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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lesser Known Balanchine at the NYCB

Balanchine choreographed so much over such a long span of time that it's impossible for even the most hardcore Mr. B disciple to have "seen it all." And truth be told, some of his works are probably not worth reviving. PAMTGG is maybe the most famous example of a famous Balanchine turkey. But sometimes, a "rare" Balanchine work will be revived, and the reaction will be, "Why isn't this done all the time? It's beautiful!" Such was the case last night when the NYCB presented a bill of Scherzo a la Russe, Divertimento from "Le Baiser de la Fee," Danses Concertantes, and finally the well-known Firebird.

Scherzo a la Russe is a kind of throwaway charmer, it was made in 1972 for the Stravinsky Festival and it was danced by the SAB students. It's really sort of a folk dance in pointe shoes. Short, sweet, to the point, and perfect to showcase the SAB students. The real revelations of the night, however, were Divertimento from "Le Baiser de la Fee" and Danses Concertantes. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Greek Trilogy at the NYCB

The New York City Ballet kicked off its fall season with a two-week tribute to the extraordinary musical collaboration between Balanchine and Stravinsky. The first program was entitled "Greek trilogy" and featured three seminal works in the NYCB canon -- Apollo, Orpheus, and Agon. All three are important works in the company's history, and it was a nice gesture to the company's faithful audience to start off the fall season with such a program. (It almost made up for the horror of the Valentino gala.) These works, however, don't exist in a vacuum. Strong dancers are needed to breathe life into these ballets.