Tuesday October 2, 2012 - Teresa Reichlen (in a Henry Leutwyler portrait, above) made her debut in the principal ballerina role of the second movement of the Balanchine/Bizet masterpiece SYMPHONY IN C tonight at the New York City Ballet. This iconic Balanchine role seems to me to have been danced by a relatively small number of ballerinas over the years; it calls for a special quality - a combination of physical elegance and spiritual grace - which Tess conveyed with glowing success as the ballet moved forward.
But we must start at the beginning, for the evening kicked off with a truly pleasing performance of RUBIES in which the irrepressible duo of Megan Fairchild and Joaquin de Luz scored a direct hit with their jazzy virtuosity. Tossing off the technical hijinx with ther customary savoir faire, Megan and Joaquin flirted and cajoled their way thru this Balanchine dazzler, delighting the audience at every turn. Savannah Lowery has been looking good in this role for the past couple of revivals but tonight she took it to a higher level with her dynamic dancing and seductive stagecraft. The four boys were on their game, and the corps girls looked dishy. The ballet, led with flair by Andrews Sill and with Cameron Grant at the keyboard, is a splendid opener.
In THE CAGE, Janie Taylor's uncanny ability to seem both feral and vulnerable put a fascinating colour on the ballet. Her belle sauvage quality gives her performances a unique perfume, and despite the wig and makeup that transform her ravishing blondeness into something quite different, she works the Taylor magic on this ballet, luring us in to the drama and holding us captive. Sebastien Marcovici, looking like a Greek god who has wandered far afield, excelled in the pas de deux. Rebecca Krohn deployed a sweepingly angular extension as the Queen, maintaining control over her swarm of hungry nymphs. Sean Suozzi's lithe torso had a pale luminosity as the first victim: I'd love to see him in the pas de deux role some day. The corps girls always seem to relish a chance to dance this ballet.
By means of contrast, the small Robbins/Tchaikovsky gem ANDANTINO was danced with gentle lyricism and refinement by Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia. These two dancers have a natural affinity and their performance had a pleasing sweetness about it which steered clear of sentimentality. Their romance seemed new and Spring-like.
Clothilde Otranto took the podium for SYMPHONY IN C and after a 'prelude' danced by Megan LeCrone and Gwyneth Muller, Ana Sophia Scheller swept onto the stage. On radiant form, Ana Sophia's technical finesse and innate princess-royal presence make watching her a complete joy. Andrew Veyette, her slender and attentive cavalier, won bursts of applause for his flourishing pirouettes.
The adagio marked yet another high point in Teresa Reichlen's ongoing conquest of the great ballerina roles. As with her TCHAIKOVSKY PIANO CONCERTO #2 and her SWAN LAKE, she has fresh things to say about these familiar works. Her particular brand of sophistication, free of theatricality, gives her a direct communicative line to the audience. From her first entry, she created a serene atmosphere and it was an engrossing experience to follow her thru this pas de deux, eavesdropping on her thru my opera glasses. The deep arabesque plunge was spine-tingling in its amplitude, and throughout the piece her full-bodied lyricism and expressive port de bras maintained an aura that was both regal and finely responsive to the beauties of the Bizet score. Jonathan Stafford, always so perfectly at home in these danseur noble roles, gave his ballerina unwavering support and together they built this adagio into a living reverence to Balanchine's genius. Adding to the lustre of this second movement were the demi-solistes Faye Arthurs and Ashley Laracey, partnered by Devin Alberda and Austin Laurent respectively.
Erica Pereira with her shimmering technique and 18-carat smile was once again a pure delight to watch in the Allegro vivace of the third movement. Matching her in both musicality and charm, Antonio Carmena gave a buoyant performance: we should see these two dancers together more often and more prominently featured in the Company's vast repertoire. In the final movement, Lauren King yet again showed that she is a logical ballerina to join the soloist rank while her partner, Adrian Danchig-Waring, is a principal dancer in all but name. In terms of both technque and presence, they each illuminate any role in which they are cast.
As the finale built - that stunning masterpiece of balletic architecture - the atmosphere in the house built with it and the dancers were warmly applauded as they stepped before the curtain to bow.
RUBIES from JEWELS: M. Fairchild, De Luz, Lowery
THE CAGE: Taylor, Marcovici, Krohn, Suozzi
ANDANTINO: T. Peck, Garcia
SYMPHONY IN C: FIRST MOVEMENT: Scheller, Veyette; SECOND MOVEMENT: *Reichlen,
J. Stafford; THIRD MOVEMENT: *Pereira, Carmena; FOURTH MOVEMENT: *King, Danchig-Waring