New York City Ballet’s winter season of five weeks commences with a special treat in week one: Merce Cunningham’s Summerspace is on the New Combinations program. Its two-piano score is haunting, and Robert Rauschenberg’s pointillist backdrop looks like a Chagall dissolved in summer rain. The dancers wear unitards that match the backdrop, as if they’ve escaped from one plane into another. Is this an inner world or an otherworld? Summerspace was first performed in 1958 and entered NYCB repertory in 1966. Cast in this delicate dance is the delicate Ashley Laracey, one of our favorites. In week two, the Visionary Voices program includes Kyle Abraham’s The Runaway, a hit of 2018 that took some heat for its use of controversial rap lyrics. Decide for yourself while filling your eyes with the feathered costumes of Giles Deacon—pure couture. And on February 2 and 4: the much-awaited debut of Tiler Peck in the “Rubies” movement from Jewels, with Isabella LaFreniere in the “tall girl” role. —L.J.
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