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AUDIENCE REVIEW: NYCB: Robbin and Peck
New York City Ballet
October 11, 2019
Overhearding the loud chatter as I walked into the David H. Koch Theater on Friday night, October 11th many enthusiastic audience members were talking about the two pieces soon to be performed: “Dances at a Gathering” by Jerome Robbins and “Everywhere We Go” by Justin Peck. I proceeded to make my way to my seat which was was only four rows away from the stage. Directly in my line of vision was the pianist, Susan Walters, sitting eagerly waiting to accompany the New York City ballet dancers with music composed by Chopin for the Jerome Robbins piece. As the lights in the theater slowly went dark the chatter turned to silence. The curtains on stage came up, Susan played, and the show began.
The first piece performed was “Dances at a Gathering” by Jerome Robbins. The stage revealed a simple backdrop of clouds on a blue-sky day. The piece consisted of multiple solos, duets, trios, and finished with the whole cast dancing together at once. The ten dancers, five women and five men, were most memorable for their technique, however, given the fact that I was close so close to the stage, I noticed the dancers could have interacted more. The New York City Ballet website described “Dances at a Gathering” as a, “…spectrum of human interaction into the most natural of movements, a landmark for its invention, virtuosity, and constantly shifting emotions.” The piece offered countless amounts of duets and trios for the dancers to embody a personable experience everyone could relate to, however, because the emotional shifts were not consistent, the piece as a whole felt incomplete. The closest moment the piece had to obtaining a deeper interaction with the audience was towards the end when all the dancers stopped dancing and looked out at the audience. In that moment the connection between the dancers and the audience portrayed exactly how “Dances at a Gathering” was intended to be portrayed: a “human interaction into the most natural of movements.”
The second piece of the night was Justin Peck’s “Everywhere We Go.” This cast was much larger than the Jerome Robbins piece. This piece was filled with excitement displayed through quick, sharp choreography that perfectly matched the upbeat music. The parts that were most enjoyable was the complex, yet clear formations and hints of musical theater movement incorporated in Peck’s choreography. Although these were the two most enjoyable parts of the piece, I do feel that the hint of musical theater movement was the most challenging part of the piece. I would have liked to see the dancers move their spine and use the extension of their arms more to create a sharper musically theater line. All in all, I loved how complex and intricate the piece was. I appreciate that it kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to find more intricacies I might have missed throughout the piece.
Any night at the ballet is a great night, however, the night I went to go see New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center was an extraordinary night. I truly loved every moment of it. Especially being able to look at the pieces up close with a critic’s eye.