Les Carillons, Polyphonia, and DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse

The New York City Ballet on Sunday, February 5.

I learned after the fact that New York City Ballet's all-Wheeldon program was a special honor for the relatively young choreographer, something usually done only with the works of George Balanchine or Jerome Robbins, but when I bought my ticket, it never occurred to me that the programming was anything out of the ordinary. Wheeldon's work has been a constant in City Ballet repertory for the half a dozen (!) years I've been attending, and I'm sure I've seen more of his pieces than Robbins's.

The program this weekend demonstrated why that's the case, why the company created the role of resident choreographer for Wheeldon in 2001 and why it continues to champion his work even after his departure in 2008. Even in his weaker pieces, Wheeldon's aesthetic fits New York City Ballet. Often playful but always elegant, acutely conscious of music, making gorgeous use of the corps, his work truly does feel descended from (though not derivative of) Balanchine's. He can justify a full program easily.