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Alexandra

What do you think of the Balanchine Celebration?

   7 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think of the Balanchine Celebration?

    • It's great! What a birthday bash!!
      1
    • On balance, it's a good way to celebrate Balanchine's centennial
      5
    • It could be worse. They could be doing no Balanchine.
      12
    • It's a disappointment
      14
    • It's an outrage
      15
    • Other
      0

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26 posts in this topic

I can't resist. This calls for a poll.

Please feel free to expound upon your answer below, including what you like about the season as announced, what you would do differently if you ruled the world, etc.

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I don't like anything about the season as announced -- the arbitrary classifications, the precedence that Martins takes over Balanchine in the first part of the year, the fact that, except for Harlequinade and a one-night-only Orpheus, there are no major Balanchine revivals scheduled. Did I miss them? It's all packaging without appropriate content. The press release as flim-flam job. I was eager to read what the New York Times made of it but there was nothing in today's paper. I suppose we have to wait till next week. That makes me even angrier. The Balanchine Centennial is a once-in-a-lifetime event and NYCB appears not only to have muffed it, but to have desecrated it.

Suzanne Farrell should be in charge of NYCB.

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"This calls for a poll."

This calls for a drink.

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Perhaps we could all amuse ourselves by planning "The Peter Martins Very Special 100th Birthday Season" I can't quite come up with anything at the moment, but maybe that's just me.

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Huge irony here:

NYCB is clearly using the unique opportunity of Balanchine's 100th Birthday to launch a huge, empty marketing gimmick. During the Master's lifetime, one of the complaints was the extremely low key of the company's marketing efforts. But then, NYCB eschewed vulgarity on stage and in the media. Publicity? How common!!!

This is clearly business-as-usual, slightly rearranged, and wrapped with garish, oversized ribbons.

:) :eek: :mad: :eek: :mad:

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It is unfortunate that the company is using a large amount of its funds to privilege newer works rather than Balanchine's, but looking at it from the brighter side, they still are performing 54 Balanchine ballets. I think it could've been worse. Ideally, it would be wonderful if they could revive a chunk of earlier works by Balanchine, but with an AD who likes to choreograph his own works, it just won't happen. This isn't just a problem with NYCB, if you look at any other companies, you see the same kind of trend with 2nd generation ADs. (A serious question for "Ballet in 21st C") Anyway, why Stroman? Her choreography doesn't have any roots in classical ballet...But like what Dale said in another post, this could've been the programming for any other season. It would've been a nice season for 2004-2005, for example. On the other hand, the only thing I really like in this new season is the idea of a chronologically-oriented programming, presenting works from Balanchine's roots (from 19th C), his staple works (20th C), and then Balanchine-influenced works (towards 21st C). This is a nice idea. Then again, the programming is a little too heavy on the 21st C side in comparison with the first two periods and considering the fact that it is BALANCHINE'S bday. (Btw, I am happy to hear that S. Sylve is joining the company. I think she fits well into the repertory.)

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I voted for "disappointment" because there are so many Balanchine that haven't been done in years and I was so looking forward to seeing. Just for one: there's no Baiser de la Fee, one of his absolute gems.

All the arts in New York City are facing difficult challenging times in our current economy. So I am upset by the allocation of NYCB's precious resources: i.e., the amount of money it will take (1) to mount new works and (2) to bring the Georgian State Company to perform. This means that there will be less money available to "fuss" over (read coach) the few Balanchine ballets that are revived.

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Originally posted by Helena Handbasket

Perhaps we could all amuse ourselves by planning "The Peter Martins  Very  Special 100th Birthday Season"  I can't quite come up with anything at the moment, but maybe that's just me.

"Something humourous, but lingering. With either boiling oil or melted lead, I fancy. I forget which. Boiling oil figures in it somehow, but I'm not sure."

Sir W.S. Gilbert

The Mikado

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Amen, Farrell Fan. Bring her back, and let dancers who danced for Balanchine come in and coach to their heart's content. And pay'em so much that there won't be money left over for new Stroman and Eiffman pieces.

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This leaves it up to Retired NYCB members to carry on their own celebrations in their own way. Look around the country, are there any possibilites?

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But JRB, when I chose to move to the Upper West Side in '75, it wasn't so that I could travel the country in search of Balanchine. He was right here, so so must I be!

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We should all go to the New York Performing Arts Library and have our own Balanchine 100th Birthday celebration. Watch tons of videos of Tallchief, LeClerq, Adams, Villella, Kirkland, Toumanova, Farrell (and yes) Martins etc... in Balanchine. Then go to Uncle Vanya's or the Russian Samovar and eat a good Russian meal with vodka and toast the master!

And, we can leave NY during the heart of the NYCB Nutcracker season and go to Washington D.C. to watch Farrell's company do an all-Balanchine program.

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Miami City Ballet does a Balanchine festival every year, in effect; nearly it's entire rep is Balanchine. San Francisco Ballet will do a substantial Balanchine repertory. Ballet Arizona (Ib Andersen's company) will do two full programs in the spring. One could do very nicely (if one had the time and money) following Balanchine around the country :)

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The insincerity and dishonesty of this are deeply offensive. This crosses a line, it is the first time I have frankly felt that, on balance, a change in management would be proper.

A person should not be in charge of this company who does not in his (or her) heart love producing Balanchine. The first requirement of a ballet master at NYCB is respect, from the heart, for that repertory. Actions speak louder than words.

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I second Dale's suggestion to have "our own" Balanchine Celebration.

As disturbing as this NYCB program is, and I know that you all have deep feelings about this, there are only a few options: Begin a letter writing/email campaign to NYCB with copies to appropriate entities including The Balanchine Trust and make your own plans for the centennial celebration.

It does seem to me that Dale's suggestions are really worth considering for those of us who are interested and able.

P.S. All this said, I'm sure I'll still be in attendance during the year at The NY State Theater. ;)

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One could do very nicely (if one had the time and money) following Balanchine around the country :(

Well, outside the country too: there will be 7 Balanchine works in the next POB season, and also some in the Royal Ballet season... :)

But well, let's say that with such a program for the NYCB Balanchine Celebration, it's a bit less frustrating for me to be far from NYC. ;)

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Two things I plan to do are: 1) stop contributing to NYCB when I renew my subscriptions, and 2) drop my membership in the NYCB Guild. Although I'm far from being in the Anne H. Bass league, for someone like me, who's retired and living on a relative pittance, my contributions to the company have been substantial. Of course I intend to let them know my reasons. And whatever money I would have sent them I will contribute to the Suzanne Farrell Ballet.

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NYCB will bring a Balanchine-only season to Washington next year -- its first appearance here in many years.

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At least for their one-week tour to St. Petersburg beginning on 30 July, the repertory fortunately consists mostly of Balanchine's masterpieces. I noticed from the Mariinsky playbill that Gergiev will conduct the opening night at the Mariinsky Theatre.

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill?pbmy=200307

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill?pbmy=200308

I am considering a trip to attend the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg to see the company instead of coming to NYC next season in view of this very disappointing centennial programming.

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With the exception of the one Edinburgh Festival, I've noticed they tour with mostly Balanchine. What an unjustice for those of us who live in NYC.

After their gross misconduct (IMO) with the press articles that came out (Details, The NY Post costume article) I sent a letter withdrawing my funding from the company and sent it to SAB instead. I've still never heard anything from them.

I think I'll make the trek to see Suzanne Farrell Ballet in NJ.

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"So I am upset by the allocation of NYCB's precious resources: i.e., the amount of money it will take (1) to mount new works and (2) to bring the Georgian State Company to perform. "

It may actually have been easier to raise money to mount new works--funders like that, to see something they've made possible--and to do the international exchange thing. (One can hardly imagine NYCB mounting a Save Balanchine Campaign, sort of like Save the Whales, but it's not a bad idea.) It will be interesting to see the credits.

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Calliope posted:

With the exception of the one Edinburgh Festival, I've noticed they tour with mostly Balanchine.

I've noticed that too, Calliope. It could be that the tour presenters get to set the program. But I've wondered, too, if there isn't a Danish twinge to this. The Danes, too, see Bournonville as a calling card, but, more and more in the past 2 decades, something for the international press, not for home consumption. There, both the audience and the dancers will say they're sick of Bournonville. It's a love-hate thing. Every time the company is in disarray, if you do a critic-in-the-street or person-in-the-street interview and say, "What should the company do to get back on track?" the answer will invariably be, "Bournonville, Bournonville, Bournonville." But if they really do go back to Bournonville, then there are screams that it's too much.

I don't see the situation in New York that way. I don't sense that either the dancers or the audience are tired of Balanchine. Nor the critics. So there doesn't seem to be an external pressure to put Balanchine into that great, horrid Heritage Bin as is happening elsewhere.

My take on the season is that it's disappointing -- and puzzling, since expectations were obviously so high. Perhaps that wasn't realized? I don't mind having new ballets, but my disappointment is that there aren't revivals, nor imaginative programming that would make the company and audience look at Balanchine differently. Do some programs by date order, say, then mix up the ballets by theme. A program that puts three or four ballets that "all look alike" force one to see the differences (presuming there are, and with Balanchine, I think there are).

Perhaps the company felt this is what they'd done for the earlier Balanchine celebration and they wanted to do something different. I will say I'm not sure it's fair to blame this on the marketing department. Their job is usually to sell what's presented to them.

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Alexandra, I agree. My expectation was that the season would be similar to the 1993 Balanchine Celebration season. Because Martins did revive ballets then and I was happy to see them. I also think the season looks a little different in a press release than on the schedule, which does include many all-Balanchine evenings, which I'm going to enjoy. I'm excited for the exhibit of Balanchine photos, programs etc... and I'm hoping they'll be interesting lectures.

And, celebrating Balanchine aside, I will go to the new ballets, as well as the Robbins and Martins revivals (I am interested to see Concerto for 2 Solo Pianos again).

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My reaction, viewed at two or three days distance, has a lot to do with "how" this is being done and not only with "what" is being done. There is a apparently lot of "heart" in my reaction to this in addition to "head," and I sense that this is also true of the huge mass of posters. The idea of an "outrage" has something emotional in it. The reactions to the season on this board have been quite emotional.

But don't misinterpret this, saying that does not dismiss these reactions, it validates them.

"The heart has its reasons that reason ignores," etc.

The question is why the reactions here have been so passionate? You cannot analyze it merely as a matter of disappointed expectations. Perhaps it is the sense that something I love is being attacked, that this is the last phase of a coup d'etat aimed at the ancien regime at City Ballet, and that this does represent Martins' final declaration that it's his company now and that we'd all better like it or lump it? When those persons who watch a company the most overwhelmingly react to something in a certain way and many explicitly feel like withdrawing their support for the regime in charge over it you have to wonder what instinctive message they are reacting to and why they are reacting that way.

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Michael, I have been reading all the threads about the Balanchine centennial season with great interest and as an outsider, I found the most encouraging and positive matter to be the intense emotional reaction from all posters. I cannot comment on the significance of the programming itself, but these threads obviously mean that there are many people who care deeply about NYCB, Balanchine and the mutual cultural treasure created by Balanchine and his company, and who just won't let "the powers that be" do whatever they will with this legacy. This is a very difficult time for art (and especially the performing arts) everywhere. To be able to maintain this level of intensity and identification is quite astounding (but I don't think that was Peter Martins' intention:) )

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