NEW YORK CITY BALLET JEWELS
September 20, 2019
George Balanchine’s majestic “Jewels” reigns over the first week of performances opening night of NYC Ballet’s brief fall season.
Elegantly expressive, Emeralds calls for fluid torso and arms gracefully framing the upper body. Particularly enchanting, Unity Phelan moves airily, calmly elongating her limbs into soft arcs of motion distinguished by the swan-like use of her elegant neck. Abbey Stafford and Ask la Cour are engaging and Amar Ramasar delivers his usual, assured and gallant performance, steeped in the romantic sweep of reminiscences.
Rather than Gabriel Faure’s sensual “Pelleas et Melisande and Shylock”, Stravinsky’s “Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra” hard, jazzy chords command sharp outlines of dancers with flexed feet, arms bent at the elbows, fingers splayed. Physically demanding, the lead roles were originally interpreted by she former boxer turned ballet principal, Eddie Villella and the technical spark-plug, Patricia McBride Athletic and vibrant, Rubies demands fleet footwork and spinning top turns keenly executed by the lean Sterling Hyltin who packed her steps into bundles of energy, popping into skimming hops and cleanly etched shapes. The sharply attentive Andrew Veyette tackles his solos with a keen integrity. Driven by unanticipated plunges into spread leg, deep knee bends and frisky prances, time is speeded up against the solo piano played with gusto by Stephen Gosling.
In the final, grand Diamonds section to regal music by Tschaikovsky, Mark Stanley’s bright lights sparkle against Peter Harvey’s set design, which switches from the emerald green spider web, or ruby reds baubles to the dazzling diamonds reflected in the white costumes. A serene partner, Tyler Angle guides the gazelle-like Maria Kowroski in a gloriously expressive performance. At one point, Kowroski luminously drapes her back over Angle’s arms while he sways. As the years move forward, Ms. Kowroski finds deeper and deeper reservoirs of compassion and strength in her dancing.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis