“Serenade,” “American Rhapsody,” “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux,” “Western Symphony”
New York City Ballet
The David H. Koch Theater
New York, New York
October 7, 2016
by Michael Popkin
copyright © 2016 by Michael Popkin
Christopher Wheeldon’s recent ballet to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” (incongruously programmed in the middle of an otherwise all Balanchine program entitled “Classic NYCB”) was the only ballet on the bill that felt consistently alive Friday night. Among the Balanchine ballets, “Serenade” started well only to limp to the finish line. “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux ” was stiff and “Western Symphony” paradoxically small scale and then over punched out. The contrast between how the company danced Balanchine and Wheeldon brought a line from the Bible to mind: “Where your treasure is, there also shall be your heart.” Putting how this program looked together with the way the company danced in the series of new ballets that premiered at NYCB’s gala earlier this season (often middling works that were nonetheless attacked with fervor), I couldn’t help thinking that the company’s heart was in its new work this fall decidedly more than in the traditional repertory.
Photo (c) Paul Kolnik of Amar Ramasar and Unity Phelan in "American Rhapsody"