To Sir Frederick Ashton’s fast footwork and musicality belongs the Australian Ballet’s double bill “The Dream” and “Marguerite & Armand.” To the charming misadventure distillation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream bubbles “The Dream.” To the legend of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, dovetails Amy Harris’s Marguerite, in Harris’s last stage role before her retirement. After 22-years with the company, Harris bids farewell in a delicious camellia-bloom, echoing Marguerite’s own departure (thankfully for altogether different reasons; Harris is retiring from the stage, whereas her character Marguerite is dying of tuberculous).FREE ARTICLE
I wonder if it’s been like this for New Yorkers: You see one Justin Peck ballet, set to an orchestra score written by a pop musician, and you’re half-charmed by the youthful exuberance, and appreciate the influence of Jerome Robbins, but keep a healthy reserve of skepticism because somehow the whole package seems to lack substance. But then you see a more classical Peck ballet—“In Creases,” say, set to Philip Glass’s score for two pianos—and the formal intelligence is undeniable, but the exuberance remains, and you think, OK, he’s not just a pop-culture re-packager. And then maybe you see his take on Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo” next, and there it is, the “mattering” you’ve been craving, in the way the tender partnering among the men feels boldly yet unfeignedly counter-cultural. And finally you see Peck’s latest premiere—pop music again—and the kids up on the stage are so damned beautiful and hopeful and hormone-powered, and the music is thrashing, surging, end-of-the-world-twenty-something-romance music, and all of your hesitations have been worn down, and you just—surrender to the seduction.
Dores André and Wei Wang in Peck's “Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.” Photograph by Erik Tomasson
When a choreographer takes on volcanic and iconic works from American musical giants like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams one move they could take is to cool them down with a couple of more soothing European works in between.Continue Reading