|Joaquin soaks in the audience adoration|
|de Luz and Hyltin, photo @ Paul Kolnik|
|Veyette, de Luz, Angle, photo @ Irving Chow|
Just as impressive was the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux with Tiler Peck. Peck and de Luz are both bravura, show-off dancers, and they brought the house down the night I saw them. They were spurring each other on to out-do the other in the variations and coda. By the time Peck dove into de Luz's arms for those final fishdives the audience was screaming like it was a YAGP gala. The two even did some very Russian-style milked curtain calls. Here's a video of them where you can gauge their astonishing virtuoso technique:
|Reichlen's speech at fall gala|
And just on the heels of Joaquin's departure, NYCB promoted Joseph Gordon to principal, and several corps members to soloists. One door closes, another one opens.
|Scenes from a farewell|
An okayish Concerto Barocco (Kowroski, Janzen, Stafford) gave de Luz a chance to rest before Suite of Dances. This 12 minute solo that combines classical ballet with skipping, hopping, pulling the tag of a shirt, cartwheels, somersaults and the like is minor Robbins but it did give de Luz a chance to show off his boyish charm. A finally Todos Buenos Aires is by any measure an awful ballet but Martins ballets always have a flashy "jumping boy" and de Luz basically jumped around the stage and wowed the crowd while the rest of the cast did some basic tango moves. Multiple turns a la seconde, corkscrew jumps, you get the picture. His colleagues (Sara Mearns, Maria Kowroski, Ask La Cour, Taylor Stanley, Andrew Veyette, Jared Angle) all muted themselves so the spotlight was squarely where it belonged.
When the ballet was over the auditorium exploded and de Luz was showered with confetti and flowers from his colleagues. A few memorable moments: a heavily pregnant Megan Fairchild got her tummy kissed by de Luz, Gonzalo Garcia brought out a Spanish flag and the two of them pretended to be matador and bull, Tess Reichlen came out and picked de Luz up, Robert Fairchild came back to NYCB for the afternoon, and de Luz did an adorable tango with his mother. Many balletomanes were sad that de Luz was retiring and a bit puzzled. After all he's still dancing very well. But he said in an interview that he wanted to go out on top, and he did. He has teaching and dancing gigs lined up, and seems completely happy with his decision to retire. It's the audiences who will miss him.