MCB New York City CenterJanuary 2009
Posted 17 January 2009 - 11:39 AM
Dancing for Mr. B, and Everything After
Posted 19 January 2009 - 05:10 AM
starting Wednesday, January 21st
Be There Or Be Square !! ( Big Smile Intended !! )
Posted 19 January 2009 - 07:52 PM
Edited by Jack Reed, 20 January 2009 - 05:47 AM.
Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:21 AM
Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:42 AM
Posted 21 January 2009 - 09:37 PM
Anyway, the company opened in the New York City Center with Symphony in Three Movements, led by Jennifer Kronenberg and Jeremy Cox. This is the city I used to see about forty performances of Balanchine's company a year in, although not in this theatre, and I suppose the familiarity of the surroundings otherwise put me in a frame of mind to expect what I saw in those days, and so what I heard seemed maybe a little bit slow and what I saw on stage looked a little bit crowded. (Of course, Balanchine made Symphony in Three Movements in 1972, having moved from this theatre to the New York Sate Theatre with its larger stage in 1964.) Those are my quibbles with this performance, the rest was just so good: You know how we are more critical of a color photo than of a black and white one? How we have issues with it because it's closer to reality? This performance was close to the reality of what Symphony in Three Movements is for me, having seen it many times supervised by its maker. As it went pulsing along, something from the recent interviews of Villella about the cost of producing here came into the back of my mind. Around two-thirds through the first movement, I thought, This company looks like a million bucks!
(On the street after the performance, one of my professional dance-writer friends of long, extensive experience in New York told one of the dancers, "I haven't seen classical dancing that good in a long, long time", and suggested the company would be welcome on a regular basis. This person sees a lot of dance in the course of her career.)
Whatever I heard, I saw; it was not always obvious, (to someone who practices suspension of disbelief in the theatre) exactly what the causal relationship was between what I heard and what I saw. They were united, and it was right. It helped that it was far better lit than anything I have ever seen in the Broward CPA. This is New York! (I will say, since the music was recorded, that the company gets better sound in the BCPA, especially at the bass end of the spectrum.) And at the end, the applause was so sustained, I thought Symphony Three, as we used to call it in the old days, was going to get an unprecedented curtain call for the three lead couples. It didn't, but I had a sense that this audience knew when it saw a good thing. This is New York!
La Valse featured Deanna Seay as the Girl in White, as I had hoped, although that moment of revulsion, when she throws the black flower of death away from her, seemed perfunctory this time. But otherwise, such as her throwing her upper body back as she dies in death's arms, she was truly tragic, and the culmination of the whole eerie spell of the ballet.
In the Upper Room is a dance I'm getting a little tired of, as we have been saying on another thread, although I am still happy to see my favorites when they appear, Catoya in her unassuming sharpness, Seay with her silken phrasing; these dancers give the piece focus for me -- except when they're both active onstage!
The dance was just a foot dance at first, with everyone onstage in white footgear and too much smoke to see their gray-clad bodies. No alarms went off though, and pretty soon we could see as we were supposed to. At the end, the crowd, especially behind me in the orchestra seats, cheered and stood, and Twyla Tharp and then Edward Villella came out for applause with the Room cast. Villella kissed Tharp on the forehead; as the line moved forward at one point, Tharp threw an arm around Alex Wong. Although I saw a number of people dressing for the cold at the end of the second intermission (after La Valse), the audience was overall pretty enthusiastic.
Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:14 AM
Sym 3 looked very fresh and bracing on the smaller CC stage - especially the 1st and last movements. MCB seems to take more leeway with individual interpretations than I'm used to seeing - Kronenberg & Cox danced the main roles & her attitude was much more playful than what I recall at NYCB. Of course, I only remember Whelan in the role so that may account for some of the difference and that’s fine with me. I think any individual role is open to an artist’s unique interpretation as long as the style and overriding dance principles are respected - and I felt that they were. The arms are much more classical than NYCB's ever were (in my experience) but they do not sacrifice speed, attack, edge or energy to allow for the greater emphasis on epaulment which is what often bothers me when I see Balanchine performed by anyone but NYCB. This company dances with great energy and a great sense of engagement with the choreography and it’s a pleasure to watch.
It was good to see Catoya as the main “Ballerina Bomber” in the Tharp and she is also listed for the opening movement of Sym C - but I was hoping to see more of her!
In case anyone’s interested - here’s the casting for the principle roles for the run:
Sym 3: Kronenberg/Cox, Albertson/Wong, P.Delgado/Dufaur
La Valse: Seay/Guerra, Cox (Death)
Upper Room: Kronenberg, J Delgado, Wong, Cox, Baker , Albertson (stompers) Carranza, P Delgado, Catoya (Bomb Squad), Bramaz, Dafaur, Guerra
Square Dance: J. Delgado (Albertson on Sun), Cox
Rubies: Kronenberg/Penteado, Spiridonakos (Noelle on Sun)
Sym C: Catoya/Penteado, Wu/Guerra, J Delgado/ Wong, P Delgado/Cox
Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:48 AM
Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:44 PM
P.S. Yesterday afternoon I visited the Whitney museum for the Calder show, and afterward happened on an interesting little photograph in the Andy Warhol exhibit on 5M: A 1963 photo booth (like in bus stations of the time) shot of Edward Villella. People into movement might also enjoy the moving sculpture in the Calder show; those intrigued by drawings made with a single line might enjoy his wire sculpture. Stravinsky was among Calder's admirers; I don't know about Balanchine. He's long been a favorite of mine (not to bracket myself with Stravinsky, or anything!).
Posted 22 January 2009 - 08:36 PM
Jeanette Delgado's dancing in Square Dance in particular stopped the show; the applause was so determined they could not continue, and she deserved it. I was happier with Cox too, both in this and in the last movement of Symphony in C, but the star of C and of the evening, for me and for the man in front of me, was "the girl in the first movement", Mary Carmen Catoya: "If she'd do something else, I'd come back and see her," he said. "What amplitude, musicality, and scale." "First moment to last?" I ventured. "First moment to last," he agreed. (I thought of saying that he should have seen Catoya's two Tchaikovsky Piano concerto No. 2s last weekend, but then I thought it might be a little cruel...)
Rubies, the ballet that hooked me on Balanchine-ballet in the late 60's, had the requisite brilliance most of the way through, though I thought the pas de deux had some soggy spots. I saw quite a lot of the original cast, and that is quite a high standard; this company comes much closer than any other I've seen in many years, in the entire Jewels "suite". (I'm not looking for an imitation; the performances years ago didn't look like an imitation of anything.)
Wu's performance in Symphony in C was quite admirable, a further advance for her, but...
Posted 23 January 2009 - 05:46 AM
Posted 23 January 2009 - 05:46 AM
Alistair Macaulay in this morning's Times, writes a wonderful tribute to the company, without mentioning individual performances. Macaulay is that rare Times chief critics who actually spends time -- and thought -- watching key regional companies regularly, and therefore becoming familiar with their style, rep, and dancers. He knows MCB, as he knows several other companies outside New York. Good for him!
Here's an interesting quote from the article:
"Much to learn" -- imagine, the chief dance critic of the nation's most influential paper admits that he has things to learn and WANTS to learn more. Wonderful!
As a dancegoer, I feel I have much to learn from watching this company; I hope others feel the same. (It was good to see New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater dancers among Wednesday's audience.)
It's great that the MCB dancers can be seen by some of their peers in New York. I hope that the MCB dancers also get some time (and free tickets) to watch their NYCB fellow-dancers as well.
Posted 23 January 2009 - 07:51 AM
For me, Janie Taylor's Square Dance at NYCB was my ideal. She's done this wonderful ballet approximately 2-3 times, I saw 2. However, J. Delgado gave an amazing, new flavor with her bold style. I'd run to see either lead again, any night.
Jeremy Cox was also very good, and interesting, but he took many liberties with the choreography in his solo of Square Dance that I didn't like.
Must point out Michael Sean Breeden in demi-soloist parts of Square Dance and Sym in C. I had always admired him and his dancing while he attended SAB. Still an elegant, poetic, handsome dancer with polish, I was so happy to see that Michael was getting a good share of demanding Balanchine ballets to learn/dance/enjoy!
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