City Ballet: Chaconne; Interplay; After the Rain (pas de deux); and Everywhere We Go


New York City Ballet's fall season continues, and on Saturday afternoon, I had the pleasure of seeing three of my favorites.


But before the repeat viewings, the program began with George Balanchine's Chaconne. Set to music by Christoph Willibald von Gluck, Chaconne is a repurposed ballet that was originally part of the opera Orphee et Euridice. As program notes state, "a chaconne is a dance built on a phrase in the bass and was often used by composers in the 17th and 18th centuries to end an opera in a festive mood." My best guess says that this ballet did just that. Chaconne is a pretty ballet, with much pageantry, much like most of the ballets with roots in opera divertissements. 

Chaconne opens with a section that seems almost like a warm up. The dancing and the music are light and airy. The women wear their hair down, and their costumes are subtle and flowing. Soon, the music picks up, and we're treated to a series of five movements. 

First is the pas de trois, which, unfortunately, looked uncoordinated and elementary. A pas de deux follows, and Erica Periera and Antonio Carmena were delightful as the playful and buoyant couple. Next we get a sorbet, of sorts, a little something (a pas de cinq, to be exact) to cleanse the palate and tide us over until the main event, the featured pas de deux.

Sara Mearns, making her debut in the ballet, danced beautifully with corps de ballet member Russell Janzen, called up from the minors for the role. This pas de deux is extremely intricate, with fast, precise movements—completely Balanchine-esque. Though this is not nearly as emotional a ballet as Mearns usually dances, it shows off her technical acumen. And kudos to Janzen for getting the call and making the most of it. Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins often puts his dancers through a trial by fire, so I wouldn't be surprised if we hear in the coming months that Janzen is promoted to soloist. 

Chaconne concludes with a typical ensemble finale, complete with visually interesting formations and attention to detail.

Watch below as Maria Kowroski talks about Chaconne. (Kowroski often dances the track danced by Mearns.)


Next were three ballets I had seen before and loved: Jerome Robbins's Interplay; the pas de deux from Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain; and my favorite obsession, Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go, which returns this fall after a glorious premiere in the spring. 

Interplay was just as fun and delightful as it usually is. Sara Adams, Harrison Ball, Chase Finlay, Joseph Gordon, Lauren Lovette, Kristen Segin, Indiana Woodward and Sebastian Villarini-Velez played with zeal and abandon, realizing Robbins's vision of kids at play. And Lovette and Finlay impressed in the sultry pas de deux, "Byplay."

Watch below as Lovette talks about Interplay and, in particular, the "Byplay" movement.



Wendy Whelan might be retiring from the Company, but she's still giving it all she's got while she's here. She and Craig Hall were simply stunning, as always, in the After the Rain pas de deux, which the pair will perform for the final time at Whelan's farewell performance. There's nothing I don't love about this Christopher Wheeldon ballet, though I don't think I've ever watched it through clear eyes, as I'm usually crying throughout the whole thing. As was the case the last time I saw just the pas de deux, I think the ballet's power resonates even more when you see the whole ballet, when you see the storm, the rain; but even on its own, the beauty and poignancy is undeniable and undeniably moving.


Finally, I got to see Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go again, and I loved it just as much as I did when I saw it at its premiere. (The cast was a little different this time, though. Rebecca Krohn danced the track created by Maria Kowroski; Adrian Danchig-Waring danced the track created by Robert Fairchild; and Ashly Isaacs danced the track created by Tiler Peck.)

Danchig-Waring and Amar Ramasar were fierce and precise in the "shadow" movements, and they both excelled in their respective pas de deux, Danchig-Waring with Krohn and Ramasar with an intense Isaacs. Sterling Hyltin once again looked effervescent as she floated around on stage, often aided by Andrew Veyette, and Teresa Reichlen commanded the stage each time she stepped out from the wings.

As Everywhere We Go is essentially about the circle of life, it seemed fitting that it was performed just after After the Rain, also about growth, rebirth and moving forward. I feel so lucky to be attending the ballet when choreographers like Wheeldon and Peck (the two are NYCB's only resident choreographers in the Company's history) are still creating, and when dancers like Whelan, Hyltin, Ramasar and others are still dancing.


New York City Ballet's fall season continues throughout the month. Visit nycballet.com for details and to purchase tickets.

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