Attended New York City Ballet last night. One of George Balanchine's best known quotations is, "See the music; hear the dance." Great ballet does that. But not the first work on the program, "Vespro." Actually the commissioned music was all right, including a lovely melody for soprano saxophone, but the herky jerky choreography seemed intent on confounding the music. Too bad. I felt sorry for the composer who was performing the piano part. Next came "Duo Concertant" to Stravinsky, which Tangleupinblue wrote about earlier this month. The music is for violin and piano, and the two dancers actually spend the first several minutes simply standing and watching the onstage musicians. Then, all of a sudden, they are inspired to dance. Balanchine (who is the Stravinsky, if not the Beethoven of ballet) finds endless ways of allowing movement to complement the music. And every so often the dancers return to the musicians to renew themselves. In the last movement, the dancers separate themselves from the musicians performing almost in counterpoint in their own spotlight. I only know "Duo Concertant" from the ballet - never heard it performed on its own, so the movement is an integral part of my appreciation of the work. The third ballet of the evening was Jerome Robbins' "Dances at a Gathering," an hour-long work set to various Mazurkas, Preludes, Etudes, Waltzes, a Scherzo and a Nocturne, all by Chopin. There are ten dancers altogether. Most of the numbers involve 1-4. These works are familiar to me (less so the Mazurkas), so my subconscious at least always knew what the next note would be, and I was repeatedly charmed, surprised and ultimately moved to the point of choking up by the ways that Robbins found to express the music visually. This ballet dates from 1969 and it is a celebration of youthful discovery and community. The last work in the Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1. all 10 dancers are on stage, but there is barely any movement at all. Just a sense of reflection that is shared with the audience. And kudos to the pianist who plays Chopin for an hour without a break.