City Ballet: In the Night; The Cage; Andantino; and In G Major

It’s spring, which means the final session of the 2011-2012 NYC Ballet season is upon us. For my first ballet of the spring season, I attended the All Robbins program on Founding Choreographers Day.

We begin with In the Night. Set to piano work by Chopin, In the Night is essentially a series of “conversations” about love – all taking place, you guessed it, in the night. It’s a lovely ballet.

First up are Robert Fairchild and Sterling Hyltin. (Guess who was super excited about that!) They come out for a beautiful pas de deux, full of soft, graceful lifts and turns. Fairchild and Hyltin have a palpable chemistry on stage, which makes it such a treat to watch them dance. They exuded a passion for one another and for the dance, even though they were – appropriately – sans their typical flair.

Next were Maria Kowroski and Andrew Veyette. Their pas de deux was less dance and more movement. It was also more contentious than the previous movement. (See? Another “conversation.”)

The third and final pair of dancers was the incomparable Wendy Whelan and Sebastien Marcovici. They depicted a couple in a tempestuous I-love-you-I-hate-you relationship, with a distinct ferociousness to the dance.

When all three couples danced together – and especially when they gathered in relative stillness – it was like they were all recognizing themselves at different stages of life in each other. Ah, the things that can happen in the night.

Next on the program was The Cage, with music by Igor Stravinsky. If Roger Corman (or maybe even Quentin Tarantino or Tim Burton) had ever adapted The Taming of the Shrew, it would be Robbins’s The Cage. In the program, as a way of setting the scene, it states, “There occurs in certain forms of insect and animal life…the phenomenon of the female of the species considering the male as prey. This ballet concerns the rites of such a species.”

What’s really interesting about The Cage is that you’re watching an ugly ballet. The dancers, no longer confined to more natural human movement, contort into all sorts of angular poses and crouches. But as the Novice (Janie Taylor – in a fierce black wig) falls in love with one of the Intruders (Craig Hall), the dance becomes more graceful and balletic. Of course, when the Queen (Teresa Reichlen) reenters and demands that the Novice dispense with the Intruder, we go back to the ugly dancing as the Novice takes out her once-lover, now prey. 

After a brief pause, Andantino followed. This third piece of the program is just a typical, pretty pas de deux. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about it, despite the able dancing of Megan Fairchild and Joaquin de Luz. Still, it served as a nice filler piece in the program.
Completing the afternoon was In G Major, a piece I saw this past winter. With nearly the same company, In G Major was just as light, fluffy and fun as it was in January. 

So, we’re off to a good start at City Ballet. Next up: brand new ballets from Peter Martins and Benjamin Millepied!