Kanye West and the 1940s Broadway hit “On the Town” may have little in common, but the New York City Ballet tries to convince you otherwise through its program “New Works and New Production.” An eclectic mix of pieces with a smattering of ill-prepared numbers, NYCB’s latest show offered a mildly disappointing but still promising glimpse at the dance company’s true potential.

Regardless of the era, NYCB has been presenting the future of dance, from ballet master Jerome Robbins’ pioneering of American ballet in the mid-20th century to the up-and-coming resident choreographer Justin Peck’s creating of daring ballets. Titled “New Works and New Production,” the show centered newness as the defining word of the night’s program, but not always in the most positive sense.

The program’s dances featured inventive and novel choreographies, or at least what was novel in each of the pieces’ own time, but the darker side of this newness also haunted the program with an evident lack of preparation and rehearsal.

The appetizer for the evening, for example, was Peck’s “EASY.” The piece premiered last spring to great fanfare and acclaim for its feisty interpretation of Leonard Bernstein’s brassy and jazzy “Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs. With its bright pink, blue and yellow costumes, the opener lit the room with excitement throughout the piece’s tight, syncopated movements.

Starting with an energetic solo performance, the piece set a jumpy and excited tone when the soloist tightly flapped and scuffed his feet like a tap dancer while flirtatiously flossing his hips.

However, the dancers repeatedly looked as if they had learned the piece hours before or had never been given substantial corrections. Dancers would often remain half a beat behind their partners or an entire group, distracting the audience from the flighty choreography. Even when in sync, the dancers leaned too much into their ballet training, tightly scrunching their shoulders or withholding a full extension, and appeared too rushed to enjoy the nuances of the music.

A highlight of the program, the piece titledThe Runaway” by Kyle Abraham, a dancer announced as one of the first black choreographers in over a decade chosen to work with NYCB, turned heads with its score featuring West and Jay-Z. The choreography manages to match the fun and inventive tone of the dancers’ feathery black and white costumes that were reminiscent of birds of paradise.

At one point, principal Taylor Stanley does the Nae Nae, a hip-hop dance move consisting of swaying and raising one hand into the air, into a classical pique turn, eliciting joy from the audience at this fusion. The traditional petit allegro, a series of small and quick jumps essential for any good ballet class, set to West’s “I Love Kanye” drew nothing but smiles from its quirky and irreverent mashup.

Yet like “EASY,” several of the dancers in theThe Runaway” appeared to not fully know the choreography, as they did not savor each moment of the piece.

KENNEDY CENTER | Despite moments of less-than-perfect execution throughout the program, the choreography and production reestablished the New York City Ballet’s status as a trend setter in dance.

Somehow, the most satisfying moment of the evening was Robbins’ “In the Night,” a classical look at different stages of love and relationships among three couples. In the farthest sense from ‘new,’ the piece featured dancers in lavender, amber and burgundy Victorian clothing who each took their turn waltzing under a starry night to Chopin’s famously soft and slow nocturnes.

Unlike the rest of the evening, each dancer seemingly knew their partner’s choreography better than their own, making the piece so satisfying that it partially made up for the night’s earlier missteps.

Closing out the night, “Something to Dance About” showcased the possibilities of ballet-based dance: risque and feisty as “America” from “West Side Story,” or dramatic and strong as in “Bottle Dance” from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Yet in spite of Robbins’ brilliant choreography and the creative arrangement of the nearly a dozen musical theater pieces, the piece got lost in its messy execution.

What were supposed to be sharp hand flips in “America” proved squishy, while the slow, kneeled kick line from “Fiddler” looked more like dominos falling than a uniform march. The finale of every performer gazing up at a projected image of Robbins’ bearded face set under a golden theater proscenium left the audience feeling awkward and uncomfortable rather than awe-inspired and solemn.

While NYCB’s program will continue to attract fans of fine art and carve new roads in the future of dance, hopefully NYCB will take note of its errors and not skimp on its preparation when it returns next year.

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