The two photos on this page, of Balanchine’s “Apollo,” are not captures of the ballet’s choreography. No such dance moment occurs in “Apollo.” They are, instead, posed tableaux of two casts of four — marketing photos?
Above we see principal dancers of the Mariinsky Ballet, who delivered the work at the recent ‘Balanchine: The City Center Years Festival.’ It is a great neo-classic work, and a litmus test of ballet modernism for dancers. The cast: British-born Mariinsky principal Xander Parrish, in the title role, with Maria Khoreva, Anastasia Nuikina and Daria Ionova as his muses Calliope, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore.
The camera is notoriously cruel to dancers; both dance and photography exist in the nanosecond. But what on earth is Mr. Xander Parrish doing, above? Balanchine never, ever choreographed a man’s head in that position.
Here, above, the same tableau taken by the same photographer, Paul Kolnik! On view here are New York City Ballet principal dancers Adrian Danchig-Waring, Ashly Isaacs, Lauren Lovette and Tiler Peck. Please note differences.
If these two photos have value, it may be to demonstrate how, when dancers not schooled in the house-style, or technique, of a creator like Balanchine (add to that Cunningham, Taylor, Ashton, you name it … Jack Cole!), things can go awry. The Russians’ positions in the top photo — not just the man, but also the female dancer on the far right — is wrong, it is nyet, it is not Balanchine.