NYC BALLET-BARBER VIOLIN CONCERTO, ON THE TOWN, WHO CARES?
February 4, 2016
Excited ticket holders surged into the David H. Koch Theater for the opening program in New York City Ballet’s winter season. The night promised an evening of ballets to music by American Composers demonstrating a charged range from Samuel Barber, to Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. Additional reasons for excitement included the installment of a new, and already quite popular music director, Andrew Litton; Robert Fairchild’s return to NYC Ballet (at least for a few performances) from his winning stint on Broadway and the launch of a colorful immersion visual arts exhibit on the Promenade.
Contrasting modern and ballet, Peter Martins choreographed Barber Violin Concerto and pitted a ballet couple against a “modern” pair. On the premiere night, David Parsons and Kate Johnson stung the air with their angular arms and mosquito fast runs that dug deep into the floor. There’s a parallel of sorts because Parsons and Johnson were esteemed members of the Paul Taylor dance company, and Mr. Balanchine incorporated Paul Taylor in his 1959 ballet Episodes. On this occasion, Fairchild was particularly sprightly, buzzing around a hapless Russel Janzen, running up his backside and even jabbing her hands forward and back between his widespread legs. The modern couple hugged the earth in bent kneed runs, attitudes and crooked arms. Stretched out in long in arabesques, extended arms and elevated torsos, the effervescent Sara Mearns and Jared Angle were ample representations of the ephemeral ballet reps.
Three crafty sailors tear up the town in Jerry Robbins’ “On The Town.” Jocular men in search of women and good times, snare a couple of babes, fight, dance and exude that oh so American innocence and nonchalance. Well matched, Amar Ramasar is a natural theatrical dance yoking a fine technique to a sparkling personality and spot-on dance instincts. His two mates, the animated De Luz and sympathetic Tyler Angle.
George Balanchine’s nod to American theatrical dance, Gershwin spins and kicks by dancers in flashy leotards, beaming over the Gershwin’s undeniably high-spirited music. Of course, Robert Fairchild and Tyler Peck
formed the evening’s starry centerpiece. Charisma and musicality haloed both performances. Fairchild knows how to woo a crowd, but his crowning achievement on the ballet and Broadway stage is his ability to devote himself whole-heartedly to his partner. It’s a mesmerizing demonstration of a man able to look at any partner and make the audience believe they are the only living being. Not to be outdone, Ms. Peck bounded across the stage in a on-stop performance that incorporated her eyes as much as her talkative feet and hips swish. What a night. Oh yes, the show opened with a musical performance of Candide.
EYE ON TEH ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis