appreciation of the energetic, spirited The Times Are Racing. Everyone on the stage, including the choreographer and a healthy Amar Ramasar, sparkled. Besides the accustomed female, my eyes naturally gravitated, however, to Brittany Pollack, Indiana Woodward and—Ashly Isaacs! The latter’s appearance here—a spellbinding amalgam of tomboyishness and femininity—as well as the enthusiasm and brio with which she tackles this part are irresistible.

 

In sum, what a memorable evening, which additionally—thanks to the wonderful women of NYCB—left me with the fantastic feeling I had attended a command performance!

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There is a fundamental bittersweetness about life that those attuned to it can find in varying degrees reflected in all worthwhile works of art. This feature is readily discernible in Alexei Ratmansky’s Odessa. Considering its limited time frame, this work persuasively evokes a bygone place and era (the eponymous city in early post-Revolutionary Russia). On the one hand, its mood is somber and disquieting, some of its “action” is distressing, and its male “characters”—even as they dance with elegance—appear ruffianly and menacing. On the other hand, the ballet is permeated with a breathtaking autumnal beauty which places it in my opinion high among (if not at the top of) all works that have premiered at NYCB in recent years. 

Two sequences in Odessa particularly arouse controversy since they seemingly depict abuse and mistreatment of women. Ratmansky’s choreography for the first of these, involving a couple, comes across as forced, constrained. By contrast, the movement for the female soloist and the male corps during the second sequence (set to poignant music) is polished, harmonious … gorgeous! However, towards its frantic conclusion, it ostensibly portrays horrific maltreatment of a woman by a group of callous miscreants. This striking incongruity is paradoxical, but not unusual in art. 

Some sort of beauty is an essential attribute of all effective art, no matter how bleak its topic or outlook on the surface may appear. (After all, it is not the aim of art to terrorize and demoralize people.) This is especially true regarding the art form of ballet! A grave and impressive work, Odessa—notwithstanding its especial beauty—in no way glamorizes any sordid, hideous act or abuse. 

Additionally, even though Ratmansky evidently derived inspiration from stories by Isaac Babel and a narrative is hinted at, his ballet is nevertheless abstract. The typical viewer is hardly expected to be familiar with even the general subject matter! Therefore, what is observed onstage is open to interpretation and debate. Without minimizing it, the treatment of women in a certain milieu—apparently gangsterdom of that time and place—in fact seems a subtheme of the work.

Four performances of the Here/Now program were offered by NYCB during the fall, the last with major changes in the cast. Among the men, Joaquin De Luz was replaced by the equally adept Daniel Ulbricht in Odessa, while all three female soloists were substituted. In a serious role, Megan Fairchild—as in the spring—impressed. Not only did Tiler Peck typically display extraordinary skills throughout her performance, but she handled her part in the short yet tricky pas de deux mentioned above with surpassing smoothness. Observing Unity Phelan admirably hold her own next to her more experienced colleagues, finally, was highly gratifying. With this second cast of the fall, too, Odessa looked awesome.

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I've only seen bits and pieces of Odessa, but they have been very intriguing, and the commentary I've read, both positive and negative, make me even more curious about the work.

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Posted (edited)

Again, The Times Are Racing is a peculiar work for NYCB and it is understandable why some people dislike it. My favorable opinion of it, however, was solidified during the fall for two reasons. First, how enjoyable it was when following in the Here/Now program the superb and sharply contrasting Odessa. The second pertains to a major change in the cast for the fourth performance of the program. In the role that had been danced up to that point only by her, Tiler Peck was replaced by—Taylor Stanley! In a lesser work it would have been insupportable to have substituted another woman for Ms. Peck, let alone a man! As proven that evening, however, The Times Are Racing is not dependent on any particular role. And despite the criticism about its loudness and repetitiveness and dullness, Dan Deacon’s music is integral to the “sneaker ballet’s” success. 

There are now two viable unisex roles in this unique, odd work, although with its pronounced modern ethos it would not be surprising if others emerged in the future. On this occasion it helped, of course, that Stanley—ably partnered by Daniel Applebaum—is a wonderful dancer. Predictably, the rest of the cast members performed well also, although in Ms. Peck’s absence Brittany Pollack’s importance particularly was magnified for this viewer. Furthermore, the elan displayed by Ashly Isaacs that precise night surpassed even what was demonstrated in her outstanding earlier outings in the part. As another year is about to enter the domain of history, this day brings to mind how “time flies,” and suggests, finally, how suitably—if a tad ironically—titled Justin Peck’s optimistic “sneaker ballet” is. 

All four fall performances of the Here/Now program had the same cast for the first two ballets, Liturgy and Polyphonia. What I would add to the comments made previously is that my appreciation of the latter work—especially its sixth section with Ligeti’s exquisite music and a ravishing Lauren Lovette—increased with each viewing. Lastly, watching a favorite ballerina perform two substantial roles so beautifully during the same evening, as Unity Phelan did in Polyphonia and Odessa at the last presentation of this program, is always—needless to say—extremely rewarding. The evening could only have been bettered if Tiler Peck had appeared in The Times Are Racing also!

Was the Here/Now program, in the final analysis, worth the 185 dollars charged for the most expensive seats in the house? Subjective, but—no, absolutely not: it was priceless!

 

ETA.  Even though I enthusiastically stand by the general sentiment I expressed, the two roles in Odessa and The Times Are Racing are of such a different nature that I am not sure it would have been better in this instance from the spectator's point of view for Tiler Peck to have performed both in the same evening.

Edited by Royal Blue

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On 4/23/2017 at 9:01 AM, abatt said:

I think Tller Peck's  best roles to date have been Allegro Brilliante, Who Cares and the pdd in Act 2 of Midsummer.

Based on my experience of watching NYCB attentively during the past few years, Tiler Peck is such an exceptional artist that her best roles depend mainly on the quality of the particular ballet in question. Having been impressed by the beauty and refinement of Divertimento No. 15 when I first saw it in the fall of 2016, I naturally hope she is cast in it during the second week of the upcoming season. For the same reason, I eagerly anticipate all her debuts in notable ballets. Based on the schedule it seems unlikely this winter; however, it is certainly time—for one—that Square Dance be included in her repertory. 

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Seating towards the center of the auditorium for any ballet is never a crummy idea—in order, of course, to take in all the activity through a sweeping view of the stage. There are works, however, which require it. Pictures at an Exhibition and Year of the Rabbit, two of the five ballets that made up Program Six of the Here/Now Festival last spring, belong in this category: the former on account of projections in the background of a painting by Wassily Kandinsky; the latter for key portions that occur in the back of both sides of the stage. 

In his album, Sufjan Stevens composed music for the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac, whereas Justin Peck in Year of the Rabbit treats choreographically only six. Consequently, not all the best segments from the album are used in the ballet. Moreover, the order of the signs in both differs from the zodiac and each other. One’s curiosity about this unfamiliar subject and the intentions of the artists is naturally aroused by watching this work. Intriguingly, Enjoy Your Rabbit ends with an ethereal piece titled “Year of Our Lord,” which Mr. Peck employs for the penultimate movement of his ballet—a pas de deux. Despite not having particularly enjoyed Year of the Rabbit last May (it closed Program Six), it is beautiful and I eagerly await viewing it again next week.

A familiarity with drawing and painting naturally enables a better appreciation of all the fine arts associations found in Pictures at an Exhibition—both Mussorgsky’s musical composition and Ratmansky’s ballet. Regardless, the profusion and vividness of bright colors in the stage designs and costumes, along with the tremendous vitality of the music and choreography of this work will likely dazzle the mind, eyes and ears of almost everyone. Led by Sara Mearns, Sterling Hyltin and Tiler Peck, NYCB’s performance during the festival was thrilling. Situated between the two intermissions of the evening, Pictures at an Exhibition was in every sense the centerpiece of Program Six.

All three ballets which begun the program—Carousel (A Dance); The Blue of Distance; The Infernal Machine—absorbed my attention. 

Of all the forays by NYCB into Broadway-related material, Carousel is one of the best—partly owing to the alluring music by Richard Rodgers. Even though I am not especially knowledgeable with this genre, I believe Chase Finlay is too handsome and youthful-looking as the male lead in Christopher Wheeldon’s short representation of the romance in the story. When grinning, Lauren Lovette likewise can seem unduly girlish. A dramatically different reaction is evoked by her, however, when straight-faced. As the female lead in Carousel, although her performance will improve with experience, she was highly appealing.

No matter how insignificant and unoriginal it may seem in the context of all the ballets that have ever been created, a work as lovely as The Blue of Distance—set to Ravel’s expressive piano music and featuring last spring the comely Unity Phelan (among others)—is eminently watchable.

Even without inferring anything from the title, The Infernal Machine is a strangely fascinating pas de deux whose peculiar movement appears embedded in the bizarre music. Reading Christopher Rouse’s remarks in the program notes about his orchestral composition only reinforces this feeling. In a surprise appearance Craig Hall gave the impression that he was still dancing with the company. As has been suggested on BA oftentimes, one of Ashley Laracey’s chief attributes is her transcendent gracefulness. In this odd role, she is able to make the outlandish choreography seem natural while simultaneously displaying remarkable elasticity and flexibility.

Edited by Royal Blue

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Listening to Sufjan Stevens’ album proved extremely helpful in appreciating Year of the Rabbit. Obviously, electronica sounds different from a string orchestra—so much that at times it is difficult for me (as a layman) to correlate the music I hear in the theater to the album. There is, moreover, considerable reshuffling of the material (as I pointed out previously). Ultimately, however, Michael P. Atkinson’s orchestration of the music is sprinkled throughout with lovely moments, comprises two extended sections in this thematic configuration —V. Year of the Rooster; and VI. Year of our Lord—that are standouts, and is overall stimulating. 

A viewing of the ballet from the center section of the Fourth Ring during the first Art Series presentation of the season a week ago revealed the skillful use of the corps and the work’s playfulness and humor from a different perspective. It also led to renewed admiration of Ashley Bouder’s strength and agility by clarifying the ease with which she covers the breadth of the stage. Witnessing a fiery performance by her on Wednesday evening from close made me, finally, grasp the centrality of that role in the work.

Nonetheless, at the heart of Year of the Rabbit currently lies the performance of Teresa Reichlen, who graces with her beauty and amplitude some of its finest moments—including the enthralling “Year of the Rooster” segment.

School of Balanchine or no, a ballerina’s craft requires mastery of the ability to move beautifully slowly. In the key “Year of our Lord” section, Indiana Woodward demonstrates signs that she possesses such mastery.

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4 minutes ago, Royal Blue said:

Listening to Sufjan Stevens’ album proved extremely helpful in appreciating Year of the Rabbit. Obviously, electronica sounds different from a string orchestra—so much that at times it is difficult for me (as a layman) to correlate the music I hear in the theater to the album. There is, moreover, considerable reshuffling of the material (as I pointed out previously). Ultimately, however, Michael P. Atkinson’s orchestration of the music is sprinkled throughout with lovely moments, comprises two extended sections in this thematic configuration —V. Year of the Rooster; and VI. Year of our Lord—that are standouts, and is overall stimulating.

An excellent idea -- we're getting it here again later this spring, but I haven't heard that much of Stevens' work -- I'll look for the album.

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(Comments pertaining to ballets which appeared during the Here/Now Festival are appended to this thread since I am endeavoring a consideration of the festival—and more generally—an assessment of the place and value of new works in the functioning of the company.)

One reason for my disappointment with Year of the Rabbit last spring was that in my single viewing the dancing during the “Year of our Lord” pas de deux went awry and seemed therefore uncoordinated. Despite her unforgettable accomplishment in La Sylphide a couple of years ago and other quality work, Indiana Woodward is not yet a principal or one of NYCB’s established stars. Moreover, she specializes in roles that demand being nimble and fleet-footed. With all this in mind, I regard her performance Sunday afternoon in “Year of our Lord” as profoundly moving and among the highlights of this season. In sum, Year of the Rabbit is an early work of merit.

Far from finding it detracted from the program by being presented between the ambrosial Square Dance and the intoxicating The Four Seasons, I found watching Oltremare—a work likely unappealing to many people—from the Second Ring during the second Art Series performance of the season highly engaging. The commitment and verve with which the fourteen members of the company performed Mauro Bigonzetti’s curious piece is impressive and commendable. Besides the principals, Ashly Isaacs is striking in this—as in other ballets recently.

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Even though it is ultimately about the human spirit, dance showcases and exalts the human body! Classy and elegant, ballet is a type of dance with a special vocabulary consisting of various motions and poses widely considered beautiful. At the ballet the grace and beauty of the human form are often revealed at their peak. All of this is why it is possible to appreciate aspects of traditional works like Neverwhere or Mothership while acknowledging they are minor efforts. 

Should what the dancers wear on stage affect our perception and evaluation of a work? Imagine them performing Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds in their practice clothes! Neverwhere appears more pedestrian without the original costumes, however ponderous they may have been. 

Tights, in my opinion, add to the otherworldly beauty, the glamour, the aura of mystery and sophistication manifest in ballerinas. Yet all four young women sporting the costumes designed by Marc Happel for Mothership certainly appeared glamorous barelegged—especially a personal favorite among them. Additionally, the music by Mason Bates is catchy in this slight yet efficient ballet. 

Since I can only listen to it at the theater, most of Sufjan Stevens’ music for The Decalogue still sounds unfamiliar. However, Justin Peck utilizes ballet's vocabulary quite effectively in various sections of the work. Provided it is cast reasonably, this is a piece I feel can be watched often. Rebecca Krohn’s third performance last spring—in a significant role—resonated keenly with me, retrospectively even more since she retired soon afterwards. Although in a different stage of her career, Unity Phelan assuredly is a felicitous replacement. 

Indubitably, paradox is deeply rooted in nature and life. This is what makes the world such a puzzling, difficult, exciting, wild, magical place. A person may read the headlines assiduously, be fully aware of the reality and extent of pain and suffering on earth, and still view the lyrics and message of "What a Wonderful World" as essentially true, if ironic and poignant. In different senses, Namouna, A Grand Divertissement and Lalo's musical composition itself bring to mind the brief song immortalized by Louis Armstrong. Despite being recent, Namouna is one of the most beautiful ballets in NYCB’s repertory, and ideal as a restorative for a weary soul at the end of a trying day: to the appreciative spectator its length is “heavenly." 

Even with a major change in the cast (Emilie Gerrity for Sara Mearns) Ratmansky's ballet was as impressive as ever over the weekend, and provided another occasion for various dancers to shine, particularly Ashley Bouder. The beauty of the movement and poses by Bouder and several members of the female corps, as well as Lalo’s music and the exhilarating brio with which the sequence is performed, not the gimmickry are what fascinate me in the “cigarette scene."

Since I attended every Art Series performance, I had the opportunity to observe Bouder in Year of the Rabbit, Square Dance and Namouna from the respective center section of three different Rings. Like others, I have long been aware of her qualities as a ballerina. And yet I was still surprised—perhaps because she is not tall—by how powerfully she projected throughout the house each evening!

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During Mothership the viewer has no time to recover from the jarring impact of a female dancer taking a nasty fall, as happened on Wednesday evening. This is an observation, not a criticism—what matters is that the young woman braved the incident out and was evidently unhurt. 

By contrast, the fall of a female member of the corps and other slip-ups during that evening's performance of Namouna did not irredeemably impair my enjoyment of Ratmansky's ballet. (Fortunately, Ashley Bouder was at her best.) In this respect, not only the quality but the length of the work proved beneficial. 

There is a sequence in Namouna with subdued lighting and soft, delicate music which is utterly sublime. Contrary to what I suggested in an earlier post, this is surely the high point of the ballet. 

Particularly in a role with some demanding choreography, filling Sara Mearns’ pointe shoes is no inconsiderable task. Therefore, I was highly satisfied with Emilie Gerrity’s marked enthusiasm and overall accomplishment in Namouna

There is nothing wrong per se with the costumes of Neverwhere, and all six dancers in the cast—including Emilie Gerrity and Sara Adams, each of whom appeared in two ballets in the course of the night—are engaging performers. 

With the experienced Sara Mearns at the helm and a ravishing Unity Phelan growing more at ease with the requirements of her role, Wednesday's performance of The Decalogue was undoubtedly the finest of the evening.

 

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Posted (edited)

In the serene, lovely scene mentioned above the three female soloists in Namouna mostly blend in with the women of the corps. In contrast, the cigarette sequence is designed for one of them, backed by three women—the adept veterans Marika Anderson, Lydia Wellington and Mary Elizabeth Sell during last spring, and this winter season—who are differentiated from the rest of the female corps. Although this latter scene is characterized by liveliness and humor, its sheer beauty is what principally appeals to me—not those other attributes. Both these segments of Namouna are powerful and remarkable. 

Only someone more knowledgeable and observant could say how Megan Fairchild and Lauren Lovette could have improved upon their respective performance last evening in Namouna: each was outstanding in her debut! Combined with a blazing rendition by Sara Mearns of the role she originated, the wonderful debut of Taylor Stanley as the sailor, and the stellar work of three other soloists and the corps, Ratmansky’s ballet was pure enchantment with the second cast also. 

All went smoothly with the four ballets in the Here/Now program Friday. Lauren Lovette also appeared in the first item, Neverwhere. Only an intermission separated Sara Mearns' ebullient exploits in Namouna from her commanding contribution in another superb performance of The Decalogue.

Edited by Royal Blue

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Posted (edited)

In the midst of the “All Balanchine” and “All Robbins” programs of the Spring 2018 season, that devoted to “21st Century Choreographers”—including two ballets (Pictures at an Exhibition and Year of the Rabbit) appearing in the Here/Now Festival a year ago—still offered considerable value and thrills. Fortunately, none of the absurd amplification problems which marred the first presentation of this program were an issue in the next two, which took place exactly three weeks apart and featured some significant cast changes. 

Whether in its original piano version or the famous orchestral one by Ravel, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is one of the most popular and magnificent classical music compositions of the nineteenth century. Last Tuesday the sound pouring forth from the piano lacked the brassiness I sometimes need to block out during performances of Ratmansky's ballet, and the resulting clarity, beauty and power of the notes overwhelmed me. To be sure, in her debut Indiana Woodward failed to match the sparkle in the same role shown by Tiler Peck. Nevertheless, the younger ballerina is an admirable and exciting performer herself. Besides, the parts for Sara Mearns and Sterling Hyltin, both of whom reenacted their roles with enthusiasm, are frankly a bit more substantial. (I am extremely fond of "The Gnome", "The Old Castle", and the tremendous "Bydlo" segments.) Finally, the proximity of the performances of Dances at a Gathering allowed for a closer comparison between the two ballets. Whatever the similarities, repeat viewings of Pictures at an Exhibition have only led to a greater appreciation on my part of its originality and worth. 

Just as there is only one Tiler Peck, there is only one Teresa Reichlen. Consequently, Reichlen's absence from Year of the Rabbit might have proven a greater obstacle to the full enjoyment of that ballet as a result of the central nature of her role. Apart from the need to tailor her penchant to smile to the needs of the music, Isabella LaFreniere made a praiseworthy debut in this vital role: her comparable height and length of limbs made possible the display of exceptional lines, and her turns were flawless. Even more effective and moving was the debut of Sara Adams in the part earlier danced beautifully by Woodward. Although her performances in a pas de deux in Neverwhere during the winter strongly indicated the earnestness with which Adams approaches her work, she remained for me up to a week ago the most inconspicuous of all the female soloists on the roster. That permanently changed with the eloquent rendition of her part in the sublime "Year of our Lord" segment of Year of the Rabbit, which was firmly abetted by the commensurately eloquent rendition of Sufjan Stevens' music by the orchestra. (In my opinion, Adams has a maidenly appearance which may evoke in someone a visualization of Joan of Arc—something which, notwithstanding the irony of it being a pas de deux, subtly worked wonders here.) It certainly helped that Ashley Bouder reprised her role in this run; yet the bottom line seems to be that this early Justin Peck ballet also has staying power. 

In a previous post I suggested why it is preferable that women wear tights in ballet. There is categorically no hard-and-fast rule about this: dance odyssey—which came first on the program and premiered during the winter—provides another instance where the female dancers (dressed in attractive leotards) appear glamorous barelegged. My original reaction upon viewing this work by Peter Walker has only intensified: I like everything I liked about it initially—its colorfulness and lighting; the choreography for the ensemble; Tiler Peck’s role; the music by Oliver Davis (especially for the finale)—even more. Still, the crowning glory of this ballet remains its concluding, haunting pas de deux. Like Adrian Danchig-Waring, Andrew Veyette is well-suited for the leading male part. However, even when Walker is substituting, like earlier in the season, the finale has always touched me by virtue of Ashley Laracey’s sophisticated, affecting gem of a performance.

Edited by Royal Blue

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