writers on dancing


Women With Secrets

New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
New York, NY
February 15, 2005

By Mary Cargill
Copyright 2005 Mary Cargill

Jewels, and “Jewels”, can dazzle in the most ordinary circumstances, and it is rare indeed that Balanchine’s choreography can fall absolutely flat; even the disappointing new sets allow the gleams to show through.

The underwater green grotto seemed a bit brighter this year, though the baubles still look like Triton had bought Christmas decorations at some underground Wal-Mart. Rachel Rutherford and Sofiane Sylve danced the Verdy and Paul roles respectively. Unlike the very young corps (one girl would not stop grinning), they are women, and women with secrets that they partially hid; an illusive and haunting mystery. Sylve’s dancing had her usual elegant sweep, though she underplayed the staccato arabesques in an interesting way, so that it seemed like a heart beating. She did tend to overemphasize slightly the dramatic moments in her solo, but it made an interesting contrast with the cooler mystery of Rutherford’s dancing. Rutherford looked like she was being pulled away during the final scene, while Sylve seemed to be leaving on her own accord.

Jonathan Stafford was making his debut as Sylve’s partner, and his underplayed elegance worked well, though as yet he didn’t have the weight and gravity to set her off. Stephen Hanna, with Rutherford, had much of the mystical exaltation that comes from dancing with a woman of mystery.

The pas de trios, with Antonio Carmena substituting for Seth Orza, was a bit disappointing. Carmena was almost too overtly charming and enthusiastic for the part, and flubbed a few steps, though his final arm sweep had the right grave dignity.

“Rubies” also had a last minute cast change, with Benjamin Millepied substituting for Nikolaj Hübbe. He danced with Miranda Weese, who gave a juicy and witty tinge to the role. She doesn’t jerk from position to position, and made the brasher movements an accent, not a destination. Millepied had some unexpectedly debonair moments which complimented her approach very well. Teresa Reichlen was the tall girl; she has always had the looks, but her dancing this year is more imposing, and she seemed less diffident. Her slow arabesque penchès were gloriously secure and voluptuous without being vulgar.

Maria Kowroski’s “Diamonds” too, has grown enormously. She used her eyes to mysterious effect in the pas de deux, creating a pool of mystery around her partner, the very elegant and sympathetic Philip Neal. Her turns, though, are still not as secure as they should be, so her solo and the finale didn’t have the force they can have. The corps, too, with the glorious exceptions of Carla Körbes, who can make her arms say “I am a Russian princess”, while all those around her are saying “I am taking in the laundry”, and the indispensable Dena Abergel, have a long way to go to erase the memory of the Kirov.

Volume 3, No. 8
February 21, 2005
Copyright ©2005 by John Percival


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last updated on February 21, 2005