Last Friday, we here at Joonbug were invited to the New York City Ballet’s fall premiere of “Year of the Rabbit.” As the second feature of a three-part variety show, the partner friendly piece was the second conducted by the NYC Ballet dancers fellow principal member, Justin Peck. And, it was a showstopper that concluded with countless encores and crowd wide bravos.
It was certain that the NYC Ballet dancers that weren’t dancing on Friday night, were likely in orchestra seating, cheering on their fellow company member turned choreographer. And, the rest in the crowd that weren’t former dancers, ballet lovers or regular show go’ers were in for a treat. Because, well, this was an experience to be enjoyed by all, a welcome riff from traditional ballet presentations to say the very least.
The three-part variety show commenced with “Two Hearts” choreographed by Natalie Portman’s hubby, Benjamin Millepied that originally premiered in Spring of 2012. This particular piece was the fourth collaboration between Millpied and composer Nico Muhly and was our particular favorite drawing inspiration from the Northern European folk song, “Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor" (Brown Girl), crooned by songstress, Dawn Landes. (think music concerto, meets folk singer, meets fashion show, meets ballet performance). Comprised of a principal duo and 12 corps de ballet members, the cutting-edge performance also featured fashionable forward costumes by Rodarte.
Following Millepied’s set, VIPs enjoyed a private wine-bar reception before viewing the main production, “Year of the Rabbit.” Dancers sacheted across the stage to Sufjan Stevens, 'Enjoy Your Rabbit,' an electronica album and song cycle based on the Chinese Zodiac. But, the part of this piece that made the audience really hold their breath and break out the binoculars was the strengthy partnership coordination and tricky lifts to boot. All members in this ultra-contemporary piece were perfectly on point with their risky modern meets traditional technique moves. Beck earned his standing applause and countless ovation.
The second intermission afforded us more mingling with the VIP, media and fellow-dancer-laden crowd at the champagne bar and on the terrace overlooking the breathtaking Lincoln Center fountain, all before taking in the final part of the varietal performance, “Les Carillions,” a traditional performance that appeared to showcase the entire company in beautiful costume, setting and form alike.
The Fall 2012 variety program featured something for all. Music lovers would no doubt dreamily sync into the symphony’s scores while fashion people would swoon over the couture-friendly costumes. And, of course, ballet enthusiasts are in a for a multi-faceted, ballet focused treat. Head to the David H. Koch theater soon to take in this fantastic autumn theatrical show.
New York City Ballet’s season continues through November 1st at the David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center; (212) 870-5570, nycballet.com.