Early Music Masters
"Divertimento No. 15," "Stabat Mater," "Brahms/Handel"
New York City Ballet
David H. Koch Theater, New York
January 30, 2009
by Tom Phillips
Copyright 2009 by Tom Phillips
Eight is a boring number, especially when it’s divided up into the standard four pairs or two quartets. But in the hands of George Balanchine, eight became a magic number in his “Divertimento No. 15.” Instead of the normal groupings, he used three men and five women as his principals, breaking them into ones, two and threes in kaleidoscopic shifting patterns, backed by a more geometric corps of eight women. As for Mozart’s four-beat, four-measure phrases, he often cut them into three fives, adding an extra step at the end to make 16. Thus does “Divertimento” endlessly divert and delight the viewer, especially when danced with the precision and verve that Sterling Hyltin and Ana Sophia Scheller brought to the opening Theme and Variations.