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Apollo, Moves, and Symphony in C by NYCB

A night of history at New York City Ballet with George Balanchine’s Apollo, Jerome Robbins’ Moves: A Ballet in Silence, and George Balanchine’s Symphony in C.

Apollo Andre Eglevsky with Diana Adams, Maria Tallchief and Tanaquil LeClercq. Photo by George Platt Lynes. Copyright Estate of George Platt Lynes.

Apollo at New York City Ballet with Andre Eglevsky with Diana Adams, Maria Tallchief and Tanaquil LeClercq. Photo by George Platt Lynes. Copyright Estate of George Platt Lynes.

I must admit that I am only up to the Russian/Parisian diaspora in Jennifer Homans’ Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet so I have not yet gotten to the George Balanchine part. That said, I knew that given the opportunity, I needed to see Apollo.

The ballet was created in 1928 by Balanchine for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes with music by Igor Stravinsky. Sebastien Marcovici played the part of Apollo, with the muses Terpischore (Sterling Hyltin), Polyhymnia (Tiler Peck), and Calliope (Ana Sophia Scheller) who dance for his attention. Although this ballet is from 1928 it still felt very relevant in its choreography with its abstract shapes depicting the planets circling the sun and emulating the triangular form familiar to Apollo.

Jerome Robbins Moves 1959.

Merce Cunningham meets Debbie Allen in Jerome Robbins’ Moves, 1959. Although my friends seem to disagree with me, I felt this piece was extremely dated (with an NYCB premiere of 1984) even though it was the most modern piece of the evening. With the A Chorus Line costumes, silence (meaning no music), askew spacing and somewhat chance choreography, the piece felt like the “uptown” version of post-modern dance. With the attention really focused on the “moves” I felt unmoved except for the part when the ballerina lies on her stomach and arches her back almost perpendicularly to the floor. Brava.

Sara Mearns George Balanchine Symphony in C Costumes

Balachine’s Symphony in C, 1947 with music by Georges Bizet and sparkles by Swarovski. Whoah. Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins calls it the most challenging ballet for the company and I couldn’t agree more. The speed, precision, athleticism, and volume of the piece is incredible. The innumerous turns, jumps, arabesques, and holds executed at a ridiculous pace is jaw-dropping. I sat in amazement as I watched the ballerinas – from the impeccable principals to the precise corps – keep up the pace in all their glittery splendor.

All in all, I had a lovely evening at the ballet and cannot wait till I finish Apollo’s Angels…

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DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse by Christopher Wheeldon

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse by Christopher Wheeldon, performed by New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, was a wonderful exercise in extension and the juxtaposition of fluidity and rigidity. With the pacing and excitement of Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Wheeldon creates shapes with his duets and corps that I have never seen. The combination of the costumes and lighting adds to the geometric feel to the choreography. Plus, the addition of the deconstructed stage designed by Jean-Marc Puissant (reminding me of work by a good friend of mine) acts as a metaphor for the transitory nature of the stage.

Here are some amazing pictures that I’ve compiled…

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

Christopher Wheeldon DGV

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Two Hearts by Benjamin Millepied

Two Hearts (World Premiere) Benjamin Millepied

With music by Nico Muhly and costumes by Rodarte, Two Hearts is a subtle and elegant dance of romance with structure and power.

Two Hearts (World Premiere) Benjamin Millepied

The most noticeable thing about this piece is how quiet it is. I did not hear one clanking of pointe shoes on the marley floor. Not one pounding of the men coming down from challenging jumps. Not the heaving breaths from dancers. It was so quiet that it felt like there was something wrong with my hearing. An unexpected element that added to its beauty.

The intricacies of the layered choreography of the corps could truly be found through that silence. They were off and onstage and together and apart so quickly and so effortlessly, adding to the spectacular pairing of Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle. Their emotion was palpable but not over the top. And their dancing was spectacular.

Two Hearts (World Premiere) Benjamin Millepied

All in all, with its minimalism in all but the choreography, this work is one of my new favorites.

P.s. As my friend and I were discussing all the things we loved about the piece, the lighting, the costumes, the music, the choreography, she said, nonchalantly, “and the time-code of the music…exquisite.” No joke.

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Jewels at New York City Ballet

Jewels (1967), choreographed by George Balanchine, is a visual treat. The ballet is composed of three pieces – Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds – with scores by Gabriele Faure, Igor Stravinsky, and Peter Ilyich Tschaikovsky respectively. With no narrative to convey, each piece is distinct.

Emeralds, was the most somber piece with romantic tutus and an elegant feel. The most memorable moment occurred when the shape of an emerald was created by the corps de ballet. A bit cheesy but I did, however, enjoy the pas de trois.

Rubies, was a jazzy piece that summoned the Charleston with its focus on the legs. The stage seemed to sparkle with the dazzling footwork, intricate spacing and complex timing to match the fantastical score.

Diamonds, was a spritely and enchanting exercise in classical showmanship with grand movements, a large company, and the ever-building music – not to mention Sara Mearns.

All in all, I enjoyed the abstract representation of the jewels with the diverse styles and scores.

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