In honor of NYC Pride, New York City Center is rebroadcasting a performance from its 2020 Fall For Dance festival: the acclaimed duet for two men from Lar Lubovitch’s Concerto Six Twenty-Two (1986). The dance is set to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, and its slow movement is certainly one of the composer’s most plaintive and moving. But to make a dance in which love seems to lift the bodies into slow-motion flight, without the use of pointe shoes or pulleys, let alone leaps, is wondrous. Are they lovers or close friends or both? As Lubovitch says, “In 1985, when the dance was created, the AIDS epidemic was upon us and one of the emerging themes in this time of crisis was the depth of friendship expressed as friends helped friends to die.” Adrian Danchig-Waring and Joseph Gordon, New York City Ballet principals who are also companions in life, bring quiet classical power to the piece. I’d never thought before of the moment when the men seem to have found a small stunned creature, which they lift into the air. Is it a reference to the ballet La Sylphide—the Sylph and her butterfly? Or is it Hamlet’s fallen sparrow, his image for the death that comes for all living things? “If it be now, ‘tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all.” —L.J.
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