What was a pleasant surprise is that the Gala consisted entirely of skillfully created and executed pieces by contemporary choreographers, and included two flat out fabulous world premieres : Justin Peck’s “Belles-Lettres” and Liam Scarlett’s ”Funerailles”.
Troy Schumacher’s “Clearing Dawn” was lighter and less complex, and though it was a nice introduction to his choreography, it suffered by being on the same program with the other premieres. Peck, a company soloist and its newly appointed Resident Choreographer. The term also brings to mind the phrase “Belle Époque,” descriptive of a period in Europe from the early 1870s to the beginning of World War I characterized by peace and prosperity, and a golden age of the arts (including the flowering of belles-lettres).
Amar Ramasar partnered Rebecca Krohn (in Peter Coppings cut-out, long, fuchsia gown and darker fuchsia, furry stole), who grabbed the attention in dance after dance. Krohn when she leaped off the stairs, before he spun in aplomb. Sterling Hyltin was partnered by Robert Fairchild, who recently returned from his Broadway lead in An American in Paris. Sara Mearns and Jared Angle lusciously spun about, and Mr.
Karinska's costumes, like toy soldiers and dolls, with military hats and feathers, large buttons and tutus, perfectly set the mood for chivalry and daring. Fairchild expanded each others energy and charisma.
Of special note were Daniel Ulbrichts always vibrant performance as leader of the Third Regiment, Thunder and Gladiator, and Megan Fairchild and Tyler Angles sensational duet as Liberty Bell and El Capitan. They presented multiple entrechats, punctuated with personality and pizzazz. Fairchild, always the extreme dancer, was a spirited sprite, with extra high extensions, a wink, and a nod. Savannah Lowery and Erica Pereira executed their leads of the Second (Rifle Regiment) and First (Corcoran Cadets) Campaigns with personality and charm, even catching a baton en air.
Sara Mearns and Adrian Danchig-Waring, in their pas de deux, were magnetic in bent arm-leg extensions, like crawling crustaceans.
They glowed with fascination, against the small, slow motion silhouettes.
Soon circling females appear, followed by the full Corps in ever-shifting ensembles. Music by Richard Rodgers, Music Arranged by Gene Kelly, Orchestrations by Don Sebesky, Choreography by Peter Martins, Scenery by Robin Wagner, Costumes by Peter Copping of Oscar de le Renta, Costumes supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Guest Singers, Leah Horowitz and Joseph Eletto, Trio: Alan Moverman on Piano, Ron Wasserman on Bass, James Saporito on Drums, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Robert Fairchild, Rebecca Krohn, Amar Ramasar, Sara Mearns, Jared Angle, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, and the Company.
Among the male Corps, Joseph Gordon, Harrison Ball, and Preston Chamblee moved with extraordinary intensity. Peter Martins Thou Swell is always a draw and a high point of the evening.Jerome Robbins Glass Pieces, with Philip Glass Glassworks repetitive score, always plays in my mind for days. Rubric, with a tiny-squared, beige grid backdrop, brings out the Corps in ever-rushing walks, stretches, and turns, while one of three ballet couples at a time, in pastel unitards, stops the ensemble in its tracks, to partner in duo elegance.Tonights three duos were Ashley Hod and Daniel Applebaum, Meagan Mann and Peter Walker, and Laine Habony and Cameron Dieck.Both Principals shift their posture in gripping shapes, depending on mood and music.Akhnaten, the third movement, features pulsating percussion, with the male Corps bonding and dashing in primal hunched positions.That the program also included superb dancing isn’t a surprise either.