Review: New York City Ballet’s Costume Drama

Review: New York City Ballet’s Costume Drama
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Review: New York City Ballet’s Costume Drama

Review: New York City Ballet’s Costume Drama

It’s been a long 18 months since rotting in soft fabrics, but finally, fashion is making a comeback on the streets of New York City. It also returned to the stage of the New York City Ballet. On Thursday, the company revived its Fall Fashion Gala at Lincoln Center with two new ballets dressed in designer clothing from head to head — or, in one instance, a headpiece curled into lampshade territory — to indicate the shoe.

The question was not which dance wore their costumes better, but which dance wore them brighter. (And sometimes bigger.) Clearly, coming out of a pandemic is not the time to calm things down. And while I go all out for crazy clothes, the program, which began with Jerome Robbins’ “Glass Pieces,” didn’t manage to push fashion or ballet in any innovative direction: The vibe was more “twilight zone”. – Why do a dance When will there be a strange dream with ruffled clothes? – Moira meets Rose, without any jerks or wits.

This year, Sidra Bell teamed up with designer Christopher John Rogers in “Suspended Animation,” and Andrea Miller collaborated with Colombian American designer Esteban Cortazar in “Sky to Hold.” Both of these contemporary choreographers did digital work for the company earlier in the pandemic. And while they took different approaches to the gala – penance for Bell, melodrama for Miller – both ballets had a way of slipping into the hole of reductive arbitrariness.

Instead of fast fashion — disposable, gaudy, forgettable — it seemed to be a night of fast dancing. It’s not destroying the planet, but it’s a wasted opportunity, and in dance, where money is hard to come by, that Is a destructive act. Like many others at the fashion gala, these ballets won’t last. And they shouldn’t.

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While Miller’s frantic work, with its patch-together sections, expended energy in the most controversial way, Bell’s “Suspended Animation”, set to music by Dosia Mackay, Nicholas Brittel and Oliver Davis, was more of an interior experience. build out. At times, dancers, wearing Rogers’ sculptural designs—the most delightful (and Molly Goddard-ish) were Isabella Lafrenier’s hot pink and Mira Nadon’s electric blue—appeared to glide across the stage like chess pieces.

Because there is more focus on presentation than on the steps, the dancers’ bodies were more in sync with the air around them; In some ways, “suspended animation” was less of a dance installation in which movement was made visible or obscured, depending on the costume. As it progressed, some of the dancers peeled off the outer layers as if the skin was shedding, and in keeping with the bell’s title, they seemed suspended—like imaginary sea creatures floating in the deepest depths of the ocean. .

Once bodies became more visible, the dance took a smidge or two of physical glory: Teresa Reichlen’s calm glow proved she could dominate even the most dazzling costumes, while Megan Fairchild’s vulnerability came through. Because he used his limbs to delicately carve through space. But this is City Ballet and its highlights aren’t enough; The result was a waste of time and talent.

In his combative and long-running “Sky to Hold”, Miller collaborated with Cortzer, whose costumes – more fitted and traditionally dance-friendly – ​​changed over time with Nicole Pearce’s lightsabers and Colombians. -Canadian became more colorful with the singer-songwriter. Lido Pimienta who composed the score and performed on stage – albeit from the sidelines – in an electric yellow dress. As she sang, her body responded, to the sound of her strong and silky voice. Sometimes I used to think, This dance to watch?

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Pimienta brought a lovely story to the ballet: a seed falls in love by storm. The seed was Taylor Stanley, whose decisive, fast-paced dance moves this inconsistent ballet could not try to carry; The storm was Sarah Morans, whose hair acted as a fifth limb. The dancers carved images from the natural world as they swayed across the stage like trees or gusts of wind. It ended in yellow: the inevitable sunshine that followed a storm.

As “Sky To Hold” swings from one part to the next, dancers are balanced on the shoulders of others like royalty; Stanley, on the floor—he was, after all, a seed—rolled from his belly to his back with the rubbery, sinuous ease of a breaker and later arched into a backbend that extended until he reached his stage on the stage. The top of the head does not relax. .

When the romance began, Stanley and Morans met on the floor, comfortable toward each other as their silhouettes ringed on the wall behind them. The visual effects were like something you might see in a children’s theater; Same for the unfortunate Mylar curtain that covers the back of the stage in other sections. This display of a body rolling around in a storm and finding its way to the end—a sunny embrace—was depressingly minor.

Both works were choreographed by women, something to say about the ballet world’s attempt to expand beyond that all-too-familiar character: the white male choreographer. And it is precisely that the company reached out of its stylistic comfort zone to more contemporary dance makers. But in the end, both premieres already felt dated, especially in comparison to “Glass Piece,” which Robbins produced after George Balanchine’s death in 1983. This is an excellent ballet; It is about flexibility.

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Although Thursday’s performance was on the rough side – counts are hard – this ballet in three movements, set to music by Philip Glass, now feels like a depiction of the pandemic. First, the dancers cross the stage like pedestrians – moving freely and purposefully as in a bustling city street. In the second movement, a grand, monotonous pas de deux draws attention inward, as if sheltered in place. (The appearance of Amar Ramsar, who partnered with Maria Kowrowski, is still troubling; he was reinstated to the company after a photo-sharing scandal.) And in the third, the dancers explode with joy, Which is a snapshot of the energetic force. New York City is coming back to life.

Ben Benson’s costumes, a mosaic of colorful exercise clothes and space-age units, also felt the most modern. But this year, there’s been a significant change, starting with this ballet: City Ballet has finally begun the shift from standard pink to flesh-colored tights and shoes, to better match each dancer’s skin tone. Can go This season’s ballet repertoire, notably the dances of three members of the Black Company – Olivia Boison, India Bradley and Savannah Durham – have shined through. Obviously it was the most important fashion statement of the night.

New York City Ballet

Through October 17, David H. Coach Theatre, at Lincoln Center;

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