NYC BALLET: Serenade, After the Rain, Symphony in C
September 23, 2021
Deafening applause washed over the exquisitely iconic opening image of George Balanchine's Serenade. Ballerinas in soft blue tulled dresses stand poised in parallel position, one arm raised, as if saluting the grateful audience. In truth, the performance receded in contrast to the audience's pent-up enthusiasm. Built on poignancy and life's etherealness, Serenade generated the kind of insistent applause associated with wildly voluble TV shows like "America's Got Talent."
At the forefront, Sterling Hyltin achieved a new vulnerability; Ashely Bouder's bounding elevation was not diminished by time catching everyone's breath with a flying back leap into the very capable arms of Adrian Dancing-Waring while the towering Megan LeCrone was vigorously cheered for her perfectly executed one leg arabesque rotation. The tranquility generally felt when watching Serenade gave way to an audience intent on shouting their love.
Christopher Wheeldon's duet of longing and connection, After the Rain to heart-wrenching music by Arvo Part paired Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour in a deftly synched performance detailed in its contrasting movement quality--taut gestures melting into embraces--in a space of trust. Both dancers will be retiring this year which added a dimension of wistfulness to the performance.
Before the final grand ballet, Symphony in C by Balanchine to Georges Bizet, co-directors Jonathan Stafford and Wendy Whelan appeared in front of the curtain to claim "We are back!" To showcase the musicians, the NYC Ballet Orchestra, under the direction of Andres Litton, cheered the audience with a bright rendition of "The Waltz of the Flowers" from the beloved "Nutcracker."
The lavish and technically demanding Symphony in C most definitely challenged the company. In a spirited performance, Megan Fairchild and Joseph Gordon exuded confidence and cheer while Gordon spit out a glowing series of multiple spins and sparkling jumps ingratiating the audience; in the Adagio, Sara Mearns turned her duet into one luxurious musical inhale and exhale while Indiana Woodward and Harrison Ball, Laruen King and Andrew Socrdato swirled through the intricate footwork.
Despite the year and a half hiatus,there was no lack of energy and optimism in the opening night of NYC Ballet.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis