- Last Updated: 12:13 AM, February 11, 2012
- Posted: 11:06 PM, February 10, 2012
NEW YORK CITY BALLET
David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center; 212-870-5570. Season runs through Feb. 26.
New York City Ballet featured two big, glitzy spectacles at Wednesday night’s mixed bill, but only one pulled its weight. A return engagement of last spring’s “The Seven Deadly Sins” was no more interesting than the first time around, but “Vienna Waltzes,” along with two other Balanchine classics, picked up the slack.
In “Sins,” Bertolt Brecht’s songs and Kurt Weill’s lyrics tell a Marxist parable of two sisters who travel across America to make their fortune. Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s choreography and direction keeps the journey moving faster than an Interstate trucker.
But not even the powerhouse combo of Patti LuPone singing onstage and Wendy Whelan dancing gave “Sins” any bite. There’s Broadway pizazz to entertain you, but not enough of Brecht and Weill’s in-your-face politics to make you think.
Balanchine’s “Vienna Waltzes,” set to a greatest-hits mix of Viennese composers, gives the Blue Danube the Great White Way treatment, but there’s depth beneath the silk and glitter. In her debut as a Merry Widow figure, Rebecca Krohn seemed at first more of a black widow as she entered, pale, elegant and deadly. But there was something in her eyes that suggested both predator and victim.
In the finale to the shifting, slippery waltz from “Der Rosenkavalier,” Maria Kowroski drifted into a mirrored ballroom, her immense skirt trailing against a stream of couples. You can’t see her face, only the anticipation in her back, waiting for a partner who might only exist in her imagination.
The big entertainment of the night came from two little ballets: the pristine “Concerto Barocco” and the brassy “Tarantella.” “Barocco” is led by identically dressed ballerinas, but one’s more equal than the other. Sara Mearns was so urgent and exaggerated that it wasn’t until she left the stage that you realized she wasn’t dancing the lead — Teresa Reichlen was. Things came back into balance in the final movement, when Reichlen found her stride and Mearns calmed down.
“Tarantella” was a virtuosity contest between Tiler Peck and Daniel Ulbricht. He spun across the stage in impossibly fast turning jumps, but she held her own, smiling as she descended into a deep squat — while balancing on the tips of her toes.
From the audience’s applause, it sounded like the match ended in a tie.