The junior dancers showed up splendidly last night in "Bournonville Divertissements," the last repertory addition to the New York City Ballet's season at Kennedy Center. The curtain was just up when Jean Pierre Frohlich signaled, "Let's dance," setting compact Douglas Hay and five other young men off in a set of crisp, light beats that still allowed them to present the body in the proper Danish way. It's an open, unassuming way that differs from the suspended silhouette, streamlined movement and self-importance they display in Balanchine ballets. When NYCB first danced these bits from another tradition a couple of seasons ago, it didn't seem nearly as relaxed as it does now.
Frolich and Nichol Hlinka, as his girl, soared in the opening dance (from "Napoli" Act 1) and bounded in the finale (from Act 3 of "Napoli"). Some of the company's stars fared less well. Trying to seem shy, Suzanne Farrell looked like she'd swallowed a mouse in the "Flower Festival" duet and Peter Martins' movement and manners as her partner were just too grandiose for Bournonville's casual intentions. Patricia McBride and Robert Weiss couldn't rid themselves of a frantic touch in their duet (from "Kermesse in Bruges"). Stephanie Sland, though -- dancing the trio (from "La Ventana") with Sandra Jennings and Kipling Houston -- allowed her joy to develop gradually with the dancing, in a way one imagines old August Bournonville himself might have recognized with delight.
After the frolic of these Danish excerpts, Balanchine's Hindemith "Kammermusik 2" was especially dense, and busy as a beehive. It was given an excellent performance, fast and tensile. In "Tchaikovsky Suite 3," Karin von Aroldingen danced nobly as the "anonymous" barefoot ballerina in the elegy; Kyra Nichols was a whirlwind in the scherzo; and Adam Luders brought a high seriousness to the theme and variations finale, though he has to polish what is still a new part for him.