Dance Like Everyone Is Watching

by Kelly Laffey Photographed by Jared Siskin/PMC
Friday, May 5, 2017

On Thursday, the force was with the New York City ballet, as the company hosted its 2017 Spring Gala in celebration of the Here/Now Festival.

The evening’s performance featured four works, with a mix of classical and contemporary ballet. The show opened with Jeu de Cartes, a classical ballet choreographed by Peter Martins, now Ballet Master in Chief.

“The show ran the gamut,” said Martins at the dinner afterward. “There were a lot of different styles, and that’s what we’re known for. That’s what we do well.”

Igor Stravinsky composed Jeu de Cartes for the first Stravinsky Festival at the Metropolitan Opera in 1937. Martins choreographed this evening’s version for the 1992 Diamond Project.

“Our choreographers have different views,” continued Martins. “That’s what it’s about.”

Following Jeu de Cartes was After the Rain, a pas de deux choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon in 2005 for the NYCB’s annual New Combinations Evening. The third performance was a Tchaikovsky pas de deux, a lost-and-then-found part of Swan Lake when it debuted in Russia in 1877.

The show ended with the world premiere of Odessa, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky.

“It was a really fun piece,” said NYCB corps de ballet member Claire Kretzschmar, who was one of the dancers in Odessa. “Ratmansky was really a pleasure to work with because he’s so detail-oriented and so passionate about every single movement that he creates. He’s so kind in delivering his vision.”

Before dinner was served, NYCB Executive Director Kathy Brown announced that the event had already raised $2 million for the ballet. The Here/Now Festival is a four-week program with 43 different ballets, culminating with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Spring Gala falls in the middle of the festival. “It’s a celebration,” reiterated Kretzschmar. 

Money raised benefits the New York City Ballet and its community outreach efforts, which include residencies in 2010 New York City schools.


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