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AUDIENCE REVIEW: NYCB's "Dances at a Gathering" and "Everywhere We Go"
New York City Ballet
October 11, 2019
I’ve been doing ballet for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until Friday, October 11 that I had the pleasure to see New York City Ballet perform live at the David H. Koch Theater. The program that night consisted of Dances at a Gathering by Jerome Robbins and Everywhere We Go by Justin Peck.
Dances at a Gathering was a wonderful way to start off the evening. There was no grand story to the piece. The dancers were simply dancing among each other as if the stage was a real place. There was a feeling of spending time with friends and creating memories together. The five couples portrayed the casual but romantic essence of the piece. The Chopin piano pieces are essential to this world that Robbins has created, and Susan Walters played the score with such close attention to details. The music along with the clouds as a backdrop and flowing costumes helped to create the lightness and simplicity of the piece. Each dancer is their own person, as well as part of the group. They appear in combinations of one, two, three, or more. Dancers just come and go altering partners. At first, the changing of partners was very weird for me, but I saw the beauty in its impermanence. Lauren Lovette, as the girl in pink, was especially a wonder to watch. She is a natural performer whose presence fills the stage. The way she stretches her arabesque line as if it could go on forever is breathtaking. Near the end, all ten dancers join in a large circle and bow to each other as if acknowledging the moments they shared in this playful world they created.
In the second half of the night, the company performed Everywhere We Go. There was a striking contrast between the simple elegance of the Robbins piece to the very linear and dynamic choreography by Justin Peck. The large ensemble piece with a score by Sufjan Stevens was very extravagant. The changing geometric backdrop by Karl Jenson and striped costumes by Janie Taylor added to the seeming mathematical choreography filled with lines, shapes, and repetition. Peck found endless ways to organize the corps in different formations weaving dancers in and out seamlessly. Every element of the piece worked together in this virtuosic and exuberant piece. The contrasts of fast and slow, round and straight, staccato and legato create such a dynamic feeling. The way the movements fit so precisely into each phrase and the fluidity with which soloists come out of and rejoin the ensemble are so powerful. Megan Fairchild, in particular, was a delight to watch. She was a little firecracker while performing intricate movements filled with quick footwork and wild turns. At the end, dancers slowly started crumbling to the floor, running to catch each other until the last one had fallen. This display of weakness was a bit strange for me because of the vagueness of a story. Nevertheless, this piece was a pleasure to watch. The way every detail fits so nicely together in the piece is so satisfying to watch. The vivid and powerful performance from the dancers immediately draws in the audience.
Overall, the two pieces of the night, Dances at a Gathering and Everywhere We Go, encompassed a sense of purpose and completeness. Together they captured the beauty of ballet.
Photo: Paul Kolnik. https://www.nycballet.com/Ballets/D/Dances-at-a-Gathering.aspx.