Friday January 25, 2013 - There nothing like a late seating to ruin an evening at the ballet. And it's particularly maddening when the opening ballet is BAISER DE LA FEE: a ballet where atmosphere is everything. Yet conductor Andrews Sill had no sooner begun to spin this delicious score when the ushers began tromping up and down the aisles with their little flashlights and urgent stage whispers and their footfalls on the uncarpeted floor: the magic of the Tchaikovsky/Stravinsky score went out the window. Once the spell of a ballet has been broken there's no redeeming it, and so despite truly gorgeous dancing from Tiler Peck, Robert Farchild, the lovely demi-solistes Alina Dronova and Erica Pereira and the pretty flock of corps ballerinas, BAISER went for nought tonight.
There's really no excuse to seat people after the conductor enters the pit: there are closed-circuit screens on each level where latecomers can watch the first ballet. Excuses like "the traffic", "the MTA", "the weather" don't fly: that's life in Gotham. Why should the seating of a score of stragglers infringe on the enjoyment of the vast majority of people who have made the effort to be there on time? I suppose there's no point in kvetching: no one cares anyway.
Unfortunately, the bad vibe stretched into Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux also, and despite the charming dancing and daredevil flourishes of the beloved Megan Fairchild/Joaquin de Luz partnership, I was feeling grumpy. Soon the two dancers cheered me up, and Megan's marvelous fouettes in the coda were a real treat. Joaquin's solo drew sighs of admiration from the crowd, and even though the second fish dive in the coda was a bit off-kilter, this delightful duo already had their success sewn up.
BAL DE COUTURE is a Peter Martins ballet created to show off costumes designed by Valentino; it is a sort of pageant in which twenty principal dancers promenade and waltz to Tchaikovsky. A dreamy adagio for Janie Taylor and Sebastien Marcovici seems unrelated to the rest of the ballet, and their romance is intruded upon by Rob Fairchild who momentarily lures Janie's attentions. The choreography throughout is formulaic with ballroomy touches. The women's costumes are singularly unflattering, with Janie's wafting pink a la SONNAMBULA bearing no relation to the black-white-and-red get-ups the other girls are wearing. The dancers went thru the motions sportingly, the music is so much more-than-pleasant (both dance numbers EUGENE ONEGIN are played) but the sum total effect of the piece is negligible: the time, expense and talent involved could have been better put to use elsewhere.
At last the evening bloomed in full with DIAMONDS; I don't like the gaudy tinsel-town decor of the current setting but from a musical and choreographic viewpoint DIAMONDS always glows. Sara Mearns danced with meltingly magical style in the adagio passages: she gracefully incorporates the allusions to Odette and Raymonda into the ballet, and she is simply gorgeous to watch. In the allegro section, her bravura dancing did not quite have its usual impetuosity but in the finale she was grand in every way. Ask LaCour made his debut in this ballet tonight: his partnering was very supple, his expression noble and poetic, his sense of the underlying courtly romance of the piece right on the mark. Long-legged danseurs do not always command the allegro footwork in a given ballet, but Ask came thru very nicely in the showy moments. As the ballet drew to its final minutes, Sara beamed her luxuriant smile on Ask and it seemed this rather last-minute partnership had worked out well in every regard: Sara and Ask basked in a very warm ovation and took and extra curtain call, very well-deserved. The demi-soliste quartet of Lauren King, Ashley Laracey, Gwyneth Muller and Megan LeCrone and the excellent work of the corps helped to compensate for the evening's unsavory start: thoughts of the late seating were gone. But not forgotten.
DIVERTIMENTO FROM ‘LE BAISER DE LA FÉE’: T. Peck, *R. Fairchild, Pereira, Dronova
TCHAIKOVSKY PAS DE DEUX: M. Fairchild, De Luz
BAL DE COUTURE: Kowroski, Reichlen, Krohn, Scheller, Hyltin, A. Stafford, T. Peck, M. Fairchild, Bouder, Taylor, J. Angle, la Cour, Danchig-Waring, Veyette, R. Fairchild, Ramasar, Finlay, De Luz, Carmena, Marcovici
DIAMONDS from JEWELS: Mearns, *La Cour