Wendy Whelan and Albert Evans in Agon
So, last Saturday was pretty much the most wonderful night ever! I went to New Orleans to see a Gala put on by New Orleans Ballet Association. The dancers were incredible! Paloma Herrera and Ethan Stiefel from American Ballet Theatre(ABT), Clairemarie Osta and Benjamin Pech from the Paris Opera Ballet(POB), Heather Ogden and Guilluame Cote from National Ballet of Canada(NBC), and Wendy Whelan and Albert Evans from New York City Ballet(NYCB) were all there! Leanne Benjamin and Ed Watson from the Royal Ballet were scheduled to come too, but couldn't fly out of London in time to come due to the volcano in Iceland. The couple from POB flew out in just enough time to make it! I was a little disappointed that they wouldn't be there because Ed Watson is one of my favorites from Royal, but I was so elated that evening that nothing could bring me down! But, as many know (if you've read my blog in the past) how much I love NYCB and Balanchine, I was so excited to find out that Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette were there instead! Two of my favorite dancers from my favorite company performing pieces from my favorite choreographer! Could the evening get any better at this point?!?!
Now on to the dancing! First off was the POB couple performing the first pas de deux in Jerome Robbins' In the Night with live pianist, Cameron Grant. It was absolutely breathtaking! It was so calm and simple and so smooth and flowing, the choreography and the music(By Chopin). Lots of touching moments! I found a video of the same dancers performing the same piece here and a recent blog post about the ballet- In the Night. Second was the lovely ABT couple performing the White Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake. It was really nice! Paloma is such an amazing dancer! I personally think that this particular pas de deux works better in context to the full ballet, but it was beautiful! I've always loved the music (Tchaikovsky). A video-Svetlana Zakharova and Miranda Weese and Damian Woetzel . Wendy Whelan and Albert Evans in Balanchine's Agon was next! This was one of my favorite pieces of the evening! Wendy Whelan is the single most extrordinary thing I've ever seen! This piece is wonderful, but not everyone's favorite. It's very different than most ballets, very neoclassical. But it's amazing! The music and choreography match perfectly! Then Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette of NYCB in Balanchine's Who Cares?. I loved it! Megan Fairchild was like a breath of fresh air! She's so joyful when she dances! I loved the music by George Gershwin! So fun and jazzy! Up next was the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake with the couple from NBC. This pas de deux is very technically demanding and they performed it wonderfully! Both of them turned effortlessly! The crowd loved it! After intermission, Wendy Whelan and Albert Evans were back in Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain. This piece was so mesmerizing! There was a live violinist and pianist playing Arvo Part's Spiegel im Spiegel, which was very beautiful! Then Fairchild and Veyette were back in Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux. I love this ballet, the more classical side of Balanchine. The music, which was originally intended for the Black Swan pas de deux in Swan Lake, is great! Andrew Veyette's solo was incredible! His jumps were fantastic! And Megan Fairchild is can dance extremely fast! She is a very musical dancer and can phrase the music wonderfully! Then it was the POB couple in the Lady of Cammelias pas de deux. They are both lovely dancers, but I don't think it was the best idea to have them do this piece out of context. If you ever see it you'll know why! Then it was the NBC couple in the Summer section of James Kudelka's The Four Seasons, with music by Vivaldi. It was a very interesting piece which I had never seen before! It was a more modern! I liked it! Last, but certainly not least, was Paloma Herrera and Ethan Stiefel in the pas de deux from Don Quixote! They were incredible! Paloma held the longest balance I've ever seen! It was a miracle! She was pulling triple pirouettes in between fouette turns! And Ethan's jump were great!
Well that was the evening! Another great thing was that from our seats we could see into the wings! It was distracting, but so cool to see these dancers chilling backstage waiting to go on or watching others!