Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Other Search Options
Robert Abrams
Performance Reviews
New York City Ballet (NYCB)
Lincoln Center
New York City Ballet
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

New York City Ballet - Symphonic Dances, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Sonatas and Interludes, Carousel (A Dance)

by Robert Abrams
June 7, 2003
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

Featured Dance Company:

New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet (office)
New York State Theater
20 Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023

New York City Ballet - Symphonic Dances, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Sonatas and Interludes, Carousel (A Dance)


Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children's Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Andrea Quinn
Manager, Press Relations, Siobhan Burns

New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
(See Other NYC Ballet Reviews)

Review by Robert Abrams
June 7, 2003

This afternoon's program showed off the New York City Ballet's range. The works presented included relatively traditional ballets like Symphonic Dances and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, a starkly contemporary ballet called Sonatas and Interludes, and a whimsical and inventive work, Carousel (A Dance). This afternoon's performances were conducted by Andrea Quinn.

In Symphonic Dances, the leaping spins were especially crisp. Ballerinas made extended walking en pointe look easy. The work was well constructed, with energetic movement followed by graceful pas de deux. The overall effect of the choreography was grace over turbulence, like water in a stream or like air over a bumble bee's wings. (Symphonic Dances, which premiered in 1994, featured music by Sergei Rachmaninoff, choreography by Peter Martins, costumes by Santo Loquasto, and lighting by Mark Stanley. The dancers were Janie Taylor, Sébastian Marcovici, Faye Arthurs, Amanda Edge, Deanna McBrearty, Carrie Lee Riggins, Ask la Cour, Seth Orza, Jonathan Stafford, Sean Suozzi, Dena Abergel, Saskia Beskow, Pauline Golbin, Dara Johnson, Rebecca Krohn, Gwyneth Muller, Teresa Reichlen, Jamie Worf, Christopher Boehmer, Darius Crenshaw, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Jerome Johnson, Austin Laurent, Amar Ramasar, Henry Seth, and Christian Tworzyanski.)

Sonatas and Interludes is a leotard ballet inside of a grand clock. You have to imagine the clock from the chiming of the prepared piano. The movement of the dancers also suggested the movements of the works inside of a mechanical clock with much motion returning to stillness, only to repeat with the hours. Jock Soto filled the space with his presence, sometimes crossing the stage with volta like steps. Maria Kowroski was ethereal in a stark minimalist way. The lighting progressed through a series of subtleties. Portions of the music had a quasi-Latin feel. I found the music to be somewhat annoying at first, but it eventually grew on me. This was a superb contemporary ballet in all its intermeshed parts. (Sonatas and Interludes, which premiered in 1982, featured music by John Cage, choreography by Richard Tanner, costumes by Carole Divet and lighting by Mark Stanley. The pianist was Elaine Chelton. The dancers were Maria Kowrovski and Jock Soto.)

Carousel (A Dance), choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, is another one of his wonderfully inventive works. The subject matter is clearly taken from Carousel, the musical. While this ballet does not present a narrative per se, it does retain a similar interpersonal drama as the musical. Alexandra Ansanelli and Damian Woetzel did an excellent job conveying this interpersonal drama. I especially liked the way that Alexandra, dressed attractively in yellow, fell into Damian's arms. All of the dancers' sweeping movements matched the joy of the music. Christopher Wheeldon used the dancers to create a simple human carousel at the start of the work, several small Ferris wheels in the middle, and a very elaborate carousel, complete with horses, at the end. In between there were several Viennese Waltz sections. Viennese waltz's effect on the inner ear bears a passing resemblance to the effect of some of the rides at a fair. This was a ballet that made me long for cotton candy and sunshine. (Carousel (A Dance), which premiered in 2002, featured music by Richard Rodgers arranged and orchestrated by William David Brohn, choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, costumes by Holly Hynes and lighting by Mark Stanley. The dancers were Alexandra Ansanelli, Damian Woetzel, Rachel Rutherford, Arch Higgins, Pascale van Kipnis, Seth Orza, Aesha Ash, Ellen Bar, Melissa Barak, Saskia Beskow, Ashley Bouder, Amanda Edge, Pauline Golbin, Savannah Lowery, Lindy Mandradjieff, Deanna McBrearty, Carrie Lee Riggins, Elizabeth Walker, Antonio Carmena, Darius Crenshaw, Adam Hendrickson, Jerome Johnson, Allen Peiffer, Sean Suozzi, Christian Tworzyanski, and Andrew Veyette.)

Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet had choreography as layered as the tulle of the women's pink skirts. This ballet gave the audience a flavor of the aristocratic origins of ballet. This was a very elegant ballet full of lovely poses by beautiful ballerinas smiling beautifully. The ballet also employed artful repetition of some sections. Dance is a fleeting art form, and in this case I thought the repetition was useful to give the audience multiple opportunities to let the work sink in. The work started with a traditional ballet section. For the second half, the dancers changed into ethnic costumes to present ballet in the style of folk dance. This gave the dancers the opportunity within the same ballet to show that they can be both graceful and strong. This ballet has no narrative, but it has moments that suggest the dancers could be characters, and in this sense might make a good prompt for a creative writing assignment. (Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, which premiered in 1966, featured music by Johannes Brahms orchestrated by Arnold Schoenberg, choreography by George Balanchine, scenery by David Mitchell, costumes by Karinska, original lighting by Ronald Bates and lighting by Mark Stanley. The dancers were: Allegro - Jennie Somogyi, Philip Neal, Ellen Bar, Darius Crenshaw, Ask la Cour, Jonathan Stafford, Andrew Veyette, Aesha Ash, Melissa Barak, Mary Helen Bowers, Glenn Keenan, Rebecca Krohn, Savannah Lowery, Sarah Ricard, Jamie Wolf; Intermezzo - Jenifer Ringer, James Fayette, Dena Abergel, Pauline Golbin and Dana Hanson; Andante - Janie Taylor, Benjamin Millepied, Amanda Edge, Carrie Lee Riggins, Elizabeth Walker, Katie Bergstrom, Ashley Bouder, Alina Dronova, Lauren Fadeley, Megan Fairchild, Jessica Flynn, Sterling Hyltin, Geneviève Labean, Ashley Laracey, Lindy Mandrajieff, Georgina Pazcoguin and Stephanie Zungre; Rondo alla Zingarese - Kyra Nichols, Damian Woetzel, Sophie Flack, Dara Johnson, Ashlee Knapp, Rebecca Krohn, Savannah Lowery, Gwyneth Muller, Ellen Ostrom, Teresa Reichlen, Christopher Boehmer, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Craig Hall, Austin Laurent, Allen Peiffer, Amar Ramasar, Henry Seth, and Christian Tworzyanski.)

Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health