About a week ago, New York City Ballet announced its annual promotions. For those dancers moved up from the corps, it is impossible not to add worry to the elation.
The dancer is trying to improve her artistry without enough material to do so. Anyone who has attended New York City Ballet long enough to notice has witnessed careers needlessly wilt at this stage. Reichlen overcame the difficulty by imagining, she said, she had reached the end of her career, so why not enjoy herself? But why push dancers to such extremes? It’s not as if institutionally guaranteed misery will improve them. Reichlen was about to quit.
My suggestion to Peter Martins and team is simple and obvious: do not strip the soloists of leading corps roles until they have been given sufficient principal and soloist parts to keep their dancing card full.
Speaking of New York City Ballet talent, here is my review of corps member and choreographer Justin Peck’s third effort for his troupe–Paz de la Jolla. Very nifty if not quite as astounding as Year of the Rabbit this fall. The costumes, though, by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, were superb. Borrowing a page from the downtown scene, the designers clad the dancers in similar but individual designs. They became a gaggle of individuals rather than the usual ballet regiment. The costume sources were also inspired: 1950s beach wear in a subdued palette.