NYCB at Kennedy Center

New York City Ballet (NYCB) performs at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. through Sunday with two programs: Ash/After the Rain Pas de Deux/The Infernal Machine/Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2/The Most Incredible Thing and Bournonville Divertissements/La Sylphide. Here are several reviews:

Sarah Kaufman of the Washington Post on La Slyphide:

But the mixture of high athleticism and technical finesse at NYCB — and astute casting — made “La Sylphide” shine. Sterling Hyltin polished every detail in the title role and mastered all the paradoxes of a supernatural creature. With high, springy jumps, she truly seemed to fly, always silently and with ease. Her feet stroked and teased with soft, pliant precision. There was an aspect of starlight about her, a lovely match for the music by Herman Severin Lovenskiold.

As James, the Scottish laird who falls for the Sylph and abandons his bride on their wedding day, Andrew Veyette took a lovably dopey, regular-guy approach. Georgina Pazcoguin as Madge, the witch who forces James to taste his own medicine, possessed grande-dame flair; at one point, as she tossed a scarf around her neck, you’d think she was channeling Coco Chanel.

Sarah Kaufman of the Washington Post on The Most Incredible Thing:

Peck has never made a story ballet before this. His training and career have unfolded entirely at New York City Ballet, home to the Balanchine treasury, which mostly consists of short, plotless works. Peck has had little chance to study or perform in ballets with a plot and characters. Going from zero to 100 mph may be foolhardy, but then again, I am inclined to celebrate grand ambition in ballet, an art form that falls too easily into the formulaic. And I heartily celebrate Peck’s efforts in “The Most Incredible Thing.”

However, I also hope he revisits it with a director who will help him develop his characters through movement and also create transitions between scenes. As it is now, this ballet feels like the second act of “The Nutcracker,” with one exotic grouping after another, or a series of random vaudeville acts.

Sarah Kaufman of the Washington Post background on La Sylphide:

Martins has overseen every aspect of “La Sylphide,” aiming to keep it as pure as he remembers it from his youth, while also making sure the mime makes sense for today’s balletgoers. It’s a rare look back at his roots, and at what set him apart as an especially regal dancer with a clean technique and affinity for the air. You see that still in his impeccable posture. Martins dominates the stage at the “Sylphide” rehearsal with the broad, open shoulders and upright bearing of a ballet kingdom’s prince, even in his work wear of jeans and a plaid shirt.