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AUDIENCE REVIEW: NYCB's "Dances at a Gathering" and "Everywhere We Go"
New York CIty Ballet
October 11th, 2019
On October 11th, I had the pleasure of attending New York City Ballet’s performance of Jerome Robin’s Dances at a Gathering and Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go in the David H. Koch Theatre. Although I have grown up watching ballet companies such as the Houston Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, this was my first time experiencing the NYCB perform.
The evening began with Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering. As the lights dimmed the audience’s eyes were drawn to the pianist, Susan Walter, under a single spotlight. The curtain rose to reveal a peaceful back drop of blue sky and clouds. This set the scene to a bright and playful ballet featuring 5 women and 5 men dancing in various pastel colored costumes. The piece seemed to continue without a true storyline, but was beautiful to watch nonetheless. Dancers moved in and out of duets, trios, and quartets, exchanging partners and movements. I was mesmerized by the dancers’ effortless execution of movement and their engaging presence on stage. The partner work was particularly impressive, while looking effortless. Although I was fascinated in watching the seemingly flawless movement, my favorite part of the piece would have to be when the dancers were standing still. Towards the end of the piece, the entire cast stopped to address their audience, scanning each balcony carefully, bringing every audience member in the sold-out theatre into the piece. I felt this action break the 4th wall, while the dancers recognized the audience in front of them. The dancers acknowledged the audience as well as each other and the moment they created.
The evening continued with Peck’s Everywhere We Go. This piece included dynamic ensemble work and precise pas de deux to create a beautiful and engaging ballet. I was immediately draw into this piece by the geometric set by Karl Jensen, shifting in shape and brightness with the movements of the piece. The striped costumes, by Janie Taylor, were similarly engaging, but unfortunately reminded me of sailor costumes. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic movement in this piece. Similar to the first, this piece did not follow a clear storyline, but brought the audience into the work through movement. The large ensemble created a powerful sea of movement with precise lines that was incredible to watch. I was amazed by the power shown in Megan Fairchild’s performance. She commanded the stage even while dancing next to dancers significantly taller than herself.
The contrast in the two pieces was representative of how ballet has changed through the decades. I could appreciate the classical style and movement of the Robbin's piece, but was more engaged in the somewhat contemporary style of movement shown in Peck’s piece. Nevertheless, the night was filled with a fantastic energy created by the dancers of the New York City Ballet that truly encompassed the beauty of ballet.