AAA at NYCB

Apollo, Afternoon of a Faun, Antique Epigraphs
New York City Ballet
May 18, 2011

Tonight's bill at the NYCB consisted of three ballets starting with "A" - Apollo, Afternoon of a Faun, and Antique Epigraphs. I had to leave before the final ballet (La Sonnambula), which would have broken the A chain, but oh well. More importantly, the NYCB dancers brought their A game onstage tonight, and as a result the ovations were longer and louder than I've ever heard them, especially after Apollo. When Chase Finlay came out for his solo bow, the way the crowd roared, it was something else.


Chase Finlay again was Apollo, but he had a very different set of muses tonight, so different that the ballet almost seemed like a different ballet. Last week's cast of Scheller, Peck, and Hyltin are all sweet, playful dancers, petite in size and charming in movement. Tonight Teresa Reichlen, Sara Mearns, and Maria Kowroski are all glamorous blondes who dance big. This is my second time seeing Finlay dance Apollo and I think he was better last week. Tonight Finlay had some unsure moments, including the opening solo where he was tripped over a step and was this close to falling. He also had another near-slip/fall at the end of his second solo. His interactions with the Muses was also different. Last week, there was a childlike quality to the whole ballet. Tonight, it seemed like three Women educating the young god about the ways of the world. The muses kind of took over the ballet -- they literally seemed to glow, and dripped glamor even in their plain white tunics. Finlay seemed awestruck by the muses, and maybe it was their energy that inspired him to dance bigger and soar higher, because he improved as the ballet went on. Teresa Reichlen was so dazzling as Calliope that one wondered why Apollo would turn this muse away. And then Sara Mearns absolutely blew the Polyhymnia solo out of the ballpark. The amplitude of her dancing never ceases to astonish me, the way she glues your eye to every move she makes. In the series of half-pirouettes into arabesque, I remember Tiler Peck being light and fleet. Mearns stretched the line of the arabesque dramatically each time, and lifted her arms upwards, as if she were trying to fly. Amazing. Maria Kowroski as Terpsichore wasn't like Hyltin's coquettish portrayal at all. Kowroski was flat-out sexy, and she knew it. When Terpsichore enters in her solo, Balanchine has her slowly rotate her hips as she steps on pointe, and Kowroski made this hip turning extremely seductive. The pas de deux with Hyltin last week was sweet and tender. Tonight it was ... well, it was hot. The "swimming" moment could have had a tad more security, but why quibble? It was overall a great performance, with a high level of energy and commitment from the quartet. Sidenote: on my way out of the theater I ran into Chase Finlay and congratulated him on his performance. He was gracious but seemed surprised that he was being recognized. My god he looks young! Like a regular young New Yorker. Onstage he looks and dances like a god.



Afternoon of a Faun was danced by Craig Hall and Janie Taylor. Craig Hall caught my attention the other night as one of the hapless dancers in Seven Deadly Sins. I love this ballet -- I feel as if it's Robbins' most perfect work, and the ballet studio backdrop a wonderful contrast to the animalistic, mysterious nature of the dancers. His Faun was sensual and narcissistic. Hall had absolute control of his limbs during the long adagio passages of this ballet -- I didn't see shaking, not once. Janie Taylor entered as a vision, her blond hair glowing, as she entered the ballet studio. Her pas de deux with the Faun sizzled. Just as mysteriously, she abandons the Faun. During the whole time onstage Taylor was mysterious and alluring. I love how she enters, goes to the barre, and slowly does a grand plie. She makes the movement very provocative. Her pale complexion contrasted beautifully with Hall's dark skin. It was riveting.

After two such performances, Antique Epigraphs did seem like sort of a let-down. The ballet was designed by Jerome Robbins and showcases 8 women, all posed like Greek statues and they move very slowly and deliberately to Debussy's music. There are some striking classical poses that look like something Isadora Duncan would have danced. It's a good mood piece, and the four soloists (Rachel Rutherford, Savannah Lowery, Teresa Reichlen, and Sara Mearns) were all excellent in their solos. Mearns -- at this point I'd pay good money to see her dance the electric slide. But the ballet just doesn't have the impact of Apollo or Faun.

But the NYCB right now has maybe the strongest roster of female dancers anywhere. It used to be the cliche that you went to City Ballet for the ballets, and ABT for the dancers. Well, this is no longer true anymore -- Ashley Bouder and Sara Mearns have both guested abroad, and dancers like Mearns, Bouder, Peck, Taylor, and Hyltin bring a level of excitement every time they step onstage. Kowroski is dancing with more confidence than I've seen her in a long time. The buzz about Finlay's Apollo was incredible. These are exciting times for a balletomane like me.

Comments

  1. I guess whether you wanted or not you really experienced a slip and fall while doing ballet. If this case happening and someone liable for it, you can ask a help for a slip and fall lawyer and they are specialized in this case.

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