Balanchine City Center Festival Concludes

A few notes from the Friday and Saturday evening performances of the City Center Balanchine celebration. Check out my photography website for curtain call photos.

San Francisco Ballet performed Scotch Symphony Friday. The work drew inspiration from New York City Ballet’s first visit to the Edinburgh Festival in 1952. The Scottish military tattoos and landscape left a strong impression with Balanchine and he created this work in homage to the highlands. The fantasy work is influenced by Romantic era works such as La Sylphide and focuses on a young couple in love. Mathilde Froustey and Joseph Walsh danced the lead roles with great tenderness while Dores André was a sort of master of ceremonies filling the stage with briśes. While the costumes were colorful with heartfelt dancing, it is not my favorite Balanchine work. Given all of the great Balanchine pieces, I’m not sure why this was included in the Greatest Hits collection of works for this event.

Commentary has been very mixed on Viktoria Tereshkina and Kimin Kim’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux from Wednesday and again on Friday (see links to other reviews at the bottom of this article). I enjoyed the performance, particularly Kimin’s high and bounding leaps in which he quickly ran out of room on the small City Center stage. Viktoria’s technique is stellar coupled with great stage command. On the other side, some commented that Viktoria eliminated some steps in her solo, the extended bow in the middle of the work, and the overall lack of connection between the two. Take a look at Haglund’s second review, which is a particularly insightful perspective on the festival.

Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Marcelino Sambé, Tarantella. Click for more photos.

Viktoria and Kimin are familiar to New York audiences while the Royal Ballet’s Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Marcelino Sambé are new faces. Anna and Marcelino made the biggest splash in the Balanchine event with impressive performances in the Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux and Tarantella. The Royal Ballet couple had a nice connection in their pas de deux with solid solo work with daring fish dives at the end. Their Tarantella Wednesday and Saturday evening was explosive, filled with gusto. Both are 24 years of age with bright futures. Hopefully they will be back in New York soon.

The divertissement Pas de Deux from A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Paris Opera Ballet’s Sae-Eun Park and Hugo Marchand was presented Friday. It was sweet but given the short work, was difficult to find context.

The trio of 2018 Vaganova Academy graduates Maria Khoreva, Anastasia Nuikina, and Daria Ionova continued to impress in the Saturday evening Apollo. They dance with such maturity, it is hard to believe they are in their late teens. Credit the Mariinsky Ballet for giving these dancers substantial roles of the Muses in this major work. Some companies would have waited much longer before casting young dancers for these roles, even if qualified.

Just off the fall season last week, ABT performed Symphonie Concertante with Christine Shevchenko, Devon Teuscher, and Thomas Forster as leads (see photo at the top of this article). The work is unusual in this celebration as ABT is the only company that performs the piece. It was created for NYCB’s precursor company Ballet Society in 1947 based on a preliminary 1945 version with students from the School of American Ballet. The leads in the original Ballet Society cast were Tanaquil LeClercq and Maria Tallchief. NYCB last performed Symphonie in 1952. ABT restaged and revived the work in 1983 with Cynthia Gregory, Martine van Hamel, and Patrick Bissell as leads. See my ABT review from last week for more detail on the work. Similar to the ABT fall season, the lead trio was effective Saturday evening with nuanced timing to the Mozart score. The Corps dancers were generally in synch, providing a nice foundation for the work.

More reviews:

Brian Siebert, New York Times
Haglund’s Heel #2
Haglund’s Heel #1
Marina Harss, DanceTabs
Mary Cargill, danceviewtimes
Ivy Lin, Humbled and Overwhelmed