Saturday evening January 19th, 2013 - This performance came at the end of an all-day celebration at New York City Ballet entitled Saturday At The Ballet With George. As a prelude to Balanchine's birthday, the festivities included events for children, a discussion of repertoire, a full matinee programme, an onstage lecture-demonstration centering on The Balanchine Ballerina, live music on the Promenade by the Company's expert musicians and - at 8:00 PM - another performance of a very demanding trio of Balanchine/Tchaikovsky masterworks. Lesser mortals would have collapsed halfway thru the day, but the intrepid dancers and players of the New York City Ballet were remarkably fresh and they delivered a sensational evening of dance in which energy and artistry meshed to perfection.
Jared Angle, danseur noble de luxe, stepped before the curtain wearing navy blue sweats over his SERENADE costume. He welcomed us with prepared remarks smattered with some wry personal asides, then disappeared as guest conductor Roberto Minczuk struck up the immortal opening passage of SERENADE. Minutes later, Jared came pacing like a prince along the stage diagonal - amid the swirling tulle of the corps girls - to meet the delectable Sara Mearns. Worldly cares vanished as we were drawn deeper and deeper into the magical realm of Mr. B.
The night before, the sisterhood of Taylor/Fairchild/Krohn seemed to attain perfection in SERENADE - and yet tonight's performance was every bit as perfect. It's incredible how often I have felt that way over the decades: no matter who is dancing this ballet and whatever personal refinements they might bring to the choreography, SERENADE always seems perfect.
Sara Mearns was truly heavenly and Megan LeCrone brought a unique sense of plastique to the Angel role. Ashley Bouder's 'Russian Girl' was a marvel of individual musicality and personal poetry; of all her remarkable performances this one stood out for me. Now I want very much to see her as the 'Waltz Girl'. Jared was his perfect self: there must be royal blood in the Angle family line for later in the evening Jared's brother Tyler upheld the family name with a regal performance in the concluding ballet. We are so lucky to have them! And the there is Adrian Danchig-Waring, godlike of face and physique, in a performance of surpassing power and expressiveness. The luscious demi-solistes - Mlles. Dronova, King, Laracey and Pazcoguin - bring so much detail and delight to their dancing, and the fantastic girls of the NYCB corps swept past my opera glasses creating an endlessly beautiful tapesty of movement.
Dancing MOZARTIANA two nights in a row, Sterling Hyltin and Chase Finlay were excellent in every regard. In her newest role, Sterling somehow seemed to make a singular upward leap between Friday and Saturday evenings, for what seemed very pleasing on Friday morphed into a truly radiant interpretation on Saturday. As the variations move forward, Sterling brings just a trace of elegant playfulness to the ballet. Her performance captivated me, and Mr. Finlay continues his conquest of the repertoire, one ballet at a time. They look great together. Anthony Huxley was a vivid Gigue boy, making me see things in the choreography that I hadn't seen before. There's a tiny hint of devilry in Anthony's personality which is so intriguing. And he has perfect feet. Roses yet again for my pretty Menuet girls: Amanda, Marika, Gretchen and Gwyneth.
And so we come to yet another epic performance of TCHAIKOVSKY PIANO CONCERTO #2 with Susan Walters at the piano and Maestro Minczuk giving the score a teriffic romantic lilt. Did we speak of royal blood? Tonight our radiant Argentine princess Ana Sophia Scheller danced with stellar precision and beauty, her benevolent smile illuminating the theater, the City, the world. How wonderful that she is now a principal ballerina, though for me she has been one for quite some time already. Brava Ana!
Tyler Angle quite honestly left me smiling in total admiration for his dancing, partnering, and presence tonight. What a performance, really! In the past few seasons, Tyler has transformed himself into a world-class premier danseur and he's just so incredibly beautiful to watch. Let other companies have their Russian and Latin superstars: give me the Angle brothers, every time.
In a night where admiration knew no bounds, Teresa Reichlen gave a performance that stood out in an outstanding assemblage of marvelous dancers. Each season Tess looks more and more radiant; tonight in this ultra-demanding ballerina test piece her exquisite line, silky port de bras and beautifully expressive face made watching her a hypnotic experience. In the allegro passages, the conductor was setting quite a pace for the dancers and Tess had all the footwork brilliantly on display. In that magical moment where the promenading rows of corps dancers open up to reveal the prima ballerina in a set of fouette turns, Tess was at her most riveting. Pure gorgeousness.
Daniel Applebaum and Allen Peiffer kept Ms. Scheller company handsomely in the pas de trois. Lauren King and Brittany Pollack were the nicely contrasted demi-solistes; with Tyler Angle they induced sighs of delight for their marvelously crafted rendering of the ballet's second movement.
Happy birthday to the corps de ballet's lovely Meagan Mann...and what better way to celebrate than to dance Balanchine all day?
SERENADE: Mearns, Bouder, LeCrone, J. Angle, Danchig-Waring
MOZARTIANA: Hyltin, Finlay, Huxley
TSCHAIKOVSKY PIANO CONCERTO NO. 2: Reichlen, T. Angle, Scheller, Peiffer, Applebaum, King, Pollack