Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
We got three Balanchines for the price of one Tuesday night, as the new York City Ballet began its second week at the Kennedy Center - three choreographic incarnations as different as sun, moon and stars.
"Four Temperaments," the recently revived opus to a commissioned Hindemith score from the early '40s, gives us Balanchine score from the master cartographer of musical impulse. The lean and knotty intricacies of Hindemith's counterpoint find expression here in movement analogues still startling in their originality and vivid cut. This is one of the 15 or so supreme Balanchine ballets, the ones that help define the reach of his genius.
Still, there was enough main strength in the cast for the ballet to hold its own. One of the most remarkable moments in all ballet comes at the end of his one, with those couples in traveling lifts bursting like flares across the advancing phalanx of the corps.
"Square Dance," which in its new recension would be better called "Baroquiana," so few are the rustic remnants from the original, shows us Balanchine the skilled artificer. It made a fine vehicle for the deft ebullience of Merrill Ashley and Bart Cook Tuesday night, but the ballet itself looks more like imitation Balanchine than the genuine article.
Then there was Balanchine the pop artist, as manifest in "Stars and Stripes," with its blaring Souza - a mixture of Norman Rockwell, Barnum and Radio City. if "Union Jack" is a ballet in the form of a parade, "Stars" is a prade with ballet trimmings.