New York City Ballet ended its Fall Season Sunday with a farewell performance from Maria Kowroski. I posted curtain call photos of the event along with other NYCB fall performances on my photography website notmydayjobphotography.com. The afternoon featured Maria in excerpts from the classic Balanchine Chaconne; Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse; AMARIA, a new work choreographed for her this year by Mauro Bigonzetti; and Balanchine’s Slaughter On Tenth Avenue in which Maria stared in the role she owns, the Striptease Girl. Maria’s final performance was filled with great grace and stage presence she is known for since becoming an NYCB Apprentice in 1994. The packed Koch Theater crowd showered Maria with applause during the extended bows in which past and present dancers presented her with flowers and hugs. At times it was difficult to identify those onstage because of masks, but Stella Abrera, Charles Askegard, Craig Hall, Jennifer Ringer, Jock Soto, Christopher Wheldon, Damian Woetzel, and current dancers came onstage to congratulate her on a great career.
NYCB Fall Season Ends
Sunday marked the last day of the significant NYCB Fall Season, 18 months after its last performance due to COVID-19 shutdowns. It was thrilling to experience a bit of normalcy after the devastating pandemic and shutdowns, getting out of my pajamas and walking to Lincoln Center, something I took for granted not long ago. It wasn’t completely back to normal as masks were required. Also brief breaks between works rather than 20-25 minute intermissions, something that I grew to like.
Enthusiastic audiences were treated to high level dancing in such classics as Chaconne, Western Symphony, Glass Pieces, Other Dances, Serenade, although Agon had some rough edges. Debut works were generally strange and pointless, a celebration of costume design rather than innovative choreography.
In addition to Maria, Ask la Cour, Abi Stafford, Lauren Lovette, Lauren King gave their final NYCB performances while Gonzalo Garcia will retire in February and Amar Ramasar in May. Many changes are in store given the openings created by retirements.
ABT on Deck
American Ballet Theater is next, with Giselle Wednesday through Sunday. Opening with a popular classic is a great idea after two cancelled Met Opera House seasons and ticket sales look brisk with many seats not available. It is quite uncharacteristic of ABT to have exciting and dynamic casting with many much anticipated principal debuts. I look forward to Skylar Brandt/Herman Cornejo Thursday; Gillian Murphy/Thomas Forster Friday; Cassandra Trenary/Calvin Royal Saturday afternoon; and Christine Shevchenko/Aran Bell Saturday night. I will probably be Giselled out after the Saturday performance with four performances in three days, but seeing new blood will be thrilling. Check my Instagram feed for timely photos and a Giselle wrap-up whenever I have time to get something out.