For the fifty-seventh year of its summer residency in July at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), upstate in Saratoga Springs, the New York City Ballet brought three programs. I was able to see all the programs and five of the six performances. Unlike the programming for the company’s tours, which presents a slice of its profile, its residency offers works that have been significant during recent seasons at Lincoln Center: spring premieres like Justin Peck’s full-length “Copland Dance Episodes”; the 2022 fall fashion gala’s premieres by Gianna Reisen and Kyle Abraham, and the 2022 Stravinsky Festival offerings of Balanchine’s “Firebird” and Peck’s “Scherzo Fantastique.” There is also the chance to see newly promoted principals—Isabella LaFreniere and Roman Mejia this year and Jovani Furlan, Peter Walker, and Chun Wai Chan last year—as well as many promising new dancers. All in all, both a synopsis and a continuation.
The summer setting of SPAC’s music and dance shed, which also hosts the Philadelphia Orchestra in August, bestows its own magic. Matinées take place with daylight entering the open sides, while evening performances begin during the long summer day and darken unnoticed into the evening.