Last week Miami City Ballet performed at Koch Theater, Lincoln Center and the ABT Studio Company was at the Joyce Theater. Unfortunately, I was under the weather and stayed home, missing both companies. Reviews were positive:
As Miami City Ballet — both heroic and sweet — went on dancing last week at the David H. Koch Theater, the extraordinary achievements of this company (founded 30 years ago) became newly clear. Of all the ballet troupes who have visited the Koch in recent years, none looks so truly and completely a company. None feels so effortlessly right for New York. None seems so satisfying a continuation of several trains of choreographic thought already known in this city. None gives us such warmth and energy.
This is Miami City Ballet’s first New York season since 2009. What can be done to bring this company to this city more often?
In its Lincoln Center debut, Miami City Ballet was too good for New Yorkers to resort to snobbery, even when the 50-member troupe performed “our” rep. For Serenade, the first ballet Balanchine created on these shores, the dancers supplemented the musicality, capaciousness and speed we know from New York City Ballet with an amplitude in arms and back that injected the ballet’s chilly fatalism with Caribbean warmth. When the large female corps opened their arms wide in a declaration of shared purpose, they simultaneously acknowledged us — “How many goodly creatures are there here!” under Balanchine’s midnight sun.
When a ballet company other than New York City Ballet performs a Balanchine work in New York, the reaction is usually “Ugh, why?” – except in the case of Miami City Ballet where the reaction is the equivalent of fashion’s “Who wore it better?” with the answer choices being (A) our celebrated home company or (B) the celebrated visitor. Comparisons are inevitable, have little value, but still are inevitable. They are an indicator of the very high esteem that we in New York hold for Miami City Ballet’s care and feeding of the Balanchine masterpieces that it performs. This respect was first born in 2009 when Edward Villella brought the company’s Miami heat to New York City Center in the dead of winter. They melted our hearts with extraordinary dancing in Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements, Symphony in C, La Valse, and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room.
The world premiere of “Knightlife” struck a refreshing balance of silliness and sophistication, as it lovingly parodied ballet’s chivalrous conventions.