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BalletNut

Lincoln Center: Reviews & Impressions

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Here is a thread where those of us seeing SFB at Lincoln Center can post about what we're seeing! :thanks:

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Gala, Tuesday July 25

Well, quite a company! And 76 dancers large: 19 principals, 11 soloists, 41 corps, 3 principal characters, 2 apprentices. The combined 30 at the top is more than at ABT. With all these dancers that are new to me, please forgive any misjudgments; it takes a season, not party bits in a gala, to form any fair opinions.

The evening began with some powerhouse choreography, not always the case overall.

1. Vertiginous Thrill, Forsythe/Schubert. Long/Waldo/Zahorian/Garcia/Nedviguine. They all showed great energy and enthusiasm for what they were doing. Star turns, but not just, clearly a company.

2. PdD from Dance House, Bintley/Shostakovich. Pipit-Suksun, Helimets, Hohenstein. The biggest Wow! for me of the gala, Nutnaree P-S is magic. Flexible mid back, and an incredibly strong lower back: she extends a leg, Tiit H lifts her by it to anywhere you can think of, and she never has to break her flowing spell. Using all her body in charismatic harmony. I have no idea what she can or cannot do re classical technique, but I'd buy a ticket to see her in anything.

3. PdD from Reflections, Mendelssohn/Possokhov. Maffre/Smith. Something about mirrors. Problem was the conductor was reflected in full, at dancer level, too distracting to follow the dancing.

4. Swan Lake PdT, Tomasson after Ivanov(it says, but is in a Petipa Act). Chung(a turner)/Viselli/Phillips. Corpsman Joseph Phillips very impressive. Very nice diagonal of double-into-single tours-en-l'air in his first variation, continuing impressively air-borne in the second.

5. Odette Adagio, (looks very Ivanov). Tan/Helimets. Yuan Yuan Tan seems very pure. Stunningly perfect right foot petits battements at the end, but not a sense of trembling. Helimets, as with P-S above, is a very princely partner. Watch out for prince-raiders from certain aging big companies...

6. Harlequinade PdD, Balanchine/Drigo. LeBlanc/Boada. This really grabbed the house. She has a skimming above the floor look to her dancing, her first variation thrilled the crowd. Both showing exemplary speed.

7. Concerto Grosso, Tomasson/Geminiani. Molat and Anderson/Garcia Castilla/Hohenstein/Yamamoto. While Molat especially pleased the audience, it did seem to go on...

Second half.

8. Chaconne, Tomasson/Handel. LeBlanc/Karapetyan. Tina skimmed across the stage again, beautifully.

9. c-# Waltz from Chopinianna, Fokine/Chopin. Smolen/Martin. I don't like Fokine and generally avoid Les Sylphides, even back in Baryshnikov's era. This was wonderful. Her epaulement was notable. But I can't say there was anything technically special. Yet the pair created some sort of magic. Chemistry, I guess. Whatever, for me the goose-bumper of the evening. Beauty, restraint, intense emotion.

10. Purple from Terra Firma, Kudelka/Torke. Long/Possokov. I don't know. Just too logical, like the composer. Still, appreciate Possokov's unretiring for us, and look forward to seeing him this weekend.

11. PdD from Fifth Season, Tomasson/Jenkins. Tan/Smith. Nicely danced.

12. No Other, Caniparoli/Rogers. van Patten/Vilanoba. Looked right on this stage, where Mr. B's Who Cares? so often has appeared. This really sang, delightfully danced by both. There's something flowingly emotional about Sarah van Patten, without emoting or seeming to even change expression. She joins Nutnaree and Molly as my three favorites of the evening.

13. Don Q PdD, Petipa/Minkus. Feijoo/Boada. A bit of ABT-ness. Star power fun. Lorena made about 45 rotations during the "32", and Joan delivered charismatically.

14. Brubeck Solo, Lubovitch/Brubeck. Garcia. A star turn, but not, it would seem, a very interesting vehicle.

15. 3rd Movement, Glass Pieces, Robbins/Glass. Finally a chance to see a good chunk of the company. Very attractive, intense dancers. Bravi!

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I'm so happy that Smolen impressed, especially since she just joined SFB. I am going to try to arrange a trip when I can see her, Helimets, and Pipit-Suksun, three dancers I haven't yet seen. No one is allowed to steal away Helimets until I can arrange that :wub:

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>>1. Vertiginous Thrill, Forsythe/Schubert. Long/Waldo/Zahorian/Garcia/Nedviguine.

Best part of the evening for me. Most interesting of dancing / choreography/costumes. Definitely high energy! The ladies were not the most feminine, but were very strong technically... The ballet certainly was a strikingly good opener.

>>6. Harlequinade PdD, Balanchine/Drigo. LeBlanc/Boada.

Shocking to see that Helgi Tomasson did not address this ballet as *his* choreography, after Balanchine's (non-existent), as Tomasson noted in the program for the Swan Lake pas de trois (as being Thomasson's after Lev Ivanov). This Harlequinade was not the Balanchine choreography I remember, and I kept wondering how the NYCB trust/company might respond seeing this. Peter Martins among others, NYCB, were in attendance last night. I did not care for Tomasson's version of Harlequinade one bit; all technique, no charm.

>>13. Don Q PdD, Petipa/Minkus. Feijoo/Boada. A bit of ABT-ness. Star power fun.

I think Lorena did very well last night, but she was not at her best.

Overall, the men were the most intense, the most interesting dancers in the company. And although all of the dancers, male and female, were enthusiastic, I did not care for most of the choreography or the costumes presented.

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>>6. Harlequinade PdD, Balanchine/Drigo. LeBlanc/Boada.

Shocking to see that Helgi Tomasson did not address this ballet as *his* choreography, after Balanchine's (non-existent), as Tomasson noted in the program for the Swan Lake pas de trois (as being Thomasson's after Lev Ivanov). This Harlequinade was not at all Balanchine's choreography, and I kept wondering how the NYCB trust/company might respond seeing this. Peter Martins among others, NYCB, were in attendance last night. I did not care for Tomasson's version of Harlequinade one bit; all technique, no charm.

I was confused too, sz. But then I looked in the program - it's not the McBride/Villella pas de deux, but the Eglevsky/Tallchief one, that Balanchine had choreographed before doing the complete ballet.

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>>6. Harlequinade PdD, Balanchine/Drigo. LeBlanc/Boada.

I was confused too, sz. But then I looked in the program - it's not the McBride/Villella pas de deux, but the Eglevsky/Tallchief one, that Balanchine had choreographed before doing the complete ballet.

Oh yes, I just re-read the program. But the Tallchief/Eglevsky version has so little of Balanchine's charm, wit, genius. Balanchine evolved SOOO much since 1950!!! Now I'm really confused(!!!).... Why would Tomasson choose the oldest version (the less lovely, less romantic, less crowd pleasing version) instead of the more recent one that we have all adored for years??!! I'm still shocked...

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I think it's interesting to see the different versions. When I was watching it, I was thinking - this isn't the one I know. This is sort of goofy, too. I do love the 60s ballet, but I think this version probably suits LeBlanc better.

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re: HARLEQUINADE PAS DE DEUX - 1952, no. 290 in CHOREOGRAPHY BY BALANCHINE

i was quite interested to see this 'rarity'; i have no idea when it was last done, certainly not in my neck o'the woods in my balletgoing time. (i note the entry in CHOREOGRAPHY BY BALANCHINE isn't exactly correct, b/c it lists the music's coming from Act I, when i think i heard the finale for act 2 as the pas de deux's conclusion.)

still, tomasson likely wanted to do a HARELQUINADE ballet that was self-contained and arranged as such by balanchine himself.

i'm happy to have seen this and to know what balanchine's first choreographic thoughts in the US were for this russian favorite. (as in the case of the alt. version of VALSE FANTANSIE, i'm glad to have a chance to see another early variant on differently familiar, later ballet.)

as i saw this perf. by leblanc and boada this version of russian world of harlequin and columbine is as different from the one came later from balanchine's hand, as his first cast - tallchief and eglevsky - was from his later cast with mcbride and villella.

i'd love to see it again.

p.s. i'm hoping to post an old NYCB publicity still of eglvesky on ballet history, etc.

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re: HARLEQUINADE PAS DE DEUX - 1952, no. 290 in CHOREOGRAPHY BY BALANCHINE

p.s. i'm hoping to post an old NYCB publicity still of eglvesky on ballet history, etc.

Oh, how I would have loved seeing a bit of Andre Eglevsky dancing this role, though I cannot begin to picture Tallchief -- fitting to the sweet, flirty music!! A very nice picture of Eglevsky that you posted! He was a favorite teacher/coach of mine, years ago. I fondly think of him often while watching some ballets.

Anyway... back to SFBallet.... I wasn't a bit surprised to learn that Joan Boada, the Harlequin of last night's, is originally from Cuba.

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Is Marina Eglevsy credited for staging this pas?

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Is Marina Eglevsy credited for staging this pas?

Yes.

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Sylvia, Wednesday July 26

Another full house for SFB at the State Theater (at least as seen from the 2nd Ring). The NYC Opera orchestra, under SFB Music Director Martin West, again distinguished itself (take note, ABT Orchestra, it is possible for horns and brass to play in humid weather).

A year after Mark Morris created his version of the ballet, Sir Fred Ashton's Sylvia appeared as if from nowhere at ABT and The Royal, and surely looked far better than what one expected from the history books. Perhaps such a master's "C" work would be graded an "A" in today's choreographic world.

Certainly for me Morris's Act 1 was a huge disappointment compared to Ashton's beginning. It looked very cluttered (stage size or Balanchine's house aesthetic?). Although with (finally...) the arrival of Sylvia (Yuan Yuan Tan) and her eight nymph friends the scene began to have a sense of place. It was the brilliant swing section, with its echo of Fragonard's Balancoire: not so much the famous voyeuristic "Swing" in which a gentleman is given a view, but more the earlier painting that may be seen here http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/s_z...liams/swing.jpg

So one might see a post-Watteau sensibility at play in this Act. It looks French.

It is very difficult to say much about individual interpretations based on one viewing. But Tan does seem to project as an authentic, space-filling ballerina. I also liked the horse-like gait given the ballerina while running. I mean this positively, the proud high-chested gait of a thorobred. At first look, I don't buy Morris's Eros/disguised version, as compared to Ashton's take. Yet it does give him added scope for choreographic invention, and much for dancer Jaime Garcia Castilla to revel in. And he surely did impress.

Aminta (Gonzalo Garcia) and Orion (Yuri Possokov) would come into their own later.

In Act 2, after being too contemporarily thuggish as the Act 1 abductor, Orion became more developed. Much of this Act looked as if Morris were playing with the Balanchine of Prodigal Son, as if imagining how Mr. B. might choreograph the scene in which Orion and his goons (so like the creeps in PS) have Sylvia in their cave. Mr. Possokov clearly did us a favor by unretiring for this mini season. He was intense, powerful and riviting. Somehow he brought dimension to this basically vile character, we could be interested in him. Oddly, we had to leave "France" to get to wine. Now obviously, wine is also a big deal in Northern California. Vintners must have enjoyed Mr. Morris's notion that wine was created spontaneously by stomping on grapes: instant fermentation. Yet it did get the guys drunk. But what looked as if it were going to be a stunning scene change may not have worked right. Will have to see it again. Still really missing Ashton.

Act 3. Classical ballet! A white classical (ancient--statues of four gods) set, beautiful symmetries, in perfect harmony with a very diamantine presentation of the balerina. A wonderfully classical, inventive PdD for Sylvia Tan and Aminta Garcia. So many stunning images for Sylvia (perfectly described with luxuriating detail in the 2004 Dance View Times article by Paul Parish). Garcia's variation after the adagio was both classical and exciting. A brilliant curly-cue kind of finish (I would assume Morris's) to multiple pirouettes. Repeated. Hopefully someone can decribe this more technically. But it not only was a virtuosic detail, it added emotional fullness through gesture, made the variation more than just a variation.

{edited addition when more awake--11:15 AM Thursday Muriel Maffre must be mentioned for her Diana, played as a more dimensional character perhaps than we see in Ashton's version. She came on with an intimidating expressive power and relishing it. But when her youthful indiscretion was revealed she quickly enjoyed the release she received from her own stringent bonds. Her participation in Sylvia's wedding-by-sharing-an-arrow, a brilliant aesthetic stroke by Morris, showed her liberation was to be extended to others as well. One imagines that after the ballet was over there were to be changes in Nymphville.}

So, a great Act 3. Enough to go again. When Act 3 began the white + symmetries followed by the presention of the ballerina and very classical choreography brought diamonds to mind. Act 1, had a certain French perfume. And so Balanchine touches in Act 2 began to suggest a certain parallel to Mr. B's Jewels. Which goes from French to American (i.e., Mr. B.) to Imperial Russia. During my first 15 or so years of Jewels, Diamonds was my favorite. I know the other two are better. But Diamonds then was Farrell. When you've got D-flawless... And I think that Morris's diamond-faceted final act makes his Sylvia a keeper.

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Thanks for your reports. We're all agog to hear how you like it.

Yes Marina Eglevsky, (Andre Eglevsky's daughter) is a widely-respected teacher in the Bay Area; she is I believe her father's heir, and she set this version of the ballet (which Balanchine left to Eglevsky) for SFB.

Interestingly, she set Mr B's Sylvia pas de deux (which was also made on her father) on the Bolshoi for their Balanchine centennial celebration. You all might want to think about the relationship of this unfamiliar Harlequinade pdd to the Sylvia one you all know so well.

Re Morris's Sylvia, DrB and all of you, you've gotta go back to see Guennadi Nedviguine's Aminta, the purest classical dancing, he looks like Carlo Blasis. Also, you'll recognize the curlicue thing you mention in the finale, as something that's part of Aminta's material from the beginning. It's a renversee, a movement that "pours forth" - -like from the horn of plenty. Aminta ends his first-act turns in attitude, tipping hte attitude forward, in his first entrance, when he's declaring his love for Sylvia, and the renversee in effect shows us his heart is overflowing...... so in the last act, when his gazillion pirouettes end in a renversee and he tips forward and then recovers and leaps around himself -- what IS it he does? that solo should be set for ballet competitions, it's so hard and so exuberant and APPROPRIATE to that moment in the ballet

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On Wed. night, I thought Yuan Tan very impressive. Lovely feet, beautiful beautiful line, deep positions, and dramatically alive.

Act II of the Ballet is the best. Morris had an original idea there and worked in his own idiom and Yuan Tan and Possokhov were most interesting. The final tableau was quite uplifting.

As for the rest: Morris is not a ballet choreographer of great skill by training or experience. He is a great choreographer in his own material but ballet isn't his metier. His ballet here, the enchainements and staging is rudimentary and thin and at times amateurish. A big mistake was to cut the stage to such shallow depth. The processionals in Act III had no punch. The material for the fauns and satyrs at the opening, likewise. There were few variations so no comment on that. But the pas in Act III was student level with a few pyrotechnical tricks thrown in. What I thought of the Gay Svengali Eros I can't say.

This will and has sold tickets because it's Morris doing Sylvia. It should not have been done. Do Act II as a short piece.

MP

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Thursday night Sylvia

This is really such a difficult piece to pull off. I love the score but it's saddled with a difficult libretto. During Act 1 last night I was thinking this plot is so complicated, it's like one of those operas that have plots that are almost impossible to explain . Then during the intermission I read Morris' comment in the program that said roughly the same thing.

Morris tried to set all the parts of Act 1 but it came off awkward and cluttered.

Sylvia and her Nymphs came clomping in after the orgy scene with the satyrs; their choreography was successful is showing that these were powerful women but visually not that interesting to me. I did like the Sorcerer/Eros number a lot.

Act 2? More than a little cartoonish. Sylvia stomps out the bad guys. Eros appears to get Sylvia out of the cave.

I agree with Michael's comments on the shallow set compromising the third act, which I otherwise greatly enjoyed. For me it made the piece worthwhile.

Paul Parish described the complexity of Aminta's choreography very nicely, in general I liked the big pdd a whole lot. Also, I enjoyed the Pirate/Eros stuff. The plot is resolved in a very campy way; Eros reminds Diana of her past very vividly!

I saw Miner as Sylvia, Molat as Aminta, and Vilanoba as Orion with a special mention to Sofranko as Eros.

I thought Miner was a bit rough in Act 1 but did very well in Act 3. I was taken with Morat and Sofranko, too.

I was happy to see this, after seeing the Ashton last year with ABT. Two different takes at this complicated piece. But what a beauty of a score.

Richard

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Sylvia, Thursday July 27

Seeing this again is a different experience, both b/c of Morris and the Company.

Having made my snap judgments Wednesday, I especially looked at what I didn't like. Clearly Morris likes to play "naughty." So just accepted that (why not, it works for his company and this is his ballet). Very different cast.

1. Sylvia: Elizabeth Miner for Tan. As suggested by posters who've seen this in The City (yes, was there for years long ago, and sorry NY, it was), they are very different. I think a choice, if one had to be made, is one of seeing Morris's inventions (Tan) or seeing a Romantic ballet (Miner). Although different players in all the other roles can create figure-ground problems if one really wants to try to compare ballerinas. That, to me, stunning/signature/beautiful horse gait in Act 1 was much more pronounced with Tan. Since I like it I was happier with the "high amp" version. Sylvia and the other Valkyrie/Nymphs in Act 1: Miner is one of them, sort of a first among equals; where Tan is more set apart, as in Birgit Nilsson from the chorus in Die W (I don't mean this necessarily qualitatively). When Sylvia is shot with Eros's arrow, Tan has much more to change. On her return to glimpse the dead Aminta Miner was the one who showed a more genuine set of emotions: it was the beginning of her drawing more audience sympathy for her character Sylvia, the more Romantic ballet interpretation.

In Act 2 I thought Tan put up the more interesting struggle, seemed more in danger. This could have been b/c Pierre-Francois Vilanoba was a less Brutish Orion that was Possokov with Tan. Vilanoba was a bit more tempered by his romantic side. We felt for Miner, the less resourceful, more Giselle-ish victim. We rooted for Tan, the battling valkerie. (The Act 2 curtain drop scene change again was not completely successful looking down, it seems designed for those sitting at orchestra level.)

For Act 3, where Tan was more a Diamond, Miner was pretty-in-pink, a radiant Pink Sapphire (Madagascar) in a diamond setting. With Tan I saw more of the cascade of diamantine effects in the adagio that Mr. Parish described in the previously referenced early review. With Miner more of the romance, a warm glow. Of course the surprises in choreography are more likely to hit one on first viewing.

2. Aminta: Pascal Molat for Garcia. In the variations Gonzalo Garcia did seem the more virtuosic. In particular, after the Act 3 adagio, his pirouettes were more Corella-ish, the renversee was instant and pronounced, reckless, and seemed the tranforming impetus for the throw of himself around himself. Mr. Molat showed more preparation for the final leap around himself.

3. Diana: Katita Waldo for Maffre. It was certainly nice to see Waldo on stage again. While certainly effective, there's no getting around the fascinating character development that Muriel Maffre gives to Diana.

4. Eros: James Sofranko for Castilla. I guess one just has to come to terms with Morris seeing this character so differently from Ashton. On second viewing, it seems that if Morris were to have been a dancer in Sylvia, this is the role he'd have taken. One might enjoy this role by imagining that Mark Morris was dancing the part.

Since this is the home field for NYCB, a company very rich in dramatic ballerinas these days, one can't help but think of possible Sylvias there. Especially after seeing Elizabeth Miner's, Sara Mearns seems a real natural for this choreography. She has the youth and of course that awesome beauty. And so effectively grabs an audience's sympathy, well, adoration. But it's that score by Delibes, the thought of her playing with it. Tchaikowsky, 1877: "Listened to the Leo Delibes' ballet Sylvia. In fact, I actually listened, because it is the first ballet, where the music constitutes not only the main, but the only interest. What charm, what elegance, what richness of melody, rhythm, harmony. I was ashamed. If I had known this music early then, of course, I would not have written Swan Lake."

While this is the home of NYCB, the (again a nicely full house) audience for SFB this summer seems different from the regulars. Both in terms of recognition of familiar faces, and in the way they respond. Especially of late, NYCB audiences can be very demonstrative (although also not, it depends on what goes on onstage, unlike the automatic standing ovations for ABT). This year we had the Diamond Project again. It offers up a few new one-acters every few years. And this year there were a number of big hits, at max the 10 curtain call variety. In the first three nights of SFB, once the curtain is lowered the dancers don't come out for bows. I really wish we'd had the NYCB crowd around for SFB. Were NYCB to have shown Act 3 as a new one-acter, I think the home audience would have gone wild.

An aside. There is a photo exhibit of prior Lincoln Center Festivals on the First Ring Promenade. The photo at the South East corner of the exhibition is of Molly Smolen, dancing Ashton's Isadora (Brahms) with incredible expressive power. It is a Wow! I hope they find a way to get her into the weekend's mixed bill.

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I've read that Miner changed her interpretation since the premiere two years ago when I saw her. She was anything but vulnerable in Act II then, and even revelled in her cleverness. It was in Act III that she blossomed into a loving woman and, in a Romantic gesture, pretended that the doltish Aminta was an equal. (She definitely "stepped on the rug" first.)

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On Wed. night, I thought Yuan Tan very impressive. Lovely feet, beautiful beautiful line, deep positions, and dramatically alive.

Act II of the Ballet is the best. Morris had an original idea there and worked in his own idiom and Yuan Tan and Possokhov were most interesting. The final tableau was quite uplifting.

As for the rest: Morris is not a ballet choreographer of great skill by training or experience. He is a great choreographer in his own material but ballet isn't his metier. His ballet here, the enchainements and staging is rudimentary and thin and at times amateurish. A big mistake was to cut the stage to such shallow depth. The processionals in Act III had no punch. The material for the fauns and satyrs at the opening, likewise. There were few variations so no comment on that. But the pas in Act III was student level with a few pyrotechnical tricks thrown in. What I thought of the Gay Svengali Eros I can't say.

This will and has sold tickets because it's Morris doing Sylvia. It should not have been done. Do Act II as a short piece.

MP

Oh, Michael, thank you so much. :angel_not:

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The San Francisco Ballet website is now providing links to daily reviews of its Lincoln Center performances at:

http://www.sfballet.org/about/touring/index.aspx

I must admit, however, as a regular at the San Francisco Ballet, that I'm finding the responses here more interesting. drb captures my experience of SFB dancers best.

Too bad SFB isn't experiencing a regular NYCB audience. Curtain calls are an exception at SFB. I liked the responsiveness of NYCB audiences when I was in town in June, and thought it would be great for SFB dancers to experience it too.

There are a number of people in San Francisco who feel as Michael does about Mark Morris's choreography. I've found, however, that seeing ABT's Sylvia in LA this Spring made me appreciate Morris for the ways he is not Ashton, even though I prefer Ashton's Sylvia overall (Paloma, by the way, was a wonderful Sylvia in California).

Artifact Suite captures a very characteristic SFB energy, daring and grace; it will be interesting to see how it plays in New York this weekend.

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Sylvia, Friday June 28

The final pairing was Vanessa Zahorian and Guennadi Nedviquine.

Tonight, a different look at the ballet, downstairs. Early on there was a minor stumble and a couple of dancers in named roles had some problems finishing multiple turns. Out of curiosity, how do SF seasons work? Does the company usually dance over a significant number of days without breaks? Not to worry, though, for this turned out to be a very successful performance.

I like the way each dancer in the big roles has interpretive freedom, even some with the steps, in this company. After a fascinating exploration of choreography by Tan, and romantic, capturing the spirit of the great score, by Elizabeth Miner, Zahorian seemed to go for realism. For example, while being carried off by Orion (Damian Smith) half way off she stopped her struggling, overcome with concern for Aminta (or maybe just that a dead guy wouldn't be able to rescue her?). Asleep at Orion's, she was dreaming as he stroked her leg and clearly her expression showed this had invoked an especially erotic moment in her dream, and thus so natural that she made that arching backward reach to encircle her dream-lover's neck, only to be shocked to awaken to Orion. It wasn't just because of Morris's choreographic need to echo Aminta's awakening from death by Sorcerer/Eros (Garrett Anderson). Once the goons had been inebriated to their knees around the table she mounted it. The oboe began to sing erotically like a shenai and we (or rather they) were treated to a dance right out of (in spirit) Bejart's Bolero. This was quite a strong Act for her. The scene change at the end was more magical from orchestra level.

There always seems more to see in Act 3. With all that beautiful classical symmetry, a boy and girl on the left and two girls on the right place one Grecian Urn, centered, on each side. Then place alongside four bowls each, but Zenly not symmetric in their placement. A signal that classical symmetry can be enriched? After all, it is Mark Morris. Well, if there were any doubt, on comes Nedviguine to proclaim this truth, as he came into his own with his opening solo full of renversees, daring to tip into a higher dimension of artistry. Zahorian captivated the crowd with a beautiful floating finish to her solo. The adagio was really magic. This was an Aminta who really partners, presenting the ballerina by gazing at her with such a sense of awe that we must look at her. He evokes Malakhov partnering Vishneva. I can give a danseur no higher praise. What ballerina would not dance for such a partner? His variation was a symphony of renversees, who could care that others might have more and faster pirouettes? Interestingly, that shocking toss of himself around himself was in the opposite direction from the first two Amintas, and smoothly, did not upset the higher symmetries he'd been creating.

I think I may have been a bit imprecise earlier regarding audience response. The curtain does go down and up at least a couple of times, it is just that after the last down applause stops so individuals do not come out in front of the curtain for additional bows. NYCB audiences tend to demand these curtain calls for worthy performances. Tonight was the most responsive audience so far. The company and individuals did have to come forward frequently, even more often tonight. The crowd was especially loud for Garrett Anderson and Muriel Maffre, and of course the leads. While this is the first night followed by a non-work day, I don't think that fully explains the more prolonged ovation. They were good!

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The curtain does go down and up at least a couple of times, it is just that after the last down applause stops so individuals do not come out in front of the curtain for additional bows. NYCB audiences tend to demand these curtain calls for worthy performances.
Pacific Northwest Ballet didn't do these until Peter Boal introduced them this year. Seattle audiences are quite obedient -- we generally stop dead in the middle of an ovation if the house lights go up -- and it took an entire year before the audience "got" that there would be a front-of-the-curtain call.

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I saw the local premiere on Wednesday (Tan/Garcia/Possukov) and the next one, Thursday (Miner/Molat/Vilanoba), and while the first cast was more secure technically, the whole ballet looked better to me on Thursday. Miner and Molat, for me, drew more poetry from the choreography. That couple made the musicality of certain passages seem inevitable, while Tan in particular, made several passages look forced. This was particularly important in Sylvia's Act III pizzicato variation. Miner joined poses to steps, steps into phrases, all in an expression of her discovery of the joys of love. And the little shimmies seemed spontaneous on her, as they had not on Tan. It was also delightful how the Thursday couple made the adage a capsule narrative of their story. It is very clear that when they are dancing with the scarf, it is Sylvia pre-piercing -- unable to love. And she loses the scarf and discovers her passion. None of this registered on Wednesday.

I also found Molat, while not quite as strong, perhaps as Garcia, a much more engaging presence.

On Wednesday, I had almost decided not to go back for a second viewing. But when I was offered the gift of a ticket, I decided to take a look at the new cast. :):angel_not: Had I seen this cast in the first place, I surely would have come back for a second take. But that's just a matter of personal preference.

A note about Tuesday's gala: LeBlanc (with Karapetyan) pulled me into in the Handel/Tomasson Chaconne. I owe it to her charm and stagecraft. I found it the most charming piece on the program.

I very much dislike Tomasson's choreography for the women in his Swan Lake pd3. The man's variation, however flowed nicely. The pdd, with Tan and Helimets was textbook perfect but an emotional vacuum. However, the battements serres at the end, so fast that they were a blur, were quite something!

The second half of the program was less lively than the first. Even Glass Pieces -- with its propulsive score -- didn't have the weight or drive I'm accustomed to and didn't really seem like anything until finally all 24 dancers filled the stage.

A mixed bill with mixed results, but overall, the company made a positive impression.

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I attended the performance with Zahorian tonight. I must admit that I was more than a little disappointed in the production overall and her performance. I wonder what gave SFB the incentive to bring Morris' Sylvia to Lincoln Center. I felt his interpretation was garrish and too sexually overt (much in the same way that Nureyev's Romeo and Juliet is.) The orgy like scene of the driads was particularily unnecessary, and I felt that his take on Eros was wrong not only in so much as if Eros is gay (as is implied when he strokes Aminta's legs and wears outlandish costume after outlandish costume) why does he end up with Diana at the end of the ballet (?), but also because his ultra stylized characterization does not allow for much dancing.

The score by Delibes is so danceable, I thought it a shame that so often Morris relied on stiff and trite archetyple moves and poses for the dancers. (And he needs to realize the difference between a leitmotif and pure repetitiveness.) I also found the second act to be a bit of a poor man's Prodigal Son with the drunkards resembling the bald cap-sporting goons.

Vanessa Zahorian who was technically superb, conveyed little emotion in her dancing. Her face was far from expressive -- it never seemed to register fear, delight, or longing. Much like Abi Stafford (who, to her credit, has had several break out performances in the past season at NYCB), the technique is all there, but the stage presentation is missing. The enjoyment and ease of conveying some sort of story and meaning behing the steps is missing. (Is this possibly a CPYB trait?)

The corps was quite varied I felt. There seemed to be a great range in talent level and some of the group dances appeared a little under-rehearsed. Sometimes as a whole they did not engage, and at others it was drastically over-acted. I especially like Mariellen Olson and Nutnaree stood out beautifully. Why she, and not Brooke Moore, was not Sylvia's friend was beyond me. Sarah van Patten was also pleasantly alluring as a slave girl in the third act. Ruben Martin was excellent as a Herald, although his younger brother's technique is not as crisp as the former. Moises also seemed to lack Ruben's smooth and effortless performance quality.

I disliked both the costumes and the sets, but I thought Martin West conducted admirably. i hope the repertory program tomorrow night brings better luck.

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Out of curiosity, how do SF seasons work? Does the company usually dance over a significant number of days without breaks?

Yes. Seven performances in six days (Tuesday-Sunday, two performances on Saturday) is standard for SFB during their regular season. The Lincoln Center schedule is the kind of performance schedule they are used to.

I think I may have been a bit imprecise earlier regarding audience response. The curtain does go down and up at least a couple of times, it is just that after the last down applause stops so individuals do not come out in front of the curtain for additional bows.

Yes, that is the basic SFB style. Front of the curtain calls happen, but they aren't routine. Maybe they'll bring them back from NY.

Thanks for your very insightful review of Vanessa Zahorian and Guennadi Nedviquine--in fact for all three of your Sylvia reviews. You saw qualities in these dancers I didn't fully appreciate until you pointed them out.

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The enjoyment and ease of conveying some sort of story and meaning behing the steps is missing. (Is this possibly a CPYB trait?)
Based on all of the CPYB dancers that I've seen dance professionally, I'd say the opposite is true, and that this was the exception to the rule.

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