If you bought a ticket to today’s final performance of the Winter Season, you hit the ballet trifecta. Concerto Barocco, The Four Temperaments, and Stravinsky Violin Concerto were the elite purebreds that brought the richest payout of the season on the only day that 4Ts ran. Surely some of the riders must have had hangovers from an abundance of savory salutes to Janie Taylor and Sebastian Marcovici the night before on the occasion of their retirements from NYCB; but 99% of everyone stayed in the saddle - the exception being one corps dancer who got bucked off by Barocco right before the home stretch.
Sara Mearns, Teresa Reichlen and Russell Janzen led Concerto Barocco in an interpretation that seemed at times more stately than energetic. The highlight was the PdD by Reichlen and Janzen in which the young corpsman, Janzen, surgically applied the impressive partnering skills that mark the NYCB men early in their careers.
While watching Janzen's total concentration, his determination to make each handhold textbook perfect, his desire to show his ballerina at her most beautiful – only occasionally smiling when he knew something had gone smoothly – one sensed the pressure that this young man was under but one also sensed his bright future. Tall and blessed with strong organic lines down the jaw, across the back, through the legs, arms and especially the hands, he was the harmony to Reichlen’s long, clear notes.
Ashley Bouder’s Choleric was the highlight of The Four Temperaments. Scowling, authoritative, occasionally fuming, Bouder sliced through the allegro like a sharp knife going through fresh cake. Her musical accents were clearly chosen, clearly executed, and made us hear the musical impulses more than we would have otherwise – a masterful performance.
Faye Arthurs & Cameron Dieck, Lauren King & Allen Peiffer, and Ashley Laracey & Justine Peck illuminated the Theme Section. Abi Stafford and Tyler Angle gave us a more subdued interpretation of Sanguinic than that to which we have become accustomed. Gonzalo Garcia impressed with his intensity in the Melancholic section, and Ask la Cour was easy and relaxed in Plegmatic.
Stravinsky Violin Concerto closed the season with a rip-roaring performance led by Sterling Hyltin & Robert Fairchild and Maria Kowroski & Amar Ramasar. When Fairchild dances this role, he manages to mine musicality out of the concerto that you don't think you've heard before. Ramasar has been a joy to watch all season – especially in the Stravinsky – for his vitality and the ever-increasing clarity of his dancing. But today this ballet belonged to Hyltin and Kowroski who delighted with their musical intelligence and repartee - not to mention extraordinary legs and feet that etched through the phrases of the concerto like lasers etching designs on crystal.
The HH Pump Bump Award, a Suecomma Bonnie black leaf crystal beauty, is bestowed upon Sterling Hyltin and Maria Kowroski for their brilliance in Stravinsky Violin Concerto today.