Wow, what a premiere! This will haunt me for a while.
OutlierÂ for NYCB started slow and stealthy. There was something eerie about the way Craig Hall and Tiler Peck hovered close to each other.Â They seemed to be moving in some kind of viscous liquid. But it drew you in right away.Â I was riveted, RIVETED, for the whole ballet. The sense of danger grewâ€”a kind of voluptuous sense of danger in the midst of spareness. What the dancers did with each otherâ€™s arms and legs in partnerships was amazing.
The music began with a high shrill noise that seemed like the beginning of a slow-moving nightmare. Luckily the ballet never fell firmly in the region of nightmare. It kept being something you couldnâ€™t placeâ€¦an environment of strangeness.
There are funny parts that donâ€™t make you laugh (because of how strange everything is) like when Robert Fairchild sinks down into an Elvis knee-knocking move, or Maria Kowroski pumps her upper body on a lift, or Ashley Bouder wriggles up her partnerâ€™s body. He draws new things out of the 10 fantastic dancers.
McGregor’s set design looked like a deep hole in space getting deeper, behind the dancers. It was vaguely a set of concentric circles (which could have taken the idea from Thomas AdÃ¨s’ music, titled
Concerto for Violinâ€”Concentric Paths). The sudden light changes were as shocking as the musical score. But pleasantly shocking, not abrasively shocking.
I canâ€™t wait to see it again.