Thursday October 2, 2008 - Read Matt Murphy's interview with Christopher Wheeldon here. Matthew also wrote a nice piece for the City Center Playbill for the MORPHOSES performances. (Above, the finale of Christopher's new COMMEDIA in a John Ross photo).
Tonight provided a great opportunity to see this programme again and to introduce my friend Rob to MORPHOSES. He's gone to NYCB with me a few times during the Spring season so several of the dancers this evening were people he'd already encountered.
The ballets look very different viewed from the orchestra as opposed to the grand tier. POLYPHONIA tonight was more impressive than ever and the eight dancers seemed on a quest for perfection. The adagio for Wendy Whelan and Tyler Angle was one of those 'time stands still' moments, and Beatriz Stix-Brunell again savoured the cool beauty of the solo Christopher has created.
NYCB regulars are viewing the MORPHOSES season as an oasis in that vast desert that stretches from June to November and so we loved an early-Autumn opportunity to see Teresa Reichlen (Arthur Elgort photo above), Tiler Peck, Jason Fowler, Craig Hall and Gonzalo Garcia in addition to Wendy and Tyler. Their European sojourn seems to have agreed with the dancers...they're all looking better than ever.
In Emily Molnar's SIX FOLD ILLUMINATE, the choreographer highlights each of her dancers' strengths and seems to underline their personal magnetism while asking them to extend themselves physically. The women - Celine Cassone and Drew Jacoby - dance with powerful assurance. Rubinald Pronk's solo reveals his supreme fluidity of movement and the Royal Ballet's Edward Watson along with Rory Hohenstein and Edwaard Liang appear and vanish from the circles of light as the dynamic shifts from one personality to another. The rhythmic intensity of the Steve Reich score propels the dancers from darkness into light.
Wheeldon's COMMEDIA is a joyous affair, splashed with colour and reveling in Stravinsky's melodic score. Rory Hohenstein's solo is impish and nuanced, and Edwaard Liang and Celine Cassone are lyrical and mysterious in their masked duet. The audience loves Jacoby and Pronk - understandably - and Beatriz Stix-Brunell and the Royal Ballet's Leanne Benjamin don tutus for a charmingly gestured duet. In a Wheeldon jewel of an adagio, Ms. Benjamin and Edward Watson are impeccable. Then the backdrop flies up and the silhouetted dancers dissolve in silent laughter as COMMEDIA ends.
Above, Drew Jacoby and some of the NYCB dancers (Yaniv Schulman photo).
In an Erin Baiano photo from Molnar's SIX FOLD ILLUMINATE: Edward Watson, Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk.
Edwaard Liang & Celine Cassone (photo: John Ross) in SIX FOLD ILLUMINATE.
In COMMEDIA (John Ross photo, above) the dancers shed their colourful capes in favor of black-on-white body tights.
In COMMEDIA, Edward Watson and Leanne Benjamin (John Ross photo) again crowned the evening with their superbly coordinated pas de deux.
Since Rob and I are both fans of Cedar Lake, we loved spotting Acacia Schachte and Oscar Ramos among the crowd at City Center.
My amazed gratitude to James Wolcott of VANITY FAIR for his generous referral!