Posted in ballet, New York City Ballet

The red and the black

Ballet, and I guess, all forms of dance, has always had the effect of transporting me.

In one piece on the program the other day at the New York City Ballet, Peter Martins’ choreography to Stravinsky’s propellant Jeu De Cartes took me away in a most pleasing riot of jumps and jetés. Diamonds, spades, hearts and clubs were displayed in spirited combinations; there were knaves and face-cards acting in harmony. The Queen and her cavalier dresses in kitschy abandon by costume designer Ian Falconer pranced happily to the stirring melody.

This was just the first of five transportive moments that afternoon. And one of the most original and electrifying was Peter Walker’s ten in seven. This is a dancework we had seen before, and were looking forward to with delight. It was even more splendid on a second watching. ten in seven, with a guitar-led band on an on-stage bandstand, and 5 coupled dancers is electrifying. That guitarist leading the band is Thomas Kitka, who also wrote the commissioned score.

Equally intoxicating is Alexei Ratmansky’s new Odessa. Ratmansky reponds to the eclectic styles in the score with fire. The costumes by Keso Dekker are splendid. In the dance, when passion meets brutality, I wanted to be the one to alert the police. In fact every aspect of Odessa, which premiered on May 4th, feels as if it is energized by Leonid Desyatnikov’s music, Sketches to Sunset from 2006.

Lauren Lovette’s For Clara left us with wanting more when last we saw it. This viewing was no different except that the lovely piece, set to music by Robert Schumann, was even more admirable.  Ms. Lovette has succumbed to romantic impulses with great subtlety, and in the most charming of ways.

New York City Ballet’s resident choreographers are always a talented and innovative bunch. When Christopher Wheeldon filled that role, he quickly became our favorite. Fashions come and go, but we still thrill to his works, like Carousel: A Dance, which we never see often enough. After the Rain is another such, and it gets better with repeated exposure. On this occassion, it was danced by Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour both of whom execute the piece with elegance and style.

Justin Peck, currently the Choreographer in Residence, got his first-ever all-Peck program recently. Two of the pieces, The Dreamers (a duet, danced by Sarah Mearns and Amar Ramasar on this occasion) and Everywhere You Go (for what looks like an entire company), both familiar, are welcome additions to the permanent repertoire. Peck has an interesting way of partnering male dancers, and lots of energy even in his sometimes dystopic moods. New Blood is an interesting new work, that will take a few viewings to absorb and analyze.

The dancers– from corps to principal–earn my unbridled admiration with ever step they take.

The spring season of NYC Ballet’s Here/Now Festival runs through May 21st and   finishing the season on May 28th with Ballanchine’s  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at their Lincoln Center home. Visit the website for information and tickets.

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