Expecting formality and tutus, the casual observer is presented instead with young men
in underwear, and gyrating young women meeting their every move.
The Royal Ballet Company paid a visit to New York City, under the auspices of
the Joyce Theater Foundation, after an absence of 11 years. In that time, many
of the troupe ‘s principals had rotated out and a new group of dancers arrived
with a programme of modern works (Program B) and some old favorites (A). The RBC is anything but stodgy. These dances for the most part brought a welcome freshness to the David H.
Koch Theater stage.
Wayne McGregor’s “Infra,” set to a score by Max Richter, is a kind of deconstructionist version of ballet. There is lots of graceful and purposeful walking, including on the light screen (designed by Lucy Carter) where silhouetted figures appear over the heads of the dancers.
The program that follows briefly nodded at classicism. Calvin Richardson’s
Dying Swan is movingly danced by the choreographer and from the Frederick
Ashton repertory, Voices of Spring felt more like a send-up than a straight-up
classical interpretation. Christopher Wheeldon’s Aeternum Pas De Deux
exhibits classic and classy gravitas.
Each work is beautifully danced.
If “Infra” deconstructs, Alaistair Marriot’s solo “Borrowed Light,” set to an
equally modern piece by Philip Glass, re-constructs. The work is full of longing.
As performed by Marcellino Sambe, its grand pirouettes were superbly
The “If I loved you” pas de deux had the exuberance of young love; its leaps and
lifts were breathtaking, underscored by Richard Rogers’ music for Carousel.
Lauren Cuthbertson’s Julie Jordan and Matthew Golding’s Billy Bigelow gave
Kenneth McMillan’s choreography poignancy.
Last on the bill of the all new-to-this-reviewer pieces was Age of Anxiety; set to
music by Leonard Bernstein by Liam Scarlett, it is a short story ballet. Age of
Anxiety is an urban dance featuring tales from the barroom. Sarah Lamb and
Alexander lead the cast in this lovely and compelling dance drama.