NYC Ballet - Baiser de la Fee, Tschai Pas, Bal de Couture and Diamonds

The New York City Ballet winter season is in full swing, and I took in my first ballet of the season on Saturday night.

First up in the mixed repertoire, Tschaikovsky Celebration evening was Divertimento from “Le Baiser de la Fee, a George Balanchine ballet set to an Igor Stravinsky composition. (Divertimento was the only piece in the Tschaikovsky Celebration that was not set to Tschaikovsky’s music.) As the repertory notes explain, the music and dance can be traced back to the 1937 Balanchine work The Fairy’s Kiss (a.k.a., Le Baiser de la Fee). Portions were excerpted for a Stravinsky festival in the 70s and later a final movement was added. That final movement is Divertimento.

The ballet begins with several corps de ballet members and is rather unappealing, but soon enough we move into the pas de deux (between principal dancers (and real life married couple) Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette) and that’s where things become more interesting. Fairchild looks like she’s in a reverie – which will be broken in the final movement – flitting around the stage with her beau. Next Fairchild and Veyette take turns stretching all over the stage with their leaps, each time trying to get closer to one another.

Bringing Divertimento to a close is a somber final movement. It’s heavier than the rest of the light piece, yet still lovely. All in all, though, Divertimento didn’t stir anything in me. It’s pleasant but forgettable.

Completely unforgettable is the Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, an eight minute tour-de-force featuring Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz.

Perhaps one of the things I liked the most was how it reminded me of Aaron Sorkin’s writing. (Stay with me.) Like Sorkinese, Balanchine’s ballet is fast, furious and precise, and punctuated with momentary changes in pace for emphasis.

De Luz was good, and his turns amazing, though I would have liked to have seen Jonathan Stafford or one of the Angle brothers (Jared or Tyler) dance the role because there are some serious jumps in this ballet and those three are leapers.

Tiler Peck, though, impressed like never before, exhibiting signature NYC Ballet feverishly fast footwork throughout her solo passages. Watch below as Peck talks about dancing this difficult but dynamite ballet.

After an intermission, we were treated to Peter Martins’s Bal de Couture, which premiered in September at the Fall Gala. Once again, the gorgeous Valentino costumes thrilled, and, since I was sitting much closer on Saturday night than I was in September, I noticed details in the frocks I hadn’t seen before. Aside from being able to see the structural designs of the dresses better, I also noticed that the ladies in black and white were split into two groups: those with fuchsia crinoline and pointe shoes and those with red. (Before, I thought they were all red.)

The cast was nearly the same as at the Fall Gala (Savannah Lowery danced in place of Maria Kowroski and Adrian Danchig-Waring danced in place of Jonathan Stafford) and it was just as delightful on the second viewing.

(Visit my “Valentino Designs New York City Ballet” Pinterest board to see all the costumes!)

Completing the evening was Diamonds, one of the three pieces that makes up the full-length Balanchine ballet Jewels. Despite the sparkle of the crystals adorning the bejeweled costumes and set, Diamonds is rather lackluster, eliciting excitement only here and there. (I had a similar reaction the first time I saw Jewels.) Maria Kowroski and Tyler Angle (who have been partnering frequently these days) do fine work, but it just isn’t evocative and strikes me as a ballet meant for display not necessarily consumption.

New York City Ballet’s winter season continues through February and includes a world premiere Justin Peck ballet. Visit for information and to purchase tickets.