Saturday January 30, 2010 evening - Tonight is was Megan Fairchild's turn to accept the roses from her suitors as she danced the role of Aurora in the New York City Ballet's SLEEPING BEAUTY. Megan's Aurora in the last revival of the production was well-nigh perfect, but she's surpassed that level now. She looks ideally girlish and petite but her dancing has the poise and stature of a fully-matured artist. Given her technical fluency, the steps are spun off with complete command. Beyond that she has developed a lovely capacity for dreaminess and romantic longing that made her Vision Scene a real pleasure.
But: I've gotten ahead of myself. Megan began casting her magic spell on the ballet very early in the Rose Adagio as she makes her way up the diagonal of the suitors by striking a supported arabesque with each man and then moving to the next. Megan made the transition from one partner to the next with a sort of swooning feeling that was really attractive. The first big unsupported balance of the adagio was grandly sustained. In the variation that follows, her multiple pirouettes were pristine.
Megan's partnership with Joaquin de Luz has been a big success and even though she is now a bit taller than he is when she's on pointe, they are so accustomed to dancing together that it doesn't matter. From the first encounter in the Vision Scene to the final coronation, they are a dream team in this ballet. Joaquin's solo dancing was splendid: three sets of blazing air turns with cushioned landings were a high point for him, but everything in his performance was so vividly alive. And he's a handsome prince to boot. Joaquin and Megan had the best success with the fishdives of any pairing I've seen in this production in recent revivals. The audience lavished waves of cheers on Megan and Joaquin when they took their curtain calls.
Production photo by Paul Kolnik of Megan Fairchild and Joaquin de Luz in the ballet's final moment. Ellen Bar is the Lilac Fairy here.
Jennie Somogyi was tonight's sparkling Lilac Fairy, flourishing in the multiple pirouettes and sustained attitudes of the role. It was a real pleasure to see her on such fine form tonight after her long road back from a serious injury, reminding us of her many virtues as a dancer. As her counter-part, Maria Kowroski was an imperious Carabosse with a dash of sexy thrown in. The audience adored her.
The fairy set-piece in the Prologue went especially well tonight; I felt that Maurice Kaplow's tempi helped the five girls make the very most of their solos. Maya Collins (Tenderness) danced radiantly and one of our newer ballerinas Sara Adams was impressive in the Vivacity variation. As Generosity, Faye Arthurs showed all the facets of her dancing that have made her a very special ballerina for us. Alina Dronova (Eloquence) showed a lively coloratura style and Ellen Bar looked superb and danced with flair as Courage. Then there are the largely unsung cavaliers - the production does give them moments to shine, and shine they did: Andrew Scordato, Chase Finlay, Vincent Paradiso, Cameron Dieck, Daniel Applebaum, and Sam Greenburg. Among the Lilac Fairy attendants, Megan Johnson was my girl to watch this evening. Justin Peck and Gwyneth Muller were the royal pair, nicely doting on their daughter. In the Hunting Scene Georgina Pazcoguin's Countess was more hurt than huffy when the Prince dismissed her: a nice little vignette.
Jared Angle led the Jewels pas de quatre with a stylish performance; I wish he'd been cast as Desire this season but we do have his Siegfried in SWAN LAKE to look forward to. Savannah Lowery was having a grand time as Diamond until she slipped; she recovered quickly but I fear she may have injured herself. We sometimes forget what a precarious job this is. Lauren King was a lustrous Emerald with a superb concluding balance, and Ashley Laracey a delight as Ruby. Kristen Segin's White Cat was menaced by a wonderfully vivid Puss-in-Boots from Craig Hall.
Abi Stafford's purity of technique and innate grace made her a very appealing Princess Florine. Antonio Carmena danced impressively as the Bluebird but had a momentary falter in his partnering. Christian Tworzyanski was the stalking Wolf. Troy Schumacher's lightness of touch in the Jester pas de trois marked him out as a future Bluebird; Vincent Paradiso and Giovanni Villalobos completed the trio in this lively dance just before the classic Somogyi solo and the Fairchild/de Luz truly grand pas de deux brought the evening to a coronation-conclusion.
Watch Kristin Sloan's vastly entertaining and informative video about performing the Wedding pas de deux from SLEEPING BEAUTY with Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette here.
Tonya writes about the BEAUTY cast I was unable to see here.