"Abi Stafford" tag
Ask la Cour in The Four Temperaments.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Concerto Barocco, Agon, The Four Temperaments – New York

★★✰✰✰   Last week, on Thursday night, with the exception of The Four Temperaments, the company’s thoughts appeared to be elsewhere…

Lauren King, Abi Stafford, Megan Fairchild, Ana Sophia Scheller and Sterling Hyltin in Divertimento No. 15.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Divertimento No. 15, Episodes, Vienna Waltzes – New York

★★★★✰   Divertimento’s aura still shines; you want to see it again, to figure out its fluid, almost magical transitions. It’s a shame it will only be performed four times this season; it takes more than that for the audience, and the dancers, to really get to know it.

Sterling Hyltin and Amar Ramasar in Symphony in Three Movements.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Apollo, The Four Temperaments, Duo Concertant, Symphony in Three Movements – Paris

★★★★✰   The pleasure, above all, in watching this company is their fearless super-charge of energy and their commitment as the inheritors of Balanchine’s ballets.

Miriam Miller and Anthony Huxley in Midsummer Night’s Dream.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Midsummer Night’s Dream – New York

★★★★✰   But the kids are just one element of what makes Midsummer tick. Another is the intelligence and efficiency with which the ballet tells its story.

New York City Ballet in Serenade.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Serenade, Hallelujah Junction, Duo Concertant, Western Symphony – New York

★★★★✰   Balanchine himself once said that Serenade is “many things to many people.” If it is one thing to City Ballet, it is the single ballet which they are expected to do perfectly every time.

Abi Stafford in Flower Festival in Genzano.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – 21st Century Choreographers & Classic NYCB I bills – New York

★★★★✰   New York is a good place to be in springtime.

Sara Mearns and Adrian Danchig-Waring in Glass Pieces.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Masters at Work and All Balanchine I bills – New York

★★★★✰ (20), ★★★✰✰ (21) The temperature in Glass Pieces was uncharacteristically low. Under the baton of Clotilde Otranto, the orchestra sounded muffled…

Gonzalo Garcia and NYCB, opening section of Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version

New York City Ballet – Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition premiere – New York

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, is there a ballet choreographer working today who is more imaginative, more wholly himself, than Alexei Ratmansky?

Maria Kowroski in George Balanchine's Diamonds from Jewels.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Jewels: Emeralds, Rubies, Diamonds – Washington

In many ways, Jewels is Balanchine’s choreographic résumé – a retrospective and a vivid showcase of his aesthetics and creative genius…

Rocking Tyler Angle to sleep in Namouna.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Spectral Evidence, Soirée Musicale, Namouna – New York

One feels as Débussy did when he wrote, at the end of the nineteenth century, that “amid too many silly ballets, Lalo’s Namouna is something of a masterpiece.”

NYCB in George Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Swan Lake, Allegro Brillante, Tsch Suite No. 3 – Washington

The revitalizing impact of Balanchine’s choreography on Tchaikovsky’s music was particularly evident in the all-Tchaikovsky, all-Balanchine program presented by New York City Ballet at the Kennedy Center Opera House during the last week of March.

Poster image for the 2012 festival. © Festival Internacional de Ballet de La Habana 2012. (Click image for larger version)

23rd International Ballet Festival of Havana, 2012

The festival was as intensive as ever, with three performances running on seven days, four on one day, some concurrently. The range and quality of dance overall was impressive.

Ashley Bouder in Firebird.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Concerto Barocco, Kammermusik No. 2, Firebird, Symphony in C – Saratoga Springs

After the dreary bombast of Alexei Ratmansky’s recent Firebird for American Ballet Theatre, the Balanchine/Robbins version, with its blessedly shorter score (Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite), heavenly Chagall designs and the great Ashley Bouder in one of her first great roles, was a welcome palliative.

Teresa Reichlen as Titania, with Bottom (Henry Seth) in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. © Paul Kolnik.

New York City Ballet – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – New York

In the second act, storytelling gives way to pure dance, the highpoint of which is one of the most delicate, poetic pas de deux ever made – an allegory of love, danced by an unidentified couple. It is a Balanchinean vision of absolute trust and partnership…

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