Acocella: NYCB’s Legend Out Of Focus

Joan Acocella sizes up New York City Ballet’s Balanchine celebration: “Once the smoke cleared from the altars, it was obvious that the one tribute City Ballet owes Balanchine, that of dancing his ballets competently, is not being paid. What was true at the company’s previous Balanchine festival, in 1993 (the tenth anniversary of his death), is no less true today. The company can still perform well, at times brilliantly, in Balanchine’s story ballets and character ballets, pieces where the dancers have a drama or at least a theme to latch onto. What they cannot manage is his pure-dance ballets—that is, the ballets that were the focus of his career and his chief contribution to twentieth-century art.”