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NYCB January 8


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#1 Manhattnik

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Posted 09 January 2002 - 10:21 AM

Some quick notes for whoever's keeping score.

Mozartiana:

Kowroski was even more gorgeous, but as distant as Saturday (or whenever she did it last). A lot of the ballet's power comes from simply doing the steps, which is something to be thankful for. Neal danced much more brightly and cleanly, and his turns were spot-on, always worthy of note. I found Ulbricht, although dancing big and clean indeed, turned the gigue into a bit of a show-off piece, which it's not.

Polyphonia:

Not much to add except it looks better and better to me. The dancers are really growing into their roles, and I adore the Ansanelli/Hall duet, and her "hold-your-breath-and-dance-on-tippytoes" solo.

Cortege Hongrois:

OK, so the ballet is a mess. I love it anyway; the music is gorgeous, and the orchestra actually sounds wonderful playing it. I love it that Balanchine gives us three finales for the price of one (classical, character and both combined). As the "ribbons-and-boots" girl, Kathleen Tracey looks like she's having the time of her life up there, and has perhaps discovered the secret of perpetual motion. Albert Evans, while not so ebullient, danced with brio and appropriate haughteur.

As for Jenifer Ringer's debut in the ballerina role, well, this is probably not the best of casting. Ringer's sunny, sweet and somewhat placid demeanor just isn't right for this tempestuous Hungarian princess. I would love to see Wendy Whelan or Jennie Somogyi (Somogyi? Hungarian? Hello, Peter!) in this role (of course, Monique Meunier absolutely owns it -- her last two performances have been nothing short of sensational).

In her adagio with Damian Woetzal, Ringer seemed tentative and a bit scared, as if she'd had no rehearsal time (as perhaps she hadn't). There were more than a few shaky balances, and I noticed one moment where Ringer started downstage, only to be checked gently by Woetzal and steered upstage, where she needed to be at the time. It was clear Woetzal was guiding her through the adagio in places, and I wasn't surprised to see Ringer mouth a quiet "thank-you" to him at the end of the adagio. So Woetzal can be a great partner when he wants to be, I learned.

In his solos, Woetzal was magnificent -- brilliant in his multiple-pirouette combinations, and restrained and elegant in his single cabrioles that seemed to float like a soap bubble. It's nice to know he can tone down his demeanor to an appropriately regal level when necessary. Ringer made a valiant effort at her solo, and was strong and lovely in the finale, but, as I said, this just isn't the role for her.

[ January 09, 2002: Message edited by: Manhattnik ]



#2 doug

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Posted 09 January 2002 - 12:34 PM

Just a note that I feel think CORTEGE HONGROIS is an important work because of Balanchine's character choreography. Comparing Balanchine's czardas choreography to Petipa's czardas choreography, the heritage can be clearly seen but also the way in which Balanchine brings character dancing into the 20th century, in the same way he did classical dancing. There are not many clearer examples of his character work than CORTEGE HONGROIS.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 09 January 2002 - 04:35 PM

Thanks very much for your review, Manhattnik, and for your comment, Doug.

Doug, could you elaborate? What do you see in this ballet that shows Balanchine's changing (transformation/manipulation ?) of Petipa's choreography? We often don't take character dancing seriously today. It would be interesting to have a serious discussion of it.

#4 Estelle

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Posted 09 January 2002 - 05:31 PM

Thank you for your reviews, Manhattnik, and thanks too to all the other people who posted some reviews of the NYCB season. There's only one minor problem with it: I'm becoming green with envy when reading it!! biggrin.gif

#5 cargill

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Posted 10 January 2002 - 10:10 AM

I thought the January 8th night was full of imitations--Wheeldon imitating Balanchine, Balanchine imitating Petipa, and Kowrowski imitating Farrell. But since the people being imitated are great, it was a fun evening by and large, though I agree that Jenifier Ringer didn't smoulder enough. And the rinestone tiara really looks out of place.

#6 Manhattnik

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Posted 10 January 2002 - 04:11 PM

I thought the January 8th night was full of imitations

Tchaikovsky imitating Mozart?

#7 cargill

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Posted 11 January 2002 - 10:57 AM

Manhattnik, great point. I hadn't thought of that, but you are right. Though I don't suppose that theme was really intentional in the programming.


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