Adam and Eve

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  January 13, 2009

The shadow of a Dance in America taping is also felt here — Bart Cook's Melancholic, with his phenomenal backbend, and Adam Lüders, who was so Phlegmatic he could hardly get on stage. Yet this was a gratifying 4 T's, less savage than the one I saw from the Paris Opera Ballet in 2003, more secure than Boston Ballet's from 2007. The three Theme couples were exemplary; only the quartet of Phlegmatic ladies languished. Savannah Lowery in Sanguinic flashed dangerous legs at Jared Angle; Ellen Bar in Choleric was, as Alastair Macaulay described her part in the New York Times, "an unexploded bomb."

Vienna Waltzes only seems to restore order — Vienna is, after all, Rudolf Sieczynski's "city of my dreams." It's also the city of Arthur Schnitzler and Harry Lime. Balanchine's title is an innocent (?) deception: there are four waltzes and a polka. The opener, Johann Strauss's Tales from the Vienna Woods, suggests a place where you go to meet your lover, not your spouse. In that mirrored Rosenkavalier finale, the ballerina dances with her partner and with her invisible Dream Guy (Mr. B?). It's Coppélia from the other side of the looking glass.

Darci Kistler didn't seem comfortable dancing with Charles Askegard or her invisible partner: her gestures when she was alone read as mannered rather than yearning. But there was good work from Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle in the Vienna Woods, Benjamin Millepied in Strauss's Voices of Spring, a leggy Hyltin in his Explosions-Polka, and Jenifer Ringer as the skittish Widow of Franz Lehár's Gold andSilver Waltz. The orchestra under Fayçal Karoui surged into the Rosenkavalier beat, as you must in Richard Strauss waltzes, and the dancers surged as well.

"No ballets are more rewatchable than Balanchine's; to return to them, even after decades of acquaintance, is usually to recognize new points that you'd previously looked at without really seeing," Macaulay wrote in his review of this program. He might have stretched "usually" into "always."

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