“Balanchine and Robbins”
New York City Ballet
Opera House, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
February 27, 2008
by George Jackson
copyright 2008 by George Jackson
The Japanese just did it on this very stage and other ballet companies bring it too, so why must we see “Serenade” again? Because it has become the measuring stick for style, attack, technique and attitude. Right now NYCB is astir with a fresh wind as management fields new dancers into familiar roles. The pace on opening night in Washington was furious, as if the Tchaikovsky score had a race to win. Maurice Kaplow’s conducting hardly let up for dramatic pause or romance in the George Balanchine choreography. Blue-white gauze whipped across the stage: women, heedless of their gowns, shot into traveling arabesques and took aim with pirouettes. The female corps couldn’t be bothered trimming formations or clicking into file like the Japanese. It got where it was going with spontaneity, ambition and passion. The great groupings appeared shimmering with energy, and dispersed again as individuals went their own way. Determination seemed to be the emerging generation’s standard in all three ballets - the ubiquitous “Serenade”, the seldom seen and silent “Moves” by Jerome Robbins, and the treasured Bizet/Balanchine “Symphony in C”.