What a rip-roaring close to the fall season on Sunday afternoon! Major debuts and major corps triumphs demonstrated that this company has unparallelled depth in its ranks. We can’t wait for Nutcracker Season to start so we can see which new faces will step up to the plate in plum roles and whack a few Nuts over our heads.
Let’s start with the end ‘cuz that’s a good place to start. Megan LeCrone blasted through her debut in the Choleric variation of The Four Temperaments with cat legs, cat eyes, and ferocious feline grace. What a perfect match of role and artist. The angularity of her long limbs and sharp features enhanced and clarified the crankiness imbedded in the brilliant choreography. Everyone gave superb performances: Megan Johnson & Cameron Dieck, Brittany Pollack & Allen Peiffer, Ashley Laracey & Justin Peck in the Theme; Anthony Huxley in Melancholic; Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle in Sanguinic, and Amar Ramasar in Phlegmatic. A special mention goes to the Phlegmatic corps of true beauties Stephanie Chrosniak, Ashley Hod, Dana Jacobson, and Claire Kretzschmar for enhancing Amar’s performance with their own brilliant synchronization.
Lauren King and Devin Alberda also enjoyed stunning debuts in the first section of Episodes by dancing boldly and confidently. Both showed a new sense of maturity in their presentation and a nice compatibility. Claire Kretzschmar wowed us again in the second section opposite Jared Angle. Her lean, sinewy physique, slightly Roman nose, and space gobbling with her limbs reminded us of Wendy Whelan. Ashly Isaacs and Taylor Stanley, also debuting, made their third section Concerto more explosive than we are accustomed to seeing, but it was still riveting to watch. Sara Mearns and Adrian Danchig-Waring danced the Ricercata with a little more lightness than previously.
Rebecca Krohn and Ask la Cour repeated their fine performances of Monumentum pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra.
The afternoon opened with Concerto Barocco at a snail’s pace – again. We really could have used Clotilde Otranto to conduct this program with a little spirit. Barocco has never sounded so constipated as it has this fall under the baton of Daniel Capps. And while the lethargic tempo made the choreography easier for the two statuesque leading women, Sara Mearns and Theresa Reichlen, it made the ballet a real snooze fest and the dancing look heavy and tired. It’s really time for some new energy in these roles - from the dancers to the conductor.
The Barocco corps de ballet maintained discipline throughout the dull pace and managed to sparkle in spite of it. Sara Adams, Alina Dronova, Kristen Segin and Ashley Hod have been outstanding in Barocco and much else these past few weeks. The fine dancing of the statuesque and lovely Dana Jacobson and apprentice Miriam Miller has given us great pleasure, too. So, we’re going to toss a Pump Bump Award to the entire Corps de Ballet who really is the heart and burning soul of these Black & White Balanchine programs.