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New York City Ballet - Society in C Soiree and Mozartiana, In Vento, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2

by Robert Abrams
January 18, 2007
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
212.875.5456

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New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet (office)
New York State Theater
20 Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023
212-870-5500
www.nycballet.com

New York City Ballet
www.nycb.org
Tonight I attended a thoroughly enjoyable performance by the New York City Ballet. Since I was there primarily as a patron, and less as a critic, I didn't take notes and will keep this review brief. Think of it as a lost wax method of reviewing: what ever stands out in one's memory after the entire evening is over must be important. (In education, the process of learning and forgetting that alters the structure of one's knowledge is called obliterative subsumption.)

What stood out from tonight's performance? Mozartiana and Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, both choreographed by George Balanchine, are both ballets in the classical tradition. In Vento, choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, is very much a contemporary ballet that at times crosses over into modern dance. The dancers, some of whom danced in both a classical and a contemporary peice back to back, attacked each with equal vigor. I was especially struck by the precision of the solos in all three dances.

If you like graceful movement amplified by glittery costumes, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 is for you. If you are a New Yorker, you will probably like Mozartiana because everyone dresses in black, just like everyone else in New York City. Mozartiana had more than several nice moments, and I like the sort of big showy numbers where a multitude of dancers (i.e. more than 20) move in unison - as found in Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 - as much as the next dance obsessed person, but I was especially taken with In Vento. The opening and closing group images were arresting, and everything else carried me through from beginning to end.

While tonight had plenty of great dancing, the dancing was only half of the event. Tonight was Society in C's semi-annual Soiree (it may actually be only annual, but I am trying to send them a hint to hold this event more often). Society in C is NYCB's patron group for younger members and those older members who recognize value when they see it. The evening started with cocktails and finger food at a private reception in the patron lounge before the first act. Several dancers as well as NYCB staffers were in attendance to converse at length. The reception continued during both intermissions. I ended up participating in three stimulating conversations. Three ballets seen from excellent seats, three conversations and some very drinkable wine: you can't beat that for the relatively modest ticket price.

Well, that's not entirely true. They could have done one better: we could have gone out social dancing after the show. Fortunately, you only have to wait about six months for such an opportunity. No, I am not talking about the iPhone. I am, of course, talking about Dance with the Dancers. Sterling Hyltin, one of NYCB's soloists, attended the reception. She is one of this year's Dance with the Dancers' Chairpersons. In the course of conversing intelligently and articulately about various important topics (dance, opera, where to see ballet in Europe, Saratoga, training, Sleeping Beauty, preparing for many back to back performances, etc.), she gave those of us who had the privilege of talking to her a glimpse of this year's theme. I am not going to let it slip here, but suffice it to say it will be different from previous years, far away and right here on the mezzanine of the New York State Theater as usual. I have said that Dance with the Dancers is the best event, with both performance and social dancing, of New York City's charity circuit, and I am confident that, as usual, it will be a contender for that title this year.
Sofiane Sylve and Charles Askegard in NYCB's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2

Sofiane Sylve and Charles Askegard in NYCB's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Wendy Whelan and Nicolaj Hübbe in NYCB's Mozartiana

Wendy Whelan and Nicolaj Hübbe in NYCB's Mozartiana

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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