Performing Arts: Dance
September 23, 2022
Works by George Balanchine flooded NYC Ballet's opening night making it a particularly satisfying program.

Surrounded by a cast of dominant young dancers, Balanchine's 1956 Mozart ballet Divertimento 15 formed a musical springboard for a traditional form invigorated by neo classical invention. Split between 3 soloists and 3 principals, six variations showed-off each individual dancer's personality: Sara Adams, Erica Pereira, Unity Phelan, Emilie Gerrity, Joseph Gordon and Megan Fairchild. Style and clarity colored their solos with an extra dollop of attention going to Periera, Phelan, and Gordon.

Scotch Symphony headed for the highlands led by the air borne Ashley Bouder, along with Jovani Furlan and Baily Jones. Echoes of the 19th century La Sylphide's sprightly sensibilities seeped through the buoyant jumps and springy turns that nodded to the master 19th Century choreographer and ballet master August Bournonville.

When a poet and a beautiful sleepwalker meet, mystery ensues in Balanchine's La Sonnambula. Charming and flamboyant, The Coquette (Sara Mearns) circulates through a masked party, commanding everyone's attention and stealing into the dreamy Poet's (Taylor Stanley) arms. As if in this world, yet part of another, Stanley effortlessly moves through the party, gallantly partnering Mearns in affectionate, suspended holds and flawless lifts.

Bounding from the wings, Harlequin (a NYC Ballet stalwart, Daniel Ulbricht) dazzles all with his technical fireworks jumping twice his height and pirouetting into perfect landings. As the guests dissipate, a light appears in the windows of the house revealing a beautiful Sleepwalker (Sterling Hyltin) holding a candle in one outstretched hand while quickly slipping on point across the space.

Whenever Stanley reaches out to grasp her, Hyltin sways forward and back, or round and round like a fluffy cloud blown by a sweet breeze. Desperate to hold her, Stanley approaches, but Hyltin executes a series of fleeting steps (bourrees) backwards that blur into an inexplicably ephemeral flight -- a breath-taking sight.

The rapt audience roared its appreciation for a company emboldened by its impressive ranks and commitment to American dance.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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