New York City Ballet, Peter Martins, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Ashley Bouder, Ballet
She comes out brash and assertive, like a defiant refugee from West Side Story's Puerto Rican Sharks gang. It would not have been a surprise if she had started tossing a switchblade while snapping her gum with scorn. When she shook her fanny in front of the boys it was equal parts taunting and invitation. This is a girl who knows what boys want and she's got it. Pazcoguin really sank her teeth into this role with an intensity that was not quite matched by Justin Peck. There was an element of humor to her portrayal but it was laced with enough serious attitude that the ballet as a whole became something more than an artifact. It came to life. The boldness of her interpretation is absolutely essential to breathe life into a period piece like this that might otherwise wallow in nostalgia.
In the Passage for Two, Ashley Laracey and Chase Finlay delivered a slowly smoldering pas de deux. This is pas de deux as foreplay. It was delivered with balletic grace and real heat. Theirs is a really good partnership.
Robbins' gift as a choreographer was in being able to deftly capture a sense of character with deft economy of movement. In N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, a bygone era is brought back to life. The company dancers deftly conveyed the swaggering, pent up, youthful energy of the steps without going over the edge into caricature.
Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild in Peter Martins' The Waltz Project
Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy of New York City Ballet
Peter Martins' The Waltz Project opened the evening with a meditation on partnership in dance and romance. Cameron Grant's piano accompaniment was right on the money. These pieces were culled from Robert Moran's 1976 Waltz Project which assembled waltzes by great twentieth century American composers. Grant's playing was luminous and made the music truly danceable by giving it rhythmic sweep and lyricism across a challenging range of compositional styles.
Of the four alternating couples, the most fun to watch was Tiler Peck with Robert Fairchild. Their evident pleasure in dancing with each other was infectious with flirtatious exuberance and just a little bit dirty, especially in the way she shook her hips in the Dejavalse section. Martins' choreography gives them the best waltzing and flying movement to really let go and they did. Whether in point shoes or sneakers, Peck soared with abandon while Robert Fairchild exuded forceful masculine energy.
Among the other three waltzing pairs there was also plenty to see. The partnership that at first glance seemed unsuitable turned out to be another great combination: Teresa Reichlen and Amar Ramasar. On pointe, Reichlen looks nearly a head taller than Ramasar but somehow the height disparity disappeared as they worked together seamlessly to express heartfelt longing. Megan Fairchild, partnered by Andrew Veyette, astonishingly managed to curl up into a ball of anguish while being held in the air. It was a beautiful display of vulnerability by a dancer of great sensitivity. The first couple was Savannah Lowery and Adrian Danchig-Waring who delivered the push-pull of ambivalence in their relationship. Lowery delivered her best dancing of the night in this piece, moving with power and authority.
Overall this was another fine night to celebrate the art of dancing with the New York City Ballet. Now someone needs to give the audience a lecture on not bolting for the exits as soon as the final curtain drops. It is disheartening to dancers when they come out to take a bow and see everyone scrambling to get out. Yes, you are all paying customers, but please wait five minutes and give the artists their due. What they do is a rare and wondrous thing. Taking five more minutes to offer tribute is not too much to ask.
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. |