The New York City Ballet–A National Treasure

13_Midsummer_C28648-2( Somehow, I missed most of the New York City Ballet’s spring season but woke up in time to catch “Midsummer Night’s Dream” last night at the State (Koch) Theater. George Balanchine’s first full length ballet, created in 1962, bore all the hallmarks of the master–the way he discreetly moved individuals on and off the stage, the way he choreographed large groups so that they made patterns instead of mess, and of course the gorgeous lines of the dancers themselves. Balanchine was a musician041404cf7d01f5832fa0fd5d5fd160dc(–a pianist of no mean talent– and skilfully interwove the 16-year old Mendelssohn’s masterpiece with additional works by him to fill out the evening.

In keeping with the NYC Ballet tradition, we didn’t know which principal dancers we would see but we knew they would be great. There was, as always, a full orchestra and when we considered that many dance companies and Broadway shows have to limit or do without live musicians, we felt very lucky. Last night, we also heard the Musica Sacra women’s chorus, fairy-like off stage, adding to the magic.

The love scene danced by Titania (Teresa Reichlin) and Bottom (Harrison Coll)

Maria Kowroski in A Midsummer Night's Dream Choreography George Balanchine  © The George Balanchine Trust New York City Ballet   Credit Photo: Paul Kolnik nyc 212-362-7778

( was cleverly choreographed, touching and funny, while Puck (Troy Schumacher) puck( flew about doing Oberon’s bidding. (Daniel Ulbricht). 02_Midsummer_DeLuz-Kowroski_c18188-03( plot was taken care of in the first act while the second contained divertissements, beginning with the wedding of the three couples played to the famous Wedding March.

As Ballet Master-in-Chief, Peter Martins

Peter Martins rehearsing Jenifer Ringer and Philip Neal. Jared Angle looks on. Peter Martins Reh. NYCB New John Adams Ballet Sept. 25, 2009 Credit Photo: ©Paul Kolnik

( has maintained the company’s standards and preserved the legacies of Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. He has also continued the creative tradition and added many good ballets of his own while fostering talented choreographers including Christopher Wheeldon of “An American in Paris” fame.

The company returns with fall, winter and spring seasons which will showcase a full length “Swan Lake” stage by Martins, two all-Balanchine evenings, and several new premieres including one by Wheeldon. This theater, never great for opera, is perfect for ballet–you can see from anywhere and the seats are reasonably priced.

The Japanese have a name for their most revered artists–they call them National Treasures. Surely, we can apply this term to the New York City Ballet, right here in our own backyard.

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