NYC BALLET BLACK AND WHITE
May 1, 2015
Winter finally melted into spring and NYC Ballet returned to the David H. Koch Theater for a season of classics and new ballets and new views of old works.
In what are known as the “black and white” abstract ballets, Balanchine crafted movement with the same sense of architectural space as Frank Lloyd Wright--spare and elegant, yet sensual and vibrant.
Beyond the clearly etched steps, Balanchine suspends motion inside the musical scores, most notably in the immaculate Concerto Barocco.
The two dominant dancers in Concerto Barocco, Sara Mearns and Teresa Reichlin, pop up on point, swinging a leg straight up while the torso, arches, pulling in the opposite direction. This tension, a call and response between corps and soloists--movers and music, resounds throughout the nonstop ballet.
Physically gutsy, the excellently matched Mearns and Reichlin press expansively through passages in front of a backdrop of females sheathed in white tights, leotards and short tunics.
Dancers hop on point, pass under arms forming canopies, and change facings as fast as a weathervane. A perennial favorite, Concerto Barocco was choreographed in 1941 and reveals something new at each viewing.
In contrast, Episodes, a stark ballet, strips dance of any ornamentation. Black leotards and pink tights add to the severity. Lots of air separates bodies, as feet flex, and palms flip up and down. Unlike the unending flow of many ballets, taut dancers freeze in angular poses, staring directly at the audience.
When Ashley Bouder springs onto the stage in Four Temperaments, the ferociousness of the attack is startling. Arriving in the final section, she clears the space of insecurities. Earlier in the ballet, Jennifer Ringer returns after having suffered an injury, and invests warmth and a knowing presence in her dancing. Stretching his back out against horizontal planes in Sanguinic, Amar Ramasar moves hungrily across the stage, commanding his long limbs to great advantage.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis