Footloose and Fancy Free

L to R: Daniel Ulbricht, Tyler Angle, Robert Fairchild in Jerome Robbins's Fancy Free. Photo: Christopher Duggan

New York City Ballet's Daniel Ulbricht brings a cadre of his peers to Jacob's Pillow Touring with a small pick-up company of colleagues drawn from a major ballet company must be akin to masterminding a working vacation with your pals. What will you need in the way of costumes and sets and, since you won’t be able to carry live musicians along, well-made CDs? What will you need to do to … [Read more...]

From Ashes to True Love

Thomas Forster (L) and Kenneth Easter as the stepsisters in Ashton's Cinderella. Photo: Gene Schiavone

American Ballet Theatre mounts Frederick Ashton's Cinderella during its spring season. It’s rare that a dance review starts out with praise for a company’s artistic director, but I need to congratulate Kevin McKenzie. In the last two decades, “his” company, American Ballet Theatre, has commissioned two new ballets based on the tale of Cinderella. (McKenzie himself danced in Mikhail … [Read more...]

Balanchine and Massine at American Ballet Theatre

Sarah Lane and Danil Simkin in George Balanchine's Theme and Variations. Photo: Gene Schiavone

ABT's spring season at the Met offers two Balanchine ballets and one by Massine. In November, 1947, just before a small, stylish company named Ballet Society became the New York City Ballet, its balletmaster, George Balanchine, bestowed a gift on another New York-based company, Ballet Theatre. Theme and Variations, set to the “Theme and Variations” movement from Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3 … [Read more...]

Back in ’64, Movin’ On

Maria Kowroski and Robert Fairchild in Everywhere We Go. Photo: Paul Kolnik

The New York City Ballet honors its theater with a gala and a premiere. On April 24, 1964, I wasn’t sitting in one of the red plush seats shown above, cheering New York City Ballet’s inaugural performance in Lincoln Center’s recently completed New York State Theater. However, occupying a seat in that same theater on May 8, 2014, when the company celebrated its 50th anniversary in the … [Read more...]

Jewels in the City’s Crown

Sara Mearns and Jonathan Stafford in Emeralds. Photo: Paul Kolnik

The New York City Ballet performs Balanchine's Jewels. To see George Balanchine’s 1967 Jewels again at its first performance during the New York City Ballet’s winter season is to be delighted all over again. In choreographing its three separate but united ballets, Balanchine absorbed and brilliantly interpreted three diverse musical styles, the threads of narrative and atmosphere that clung … [Read more...]

Sea Spirits and Spirited Dancing

Prospero deals with Ariel. Miranda sleeps. The first-night cast of Alexei Ratmansky's The Tempest: Marcelo Gomes holding Danil Simkin, Sarah Lane at back. Photo: Marty Sohl

American Ballet Theatre premieres Alexei Ratmansky's The Tempest and revives Twyla Tharp's Bach Partita. Had Shakespeare happened upon American Ballet Theater’s production of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Tempest, he might have recognized the characters of his eponymous play, but been bewildered by the absence of words—wondering how on earth audiences in this vast Lincoln Center theater could … [Read more...]

Fairy Tales to the Max

Joan Boada and Maria Kochetkova of the San Francisco Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderalla. Photo: Erik Tomasson

Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella and Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty update classic scores and fairytales. When it comes to fairy tales danced out onstage, the borderline between what’s logical in magic worlds and what gives rise to questions is often blurred. The San Francisco Ballet’s production of Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella at Lincoln Center and the British New Adventures … [Read more...]

Good News from San Francisco

San Francisco Ballet  dancers (L to R) Shane Wuerther, Luke Ingham, and Luke Willis court Sofiane Sylve in Alexei Ratmansky's From Foreign Lands. Photo: Erik Tomasson

The San Francisco Ballet comes to Lincoln Center with two mixed bills of ballets by seven choreographers. The artistic director of a large ballet company must have headaches rather different from those of a Wall Street trader. His (and such directors tend to be male) “stocks” are highly volatile. Helgi Tomasson, who leads the San Francisco Ballet, can make predictions about how ballets by … [Read more...]

Dancers on Fire

(L to R) New York City Ballet dancers Andrew Veyette, Taylor Stanley, Brittany Pollack, Ashly Isaacs, and Kristen Segin. Photo: Paul Kolnik

The New York City Ballet puts on a Gala to ignite its Fall Season. Gala performances are strange animals—the bigger the dance company, the more lavish they have to be. Money is spent so that more money may accrue. At the New York City Ballet’s Fall Gala in its Lincoln Center home, designer Bronson van Wyck has hung huge blue-and-white and red-and-white-striped hot air balloons over the … [Read more...]

A Lark Ascends

Dance Theatre of Harlem in Robert Garland's Return. Photo: Matthew Murphy

The revived Dance Theatre of Harlem performs at Jacob’s Pillow, June 19 through 23. If a repertory company starts its program with a performance of George Balanchine’s Agon, where can it possibly go from there?  Higher?  Don’t make me laugh. But whatever follows, you can get a jolt of almost electric pleasure when Dance Theatre of Harlem begins its performance in Jacob’s Pillow’s Ted Shawn … [Read more...]