When you slap a sailor hat on Sean Suozzi, he could almost pass for Jerome Robbins during Robbins' dancing days in Fancy Free. Today Suozzi made his debut as the Rumba sailor – Robbins' old role in his own masterpiece, Fancy Free – and was a hit. Because he was good. Very good. Zuozzi hit all the comedy points on the bullseyes, added his own charisma, was hilariously flirtatious during his solos, and knocked out the steps like he was born to dance them. Robert Fairchild and Adam Hendrickson completed the trio of sailors, each contributing superb theatrical and dancing performances. The Passers-by were Sterling Hyltin, Amanda Hankes, and Stephanie Chrosniak. At this point in time, it doesn't look like a good fit for Hyltin's current level of theatrical skill, but you never can tell how she might develop in it.
The other big debut of the afternoon was Sara Mearns in Allegro Brillante, partnered by Jared Angle. This will need to be one of those "grow-into" roles for Sara. She has no shortage of technique or power, but today she did not possess the musicality, sense of romance, or elegance that the ballet requires. She pretty much resorted to banging it out like she has done with much of her repertory this past year. Jared had his hands full in the partnering department and was fully focused on not letting Sara self-destruct. She owes him a lot of thanks. Jared's own dancing has looked strong this Winter Season. It's been rather nice to see him dance at allegro speed now and then instead of just hoisting ballerinas.
Martins' Zakouski received a romantic and charming performance by Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz. This little Pas de Deux, which utilizes music by Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Tschaikovsky, is almost twenty years old, having been made on Margaret Tracey and Nikolaj Hubbe in 1992, and is getting an excellent revival thanks to the formidable talents of De Luz, Fairchild, and in an earlier cast Tiler Peck, all of whom have added their personal stamps on Martins' creation. Haglund will say it again: We need more ballets to Rachmaninoff's music.
The afternoon concluded with Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3, danced by the exact same cast as Friday night when Teresa Reichlen, Rebecca Krohn, and Erica Pereira debuted in Elegie, Valse Melancolique, and Scherzo, respectively. All of the dancing seemed bigger and more potent this afternoon. Maybe the music was a touch quicker. Reichlen's spacious leaps, Krohn's Farrell-like qualities in her bending torso, Pereira's vibrant allegro while looking more mature with her hair down and beautifully costumed in volumes of flowing fabric – all were mesmerizing. Their partners, Ask la Cour, Jared Angle, and Daniel Ulbricht all delivered romance and superb dancing on a grand scale.
Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette repeated their brilliant performances from a mere 18 hours earlier. Ashley's complete mastery of the killer technical moments complimented by a lovely sense of modesty and moderation was quite simply one of the biggest pleasures of the Winter Season. And that Veyette - unbelievable! Even when his internal gyroscope started to wander a bit during a series of turns, he pulled his force and technique together and got it all right back on track to finish with a smooth flourish. Haglund is tempted to award him a second consecutive Pump Bump but doesn't want to risk riling up all the ballerinas who danced so magnificently. So as a compromise, this uncompromisingly stunning Christian Louboutin Galaxy Gold Pump Bump Award is bestowed upon Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette for their brilliant Theme and Variations today: