KATHRYN MORGAN'S FONTEYN-ESQUE JULIET!

(photo by Paul Kolnik taken from Explore Dance)

Last night my friend Judy and I went to New York City Ballet for Martins’ Romeo + Juliet, my first viewing of that ballet since it premiered in 2007. I wanted to see it again before the live Live From Lincoln Center broadcast this Thursday. Don’t forget, PBS at 8 pm EST on the 21st! Reminders to come!

Kathryn Morgan had the lead and I loved her! She was so beautiful, so sweet, so dramatic, so girlish and innocent in her early scenes with the Nurse, then so full of tragic pathos as the ballet progressed. No one has her floral, fluid, sweeping lines, and no one can so exquisitely arch her back. She really reminded me of Margot Fonteyn and she nearly made me tear up at the end, which only Jose Carreno as Romeo has ever done to me :)

Her Romeo was Sean Suozzi and, though I still find Robert Fairchild to be NYCB’s most charismatic Romeo, she and Sean complimented each other far better than she and her original Romeo, Seth Orza. Seth was hunky and handsome and powerful and manly, but he danced Romeo with all the emotion of a brick wall and it made it seem like Kathryn was overacting. There was much greater balance here.

(photo of Morgan and Orza by Elinor Carucci, from the New Yorker)

Also, I think Martins has vamped up the choreography in the pas de deux more, no?

When I first saw his rendition, it seemed like there were lots of flowing, waist-high lifts where Romeo would repeatedly pick Juliet up by the waist and whirl her about. Now there seems to be greater variety.  He’ll pick her up, drape her over one arm, bend to his knees and drop her into a laid-out position close to the floor, at times her face to the ground, arms stretched out dove-like, then turning over, she putting one pointed toe to the ground and slowly develope-ing up the other leg, so it looks like she is awakening (perhaps sexually) from a deep sleep.

Mercutio was danced nearly perfectly by Andrew Veyette, who did all the jumps with dramatic flair and virtuosity, but who seemed to have to take an extra step here and there in coming out of a series of fouettes and pirouettes. I think he is more of a jumper than a turner. But no one else noticed and he received enormous applause, and even several bravos, both after his bravura sequences and during curtain call.

Amar Ramasar was a very formidable Tybalt and Andrew was the same as Mercutio. I would not have wanted to be anywhere in the vicinity during that duel, even staged! “Oh, look who it is,” said Judy elbowing me when Amar made his entrance. She knows he is a favorite of mine.

I’d brought Judy because she’s in the fashion industry and I wanted to know what she thought of the costumes, which turned out to cause quite the controversy after that first performance two years ago. She loved the vibrant reds and purples of Darci Kistler’s Lady Capulet gown, as do I, but thought Tybalt’s yellow was way too brash (“I mean, he looked like he was wearing upholstery”), as was Romeo’s “Peter Pan” green. She said the colors needed to be more muted so that they were all the same weight — so, like golds and beiges and muted purples, not so bright. So, she seemed to echo what everyone else thought. (I personally never had a problem with the costumes, was too busy drooling over Lady Capulet’s gorgeous velvet red dress and satiny-purple cape!)

(photo by Paul Kolnik, of cast, taken from Voice of Dance)

Afterward, we went to Rosa Mexicana for pomegranite margaritas (Judy) and cadillac martinis (me). I’m getting seriously annoyed with PJ Clarke’s (more on that to come). I think Rosa may become my new after-ballet stomping grounds — or boozing, nibbling, chatting grounds, I should say. We sat outside, and when the rain came — quite heavily at one point — we just moved to a table under the awning so the drops would still mist our legs. Kind of nice! Everyone else rushed inside though, and looked out at us like we were nuts.

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