New York City Ballet Takes a Risk

April 26, 2014

Breaking from its tradition of starting each season with tried-and-true Balanchine ballets, NYCB opens its spring season tomorrow with 21st-century choreographers. It might be risky, but I say, All hail to living dance makers!

There will be no shortage of choreographic grandeur. Among the larger works, there are the intriguing fantasy-scape of Ratmansky’s Namouna, A Grand Divertissement; the witty patterns of Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit; the ethereal lifts of Liam Scarlett’s Acheron, and the churning restlessness of Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse. For a taste of this last, see this video clip.



Tyler Angle and Rebecca Krohn in Liam Scarlett’s
Acheron. Photo by Paul Kolnik.


Nestled in the large group work of Benjamin Millepied’s Two Hearts is a series of three gorgeous duets for Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle.

Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto is a rare example of a classical choreographer messing around with modern dance—as in barefoot dance. (Martins also offers a collaboration with JR, the street artist whose awesome floor photography last season made us realize that he has a way of moving dancers in space.) And William Forsythe’s Herman Schmerman duet catapults two dancers from ballet to postmodern, with its spiky moves.

But here is something else: When dancers work directly with a living dance artist, they tend to be more connected to their roles. They’ve been sweating it out in the studio with the choreographer, so they imbue the dancing with more vibrancy. This week offers not only a chance to see some of the most current ballet around but it’s also a chance to see some of NYC’s best dancers really sink their teeth into choreography that, in many cases, they helped to create.