‘New York City Ballet Program B’ at The Kennedy Center by Colleen Sproull

New York City Ballet knocks it out of the park again with an elegant, exciting, contemporary performance for New York City Ballet Program B at The Kennedy Center’s Opera House.

'Carousel.' Photo by Paul Kolnik.
‘Carousel.’ Photo by Paul Kolnik.

The production opens with a Carousel, a dance interpretation of the musical Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein. As the curtain rises, the dancers are traveling in a circle, as if they are on a carousel. With costumes by Holly Hynes, they are wearing striking bold colors, the women in parachute skirts with stripes of purple, red, and orange and the men in jeans and shirts with stripes of corresponding colors. Tiler Peck wears a beautiful yellow dress and portrays the innocence and beauty of a young woman in Carousel as Andrew Veyette falls in love with her and becomes a perfect partner for her, carrying her through intricate lifts with sweeping choreography by Christopher Wheeldon. The beloved score of Richard Rodgers, arranged and orchestrated by William David Brohn, is conducted energetically tonight by Clotilde Otranto and played brilliantly by New York City Ballet Orchestra.

The principals Peck, Veyette, Georgina Pazcoguin, Taylor Stanley, Brittany Pollack, and Daniel Applebaum with the company of dancers cleverly perform many circular movements, turns, and partnering. For a creative twist, the women hold carousel poles, taking on the shape of the carousel ponies as the men carry them in a circular formation, and the audience claps with enthusiasm. The soft lighting of Mark Stanley, including spotlighting, very much highlights the aura of the dance. It’s pure entertainment and a lovely interpretation of the musical Carousel. One of my favorite moments was during the pas de deux when Peck faints and wraps her arm around Veyette’s leg in a beautiful backward pose. Then he attempts to kiss her but she flits offstage, only to be willingly wooed by the end of the piece.

'Glass Pieces.' by Jerome Robbins. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
‘Glass Pieces.’ by Jerome Robbins. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Glass Pieces is an original piece with technological, original music by Philip Glass and intricately challenging choreography by Jerome Robbins. The production design by Jerome Robbins and Ronald Bates gives a modern feel, with a backdrop similar to graph paper, or tiling, with small squares, and four wings with bright white lighting designed by Ronald Bates which turns to blue later on in the piece. With costumes by Ben Benson, the dancers wear typical class attire, which includes leotards and wrap skirts for women, tights and t-shirts for men. All are in a variety of passionate colors, and unitards for the principals Ashley Laracey, Chase Finlay, Lauren King, Adrian Danching-Waring, Lydia Wellington, Christian Tworzyanski, Maria Kowrowski, and Amar Ramasar. The angular arm movements and fast fleeting choreography match the quickness of the orchestra and the tribal undertones of the percussion. The principals and the Corps de Ballet perform with the highest technical skill and excitement, including in synchronized silhouette perfection. This is a riveting arrangement with a modern feel that delights and surprises.

Rebecca Krohn and Ask la Cour in 'Vienna Waltzes.' Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Rebecca Krohn and Ask la Cour in ‘Vienna Waltzes.’ Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Vienna Waltzes transforms the Opera House into a European Hall where an elaborate ball takes place. The strong classical music of Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehár, and Richard Strauss boats as George Balanchine’s choreography sails around the stage professionally executed by the principals Rebecca Krohn, Tyler Angle, Megan Fairchild, Anthony Huxley, Erica Pereira, Troy Schumacher, Jenifer Ringer, Ask la Cour, Sara Mearns, and Jared Angle with the company. With an enchanting costume design by Karinska, authentic evening gowns for the women and tails and tights for the men create a breathtaking accent to the choreography, as the trains of the dresses swirl about with each turn. Scenery by Rouben Ter-Arutunian is awe-inspiring, as large delicate green trees set one scene and a mirrored backdrop with checkered archways creates another. Sweeping waltz turns, lifts, and even a bit of polka add flair to the traditional dance. One of my favorite moments was when the beautiful ballerinas in pink tutus danced like flowers and the principal in green danced with a magical romantic air. The low glow of the light, originally designed by Ronald Bates and lighting by Mark Stanley, created a mystical mood. By the end, the company of women in sparkling white gowns and men in formal black tails swept the floor in an enchanting waltz, which was a truly spectacular end to the evening that left the audience spellbound.

Running time: Two and a half hours, including two intermissions.

New York City Ballet Program B plays through Sunday, March 31, 2013 at The Kennedy Center’s Opera House – 2700 F Street, Northwest, in Washington, DC. Purchase tickets online, or call the box office at (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324.

Review of New York City Ballet Program A at The Kennedy Center by Colleen Sproull.


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Colleen Sproull
Colleen Sproull is delighted to join the talented staff of DC Theater Arts. A writer currently on contract with the government, she is more passionately an actor in the DC/MD/VA area and a graduate of The Honors Conservatory at The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts. Further back in time, she graduated from James Madison University with a double-major B.A. in Media Arts & Design and Theatre & Dance, where she wrote news and feature articles for the yearbook and newspaper and had fun performing onstage. In addition to performing in plays about town, Colleen has appeared in several award-winning films with Citra Productions and was delighted to be a regular on the web comedy series Group House with Snark and Gumption Productions. In her “spare” time she enjoys wine tasting and yoga – although not simultaneously. Thanks for reading!


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