Savannah Lowery (from NYCB) who, for the first time, completely blew me away, flying over Ralph Ippolito (also from NYCB) and Eric Tamm (from ABT), in Touch.
Ashley Bouder (NYCB principal), who replaced Sara Mearns, who had a minor foot injury. Marcelo Gomes (ABT principal, of course!) in the background. This was my second favorite piece of the evening, Utopia. It was interesting because as much as I love Sara Mearns and was disappointed I wouldn’t be seeing her, I couldn’t imagine this role being formed on anyone other than Ashley. There was so much quick-footed, high-spirited allegro dancing and Ashley is the queen of allegro. She and Marcelo were perfect together. She replaced Sara last minute and I can’t believe how quickly she learned that dance because the choreography was, like all of Avi’s choreography, rather complex and original.
Marcelo in Mystery in the Wind, my favorite ballet of the evening. It was a neoclassical piece (Avi’s style ranges between neoclassical — like Balanchine — and contemporary), that reminded me a bit of Apollo, a bit of La Bayadere, with a main love story between Marcelo and Veronika Part, and three female dancers doing solo parts, and kind of acting as muses. In addition to Marcelo and Veronika I really loved watching Abi Stafford in this (I linked to her NYCB profile since I don’t have a picture of her for Saturday night). She had several solos, some of which were kind of sweetly folksy / flirtatiously tango-y, combined with these crazy fast balletic chaine spins across and around the perimeter of the stage. She did really well and she looked really beautiful. I brought my friend Alyssa with me, who doesn’t know much about ballet, and she said she could tell right away who all the big principals were (and she was correct in her guesses)– and Abi immediately caught her eye.
Veronika Part in that same piece. She was beautiful, it goes without saying. Every single part of her body makes such a perfect shape, my friend said, and she was so wholly into the character and the music (which is completely typical of Veronika!).
Marcelo and Veronika in Mystery again. I loved the central pas de deux – so sexy and passionate!
Another of my favorites: the “Our Love’s Defense” duet from Little Stories, with NYCB’s Christian Tworzyanski and, again, the kick-ass Savannah Lowery. Savannah has a very athletic body, she’s very muscular and toned, and she looked so good in these athletic costumes and in some of Avi’s more heavy-hitter choreography. (In this piece she and Christian have this fun, sexy wrestling match/ lovers’ quarrel.) I think more of the modern choreographers when they do work for NYCB should use her – Benjamin Millepied and Jorma Elo, etc. I think modern ballet suits her body and dance strengths more than Balanchine — I really felt like she came alive to me as an artist in Avi’s work like never before. And she’s a very good actor as well!
Veronika in Touch.
And with ABT’s Arron Scott in the same.
NYCB’s Ralph Ippolito in No Matter What. Ippolito is a corps member of NYCB and I’d never noticed him before, but he really stood out to me here. He’s very intent in everything he does, and he’s very good at using his body, his limbs, to express, to make meaningful, evocative shapes.
Ja’Malik and Victoria North in No Matter What.
The theater was completely packed on Saturday night, opening night, and I’m told it was the same at yesterday’s matinee, despite it being Easter. There’s one last performance of this short season tonight, at 8p.m. that I heard is pretty sold out as well. How excellent for this young choreographer!