Thursday May 28, 2009 - This was the line-up for tonight:
ALLEGRO BRILLANTE: *T. Peck, *Ramasar
OPUS 19/THE DREAMER: Whelan, Garcia
SWAN LAKE: Kowroski, Neal, Abergel, Bar, Seth
The joint debuts of Tiler Peck and Amar Ramasar (headshots above by Paul Kolnik) in ALLEGRO BRILLANTE were highly successful and really enjoyable. Tiler danced with perfect clarity and musicality, her pirouettes delivered with a flourish. Amar seems to have polished up his technique, taking things up a notch. As a partnership, all went smoothly and they are both so attractive to watch. Again, as in TARANTELLA, Tiler for some reason made me think of Patricia McBride. The audience were with them every step of the way and they were warmly applauded. The ensemble of eight marvelous dancers - Rebecca Krohn, Faye, Ashley L, Lauren King, Adrian D-W, Craig, Christian and Austin - provided a luxurious 'corps'.
OPUS 19 is my favorite of all the Jerome Robbins ballets. The music alone would lure me to a performance of it, but I also think it's one of Robbins' most inspired and beautifully structured works. Photo above: Wendy Whelan in OPUS 19 by by Josef Astor. Arturo Delmoni played the solo violin part tonight, putting a nice tonal sheen on the sometimes buzzy texture of the music.
Spellbound: that is how I felt watching Wendy and Gonzalo tonight. They moved thru the dreamscape with an extraordinary sense of nocturnal poetry; Gonzalo's superb physique and his other-worldly expression, and the many intriguing nuances of gesture that illuminate Wendy's dancing make this ballet so engrossing to watch. Both dancers exude incredible charisma. The musical atmosphere is enhanced by the corps who drift in and out of the dreamer's visions with subtle grace.
Beautiful finale: Maria Kowroski as Odette in the Balanchine SWAN LAKE in the above Henry Leutwyler photo. Maria and Philip Neal drew a very enthusiastic response both for their technical accomplishment and for the elegance and poignancy of their interpretations. The iconic Kowroski legs seemed extraordinary tonight - yes, even after all these times I've seen her dance - as her arabesques and attitude balances flowed in her trademark adagio style. Philip is such a noble cavalier and he and Maria have developed a classic interpretation of the pas de deux that is so expressive while managing to avoid any sense of lacquered-on drama. How satisfying to hear the insistent applause call them out a third time tonight.
In truth, though, I found that the music seemed just a shade too fast - an uncharacteristic approach from Maestro Kaplow - with just a slight feeling of the dancers being rushed at times. I also have decided that I don't really like the black swans in the white act; the novelty has worn off.
The corps danced well and Ellen Bar led the Valse Bluette with authority and a dramatic air. Continuing her very impressive season, Dena Abergel's dancing in the Pas de Neuf was a pure pleasure - lyrical and serene, and marking the climax of her first solo passage with a remarkably plush sustained balance. Above, in Paul Kolnik headshots: Dena and Ellen.