New York City Ballet, Serenade, Mozartiana, Ashley Bouder
The women of the corps de ballet were terrific, one and all. Serenade offers the opportunity to do a lot of flying and flowing dancing and they moved buoyantly with the music in a curiously individual unity. The men are not given much to do in this ballet for and about women but Jared Angle and Adrian Danchig-Waring were both perfect partners in service of these three romantic icons.
Mozartiana is mostly about feet, in this case specifically Maria Kowroski's feet. There is a great deal of intricate footwork for the other dancers that conjures impressions of old court dances but this is really a showcase for a great ballerina. Beginning with the opening Preghiera, Kowroski ran a marathon of bourrées while surrounded by four adorable young girls. She scarcely comes off pointe the entire time she is on stage. Hers are long, beautiful feet and her experience shows in the way she deftly presents those feet as objects of art. She is clearly the heiress of Suzanne Farrell in this role.
Anthony Huxley's turn in the Gigue was a high point in this ballet. It is a deceptively difficult variation in that it doesn't look like the individual steps are complicated, but there are very many of them requiring very fine footwork and Huxley tossed them off with just the right balance between ballet dancer and court dandy.
Partnered by Tyler Angle in the Theme and Variations section, Kowroski showed off a playful and wittily coquettish side while her partner displayed terrific command of his own feet. This is one incredibly long pas de deux that has the two dancers alternating variations that individually are not the the most difficult but when added up become a real test of endurance. The male part involves a great deal of batterie including more beats than anyone could count. A pair of entrechats-quatre followed by an entrechat-six, repeated several times does test a dancer's stamina and resilience. Angle tossed them all off with ease and indefatigability along with his brisk turns. Kowroski, holding up her end of the pas de deux, was an elegant joy to watch. She reaches the fullest of her extensions with riveting effortlessness, always with those perfect, long feet presented as if on an elegant platter.
Rounding out the program was Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 2, capably played by pianist Susan Walters under the direction of Daniel Capps. No real surprise, the sound of the piano was a bit muffled by being down in the orchestra pit but that can't be helped.
The long-limbed Teresa Reichlen was partnered by Ask la Cour and this ballet suits her perfectly. For all her long legs, she moves with the great speed that is required here and takes tremendous space with her leaps. Notwithstanding one small glitch in this performance, Reichlen is at her best when being partnered. Somehow there is an alchemy that occurs that raises her performance another notch when she's doing pas de deux. It brings out the fullest expression and feeling in her movement.
Ana Sophia Scheller turned in a terrific performance as the second female lead. If not for that, the soloists Lauren King and Brittany Pollack would both have been excellent choices for the part. Pollack in particular gleams with cheerful energy and precision. But in this final offering of the all Tchaikovsky/Balanchine programs, Scheller just ran away with it. Her performance, beyond being full of crisp turns and perfect balances, was radiant and second only to Ashley Bouder on this program.
Andrew is a lifelong traveler and cook. Born into a military family, he became used to moving frequently and having to learn new things. He enjoys the rich variety of life. After a first career as a dancer with the Hartford Ballet and Ohio Ballet companies, Andrew did his undergraduate degree at the University of Akron and then went to Kent State for graduate school. All along the way he has been a cook in restaurants from New Orleans to New York City. Andrew also collaborates with his writing partner, Vikas Khanna, on cookbooks in addition to the Holy Kitchens film series. Andrew is the writer of Flavors First, recently published by Lake Isle Press. |