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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
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New York City Ballet - Square Dance, Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze", Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 24, 2003
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

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New York City Ballet - Square Dance, Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze", Slaughter on Tenth Avenue


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

Conductor, Hugo Fiorato

New York State Theater, Lincoln Center

(See Gala Opening of the Season Review)
(See Other NYC Ballet Reviews)

Review by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 24, 2003

Square Dance (1957): Music by Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Yvonne Borree, Peter Boal, and the Company. This light, but dynamic, piece included the vivacity of Peter Boal, whom I admire more and more on each visit to NYC Ballet. Partnering the elegant Yvonne Borree, he was focused, with a huge presence, amazing leg lifts, and sharp footwork. This choreography, brilliantly conceived by George Balanchine, fused American Folk Dance with Ballet. Balanchine wrote, "The American style of classical dancing, its supple sharpness and richness of metrical invention, its superb preparation for risks, and its high spirits were some of the things I was trying to show in this ballet." (NYCB Notes). The essence of Square Dance moves were extrapolated and embellished for Baroque Italian music. With freshness of spirit, the female dancers performed for the males and vice versa, like a show for each other, not competitive, but rather seductive.

Ballet: Square Dance
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Dancers: Yvonne Borre
Photo by Paul Kolnik

Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze" (1980): Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Richard Moredock, Performed by Darci Kistler, Kyra Nichols, Jennie Somogyi, Miranda Weese, Charles Askegard, Nicolaj Hübbe, Jock Soto, and Nilas Martins. This is a visually sumptuous piece, with candelabras, chiffon draperies (Kudos to Rouben Ter-Arutunian), twilight to midnight lighting, and the image of a far away land, with the ocean and a castle, painted on the backdrop. Romance is everywhere, passion and eloquence. The four couples, who reminded me of the three couples in In the Night (See January 17 Review), danced with exquisite skill and emotional projection. Mr. Soto, Ms. Nichols, Ms. Kistler, Mr. Martins, Mr. Askegard, Ms. Somogyi, Ms. Weese, and Mr. Hübbe, were at one with the music and the motif. If one is not familiar with the life and music of Robert Schumann, I recommend reading about him (See Bio).

Ballet: Davidsbündlertänze
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Dancers: Kyra Nichols and Charles Askegard
Photo by Paul Kolnik

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1968): Music by Richard Rodgers, Re-Orchestrated by Hershy Kay, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by Jo Mielziner, Costumes by Irene Sharaff, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Damian Woetzel, Maria Kowroski, James Fayette, Adam Hendrickson, and the Company. With spoken roles and tap dancing, the NYC Ballet Company offered the audience sheer delight, color, depth, and some high drama, with this rendition of a vaudeville story, with a Gangster, a narcissistic, premier danseur noble, a strip tease girl, policemen, and an extra thug for good luck. To the music of Richard Rodgers, from his Musical, On Your Toes (1936), the Company performed with pizzazz. Damian Woetzel, in his tap dance role, was marvelous, perfectly cast, and could have been leading a Broadway troupe, as he spun and leaped and pretended to almost shoot himself, over and over, thwarting the efforts of the Gangster, Andrew Robertson, who totally looked the part. Even though I know the anticipated ending of this adorable and rousing dramatic ballet, I would love to see it again, for its sheer virtuosity and energy.

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