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Russian Seasons at New York City Ballet

02/03/12 David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza (Columbus Ave. at 63rd St.) Map
212-721-6500
nycballet.com Ages: All Ages
Stravinsky Violin Concerto at New York City Ballet
02/03/12 through 02/04/12 David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza (Columbus Ave. at 63rd St.) Map
212-721-6500
nycballet.com Ages: All Ages

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Alexi Ratmansky's Russian Seasons is an inventive and exciting combination of dance and musical flavors. The ballet uses classical steps with elements of folk and jazz mixed in. There are also many humorous passages for the six male and female dancers. The music is a 12-part composition by Lenoid Desyatnikov for a string orchestra, solo violin and soprano. Ratmansky asked Galina Solovyeva to create the costumes and she responded with a modern interpretation of Russian folk costumes: shirts and tights for the men and dresses for the women, who at times also wear pillbox-style hats. Solovyeva chose bright colors: orange, red, green, blue, purple and magenta. Desyatnikov's composition progresses through the seasonal and Russian Orthodox liturgical calendars in the course of its 12 parts. The stories told in the sung passages are not literally conveyed in dance steps, but the emotions they evoke make up the substance of the ballet. The girl in orange picks flowers and mourns, as the singer recounts the story of a husband lost at war; the girl in green is mischievous in one section, soulful in another, while the ballerina in red is wildly spirited during another segment.At the end of the ballet the couple previously in orange comes on stage dressed in white. The soprano's song says that while we may want to take all we can, we need very little, only a small patch of earth and four walls at the end. The couple moves off into a distant light as the other dancers look on. This is a beautiful, but sad image that is a fitting conclusion to a ballet rich in emotion and metaphor. Leonid Desyatnikov (b. 1955) graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory in 1978. He is the author of the opera Poor Liza, the ballet A Love Song in Minor, the symphony Sacred Winter, vocal cycles to the poems of Rilke, and instrumental variations on the themes of Astor Piazzola. In recent years he has worked closely with violinist Gidon Kremer. He is well known in Russia for his compositions for film. He composed the scores for Tycoon: A New Russian (2003) and Prisoner of the Mountains (1997), among other films. In 2000 he wrote a chamber piece, Russian Seasons, influenced by both Vivaldi and Shostakovich.

In 1941, Balanchine choreographed Balustrade for the Ballet Russe to Stravinsky's Violin Concerto in D. When he returned to the score three decades later, he could no longer remember his original choreography. But Balanchine was not at all disturbed by the loss. "What I did then was for then," he said, "and what I wanted to do to this music for our Stravinsky Festival... represented more than 30 years' difference." The new choreography follows the score directly: An opening "Toccata" and a final "Capriccio" enclose two central "Arias," which form contrasting pas de deux for two different couples.

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