NYCB: Estancia; Pictures at an Exhibition; and Everywhere We Go
Spring ballet outing 2 of 5 was a wonderful afternoon. I got the chance to revisit three ballets, Estancia, Pictures at an Exhibition, and, one of my favorites, Everywhere We Go.
The afternoon began with Christopher Wheeldon's Estancia, which boasts a scenic design by the architect Santiago Calatrava. This is a narrative ballet, and it tells the story of a city boy romancing a country girl. As you might recall from previous reviews on Estancia, I was there for the premiere of this ballet (in May 2010), and what struck me then still strikes me now: this is a prime example of what narrative ballet can be. It does not have to be just graceful walking and pantomiming; narrative ballet can actually use dance to tell the story.
On Saturday, Ana Sophia Scheller took on the role of the feisty country girl, and while she didn't dance the role with the zeal Tiler Peck does, she did bring a soulfulness that played well during the pas de deux. Said pas de deux was with Adrian Danchig-Waring, playing the city boy. There was something about their performance that was off. When partnering, they appeared out of sync, like Danchig-Waring had to reach a little too far to catch Scheller. Obviously, this was a fluke. (I'm thinking of the way Danchig-Waring partners so beautifully with Sara Mearns when they dance Jeux.) The always wonderful Amar Ramasar took center stage as the Wild Horse, and his technique and humor combine for a great performance as the bucking bronco.
Next was Pictures at an Exhibition, Alexei Ratmansky's ballet that uses Wassily Kandinsky famous "Squares with Concentric Rings" as its inspiration and main backdrop. This was the third time I've seen this ballet, and it brought yet another casting combination. The wonderful Tiler Peck once again thrilled in the "Tuileries" section, which is reminiscent of the Tschai Pai (a role Peck nails), and I liked her "The Market at Limoges" pas de deux with soloist Taylor Stanley.
Also impressive was Georgina Pazcoguin, who had a fun frolic in the "Gnome" section, and I liked the "Baba Yaga" section, in which Pazcoguin was joined by Abi Stafford, Claire Kretzchmar, and Zachary Catazaro. Watching Pazcoguin and Catazaro partner is fun, though not as spectacular as Rebecca Krohn and Tyler Angle, who danced the "Old Castle" pas de deux. Krohn is dancing the role originated by Wendy Whelan, and she's a good replacement. Krohn has a similar body type to Whelan (thin and angular), and, like Whelan, she pairs perfectly with Angle. In a talented company, he is still one of my favorites to watch.
The afternoon came to a rousing close with Everywhere We Go, a Justin Peck ballet that moved me to tears when I saw its premiere performance in May 2014. It did not disappoint in this, my third viewing. (Everywhere We Go marked Peck's second collaboration with composer Sufjan Stevens.) Ramasar was back on stage, once again shadowing Robert Fairhcild, back at NYCB after a year on Broadway in An American in Paris. The two men are playful together on stage, and Fairchild also has a beautiful, quiet pas de deux with Krohn.
Sterling Hyltin and Andrew Veyette have several great moments, including more than one challenging toss-and-catch. I absolutely love watching Hyltin dance, with her technique equaled by her grace and clear joy for dancing. Add to the mix Teresa Reichlen, a bold, commanding dancer, and you have one of the most perfect ballets.