As a red-headed guy, you’re going to stand out on stage anyway; it might as well be for the right reasons. Nineteen-year-old Alexander Peters had that covered at the School of American Ballet’s annual workshop performances in June. Peters showed off his immaculate technique in Wheeldon’s Scènes de Ballet and then turned in a remarkable, crowd-pleasing performance in Balanchine’s Bourrée Fantasque. The Pennsylvania native has won the Princess Grace and Mae L. Wien awards and will start at Kansas City Ballet in August.
People say that the real star of Balanchine’s ballets is the corps, and I think that’s right—they’re always dancing, and they never get a break, like in so many classical ballets. Last night, Western Symphony definitely proved that point for me, as I found myself watching the corps more than the soloists. The patterns they formed were so fun and intricate, and their energy was unflagging as they smiled and pranced from one shape to another.
Unless you’re a professional dancer with an incredibly grueling schedule, teachers often advise not taking any real time off from ballet, because for
every week off, you will need two to get back what you lost. Or so I’ve heard. The general idea, I guess, is that anything that takes time away from
working, working, working on your dancing is bad. Having just come back from two weeks away, though, I can say that time off has been hugely
beneficial to me as a dancer.
New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht is noted for his high energy and soaring leaps, but for Melissa Barak’s recently premiered Call Me Ben, he took on a role that could have had him falling flat on his face: He not only had to deliver dialogue, but he had to play the gangster Meyer Lansky.
After seeing New York Theatre Ballet’s “Signatures 10” program on Saturday night, I realized how hard it is to just stand still and hold a pose
onstage. These dancers did a great job of it, especially in Ashton’s Capriol Suite, a kind of modern retelling of Renaissance-era court dance.
One of the reasons I love going to see dance in small theatres is because I get the chance to watch the dancers up close, and really analyze their performance. This was the case on Thursday, when I went to see Dances Patrelle and Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance at Symphony Space. I sat very close to the stage, and enjoyed picking out the details. What impressed me most, though, was the dancers’ commitment to connecting with the audience and each other, which is sometimes hard to feel in a huge theatre or opera house.
The New York City Ballet spent its winter season tackling Big Story Ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night's Dream. So when I entered the David H. Koch theater last night (right before Sarah Jessica Parker, no less!) for the company's spring gala, I was anticipating--OK, eagerly anticipating--a return to balletic abstraction, to sleek unitards and challenging music and movement for movement's sake.