June 11, 1999
Peter Boal is the New York City
Ballet's superman. An odd description for the unassuming affable
Boal, but an apt one considering his activities with the company.
By night, Boal is a supreme classicist. By day, Boal teaches
his pure technique to the next generation of male dancers at
the company's affiliated academy, the School of American Ballet.
Seventeen years ago Boal graduated
from SAB after spending most of his youth at the institution.
Many people can still recall in awe the small blond boy, already
a prince at age 11, dancing the Nutcracker. Boal learned
the part from George Balanchine himself and later grew up to
dance the part of the Cavalier.
Perfectly proportioned with quick
feet and expressive arms that sculpt the air, Boal became a member
of NYCB in 1983, was promoted to soloist four years later, and
a then to Principal in 1989. The Bedford, New York native has
appeared -- and made an impression -- in practically every major
ballet by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins in addition
to being a favorite of visiting choreographers. He is one of
the few men at NYCB to dance both the leads in Apollo
and the Prodigal Son.
Although strong in character parts,
Boal excels in Balanchine's striped down neoclassical works.
In the moody male solo in Square Dance, Boal dives to
the center of the music's phrases in a way that the melody appears
to emanating directly from the dancer. In the first Pas de Trois
of Agon and Melancholic movement in the Four Temperaments,
Boal has practically taken complete possession of the roles,
changing them from rough mood pieces to poetic abstractions with
just the slightest hint of wit.
The small but elegant Boal is a
strong technician but is never brash. There is humility in his
dancing, even as he whips off intricate footwork and bends space
to his will. Boal can be seen this weekend in Ulysses Dove's
Red Angels and, two weeks from now, as Oberon in Midsummer
Night's Dream. -- Dale Brauner