NYCB Premier: Peck’s Rotunda

Justin Peck’s Rotunda has similar themes in his Principia and Rodeo with a great community feel as dancers flow from one combination to another. Although the work, which New York City Ballet premiered Wednesday, does not break any new ground for Justin, it is highly entertaining, and I look forward to seeing it again in the 21st Century Choreographers IV program in the Spring Season.

Rotunda consists of 12 dancers to an original score by Nico Muhly. The company did not break the costume fund bank as the attire is dance class informal (costumes by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung), with each dancer having a unique look to a stark and plain setting with lighting by Mark Stanley.

As with Justin’s previous works, he weaves dancers around the stage in intricate patterns, sometimes in circles, other times in rows. The designs are fascinating, intricate, and clearly woven. The work moves at a brisk pace with seven segments. Getting the most attention was the expressive Gonzalo Garcia, who opened the work on the floor lying on his back. He got up, joined by other dancers with recurring groupings from large to small. He also had a brooding, introspective solo in the seventh segment interspersed with sissones as he wondered the stage as if searching for something. He closed the work alone at the front of the stage as the other dancers left as the lights went out. Another highlight was Sarah Mearns and Gilbert Bolden III with a somber pas de deux filled with emotion.

Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse, which debuted with the Royal Ballet in 2006 with its NYCB premiere in 2012, is set to Michael Nyman’s score composed to commemorate the 1993 inauguration of the north European train line of the French TGV. Twenty-six dancers weave in and out of the mangled metal-like structure at the back of the stage. A highly entertaining work to the throbbing Nyman score; I particularly enjoyed Teresa Reichlen and Taylor Stanley, a couple rarely seen together because of the height differential, and Megan Fairchild and Gonzalo Garcia. NYCB should perform this work more often. 

Megan Fairchild and Gonzalo Garcia. Click for more photos.

NYCB Wrap-Up

NYCB ended its Winter season today. The season was mixed; highlights included Balanchine classics performed early in the season (Stavinsky Violin ConcertoMonumentum Pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra and Firebird). The classics are in good shape under new management with several standout performances. On new ballets, I am fond of Peck’s Rotunda but not Alexei Ratmansky’s Voices. I did not connect with Voices, possibly because I found the voices irritating and mostly unclear even when in English. The solo variations were fine, but nothing stuck. Swan Lake was largely mixed for the four casts I saw with no all-around great performances. Some had segments that were very good offset by parts that were lacking. For my NYCB reviews, click the NYCB tab just below the top photo.

Jovani Furlan, a former Principal Dancer from Miami City Ballet who joined NYCB in August, landed a lead role in Swan Lake. No other young dancer broke through in a big way this season. NYCB has a large number of dancers nearing retirement; I count nine out of the 21 Principal Dancers in their late 30s or early 40s. The company will have a wave of retirements soon and needs to move younger dancers forward in lead roles.