There was much to cheer about at NYCB’s opening performance of its Winter Season. No, Peter Martins did not appear before the curtain to make a speech. He had a busy day of explaining to court officials north of New York City why he’d been driving his Bentley while “impaired” on New Year’s Eve. The dancers – none of whom flaunts a Bentley, we can assume – are facing the prospect of no wage increase again this year while their chief enjoys a salary that exceeds $700,000. Just want everyone to know where their donations are going.
But the night saw many goods things, among them a first class performance of The Four Temperaments. All the kids on the dance floor were trying to keep up with 17-year veteran Jennie Somogyi who last night sliced, curved, and strut her way through way through the Sanguinic variation like it had her nameplate on it. Hers was not the only standout performance. Ask La Cour’s Phlegmatic variation made him look like principal material – excellent musically, technically, and emotionally. Rebecca Krohn and Justin Peck, Lauren King and Allen Peiffer, and Lydia Wellington and Christian Tworzyanski in the initial Theme all served their music with the perfect pulse and weight. What more does Rebecca have to do in order to get promoted? Maybe she’s being penalized for her Farrell-like qualities. Who knows. In the final section, led energetically by Teresa Reichlen, the ensemble was superb. At one point, the dancers were in a circular shape while jutting hips and legs toward one another. Ms. King smiled at Ms. Somogyi directly across from her as if to say I’m trying, I’m loving it, and I’m going to get there, too. Right role model, Baby.
Another outstanding performance was delivered by Sterling Hyltin and Robert Fairchild in Duo Concertant. Such coordination, spontaneity, and dramatic appeal do these dancers have together. Some dancers who have performed this piece look uncomfortable with having to stand still on stage while the pianist and violinist perform. Not these two. They are in the story the whole time – even though there really isn’t a story – just a man and a woman with their music. Hyltin and Fairchild did some pretty fancy skipping around to the Stravinsky score, admirably performed by Cameron Grant and Arturo Delmoni. Try to see these two in Duo Concertant before the end of the Winter Season.
The program also included Walpurgisnach Ballet and Valse-Fantaisie. Ana Sophia Scheller was a surprise standout in Walpurgisnach. She had a ballerina quality that was a pleasant contrast to the rip-through-the-steps style that Haglund has been accustomed to seeing from her. Wendy Whelan and Charles Askegard were the other two principals. Their performances were okay, but neither seems to be fighting to keep the arabesque and attitude lines that have faded a bit. Nevertheless, Wendy’s musicality was a treat to see and the clarity of her feet are always hard to match.
Valse-Fantaisie was performed spiritedly by Ashley Bouder and Andrew Vyette (a late substitute for Joaquin DeLuz). This was a walk in the park for Ashley and the crowd loved the display of her prodigious technique. Andrew kept up with her energy level, but he suffers from a lack of turnout and coordination which he tried to compensate for with elevation and speed. It kind of didn’t work for Haglund. Hopefully we’ll get to see him in The Magic Flute in the next few weeks.
All in all, a very good start to the season. Haglund bestows this lovely Stuart Weitzman jeweled Pump Bump award to the cast of The Four Temperaments: