In the final week of its Winter Season, NYCB is demonstrating the full force of its homegrown, organically developed artists in its strong repertory programs. Thursday evening Maria Kowroski, Janie Taylor, Amar Ramasar, and Ask la Cour carved through the brilliant neoclassicism of Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto with high energy, speed, and articulation that one simply cannot witness anywhere else.
The Playbill noted the dancers who were debuting that evening in Ratmansky's Russian Seasons with a mark next to each name. What a nice gesture it always is to acknowledge when a dancer is stepping up to the plate in a challenging new role. It makes the audience pay more attention, and last night had the audience chatting at intermission following a sensational rendering by Rebecca Krohn and Robert Fairchild along with Georgina Pazcoguin, Abi Stafford, Marika Anderson, Amanda Hankes, Lauren Lovette, Adrian Danchig-Waring, David Prottas, Taylor Stanley, Christian Tworzyanski, and Andrew Veyette. Only Georgina had danced in Russian Seasons previously. Last night she demonstrated spectacular dynamics and depth as the soloist in the red dress. Her angst and athleticism did not obliterate her character's humanity as Sara Mearns' did when she danced the role recently.
Rebecca Krohn and Robert Fairchild, both costumed in orange/yellow, were gorgeous together. Fairchild's intensity and brilliant punctuation of the theatrical moments were riveting. Rebecca was captivating in much the same way that Maria Kowroski was in the opening ballet: both are dancers whose legs and feet communicate shapes using strokes of choreo-calligraphy that seem to merge two visual arts.
This entire debut cast danced superbly in this fairly complicated choreography. Like some New Yorkers, however, Haglund is beginning to experience Ratmansky-fatigue.
The evening concluded with Robbins' Fancy Free danced by Joaquin De Luz, Tyler Angle, Amar Ramasar, Tiler Peck, Amanda Hankes, and Stephanie Chrosniak. All were pleasurable to watch although a couple of the characters could have been taken a little further beyond the steps.
In the orchestra section last night, a significantly-jeweled lady remarked, "This company is really America's national ballet company." Ain't it the truth – and not the first time that it's been heard, either. More and more people are noticing that NYCB is the ballet company that is truly Made in America whereas ABT is just some Pier 1 Imports Ballet Company. No disrespect intended to Pier 1 Imports but it is what it is: a place to buy tacky, cheaply made ornaments for the Christmas tree.
The H.H. Pump Bump Award, a $795 beauty by Walter Stieger, is bestowed upon Maria Kowroski who has been carving dazzling shapes from Stravinsky and the rest of the music in the repertory for the past seventeen years.