New York City Ballet & Orchestra
All Balanchine/Tschaikovsky Bill
“Swan Lake” , “Allegro Brillante”, “Suite #3”
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
March 26, 2013
by George Jackson
copyright 2013 by George Jackson
The New York City Ballet’s 2013 opening night in Washington didn’t quite click, either as programming or as a set of performances. Balanchine, the company’s founding ballet master, used to be skeptical about gimmicky scheduling. Often he would dismiss a thematic bill as “all water and watermelon”. What he wanted was to serve customers a balanced menu. Tschaikovsky, one of his favorite composers, drew from him intriguing but not necessarily compatible results. Last night started and ended with Balanchine choreography to Tschaikovsky music that almost looked as if it had been made in the castle and kingdom manner. Behavior, not only dancing, is important for both “Swan Lake” and “Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3”. In the ballet that came in between, “Allegro Brillante” , Balanchine seemed to be surveying Tschaikovsky’s score for the compactness, the shortcuts, the economy and the sense of contemporary life that modernist music gave him chances to invent in his “black and white” works. Pose and dance alternate in “Swan Lake” and “Suite No. 3” but “Allegro Brillante” is more all-dance: dance-in-place alternating with dance-in-space.