I want to like Peter Martins’ Symphonic Dances because so there are so many good things in it. Teresa Reichlen and Zachary Catazaro made an appealing lead duo. Reichlen is slim, long-limbed and looks terrific from any angle.

Teresa Reichlen and Zachary Catazaro in <i>Symphonic Dances</i> © Paul Kolnik
Teresa Reichlen and Zachary Catazaro in Symphonic Dances
© Paul Kolnik
She’s photogenic in the extreme. In this ballet she shows off her lines, her fluidity and her classical purity. Catazaro is built for leading man roles with strength, strong jumps and clean lines. Put them together and they look like stars. Much of what they are given to dance in this ballet is straightforward and challenging, if a little repetitive. Unfortunately, with the choreography for the male lead there is a never-ending sense of feeling Martins’ form overshadowing Catazaro’s. It’s as though we were seeing Martins himself dancing while looking at himself in the mirror and then giving the steps to Catazaro. Compounding the problem, while Reichlen and Catazaro look great together, there’s not much heat generated between them even though there’s plenty of room for it in the choreography. The overall structure of the ballet is solid and Martins manages the entrances and exits well but there are too many times when dancers come on and go without any clear reason other than to keep things moving.

Daniel Ulbricht and Company in <i>‘Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes</i> © Paul Kolnik
Daniel Ulbricht and Company in ‘Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes
© Paul Kolnik
Justin Peck’s ‘Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes was a much more successful effort. The specter of Agnes de Mille’s American classic ballet will inevitably loom over this work and there’s no help for it but this is a really great piece of choreography if you can let go of that. Amar Ramasar was off again, for the second consecutive show, leading me to wonder if he’s injured. He’s turned into a strong presence on the stage and is missed. He was here replaced by Adrian Danchig-Waring while Brittany Pollack replaced Sarah Mearns. These two were charming and danced together with real warmth in the 3rd Episode. Their pas de deux was romantic and sweet without being cloying. The 1st Episode trio of Andrew Veyette, Gonzalo Garcia and Daniel Ulbricht was funny as well as powerful, a clear cut case of men at play. Veyette and Garcia danced side by side with Veyette turning to his right while Garcia simultaneously turned to his left, finishing with a flourish of double tours to the knee. Ullbricht came back with offended manhood at being left out to show off his turns à la seconde beginning with blazing speed and gradually slowing down to a crawl. It was good natured one upmanship. The 2nd Episode featured strong ensemble dancing from five men but it was Taylor Stanley who stood out from the crowd. Bringing back the full company for the hoedown in the 4th Episode, the piece wound up to a delightful conclusion. There was a lot of interaction, friendly competition, sensitive partnering and goodwill throughout the ballet. This is an all-American piece that does credit to Copland’s music and Peck deserves full credit for having the courage to re-invent a ballet with seemingly untouchable status. This piece shows that he belongs among the top choreographers of his generation.

Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle in <i>Mercurial Manoeuvres</i> © Paul Kolnik
Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle in Mercurial Manoeuvres
© Paul Kolnik
Christopher Wheeldon’s Mercurial Manoeuvres closed out the night with another great performance by Anthony Huxley, who flew through this ballet from beginning to end. He is a dancer with some limitations but when he is placed in something that suits his technique and physique, he really shines. The lead pair of Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle delivered the goods with refinement. This is great dancing and though the ballet is not deep emotionally it is visually satisfying. The last thing to say about this ballet is that no one on Earth looked as purely happy to be where he was as Silas Farley did dancing with the male ensemble. This young man exudes the unmitigated joy of doing what he’s doing. We should all be so lucky to be doing what we love.