Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Visions of Dew Drop Fairies Danced in My Head

(Reichlen as Sugar Plum Fairy in a past season)

Last week the Bunny's mother treated me to a very special NYC experience: a performance of George Balanchine's "Nutcracker" at the City Ballet.
She couldn't have given me a more perfect gift; ballet is one of the true loves of my life.
As soon as we selected our attendance date, I compulsively checked the dancer casting on NYCB's website until it was posted. I am the balletomane described in the first few paragraphs of THIS article. But what a delight! Teresa Reichlen, one of the best dancers I've ever seen, was to dance the role of Dew Drop Fairy!

I first saw Ms. Reichlen this summer when she danced an incredible piece entitled "Bleeding All Over You" with Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. She made such an impression on me that, looking back on my blog post from that event, I'm shocked that I didn't comment upon her dancing at all.

It's not often that I can remember exactly HOW a dancer moves.
I frequently leave a performance with general feelings and impressions about a dancer's artistry.
But Teresa Reichlen's movements were so singular that every aspect of the specialness of her dancing was burned into my mind. Her great lyrical sense allows her to play with the music's measure, drawing out special characteristics in the score that might otherwise go unnoticed; pairing this with beautiful movement only underscores how imaginative and invaluable dancing is as an art form. As Gia Kourlas of the NYTimes noted in 2008, "To enhance her dancing with a touch of rubato — a kind of teasing or playing with the music — she uses her elegant limbs to slow down moments or stretch them out like taffy." You see her dance and cannot imagine that she should move in any other way. There is nothing false, phony, or forced about her movements or her performance (a problem, in my opinion, with many of City Ballet's dancers); it's a glorious thing to behold.

In 2004, following her debut as Dew Drop, the NYTimes said:

Teresa Reichlen was Sunday's exhilarating new Dewdrop, exciting in her boldly assured dancing and its blend of opposing qualities. Regal, with long, lean body lines and snapping finishes to her arm gestures, Ms. Reichlen was also musical, with serenely held balances, making for a look of skinny voluptuousness.

In a New York Times review from June 2009, Alistair Macauly said:

It is good to have had, at City Ballet, some debut performances that truly cleansed the palate. No more radiant example of this comes to mind than Teresa Reichlen’s performance last weekend in the lead role of George Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco.” Ms. Reichlen is a tall, pure blonde with small head, long neck, clean line and easy stretch, the kind who looks bred to Balanchine’s specifications, though taller than most. Her dancing is so unmannered and so selfless that at first it’s hard to know what to say about it. Instead you find yourself watching the choreography with new attention...Afterward you realized that the very air onstage had seemed different from the moment of Ms. Reichlen’s entry: her dancing has a quality of springtime bloom.

And, the best of all reviews, came in February of this past year:

I have stated my general impression that the company is on the way up since the doldrums it hit between 1991 and 2002. One day I took a friend to a matinee; he had begun to follow the company before me and had followed it more closely during those dim years than I. Was I right that things had improved, I asked? He said simply, “Ten years ago there was no Teresa Reichlen.”

Happily, City Ballet rewarded her hardwork and EXCEPTIONAL talent with a promotion from Soloist to Principal dancer in October of this year.

I look forward to seeing many more of Ms. Reichlen's performances across what I hope will be a VERY long career. And I am so grateful to MCL (Bunny's Mom!) for the gorgeous, generous gift; it's a Nutcracker I'll always remember!



MCW said...

What an amzing present...she must really know you well :)

Erica said...

Nice comments Christine! Sounds like you need Gia's job (she wrote for Time Out when I was living there, whoah...talk about climbing the ranks).
Funny that they said she has "skinny voluptuousness" kind of an oxymoron?

BLC :o said...

I wish I had an ounce of their grace and elegance. Xoxo-BLC