- Last Updated: 12:16 AM, May 25, 2012
- Posted: 10:45 PM, May 23, 2012
ALL BRAHMS/ BALANCHINE
New York City Ballet. David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center; 212-870-5570. Season runs through June 10.
New York City Ballet got its Brahms on with two great performances Tuesday night. “Liebeslieder Walzer” is an acknowledged Balanchine masterpiece — the surprise was how good “Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet” looked.
The latter is a big, Busby Berkeley-ish number in which Balanchine showed his skill at moving the corps in kaleidoscopic patterns and his caginess at making a bang-up Gypsy finale. It’s not his most inspired work, but this cast made it look top-shelf.
Tiler Peck is becoming the Girl Who Can Do Anything, throwing her leg skyward yet staying on balance even as she rolled off her foot. She was just as fearless in a duet of swooning backbends, rocketing across the stage into her partner’s not-quite-waiting arms. When she uses her technical prowess to go for broke, it becomes more than virtuosity; it’s also romantic impetuousness.
Two just-promoted principals proved themselves in new parts. Ana Sophia Scheller danced her martial steps with confident, glamorous precision. Rebecca Krohn’s sharp angular limbs don’t always mold to classical ballets, but she found the romantic sweep.
The evening opened with a beautiful enigma: We’ll never be sure exactly what happened in “Liebeslieder Walzer.” Accompanied onstage by two pianists and four singers, four couples danced in an elegant ballroom. They exchanged glances — and occasionally partners. Midway, the women changed from gowns and heels to skirts and pointe shoes. Were they dancing their dreams?
The ballet belongs to its ballerinas. Maria Kowroski glowed from within as she walked slowly across the stage, her partner whispering in her ear. Janie Taylor gave her youthful role hints of tragedy with her pale, consumptive beauty. Unfurling her leg, Wendy Whelan glided forward as if swimming through ether.
The new couple is Ashley Bouder and Tyler Angle, a soubrette and a matinee idol who complemented one another beautifully. She leapt into a polka with him, swept away by the undiluted joy of dancing. Yet later she lay flat in his arms as he shielded her, drifting slowly. For a moment we weren’t sure if it was sleep — or something darker. It’s one of Balanchine’s most exquisite mysteries.