“Balanchine Black & White,” a three-program celebration of the great ballet master’s most exalted and extreme aesthetics, offered a unique opportunity for ballet-goers to appreciate and experience anew the breadth, depth and extraordinary invention of Balanchine’s trademark style of neoclassical ballet. The festival, which opened New York City Ballet’s spring season, featured twelve abstract one-act ballets, stark and minimalist, entirely liberated from any kind of stage décor, theatrical pantomime or elaborate attire, with the dancers wearing stylized practice costumes predominantly in black and white. In each of these ballets only music and movement create a nucleus of the action, expressing all essential meaning, emotions and beauty—a distillation of classical ballet style to its absolute and purest form.
NYCB performing “Monumentum pro Gesualdo,” choreography by George Balanchine. Photograph by Paul Kolnik