Performing Arts: Dance
October 14, 2016
A deep sense of serenity surrounds George Balanchine’s classic “Serenade.” A perennial favorite, much of its glory emerges from its simplicity. Now performed with women in long tulle skirts, “Serenade” opens on rows of women in some mysterious ritual. Arms rise, hands flatten, as if to shield the eyes from the sun, and feet in parallel split open. Set against Tschaikovsky’s melancholic “Serenade for Strings” the dance opens against three lead women, Megan LeCrone, Sara Mearns and Tiler Peck and later, two men Jared Angle and Justin Peck.

Outstretched legs and arms float over the music, pulling into puffs of turns and frisky skips. Mystery is embedded in the dance, and it’s that mystery most graphically expressed through Mearns back and Peck’s airy elevations.

Two more Balanchine dances formed the core of the evening, “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux” highlighting Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette as well as the all-American “Western Symphony.”

Bouder and Veyette rip through the bounding duet. Only recently back on stage after giving birth, Bouder is a technical wonder. Her feet ripple in little outward peddle-pushing moves and she moves faster than a mosquito targeting lunch. Assured in his role, Veyette allows Bouder (who hardly needs a partner, and if she could, would lift herself) all the space her dancing demands.

Once the music starts, everyone relaxes because it’s Hershy Kay’s lilting, Americana strumming score to Balanchine’s “Western Symphony.” One couple after another arrives to tick off a few choice toe prances and square dance passages. Despite its humor and seeming cartoonish simplicity, “Western Symphony” challenges a dancer’s ability to balance, twist forward and back over one leg and swing around in split-leg leaps into a dead run.

Christopher Wheeldon’s tribute to Americana “American Rhapsody” with music by the inimitable George Gershwin captures the romantic air of a time gone by, when love was in bloom and dance could fix the world.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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