|Huxley and von Enck Photo by Paul Kolnik|
Yesterday afternoon's double bill of Harlequinade/N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz was a more interesting afternoon because it showed the company in transition. Harlequinade was Balanchine's affectionate tribute to a Petipa ballet. The score by Drigo is sweet if forgettable, and the whole thing is a cotton candy confection with the sad undertone of most commedia dell'arte stories. But to play the lead lovers Colombine and Harlequin you need the right mix of sweetness and spice that yesterday's leads didn't really have. Ashley Bouder (Colombine) was dancing her last performance before going on maternity leave. For years Bouder has been like the Old Faithful of the NYCB. Always able to dance the most challenging ballets, night after night, rarely injured. I'm sure she'll tackle motherhood with the same iron determination that she seems to apply to everything else in her life. She came across as a bit too mature for Colombine. She also understandably seemed to curtail some of the steps. Andrew Veyette was capable if a little blank as Harlequin.
But just as Bouder takes a break, two younger stars seem ready to seize the spotlight. Claire von Enck and Anthony Huxley absolutely stole the show as the bickering married couple. Huxley's facial contours naturally seem to lend itself to the sad clown expression, and von Enck's tiny, terrifying ferocity was a joy to watch. Bouder and Veyette lightly touched the world of commedia dell'arte, but Huxley and von Enck inhabited their roles. Apprentice Miriam Miller appears ready to replace Maria Kowroski (also on maternity leave) as the tall, sexy blonde on the roster. The role of the Good Fairy doesn't call for much except to look pretty, but Miller sure does look beautiful. This, along with her debut as Titania this past spring makes me think Peter Martins has huge plans for her.
|SAB students, photo by Paul Kolnik|
Harlequinade is another ballet which displays Balanchine's genius with choreographing for children. Children are never just "there" in Balanchine's world, never trotted onstage just to look cute. They (and their bright costumes) are treated as an integral part of the ballet's structure. Their suite of dances in the second act added an energy and joy to the otherwise sad world of commedia dell'arte. The SAB children were amazing.
|N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, photo by Paul Kolnik|