NYCB Shines—Yet Again

Several of my recent blogs have been about New York City Ballet — I'm addicted to this company and have been going to Lincoln Center as often as possible. Last night I saw Founding Choreographers I, which was a series of four works choreographed by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.

 

I've definitely got a few favorite NYCB dancers, but last night I was hoping to expand my horizons and learn to love a few more. While everyone was spectacular, it was the usual suspects (Maria Kowroski, Kathryn Morgan, Sterling Hyltin and Daniel Ulbricht) who brought me to my feet at the end of the night.

 

To recap: First up was Monumentum Pro Gesualdo, a Balanchine piece. Maria Kowroski danced the lead role, hitting penches that extended beyond 180 degrees. She's such a classic dancer, which is why I think being a principal at NYCB is such a good fit for her. She's got the legs and lines of a prima ballerina and the kind of natural stage presence that only comes from a dancer who truly loves being on stage. I loved the simplicity of this piece and the one that followed, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, also choreographed by Balanchine. In both works, the female dancers were outfitted in simple white leotards while the men wore white shirts and black pants. The basic costumes made it easy to focus on the precise movements of each dancer. In true NYCB form, everything was executed perfectly.

 

Next was Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. This slow, romantic piece was so easy on the eyes. The girls all wore different colored pastel dresses — I liked the blue dress best, worn by Kathryn Morgan. I expected Morgan to steal the show for me, as she always does, but this time Sterling Hyltin was the one who really grasped my attention. My seat was close enough to the stage that I could really see the dancers' facial expressions, and Hyltin won me over with her ever-present smile. She's absolutely adorable to watch. The highlight of this piece was when three of the girls — Rebecca Krohn, Morgan and Hyltin) were tossed from one male dancer to the next. The audience gasped when Hyltin made at least two axel-like rotations in the air before she was caught.

 

The last piece — and the main reason I went to the show last night — was Balanchine's Stars & Stripes. You may remember this costume from the January 2008 cover of DS — Kathryn Morgan was wearing it then! This high-energy, fun piece is broken up into five campaigns. The first, Corcoran Cadets, was led by Erica Pereira. She's only a corps member right now, so I'm picking her out as one to watch. Her technique was flawless and she's already got a decent resume, having danced the Marzipan and Dewdrop roles in The Nutcracker. She commanded her cadets well! The second campaign, Rifle Regiment, was led by Savannah Lowery. Admittedly I watched this entire piece waiting for the next one: Thunder and Gladiator, led by my all-time favorite dancer, Daniel Ulbricht. This all-male campaign is tight, precise and includes lots of jumping. Ulbricht didn't necessarily have a breakout role here, as he mainly stayed with his group rather than solo choreography, but his star quality is still undeniable. He can jump, leap and turn, all the while showing off a smile that'll make you melt. The fourth campaign, the Liberty Bell and El Capitan pas de deux, was danced by Sara Mearns and Charles Askegard (You know this one: Ethan Stiefel and Julie Kent danced it in the movie Center Stage!). It was beautifully done, as was the fifth campaign, Stars and Stripes, which was a grand finale number.

 

All in all, another great night spent at the David H. Koch Theater. NYCB, you never let me down!

Latest Posts


Because you know you've always wondered... (Getty Images)

Sounding Off: Here's What Your Favorite Musicians Think of Dance Routines Set to Their Songs

In the competition world, a small group of musicians has attained almost cultlike status, with choreographers turning to their tracks over and over. We know how we feel about these bangers—there's a reason we can't stop dancing to them—but how do the musicians feel about us? We caught up with three contemporary artists whose music has dominated the competition scene recently, and gauged their reactions to the dances set to their life's work.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Including this incredibly powerful piece by Travis Wall for "So You Think You Can Dance" (Adam Rose/FOX)

Here Are the 2020 Emmy Nominations for Outstanding Choreography

Our favorite season? Awards season, of course! Congratulations to the six choreographers who received Emmy nominations for their fabulous television work. This year, the Emmys thought outside the usual "So You Think You Can Dance" and "World of Dance" box, and we're delighted to see some of our fave choreographers getting recognition.

Here are all the works up for Emmys this year:

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search