"Kurt Nikkanen" tag
Sara Mearns in Balanchine's The Nutcracker.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker – New York

Year after year, I see Balanchine’s Nutcracker, and year after year I marvel at its perfection. This year it turns sixty.

Amar Ramasar and Maria Kowroski in the first aria of Stravinsky Violin Concerto.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Concerto Barocco, Four Temperaments, Stravinsky Violin Concerto – New York

Watching these three ballets, made over a span of thirty-two years, one can see how Balanchine’s style evolved toward the hyper-stylization of Violin Concerto…

Sarah Van Patten and Anthony Spaulding in Hans van Manen's Variations for Two Couples.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – 2014 Opening Night Gala – San Francisco

The best all-round piece of the evening is Hans van Manen’s Variations for Two Couples, from the exquisitely concise choreography by this still-relevant master…

Megan Fairchild and Taylor Stanley in Peter Martins' Jeu de Cartes.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Tradition and Innovation & Just for Fun bills – New York

Jeu de Cartes, by Peter Martins, is jaunty and busy, a cross between the pas de deux in Balanchine’s Rubies, the trios in Danses Concertantes, and the non-stop action of Martins’ Fearful Symmetries….

Ashley Bouder as Choleric with Robert Fairchild and Adrian Danchig-Waring in The Four Temperaments.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Black & White Balanchine bill – New York

What most struck me on this particular evening was the transparency, and clarity of intention, that marked each work.

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