Day: February 10th, 2007

Squares, Stars, Stripes

Saturday, February 10th, 2007 | All Things, Arts

Long Island City on Saturday morning:

LIC View

Like many young girls, my introduction to the ballet was a class trip to see a George Balanchine production of The Nutcracker. From those sugar-plum beginnings grew a season subscription as a young adult. But as with so many things, after a couple of years, the escalating cost and scheduling logistics became too much to manage. The Philharmonic, the Opera, assorted theatrical productions… it’s the best and worst thing about New York City: so much to do, so little time.

But tonight, I was back after a few years hiatus. The name of the program — new to the NYCB repertory — was Essential Balanchine: Square Dance, performed to a selection of Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli songs; Liebeslieder Walzer with songs by Johannes Brahms; and Stars and Stripes to the music of John Philip Sousa.

Such lovely performances. We were awed by the elegance of the Square Dance tableaux (Balanchine’s nod to American folk dance tradition) and by the beautiful, gilded ballroom set of the Liebeslieder — the four dancing couples sharing a stage with a quartet of singers and a pianist. The rousing Stars and Stripes finale was a crowd pleaser with its vibrant colors, flashy costumes, and dizzying bursts of virtuosity. With such parade patriotism on display — a baton-twirling majorette! a marching band! a kickline! — it’s not hard to see why this particular work was chosen to welcome home the former hostages upon their return from Iran in 1981.

NYC Ballet Fountain

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