Legs come and go in ballet and torches get passed, but, oh, 'twas an artfully arranged Passing of the Legs this weekend in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Forsooth, Maria Kowroski, who shall commence anon her maternity leave for several months, gave an especially joyful, sunny performance as Titania on Friday night. Titania isn’t a role that requires a tall, especially long-legged ballerina, but the ballet seems to work better when one is cast opposite a somewhat smaller and overtly determined Oberon, such as Joaquin De Luz in this performance. Their dancing was glorious, and the comedic timing between these two artists was superb and spontaneous. Joaquin dazzled with the power, speed, and pinpoint accuracy of his allegro all afternoon, and Maria swept her majestic legs through Mendelsohn’s potent phrases to create her own poetry.
Rebecca Krohn (Helena), Sterling Hyltin (Hermia), Jared Angle (Lysander), and Amar Ramasar (Demetrius) were deliciously melodramatic. Antonio Carmena’s spirited Puck and Kristen Segin’s darting Butterfly, which they danced at both performances, really controlled the flow of energy on stage. Savannah Lowery’s Hippolyta was an awesome show of strength; now here’s someone who can deliver blazing fouettes. Adrian Danchig-Waring’s Bottom was hilarious in his uncertainty about how to react to Titania’s affections.
Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle gave lyrical and flowing qualities to the Act II PdD whereas Ashley Bouder and Adrian Danchig-Waring on Sunday were more energized by the athletics in the choreography. Both were wonderful to watch.
Sunday’s matinee, the final performance of the spring season, included two stunning debuts. In the role of Titania, Peter Martins cast a new apprentice who at Friday’s performance was standing in the back of the corps de ballet behind Maria Kowroski. A few weeks ago, NY Dance Project uploaded its extraordinary photos of Miriam Miller, which you can see here. The length of limbs, the inherent grace in the arms, and the serenity in the face that she brought to the role of Titania was really something to behold. Besides the arcing sweep of legs similar to Maria’s, Miriam has that same coolness and composure. Her extensions need strengthening but the quality of her movement and lines were simply exquisite. What an afternoon she had, in no small part due to Ask la Cour’s steady, confident partnering in the role of her Cavalier. He also partnered Maria in Friday’s performance with his customary elegance.
The other debut was Anthony Huxley’s Oberon. Holy cow. It’s hard to think how to describe his brilliance other than to say that it is the magnitude of the Sun. His performance as James in La Sylphide still flashes before Haglund’s eyes several times each day, and now his Oberon - so distinctly his own but bears theatrical similarities to De Luz, is another magnificent accomplishment. It is no wonder that he was promoted to principal immediately following his performance yesterday.
What a freakin' exciting weekend it was in New York: beautiful Maria’s last performance before motherhood on Friday, a Triple Crown Winner on Saturday at the Belmont, two brand new glorious debuts on Sunday afternoon, two highly deserved promotions to principal, and topped off with Christopher Wheeldon’s Tony win on Sunday night. After a weekend like this one, winning the lottery would feel so ordinary.
The H.H. Pump Bump, a fiery Prada stiletto, is bestowed upon Anthony Huxley who is burning up New York stages this year with his quiet-fire classicism. It will be hard to wait for the fall season to start.