Watching a more mercurial duet for Andrew Scordato and Brittany Pollack, I realize that the way the dancers occasionally skid isn’t an accident, and their slides become more evident when Fairchild and Georgina Pazcoguin (replacing the injured Meagan Mann) dance together. Fairchild is terrific, too, in a kind of pensive rant of a solo. But the fluid image of replacing and moving on never stops. In the end, three couples are dancing in canon, while Prottas leaps and runs within the loose circle that they form. He’s still going full force when the curtain slowly, slowly descends.

NYCB’s spring season includes another ballet by a young choreographer: Melissa Barak’s A Simple Symphony, which premiered during the winter season. Barak, a former company dancer, is more conventional and less daring than the other two choreographers. The eight women who compose the ensemble, the two demi-soloists (Tiler Peck and Ana Sophia Scheller in the cast I saw in February), and Sara Mearns wear pink tutus with pink or gray satin bodices; the three men (Jared Angle, Tyler Angle, and Sean Suozzi) are similarly elegant. Barak set her ballet to Benjamin Britten’s marvelous composition of the same name, but she’s less daring than the composer (although she picks up on an allusion to Celtic folk dance in a engaging, fast-footed passage for the demi-soloist couples).

Sometimes her attraction to hierarchy and inkblot symmetry and is so marked that you’d think she modeled her structure on Balanchine’s forays into Tchaikovsky and Tsarist grandeur. Lower echelon dancers wait politely when Mearns and Jared Angle first appear. However, I don’t mean to imply that Barak isn’t imaginative. I remember with pleasure the moment when Jared Angle breezes around setting the six ensemble women turning; it’s as if he’s fanned them into action. And Barak knows how to display splendid dancers without being showy.

NYCB’s Abi Stafford and Craig Hall in Jirí Bubencík’s "Toccata."
Yi-Paul Kolnik
NYCB’s Abi Stafford and Craig Hall in Jirí Bubencík’s "Toccata."


New York City Ballet
David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
April 28 through June 21

What I admire about the new pieces is that the choreographers know how to stretch and mold the classical vocabulary to give it a fresh, individual look without resorting to the fashionable kinkiness that can be so distracting in works by, for example, Jorma Elo. No grand finish to the company’s May 13 gala program (Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, led by a princely athlete, Joaquin De Luz, and a charming but less regal Megan Fairchild), followed by a fancy dinner and dancing into the night for patrons, could be more celebratory than welcoming two fine ballets to the company’s repertory.

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