For Italian muralist Ambrogio Lorenzetti, people dancing symbolized a well-ordered society. For French painter Nicolas Poussin, it signified timeâ€™s metamorphoses. Both ideas suffuse Jerome Robbinsâ€™ masterpiece, â€śDances at a Gathering,â€ť even while the dancers immerse us in a glittering present.
The New York City Ballet excelled in â€śDancesâ€ť Tuesday, as SPAC celebrated Robbinsâ€™ Chopin ballets. It begins simply, with Joaquin De Luz walking. As piano music arises, expertly provided by Susan Walters, walking becomes graceful dancing, accelerating into a joyous run punctuated by leaps.
Robbins returned to NYCB in 1969 after 12 years away, conquering Broadway and directing experimental dance and theater companies, hence â€śDancesâ€™â€ť wistfulness. De Luz remembers his dance as if Robbins were confiding, â€śYes, I can still make ballets.â€ť
A wonderful hour unfolds under Jennifer Tiptonâ€™s sunny lightingâ€”solos, trios, larger ensembles. Rebecca Krohn, running, leaps into Aaron Sanzâ€™s arms and he whirls her to his shoulder. Jared Angle hoists Tiler Peck sideways as she salutes the sky with her upper leg. Indiana Woodward and Joseph Gordon race about like children, and he shows off with a cartwheel.
Partners keep shifting; friendships come and go. De Luz and Angle spiral toward each other, trade lifts, then grow irritable and part. Maria Kowroski canâ€™t get a partner at all, enticing three guys, each amazingly uninterested. Brittany Pollack, Zachary Catazaro, and three others strike old-fashioned photo poses, but time refuses to stand…
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