The Stars of the No-Star NYCB
New York City Ballet is supposed to be a no-star company. They don’t anoint the top dancers as étoiles the way Paris Opéra Ballet does. And they don’t import mega-stars from Russia the way American Ballet Theatre does. With the enduring repertoire of Balanchine and Robbins, and tons of commissioned pieces, NYCB is supposed to be a choreography-centered company.
But each new season we get excited about seeing the star dancers whose artistry and charisma illuminate the ballets. This week Sara Mearns and Jenifer Ringer will swoop and sway in Peter Martins’ glamorous Thou Swell. Tiler Peck will play the innocent Julie in Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel. Robbie Fairchild will be charmingly suave in Balanchine’s Who Cares? And Ashley Bouder is sure to ignite sparks in his Stars and Stripes. Who better than Maria Kowroski to dance the Rita Hayworth part in Robbins’ I’m Old Fashioned—and Suzanne Farrell’s part in Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue?
Next week brings more Robbins ballets, and here we’ll see two of the most engaging dancers: Daniel Ulbricht in Fancy Free and Gina Pazcoguin in NY Export: Opus Jazz.
Sure, we go to NYCB to see the choreography (Wheeldon premieres two pieces at the May 8 gala). But we also take note of who is dancing them. Although NYCB does not announce casting in their ads, you can find out by going to their website. Click here to see casting up to two weeks in advance.
If you can’t attend the season at the Koch Theater, you can still see some of these stars in our behind-the-scenes videos. Click here for Sara Mearns, here for Tiler Peck. And if you don’t mind seeing five guys having way too much fun, click here for our behind-the-scenes video of five of NYCB’s top male dancers: Craig Hall, Tyler Angle, Andrew Veyette, Robert Fairchild, and Amar Ramasar.
Sara Mearns in Wheeldon’s
Les Carillons. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.