Every year, City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival offers true medley programming, with hit-or-miss results. But the fifth and final program of this year’s festival was strong from start to finish. Talented young Roman Mejia (New York City Ballet’s newest soloist) kicked off the show by stepping into “Fandango,” a gypsy solo Alexei Ratmansky choreographed for Wendy Whelan in 2010. It has also been danced before by Sara Mearns, but Mejia is the first male to take it on. It was somewhat reworked for Mejia—the women did not perform such aerial manèges—but many of the steps were left unaltered and they were clearly made for pointe shoes. The effusive audience whooped and clapped most for the manliest bravura passages, but what Mejia did with the more feminine choreography was the most interesting. There was a passage of walks forward on demi-pointe to a tendu flourish that reminded me of the Dewdrop Fairy, and also a sous-sous/Italien changement diagonal that was unusual on a male in flat shoes. These cross-gendered moments added to the intrigue of the dance and let Mejia’s natural charisma shine in new ways.
Tiler Peck and Herman Cornejo in “Bloom” by Justin Peck. Photograph by Stephanie Berger