May 15, 1999
Danish imports are a tradition
at the New York City Ballet, and Denmark's current representative,
Nikolaj Hübbe, has been doing his predecessors proud.
A former Principal Dancer at the
Royal Danish Ballet School, Hübbe arrived at the NYCB in
1992 to add his name to those of his countryman Erik Bruhn, Peter
Martins, Ib Andersen, Peter Schaufuss, and Adam Lüders.
He appears to take a little something from each of those men:
the noble visage of Martins, the fleetness of foot of Andersen,
the sensitivity for drama of Bruhn, and the musicality of Lüders.
Hübbe made his company debut
during the summer season at Saratoga Springs, partnering Nichol
Hlinka in Balanchine's Donizetti Variations. It was a
perfect part to showcase his skills. Sensitive to style, he sailed
through the multiple pirouettes and snappy footwork with ease.
Over the years, Hübbe has
acquitted himself very well in the company's "Black and
White" ballets but is often seen at his best in character-driven
parts such as the Prodigal Son, the Poet in La Sonnambula,
and the Prince in Sleeping Beauty. His performances in
Balanchine's Coppelia have practically set a new standard
in the role of Franz.
In Balanchine's Brahms-Schoenberg
Quartet (third movement), Hübbe captured the essence
of 19th-century romance. But he can turn silky and sexy in Martins'
Jazz (Six Syncopated Movements) and Adams Violin Concerto.
He even showcased his skills as a vocalist in the first cast
of Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite, singing and
dancing Riff in the explosive number, `Cool.' However, Hübbe
defies typecasting and has danced virtually every important part
in NYCB's repertoire.
Missing from the New York State
Theater stage for the most part of three seasons, Hübbe
is back in action and can be seen in Apollo, Duo Concertant,
and Aurora's Wedding. --Dale Brauner