New York City Ballet’s spring season featured a new work by Justin Peck as well as Pam Tanowitz’s company debut. Two other recent repertory additions—Matthew Neenan’s “The Exchange” and Gianna Reisen’s “Judah”—were also revived along with company staples and a few rarities. Of the new set I enjoyed Peck’s short, springy “Bright” the most. The stellar coupling of Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen in an airy heaven-scape was fleetingly dreamy. The ballet read as a brief glimpse through the clouds into Elysian fields, and was stunningly god-lit by Brandon Stirling Baker. Mark Dancigers’s score was anthemic yet flowery—with bells and chimes accentuating the religious vibe of the piece. The rippling white costumes by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung were tinged with pastels—floaty and lovely. Peck employed a pretty motif of slow-growing, partnered arabesques, with the ladies reaching skyward to coincide with the apogees of their legs’ trajectories. “Bright” had sweep and feeling and it didn’t overstay it’s welcome.
New York City Ballet in Justin Peck's “Bright.” Photograph by Erin Baiano
One way to get to know the history of a company is through the “liner notes” of its “Swan Lake” production, and for those of us continuing to build an admiring familiarity with Pacific Northwest Ballet via its digital season offerings, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell’s “Swan Lake” provides an interesting glimpse into PNB prior to Peter Boal’s leadership.FREE ARTICLE