2 exciting premieres livened NY ballet season
In this undated photo provided by American Ballet Theater, David Hallberg and Natalia Osipova perform in "Romeo and Juliet", which will be performed by the American Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. (AP Photo/American Ballet Theater, Gene Schiavone)
NEW YORK (AP) — It may be sweltering summer out there, but the spring ballet season has just officially ended in New York, with the last frothy performances of "The Sleeping Beauty" at American Ballet Theater.
And while dance fans often seek out the same classics, again and again, this season's highlights included brand new productions by two of the most exciting choreographers working today: Alexei Ratmansky at ABT and soloist Justin Peck at NYCB.
A look back at these and other standout moments of a busy spring season:
AN AMBITIOUS TRILOGY: Ratmansky, ABT's artist in residence and a former artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, has been in hot demand now for years, and has choreographed a number of much-discussed works for both of New York's major ballet companies.
But his "Shostakovich Trilogy," a full-length evening choreographed entirely to the music of that Russian composer, was the most ambitious thing he'd done yet, and it was rapturously received by the crowd at the Metropolitan Opera House.
To his "Symphony No. 9," a vigorous and complex work he'd introduced in the fall, he added "Chamber Symphony," a study of a tortured artist danced by David Hallberg, and the demanding, speedy and exciting Piano Concerto No. 1, with virtuosic performances by its four main dancers — especially the spitfire Natalia Osipova, who shot across the stage in a bright red leotard like a heat-seeking missile.
In this undated photo provided by the New York City Ballet, Robert Fairchild performs in “In Creases” by choreographer Justin Peck which is being performed by the New York City Ballet in New York. (AP Photo/New York City Ballet, Paul Kolnik)
A CHOREOGRAPHER ON THE UPSWING: Across Lincoln Center Plaza at the David H. Koch Theater, City Ballet audiences had been on the lookout for more work by Peck, a 25-year-old soloist at the company, but also a fast-rising choreographer. He didn't disappoint: His "In Creases," set to the arresting music of Philip Glass, was acclaimed as the best of the several pieces he's done for NYCB.
With two pianos facing each other on the stage, Peck launched his eight dancers into a series of arresting geometric patterns. Legs turned into spokes on a wheel; at another point, they were wielded as weapons. Lying prone, some dancers turned into an obstacle course for others. The star here was a versatile Robert Fairchild, the principal dancer fast becoming one of the most important on the NYCB stage.
A PROMISING DEBUT: While the majority of NYCB dancers come up through the ranks at its School of American Ballet, ABT is different: It features a huge international cast, and brings in guest performers from overseas. The end of the season brought an intriguing debut by the young Alban Lendorf of the Royal Danish Ballet.