New York City Ballet’s Opening Night @ SPAC 7/6/10
July 7, 2010 at 1:03 am by Joseph Dalton
By JOSEPH DALTONSpecial to the Times Union
SARATOGA SPRINGS – With a roll of the snare drum and a cartwheel by a dancer, the New York City Ballet’s summer season got off to a fast start. Tuesday night’s program at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center opened with “Fancy Free” the loveable 1944 tale of three sailors in a hurry to have some fun. Played with ample swagger by Tyler Angle, Joaquin De Luz and Amar Ramasar, they set the bravura tone for the entire night.
Ballet master in chief Peter Martins said in a curtain speech (which has become a hallmark of the Marcia White era) that because it was still, almost, the Fourth of July weekend he had decided to go all-American.
That theme allowed for plenty of diversity.
After the first intermission came “Red Angels,” the seldom seen 1994 creation by Ulysses Dove. The late choreographer’s roots in modern dance showed through in every angular pose and rippling undulation by the six dancers in red leotards. Tight overhead spotlights kept them from getting lost in the same red lighting that filled the stage. Richard Einhorn’s score resembled drums and rock guitar, but it all came from an electric violin, played by Cenovia Cummins.
Modern and ballet styles were put in more sharp relief in Peter Martin’s Barber Violin Concerto. Megan Fairchild and Charles Askegard represented proper tradition, while Sara Mearns and Jared Angle danced barefoot. Though neither pair began their partnering work very smoothly, the soaring music infused everything with some meaning and purpose.
Despite the title and light Gershwin score, Balanchine’s “Who Cares?” (the finale) allowed for plenty of serious dancing, especially from its three ballerinas. Sterling Hyltin had a deceptive grace and ease, especially in contrast to the more composed, if not pent up, Ana Sophia Scheller, though her fouette turns flowed with easy dispatch.
If there was a star of the night, it was Tiler Peck, who joined the company just five and a half years ago and was named a principal during the fall. In “Fancy Free,” she acted as the easy-going all-American girl. During “The Man I Love” in “Who Cares,” she moved with a larger than life confidence yet was still seductive and alluring. Later she seemed to create her own rhythmic field, projecting the idea of speed or the halting of time without ever falling out of synch with Balanchine’s larger universe.
Joseph Dalton is a local freelance writer who contributes regularly to the Times Union. He blogs at: http://www.HudsonSounds.org.
New York City BalletOpening Night
When: 8 p.m. TuesdayWhere: Saratoga Performing Arts CenterDuration: Two hours, 50 minutes with two intermissions.The crowd: 1,564 devoted fans, all ages.