Large ballets, especially those shown in huge venues are displayed as intended; eccentric presentations of a distant past. The splendor surrounding good form though, is oftentimes good food for the eyes. In one of many performances for this season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, Whelan is highlighted in NYCB's tacit presentation of Balanchine ballets. The afternoon's program (October 5) included Balancine's Donizetti Variations (1960), La Sonnambula (called Night Shadow in 1946) and Firebird (1949). In baby blue and soft brown romantic skirts for Donizetti's Variations, the porteur (male dancer) partners and balances and two ballerinas at a time in this lively ballet. Nicely paired, Tiler Peck with Joaquin De Luz joins for a fun and quick duet. La Sonnambula follows and when Whelan enters as “The Sleepwalker” there is thunderous applause. She is the draw. Whelan effortlessly slithers around the stage for what seems an eternity en pointe in a "dream," captivating her partner, Robert Fairchild (“The Poet”) and the audience. Topping the splendor meter and closing the program was Firebird with music by Igor Stravinsky, enormous scenery and equally striking costumes by Marc Chagall. Ashley Bouder was delightful as the "Firebird." The season ends on Saturday, October 18 which is also the last day for Whelan as she says goodbye after 30 years.
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."