The performance I saw a few days ago was a mix of several shorter pieces. Here was the breakdown:
Divertimento No. 15
Music from Mozart is in this piece, and it is light and fun like many of his other works. But the music was the best part of this. The costumes, designed by Karinska, are very antiquated. I realize this is a classic Balanchine piece, but all of it was SO traditional that it was almost boring (I'll admit I did sleep through most of it.). There's no story to go along with the piece, so all of it just melds together, and there's nothing to keep your attention (except for that one dancer whose shoe kept squeaking!). While I realize that I frequently rant about how modern dance should be more like classical ballet, this was on the other far end of the spectrum because it was TOO traditional.
Here's a video clip from the show to see a bit of the dancing:
Zakouski (which means "hors d'oeuvres" in Russian)
This piece kept my attention much more so than the first one. Immediately as a pas de deux, I pictured the dancers as a couple. The dancers (Indiana Woodward and Roman Mejia) looked like a couple truly enjoying dancing with and for one another; this was more playful than romantic, which I liked. There weren't too many "ballet moves," and I actually thought I could steal some of the moves for when I go blues dancing (see the video below). I really enjoyed this one!
The music was written by four different Russian composers (Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Tschaikovsky), but I thought the music sounded more Spanish or Italian. But perhaps this was because of the costumes (designed by Barbara Matera), or because of the knee-slapping that Mejia kept doing (which reminded me of castanets and clearly is not included in Balanchine choreography).
Here's a (shaky, amateur) video clip I found online:
The costumes for this piece were amazing, and of course they're the first thing the audience notices. As soon as the curtain came up, I heard a million "oohs" and "ahs" over these outfits! These whimsical costumes were created by fashion designer Tsumori Chisato, and I think the audience liked them not only because of their color and creativity, but because they are so unexpected and eye-catching! See the photos below for a closer look.
|I even liked the pearly white pointe shoes the women wore.|
|This was my favorite outfit! I loved the illusion of skin, and I'd never seen half a tutu before!|
"Pulcinella was my discovery of the past, the epiphany through which the whole of my late work became possible. It was a backward look, of course - the first of many love affairs in that direction - but it was a look in the mirror, too." - Igor Stravinsky
Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux
This was another classical ballet (I mean, the music is from the same man who gave us songs of The Nutcracker...). I liked it better than the first piece because, again, as a pas de deux, I can create a story line in of mind of who these characters are and how they connect with one another. The two dancers (Ashley Bouder and Chase Finlay) each took turns one-upping each other, which I thought was fun. The lifts were also very cool, like in the picture below.
In general I liked this piece, but I HATE the stupid bow-tie costume he had to wear (again designed by Karinska). Now that we're in the 21st century, maybe we can start replacing these old costume designs; if we can have works of art for Pucinella, surely we can update these pastel snoozes!
Here's a clip (including one of the cool lifts):
Symphony in Three Movements
This piece reminded me of ABT's "I Feel the Earth Move," which I saw earlier this year, mainly because of the athletic, aerobics-instructor feel of it (even the program notes calls this one of Balanchine's "leotard" ballets). There was a lot of jumping around and hand movements, so I thought this piece was the most modern dance. The piece started with the women in white lined up like Rockettes, and I wish this part had played more on the optical illusion of having so many dancers in the same outfit on stage who could make cool patterns weaving in and out of one another. This wasn't my favorite piece, but it was a little interesting at least.
I'm going to the ballet next week, so stay tuned for that post, coming soon!
*All photos were found on the Kennedy Center website here: http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/BSBSD.