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New York City Ballet

'Interplay,' 'Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux,' 'Vespro' and 'Vienna Waltzes'

by Kate Snedeker

June 3, 2003 -- New York State Theater, New York

On Tuesday night, in a program that featured ballets by three different choreographers- ballets that were modern and classical, that involved large casts and small casts, and that used the talents of young dancers and ballet veterans- the New York City Ballet once again demonstrated its astounding range and talent base.

Opening the evening on a youthful note was Jerome Robbins' Interplay , with an exuberant cast of Ashley Bouder, Glenn Keenan, Carrie Lee Riggins, Carla Korbes, Antonio Carmena, Stephen Hanna, Adam Hendrickson and Andrew Veyette. Robbins’ choreography mixes playful competition with steps from social dance and traditional ballet, and the energetic dancers seemed to revel in the free-spirited nature of the ballet. In the central, slow pas de deux, Carla Korbes and Stephen Hanna mixed tenderness with superb technique, never losing youthful feel that makes the ballet so unique. Also of note was Antonio Carmena’s infectious enthusiasm and nicely finished dancing. The final competition of double tours lost some of it’s punch because not all of the men were able to do the right number of turns, but the women picked up the slack with a barrage of crisp, fast pirouettes. The appropriately simple and brightly colored costumes were by Santo Loquasto, with Morton Gould’s giddy music, Elaine Chelton on the piano.

Switching from youth to mature experience, Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux was the next treat. Dancing together with the superb technique and rapport that made their Swan Lake so breathtaking, Wendy Whelan and Damien Woetzel offered up a memorable performance. Always spectacular in bravura choreography, Woetzel was exceptional on this night in his soaring assembles, which seemed to hover in midair and were landed with a panther-like lightness. Whelan was elegant and fluid, and their partnering was smooth especially in the breathtaking final passage of syncopated leaps into fish dives.

Vespro , Mauro Bigonzetti’s contribution to the 2002 Diamond Project, provided a dramatic leap from classical to modern, both in style and music. Bruno Moretti, the composer of the commissioned score, was the good natured pianist, the patient recipient of Benjamin Millepied’s disharmonious intrusions onto the piano. Millepied, as the hyperkinetic central figure, alternately watched and insinuated himself in the two central pas de deuxs, danced by Maria Kowroski and Jason Fowler and Alexandra Ansanelli and Sebastien Marcovici. The choreography is characterized by frequent arm movements, with the outstretched arm of each woman silently blocking her partner from approaching. Though the women are picked up and contorted by the men, but they have the real power. Of particular interest was the opportunity to see Jason Fowler in a central role. One of the tallest men in the company, he is a solid partner and Bigonzetti’s choreography highlights his flexibility and taut, powerful technique. Among the small corps, the nuanced and powerful dancing of Craig Hall stood out from the rest. The black, red and white skin tight costumes were by Julius Lumsden.

Elegance ended the night, with the dancers swirling across the stage to music of Johan Strauss II, Franz Lehar and Richard Strauss in Balanchine’s Vienna Waltzes. In Karinska’s intricately detailed pale pink ballgown, Rachel Rutherford was just stunning in the first movement. Gliding across the stage, she radiated a perfect combination of maturity and youthful joy. James Fayette was her gallant and tender partner. Miranda Weese and Peter Boal ate up the air in the leaping Fruhlingsstimmen Waltz, their partnership one of solid, mature technique. In a particularly energetic and precise Explosions Polka, Aesha Ash and Arch Higgins were the bounding leads Jennifer Ringer has yet to achieve the mysterious aura that befits the leading lady in Gold Und Silber Waltz, but was properly elegant with Charles Askegard. In the moving Der Rosenkavalier waltz, Darci Kistler was smooth, but never really evoked the necessary poignancy. The high swoops of her dress, which revealed leg all the way up to the leotard underneath, seemed inappropriate to the dignified character of the waltz. The final waltz, a symphony of dancers in black and white is a powerful sight, a scene that leaves an indelible mark in one’s memory. Each couple is different and unique, yet a part of a stunning whole. New York City Ballet always is impressive in this finale, and it provided a wonderful last impression to close out a lovely night of ballet.

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