It must not be easy to plan the casting for a six week season of 90 repertory performances and 14 full Sleeping Beauties – in the middle of one of our worst flu seasons in years. Flu virus, norovirus, common colds – they're everywhere and they stay and stay and stay - until they get everybody. So far this season the substitutions at NYCB have been fewer than expected, but we're only halfway through it, and the audience is coughing and sneezing at the stage with hurricane force every night of the week. We may have to put the dancers under glass in order to protect them.
Speaking of glass, last night's performance of Jerome Robbins' Glass Pieces was pretty spiffy – especially from the corps men in the final Akhnaten section. Everyone was very energetic and collected, but Taylor Stanley and Zachary Catazaro threw their limbs like knives – sharp and precise. Ashley Laracey & Chase Finlay, Lauren King & Adrian Danchig-Waring, and Faye Arthurs & Christian Tworzyanski were all fine soloists in the Rubric section, although the winds in the orchestra struggled. Maybe it was just a matter of their being out of balance volume-wise with the rest of the orchestra. Maria Kowroski and Sébastien Marcovici in the Facades PdD were as handsome and riveting as could be in all that blue and red lycra.
Justin Peck's Year of the Rabbit got a fine reading from all – especially from Ashley Bouder who danced in the premiere performances last year while still recovering from an injury. Sometimes it's hard to believe how totally coordinated she is because she seems always to have a good fix on the point of balance long before she ever arrives at it. Robert Fairchild brought intensity and drama to his solos. Joaquin De Luz brought a bright energy to his. The ballet shows the promise of the young choreographer but also is a collection of a lot of ideas that don't necessarily connect or weave a satisfactory whole.
Once again, the wahoos from Woo-whoville collected in an upper tier and were screaming at bows. No doubt they'll be in full force for the next premiere on Thursday night – hoping to influence everyone else's opinion of what is on stage. Sorry to sound so Grinchy, but the obviousness of it all is annoying.
Vienna Waltzes was lovely with excellent performances from Anthony Huxley & Megan Fairchild in Fruhlingsstimmen and Maria Kowroski & Jared Angle in Der Rosenkavalier. Huxley and Fairchild were a fabulous match-up. He's small but his speed and clarity are comparable to Megan's and last night they seemed especially coordinated together. Maria was devastatingly beautiful and elegant in the white ball gown and sparkly head band. Jared's suave was in full play, and their waltzing was divine.
The H.H. Pump Bump Award, a perfect mix of sparkle, mystery, and sultry, is bestowed upon Maria Kowroski who we are so, so lucky to have.