Sonatas and Interludes – 21st Century Choreographers, NYCB

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Sonatas and Interludes
21st Century Choreographers III
New York City Ballet
3 May 2014
Lincoln Center, NYC

Music: John Cage
Choreography: Richard Tanner
Principal Casting: Tiler Peck, Amar Ramasar
Pianist: Elaine Chelton

Costumes: Carol Divet
Lighting: Mark Stanley

Premiere: 1982, Eglevsky Ballet

Tiler Peck and Amar Ramasar danced with astonishing precision and subtlety, their musculature lit sharply from above as they moved in seemingly effortless harmony with Cage’s fiendishly complex rhythms.

After the final presentation of Les Bosquets, Program III opened with a 1980s work by NYCB Ballet Master Richard Tanner.

Tanner set his Sonatas and Interludes to five pieces from John Cage’s groundbreaking work of the same name for prepared piano, which Cage composed in the 1940s, shortly after encountering Vedic philosophy and the teachings of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy.

The sixteen sonatas and four interludes of Cage’s full work express the eight dominant emotional themes (Rasas) described by the Nātyasāstra, an ancient work of dramatic theory: Rati (love); Hasya (mirth); Soka (sorrow); Krodha (anger); Utsaha (energy); Bhaya (terror); Jugupsa (disgust); Vismaya (astonishment).

In Tanner’s choreography, a pianist performs onstage (the highly accomplished Elain Chelton in Saturday night’s performance) as a couple execute a pas de deux.

Tiler Peck and Amar Ramasar danced with astonishing precision and subtlety, their musculature lit sharply from above as they moved in seemingly effortless harmony with Cage’s fiendishly complex rhythms.