Now Claudia La Rocco, in a NY Times review of a recent NYCB program, raises some questions about both ballet and the way it is performed.
[T]here was ... a muted quality to the hourlong work’s slow pacing and quiet drama, so that a wearying sameness crept in as the ballet progressed in a series of interludes set to Chopin.
Some of this had to do with a less-than-convincing chemistry between the couples, despite generally strong performances from the women. [ ... ]
“Dances” itself sometimes strains after a poetic sensibility, staying within too limited an emotional range. (Joe Eula’s color-coded costumes, complete with matching ribbons and boots, don’t help.) Still, the many little narratives hinted at by Robbins form a dreamy world, a more innocent, old-fashioned vision of human relationships than what we now find, for example, in the plotless ballets that Alexei Ratmansky created for City Ballet in recent years.
This has always been my favorite among Robbins "serious" works. I know that a number of others on Ballet Talk share this view. Are we wrong?
IS there too much of a sameness in "emotional range" in performance or choreography? Has the way this is performed changed since its premiere in 1969, possibly becoming too reverential? Do the costumes, the subtle color-coding of which have become so important to the way people see and talk about the ballet, possibly detract from the effect of the piece? Does the ballet have to be re-thought? Revitalized? Cast more carefully? Possibly even -- -- given a rest?
What do you think?