NYC BALLET - DECALOGUE
May 15, 2017
Justin Peck took a decidedly turned towards the neo-classical when NYC Ballet unveiled his newest ballet “Decalogue” for ten dancers. Geometry and long lines combined to form receding and advancing mathematical constructions. Sleekly costumed dancers in leotard and tights of varying muted grey-toned colors by Justin Peck exuded a questioning coolness.
Generally, Peck’s dances convey a strong sense of community shaped around a whispered narrative. This time, the steps to a piano score by Sufjan Stevens were dominant. References to Balanchine classics – Apollo among others, materialized and then dissolve next to sequences flavored by Cunningham, off-center technique. A man is supported by three women, bends his knee and leans off-balance, head (and this is key) looking up to the ceiling instead of straight ahead. Or, the use of the floor—like when two men, arm in arm lowered a women to the floor suggesting a modern dance principle of “fall and recovery.”
Foundationally strong, the polished ballet surfs across steps that aim to connect but miss. This is a departure for Peck, and while it’s always exciting to see choreographers chisel new creative territory, Decalogue eschews emotion for intellectual ether.
A member of the company, Peck inevitably finds ways to feature up and coming dancers he probably watches in class or rehearsals. This access gives him insight into the dance corps less visible to other choreographers. In “The Decalogue” the dancers appeared in ten different sections. Along with the lauded Sara Mearns, Kristen Sedgin, Rebecca Krosh, Claire Dretzschmar, and Rachel Hutsell formed the female cotillion while principals Jared Angle and the sparky Gonzalo Garcia led Daniel Applebaum, Harrison Coll, and Aaron Sanz in the male brigade. Altogether, they were sharp and collected but will undoubtedly grow even more supple with time.
The program began with the very lovely chamber ballet by Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s “Chiaroscuro,” Jorma Elo’s edgy “Slice to Sharp" and Peter Martins’ operatic “Stabat Mater” excellently sung by soprano Mary Wilson and mezzo-soprano Meg Bragle.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis