Over the weekend, SLSG favorite Robert Fairchild had his debut in Robbins’ Fancy Free at New York City Ballet. This is one of my favorite short ballets: three sailors on shore-leave try to pick up women in a bar, but, there being only two women, they kind of get into a little competition, dance-off-style of course. Fairchild danced the role of the Latin guy, Tyler Angle the more head-in-the-clouds romantic one, and Daniel Ulbricht, the short Swing-y one with all the toe-to-finger splits jumps off the bar. The first woman was Georgina Pazcoguin and the one in purple who for a moment falls for the romantic one was Tiler Peck.

(photo above by Paul Kolnik, taken from, of, l-r Amanda Hankes, Tiler Peck, Damian Woetzel, Tyler Angle and Daniel Ulbricht)

Ah, Tiler Peck was so lovely! She dances that role so well — she really inhabits it, and when romantic guy cartwheels her over his head it just makes me swoon! I like her even better than the ABT ballerinas who dance this role – Gillian Murphy and Julie Kent. Peck brings the most to it I think — the dreamy girl who allows herself to get swept off her feet, at least until the guys get out of control. Pazcoguin and Kaitlyn Gilliland – who debuted in the ballet as well, as the third girl who comes on at the very end — did well too, although I thought Gilliland looked a slight bit unbalanced in the high heels.

(Robert Fairchild headshot by Paul Kolnik)

Ulbricht was perfect as the high-flying guy with his bag of tricks, and Tyler Angle was fine as the dreamy balletic one — the best role for him in this ballet, although I don’t really think this ballet suits him that well. I would really have preferred to see Robert Fairchild in his role though, rather than as the Latin sailor with bravado galore. I don’t think he has enough of the cocky shithead in him to quite pull it off. Of course I couldn’t stop thinking of Jose Manuel Carreno in the role — how he always cracks me up when he struts around with the lady’s purse after playfully snatching it, how he tries to please the ladies with those rumba basics that he thinks are oh so sexy but are really just silly the way he does them. I’m sorry Robert, I just couldn’t get Jose out of my head!

Also on was Prodigal Son, starring Joaquin De Luz (who I imagine really excels at the Latin sailor) and Maria Kowroski as the Siren. Joaquin is my very favorite Prodigal Son — including the ABT dancers I’ve seen (I never got a chance to see Daniil Simkin when ABT did it last Met season). De Luz’s jumps at the beginning perfectly emanate youthful restless angst without being too much about the acrobatics. And he acts it brilliantly. He really takes you on that journey with him from restless youth anxious to see the world, to seduction at the hands of the ruthless Siren, to beaten and begging his family for forgiveness.

Watch a tape of him performing and talking about the role here.

And last was Firebird starring the inimitable Ashley Bouder (photo above by Paul Kolnik from NYCB site). My favorite Firebird by far. I love the quick-changing shapes she makes during the pas de deux where she’s trying to break free of Prince Ivan’s (Jonathan Stafford) grip — her being caught by but also intrigued by him. And her liquid fluid arms with lush wingspan are so beautiful. And of course no one does the jetes around the perimeter of the stage like she does!

This program repeats a few times this week, alternating with Martins’ Romeo + Juliet and another program — which begins tomorrow night — and includes the world premiere of a ballet by Alexey Miroshnichenko.

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