The only blizzard that materialized in Manhattan tonight was the blizzard of beautiful white tutus whistling through Balanchine's Symphony in C with the speed of an Alberta clipper descending from the Canadian winterland. Wow, did everyone pick it up tonight, including the conductor who picked up the pace considerably from last night and got the dancers' blood pumping like they needed it to be.
The cast had several substitutions this evening that were announced at curtain. Ana Sophia Scheller and Chase Finlay danced the First Movement; Teresa Reichlen and Ask la Cour danced the Second Movement; Erica Pereira and Antonio Carmena danced the Third Movement; and Lauren King and Taylor Stanley repeated their outstanding Thursday night performance in the Fourth Movement.
Haglund is running out of superlatives for Ana Sophia Scheller. This was such an assured, confident, glistening, calmly energetic, linear-perfect, and perfectly executed performance that it's hard to imagine seeing it danced any better. Chase Finlay was superb as well in a gutsy performance of multiple pirouettes and tours. What a handsome stage presentation he has. In fact, tonight all of the men were outstanding with forceful, big dancing and spot-on partnering.
Tess and Ask were stunning in the adagio. She was simply fearless in an adagio that is one hazard after another – fearless with a sense of serenity. Ask was in full cavalier mode tonight with assured hands, great strength, and sensitive rapport with Tess.
Erica and Antonio breezed through the third movement. Lauren and Taylor combined her radiance with his stage magnetism to look like a star couple in the making. When Lauren performed her complex diagonal of turns, Taylor was at the end point with his eyes and broad smile fixed on her as though he was creating a solid line of energy between them.
The program also included a highly spirited performance of Alexei Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH with the principal cast of Janie Taylor, Ashley Bouder, Tyler Angle, Joaquin De Luz, and Gonzalo Garcia. Joaquin and Gonzalo are always particularly delicious in this ballet because they are so keenly on the exact same wavelength in terms of humor, and they dance together like brothers. Ashley was in phenomenal form as she has been all season. She held her own with Joaquin and Gonzalo, and her own sense of humor worked well with theirs. The corps work in DSCH looked especially sharp and fresh tonight. Cameron Grant was the superb pianist.
Justin Peck's new work Paz de la Jolla received committed performances from the cast of Sterling Hyltin, Tiler Peck, Amar Ramasar and 15 corps dancers. The middle section of this ballet continues to impress through its imagery and choreographic vision, and of course, the dancing, but the pyrotechnics in the first and third sections still seem superfluous.
The evening's Pump Bump Award, a metallic stiletto sandal from Moda Spana, is bestowed upon Ana Sophia Scheller whose evolving artistry is such a pleasure to be witnessing.