|Ratmansky's The Seasons' final tableau, photo @ Rosalie O'Connor|
ABT continued its Ratmansky Ballet Theater season with a triple bill: the pretty but somewhat bland Songs of Buklovina, the pseudo-dram-ballet On the Dnieper, and his new work The Seasons. I reviewed the program for bachtrack here. Everyone loved The Seasons -- I'm not there yet. To me it lacks the tight organization that is a hallmark of classical ballet. As I said on bachtrack:
The Seasons is overstuffed, uneven and way too busy. There are so many steps, but they rarely made me "see the music". It's also confusing; one had to keep glancing down at the program notes to keep track of who was supposed to be representing what. It was a frustrating ballet, with so many lovely moments that were less than the sum of its parts.
|The Garland waltz, photo @ Erin Baiano|
|Concerto Barocco rehearsal, from @sab_nyc's IG|
The Garland Dance from Sleeping Beauty was a wonder -- on the smaller stage the knitting patterns Balanchine has the little pink girls make throughout the waltz were eye-popping in their beauty. The new Forsythe duet "New Sleep" was very Forsythe -- aggressive electronica music, huge crotch-splitting extensions, black stage, black costumes. But the couple I saw -- Quinn Starner and KJ Takashashi got the style down pat, down to the cold glares. Starner is a real beauty and KJ Takashashi is already getting buzz for his eye-catching style.
|Bourrée Fantasque, photo @ sab_nyc's IG|
After the performance I saw so many proud parents with their kids. It always warms my heart. I haven't heard who the apprentices will be, but based on this workshop whoever they are they'll be great.
|Mearns as Titania, photo @ Erin Baiano|
|Harrison Ball as Puck, photo @ Paul Kolnik|
Here is Sara Mearns' Titania:
|Hyltin and Ramasar, photo @ Paul Kolnik|
This was one of those performances where everyone was on. Georgina Pazcoguin after years of injuries returned to the role of Hippolyta and swallowed up the stage with huge leaps and fouettés. Russell Janzen was great as Titania's Cavalier. The SAB children who make up the butterflies as insects were amazing -- I saw patterns and formations that were clearer than they've ever been, and a joy in their dancing. You also saw how masterful Balanchine was at creating kid-appropriate choreography.
|Huxley and Mejia, photo @ Andrea Mohin|
Roman Mejia as Puck circled the stage in a powerful series of jumps and provided much of the comedy as Puck became ever-more-confused by the antics of the silly Athenian lovers. Mejia is a phenomenal talent: his jump is enormous, his energy is boundless, and he has a natural vivacity that lights up the stage. At this point his portrayal is rather broad with a lot of audience-facing mugging but with time he will no doubt improve. He already has the technique down pat.
Balanchine's take on Shakespeare is in a way cast-proof. There's so much wit and charm in the choreography that it sells itself.
And so that's a wrap for NYCB's spring season. Overall it was a success for Jonathan Stafford and Wendy Whelan -- some of the sloppiness that had been present in the year of purgatory was absent, and dancers like Harrison Ball, Indiana Woodward and Roman Mejia seem ripe for promotion. Suzanne Farrell was invited back to coach Diamonds, and the results were wonderful.The most successful revivals were of works that are rarely in the repertoire: Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Valse Fantaisie and Scotch Symphony. I also loved the two different but beautiful casts for Dances at a Gathering, and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. While Justin Peck's Bright was rather dim and Pam Tanowitz's Bartok Ballet a disappointment, some new works area already classics: the irresistible anthem The Times Are Racing (2017), the spiritual and mysterious Pictures at an Exhibition. Longtime tap couple Justin Peck and Ashly Isaacs both retired after this season but I have no doubt this work will live on.
And now here is Anthony Huxley in the Scherzo. It really does not get much better than this: