Despite the high level of dancing seen these past four weeks and despite having attended far fewer performances than usual, Haglund is relieved that NYCB's Fall Season is finished. The deceitful and disrespectful manner in which the company's business management went about trying to manipulate and squeeze extra dollars out of faithful patrons resulted in an embarrassing decline in attendance.
When one of the greatest ballet companies in the world is dancing some of the greatest choreography in the world with dancers at peak performance in the very center of the ballet capital of the world, but its grossly overpaid executive director cannot find 2500 butts to put in the seats of the magnificent theater, it is time to look for someone with the credentials and qualifications who can or else dump the executive director and go back to the previous arrangement that didn't cost the company an extra half million dollars in compensation – and do it fast – before the damage is so severe that this great ballet company is sucked down the sewer.
Saturday evening's program of Square Dance, Fearful Symmetries, and West Side Story Suite was gloriously danced. Megan Fairchild and Anthony Huxley sliced through the petit allegro of Square Dance with beautifully formed feet and high energy. The joy and exuberance of Fairchild's play with the music left you thinking that despite the taxing pace, she still had a lot in reserve. Huxley managed well in all departments and has beautiful legs and feet, but he is not yet equal to Fairchild in confidence and maturity. The two coordinated with one another reasonably well, but they didn't quite look like a true partnership.
Fearful Symmetries received a sensational performance from Teresa Reichlen & Jonathan Stafford, Sara Mearns & Amar Ramasar, and especially Lauren King & Allen Peiffer. Some of the ladies in the lighter pinkish costumes had some unintentional asymmetrical moments, but for the most part, the corps was sharp and aggressive. Haglund enjoys Fearful Symmetries more and more with each viewing. True, there are too many of those jazz-ballet arm positions that show up in Martins' choreography with the frequency of the word "like" in an adolescent's sentence. But, the choreography in Fearful Symmetries has a driving and relentless energy that reflects the sense of chase in the John Adams score. Phillip Glass' influence comes through loud and clear in Adams' music, but that's not a complaint or criticism. The score is a pleasing and dynamic piece of dance music. This winter NYCB will present Wheeldon's DGV to a Michael Nyman composition that has a similarly relentless pulse with Glass influences. Unfortunately, the choreography is not as appealing as Fearful Symmetries and relies heavily on crotch-splitting acrobatics rather than the type of intense movement seen in Martins' piece.
The cool intensity of Reichlen, the smoldering, space-devouring passion of Mearns, and the infectious enthusiasm of Lauren King, who intended to keep up with the other two come hell or high water, made for an interesting composition on the stage. Every season reveals new strength and maturity in Lauren's dancing. Her PdD with Allen Peiffer was quite a touching story in itself with both artists expressing a tenderness and emotion that one doesn't usually observe in dancers at the corps level. Sometimes Lauren's feet look a little soft instead of being strongly pointed, but her ability to keep up with Teresa Reichlen and Sara Mearns on Saturday night made quite a statement about her progress. She was one of only a few who danced in all three of the ballets during the evening which suggests some appreciation of her value.
West Side Story Suite closed the evening with Georgina Pazcoguin in the role of Anita, Chase Finlay as Tony, Andrew Veyette as Riff, Justin Peck as Bernardo, Lauren Lovette as Maria, and Gretchen Smith as Rosalia. The physical characterizations by Veyette and Peck were a little more balletic than Broadway and could have used more intensity in their postures. As expected, as hoped, Georgina Pazcoguin stole the show with her tough little Anita whose sassy grand battements punctuated the music like cymbals. Haglund must mention that the singers were not at the tops of their games, however. Maybe some of them had that nasty cold that is going around.
Haglund bestows this Dior rope and feather beauty of a Pump Bump Award on Georgina Pazcoguin and Lauren King who are two major reasons not to take our eyes off the corps de ballet.