New York City Ballet’s winter season continued into its second week with the All Balanchine Program that included changes in cast. Here we were again in iconic Farrelldom enjoying the poetic, musical geometry of Maria Kowroski’s Chaconne. Adrian Danchig-Waring, substituting for Tyler Angle, did not seem to encounter any of the partnering difficulties that developed during his Chaconne opposite Sara Mearns last week. Happily, his own variations looked much like the pre-injury Adrian except that some jumps landed hard with short plies.
Maria and Adrian, although not quite at the level of the premiere duo, are the best that we’ve had since that time and most closely replicate the charm and elegance from the 1970s. The tall, limb over-blessed 41-year-old Maria held her own against the memory of the 30-year-old shorter Farrell who premiered Chaconne with Peter Martins in the same year that Maria was born. Maria has seemed serious about dancing this choreography as it was originally intended whereas last week Sara Mearns focused more on putting her own stamp on it. It has taken us more than a generation of dancers to get from Suzanne Farrell to Maria Kowroski; talents of their magnitude certainly do not come along very often. We don’t see any men in the pipeline who might ever actually equal the allegro brilliance and elegant calm of Martins in Chaconne. The circumstances that brought his talent to NYCB’s stage in this ballet are like stars that align only once in the universe.
Ashley Hod, Isabella LaFreniere, and Andrew Scordato were grandly elegant in the Pas de Trois. Lauren King and Harrison Coll danced a superb Pas de Deux. Lauren’s fearless en dedans turn with the leg in a la seconde that whipped right over into a penche arabesque was beautifully executed. Wow, are these two having an incredible winter season. Lauren has been dancing at a stepped-up level on par with the principals while Harrison is about to debut as Romeo.
Also on the evening’s bill were Divertimento No. 15 and The Four Temperaments. Highlights of Divertimento were soloists Indiana Woodward and Erica Periera in the first and second variations. Each of these dancers skimmed across the floor in allegro which made their speed look deceptively easy. On the other hand, Ashley Bouder and Ashly Isaacs, both also brilliant in this ballet, bolted through steps which made their speed look more strenuous.
The Four Temperaments included a refreshing debut by Russell Janzen in Phlegmatic. This may be his first principal role in which he hasn’t had to heft & heave-ho some ballerina, and he seemed energized by the opportunity. The most he had to pick up last night was one-half of Savannah Lowery’s Choleric while Anthony Huxley picked up her other half. It’s going to take a while for Russell to nail down the details of this role, but he made a good start and was quite interesting to watch.
Debuting in the 1st Theme were Olivia Boisson and Lars Nelson. Olivia's well-placed, turned-out extensions were lovely, and Lars handled the difficult partnering impressively. Anthony Huxley brilliantly conveyed the sorrowful, heavy-heartedness of Melancholic. Sara Mearns and Jared Angle powered through Sanguinic without much charisma.
Our H.H. Pump Bump Award, a Louboutin balletic lattice of sparkle and grace, is bestowed upon Maria Kowroski for her gorgeous Chaconne, but we suggest that Lauren King and Isabella LaFreniere think about clearing a little space on the floors of their closets for some similarly dazzling stilettos that are sure to come their ways soon.