"First Look" gala casting and reviews
Posted 17 September 2008 - 09:02 PM
It's a very full evening, with a peek at one of the new Tharps as well as chunks of Balanchine and Wheeldon.
Posted 20 September 2008 - 11:38 PM
Several people moved up from corps to soloist. Rachel Foster (who Boal said "rocked our contemporary repertory"), Benjamin Griffiths (compliments on his technique), Seth Orza (Boal noted that this was his "second promotion to soloist" since he had been promoted at NYCB right before he came here on a corps contract), and James Moore (described as "Mopey, the Angry Teen"). Lucien Postelwaite was raised to principal (Boal mentioned his Princess Grace award, and that he was promoted to soloist only last year). It was a lovely part of the evening.
Posted 21 September 2008 - 05:19 AM
The Gala was fantasic.....if I had to summarize it in one word, that word would be CARLA.
Posted 21 September 2008 - 12:47 PM
Posted 21 September 2008 - 03:17 PM
Boal said as much in his remarks.
Posted 21 September 2008 - 09:35 PM
First, congratulations to five dancers whose promotions were announced by Peter Boal between "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" and the Pas de Trois from "Emeralds":
to all! (Speaking of flowers, the bouquets last night, given to each woman in a principal role, were gorgeous.)
Boal also paid tribute to Jane and David Davis who helped found PNB's predecessor and have been company supporters since that time.
When I looked at the cast list for "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" and saw Jonathan Porretta cast as Morrosine, I knew we were in for a treat. Not only did he do an extended exit alternating between Da Classical Bomb and Looney Tunes, but in his dialogue, he did a great imitation of an exaggerated Russian accent, including some dead-on pronunciations exactly as some of my relatives would have said. As Striptease Girl, Korbes was alluring in the first pas de deux in pink, but in the second, in black, kicked it up another notch: from the first high kick, she was the ultimate seductress, with the face of a Madonna. Stanton was charming as the Hoofer and a deft comedian in the "death" scene. I was tempted to cry out "One more time!" when Kiyon Gaines and Josh Spell did their short tap riffs. What a great ballet to start with for a gala, a good-natured parody danced with infectious enthusiasm.
The "Emeralds" Pas de Trois was danced to perfection by Benjamin Griffiths, Lesley Rausch (first solo), and Maria Chapman (second solo). The three embodied the harmony of the music and choreography. It was at this point that I realized that it was as if the dancers were continuing the peak they reached last season, and it was a joy to see these roles danced by three who could just as easily have danced the lead roles in the ballet.
The final piece in the first half was excerpts from the Third and Fourth Movement of Twyla Tharp's new "Opus 111" to Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G major. This time in costume, the dancers went full out to the dynamic playing by orchestra members John Pilskog, Ingrid Freerickson, Scott Ligocki, Betty Agenty, and Page Smith.
The second half opened with Christopher Wheeldon's "After the Rain Pas de Deux" I was expecting a pretzelly kind of Wheeldon ballet, and I was surprised and captivated by the openness of the choreography and the slow, rich unfolding of what felt like a narrative ballet. Korbes' dancing was lush and heartfelt, and she looked superb with Batkhurel Bold, whose role brought out a welcome expressiveness, particularly in his upper body.
The closer was "Symphony in C". Carrie Imler danced the First Movement, and, for her, time seemed to stand still as she danced each movement completely, from head to toe, regardless of tempo or challenge. Her feet are a marvel of precise placement and form. This was every more evident in the Fourth Movement coda, when all four ballerinas dance together. Jonathan Porretta danced exuberantly in the third movement.
The demi-soloists across the board were very fine. William Lin-Yee and Abby Relic made company preview debuts as demis in the third and second movement, respectively. Sarah Ricard Orza was particularly authoritative as Abby Relic's counterpart. The corps was on double-duty, as Anspach, Brunsen, Dec, and O'Connor danced first and third, with Reid and Kitchens dancing first and then fourth demi-soloist, and the corps in the second movement doubling in the fourth, joined by 12 professional division students.
I'd like to note one performance that I found striking: the first woman in the corps of the second movement appears upstage in silouette to lead the row of six. Liora Reshef's epaulment in that opening phrase was breathtaking. Throughout the movement I was struck by her rounded, fluid arms and the soft movement of her head and shoulders.
Watching the fourth movement of Tharp's Opus 111, I saw a sweetness that I never expected from Tharp and a vibrancy that I did. But in addition, in that movement there was a sense of community. Not the "this is a democracy and everyone's the same and will do everything in parallel" community, but a type reminiscent of the one in Robbins' "Dances at a Gathering." In fact, the entire gala evening was about company, from the theater kids in 'Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" to the harmony of "Emeralds" to the Tharp to the emotional resonance of the Wheeldon, to the grand company ballet of them all, "Symphony in C". What a night and what a gift.
Posted 22 September 2008 - 09:13 AM
I look forward to seeing more of Reshef. I remember being captivated by her in the corps of Swan Lake the last time around, before I knew her name, and probably before she was in the company. What a beauty!
Posted 22 September 2008 - 10:01 PM
And since we get Dances at a Gathering later this year that's a comparison to think about.
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