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Hallberg & Gomes in "Kings of Dance"Feb 19-21, City Center


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#1 Ambonnay

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 06:30 PM

Another topic on this board, from Dale, describes Hallberg and Gomes' participation in the "Kings of the Dance" performances at City Center.

http://ballettalk.in...;hl=kings dance

"KINGS OF THE DANCE
February 19 – 21, 2010 On Sale Now
The critically-acclaimed Kings of the Dance are back onstage at New York City Center! After a triumphant 10-city Russian tour in 2007-2008 that included sold-out performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Ardani Artists presents a new program that will include David Hallberg (USA), Jose Manuel Carreño (Cuba), Joaquin De Luz (Spain), and Nikolay Tsiskaridze (Russia), as well as new Kings Marcelo Gomes (Brazil), Dennis Matvienko (Ukraine) and Guillaume Cote (Canada). The three-act performance will include choreography by Frederick Ashton, José Limón, Nacho Duato, Roland Petit, Anton Dolin, Boris Eifman, and Christopher Wheeldon. New York City Center is first stop on the upcoming four-week world tour of Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia."

Note that tickets are available now :), even though tickets to the Corella company's performances are not available until next month.

#2 Ambonnay

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 03:44 PM

The current edition of Pointe magazine contains a small article entitled "King David".

-- The Kings version that will be performed in February has been "revamped".

-- David Hallberg: "We're a melting pot of styles and nationalities, which is fascinating for audiences". "We're not doing the standard gala fare." "It's eclectic and modern".

-- "Hallberg was especially excited to learn Duato's turbulent "Remanso", new to the Kings program this year. "I remember watching Vladimir Malakhov dance Remanso when I was about 14 or 15, and thinking that it was a ballet that might feel comfortable on my body. It's a masterpiece.""

#3 Ambonnay

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 05:19 PM

The NY Times over the weekend had an article on the upcoming Kings performance. The article features M Gomes:

http://www.nytimes.c...nce/14gome.html

#4 Ambonnay

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 08:22 AM

I attended yesterday evening's performance of "Kings of Dance" at City Center. Hallberg was amazing and lyrical, as usual :)

Carreno danced his solo quite well, and the Gomes/Cote pas de deux was beautiful. This was my first time seeing all danseurs except the three ABT principals, in person, and I came away with a favorable impression of Cote and the springy and cheerfully-styled De Luz from within the non-ABT personnel. Surprisingly, Matvienko did not impress; his solo (involving exaggerated, almost to me Charlie Chaplin-type comedy, but much less well executed) stood out as being of noticeably inferior quality to those of the other danseurs. Also, this program did not necessarily highlight the technical dancing skills of Tsiskardize. That being said, I was very happy with the program and seeing Hallberg in this environment is a true privilege.

The audience seemed to include more members speaking Russian than I ordinarily see at ballet performances in NY. I sat near the front of the Grant Tier level. Subject to the issue of the failings not being helpful to a complete view, I think that is a nice area to sit.

Act One

-- Film Presentation
The film shows the Kings practicing, and some thoughts from them about how happy they are to participate in the touring program. There are also some choreographers included in the film. Interestingly, I Vasiliev, who performed in certain Russian performances of Kings, is briefly included in the film. I understand he is in DC active in the Spartacus production there.

-- For 4, Franz Schubert/C Wheeldon
Denis Matvienko, Jose Manuel Carreno, Joaquin De Luz, Guillaume Cote*

Act Two
-- Small Steps, Micahel Nyman/Adam Hougland
Marcelo Gomes (created for Kings of Dance) (pretty good)
-- Vestris, Gennady Banshikoc/Leonid Jakobson
Matvienko (very poor program and poor execution; I thought he was the weakest of the Kings overall)
-- Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Christoph Gluck/Frederick Ashton
DAVID HALLBERG! (extremely lyrical, but not as long a solo as I would have liked)
-- Five Variations on a Theme, Bach/David Fernandez (created for Kings of Dance)
De Luz (pretty good)
-- Ave Maria, Schubert/Igal Perry
Carreno (excellent)
-- Lament, Charles Veal, Caroline Worthington/Dwight Rhoden
Desmond Richardson (seemed too intent on showing off his body; wore pink speedo-type item only; I thought his performance lacked finesse)
-- Fallen Angel, Gia Kancheli, Samuel Barber/Boris Eifman
Nikolay Tsiskardize
-- "Morel et Saint-Loup" from "Proust ou les Intermittances du Coeur", Gabriel Faure/Roland Petit
Variation -- Cote*
Pas de Deux -- Cote, Gomes* (excellent; a sensual and moving piece and unusual to see, at least in New York)

Act Three
-- Remanso, Enrique Granados/Nacho Duato
HALLBERG, Cote, Gomes (Gorgeous piece; Hallberg is again extraordinary -- how many superlatives can I accord his performances?)*
-- The Grand Finale

"*" denotes that the danseur can change for other performances in NY

To me, the Kings program further highlighted how extraordinary some of the danseurs at ABT are. Hallberg, Gomes and Carreno seemed to me to the strongest danseurs in the program. Maybe that is an unfair comparison because Tsiskardize only appeared in one portion of the program (as well as briefly in the Grand Finale) and Matvienko is a relatively newly annointed principal. However, I thought even Cote and De Luz danced noticeably better than Matvienko. :o

The beauty of the physical appearance of the bodies of Hallberg, Gomes, Carreno and Cote was obvious throughout their performances. :wink: The three ABT principals all performed their respective solos with their chests bared, and a neutral or white leotard or pant. Gomes looked quite muscular, and his solo, which featured a repeated move of his lifting up his shoulders as if in a shrug and then letting his arms dangle in front of him, highlighted the definition of his muscles along the sides of the front of his torso and on his back. Carreno looked toned and balanced. Hallberg's legs seemed as long as ever, and his body lines were so appealing. Next to Gomes in Remanso, one could tell that even Hallberg's body lines themselves have a refinement and beauty that are delicate and yet somehow also sufficiently robust.

I thought each ABT principal's solo did express a bit about that danseur. Hallberg was by far the most lyrical and classical of the three in his solo :)

The playbill includes the following information: "Dance of the Blessed Spirits was originally created for Sir Anthony Dowell, who staged the ballet for Mr. Hallberg for this tour. Mr. Hallberg is the first dancer after Sir Anthony to perform this work. In April 2010, Mr. Hallberg will make his debut with both the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and Mariinsky (Kirov) ballet in St Petersburg." I wonder if he will be dancing with Osipova in some cases?

I should note Cote did not do a solo during Act Two on the night I visited. That is presumably because he is active in both Morel et Saint Loup and Remanso. On February 20, when he will not be doing Morel et Saint Loup (hello -- Hallberg as Saint Loup on that night) and will also be absent from Remanso, Loup will do a solo -- "The End", music Brahms, choreo by James Kudelka.

Gomes and Carreno brought people who seemed like the respective choreographers of their solos on stage after their respective performances. One development in Kings is the increased emphasis on showcasing choreographers. This was mentioned in the film and also evident from how choreographers were sometimes brought on stage.

The City Center concessions stand had chocolate M&Ms and also the peanut butter version. Yum

#5 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 09:45 AM

I am going to see The Kings of Dance performance at City Center tomorrow (the Sunday matinee). I am looking forward to it even more after reading such a positive review. But nothing was mentioned about the Wheeldon ballet. As a big fan of Christopher Wheeldon, as well as Halberg, Gomes, Halberg and DeLuz I would love to read more about that ballet.

Thanks. And thank you Ambonnay for always writing such wonderful reviews. You even comment on the snack bar. What more could a Ballet Talk reader ask for?

#6 Ambonnay

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 12:09 PM

I am going to see The Kings of Dance performance at City Center tomorrow (the Sunday matinee). I am looking forward to it even more after reading such a positive review. But nothing was mentioned about the Wheeldon ballet. As a big fan of Christopher Wheeldon, as well as Halberg, Gomes, Halberg and DeLuz I would love to read more about that ballet.


Colleen:

You're too kind about my posts. :)

The playbill does not seem to distinguish between the matinee and any other performance (if there is one) on Sunday (February 21).
Here is what is indicated for February 21, for the performances where danseurs can be different:

For 4: Matvienko, Carreno, Gomes, Cote (the same combination as I saw last evening)
Morel et St Loup: Cote as Saint Loup, Gomes as Morel (same as what I saw)
Remanso: HALLBERG, Desmond Richardson, Carreno (only common person is Hallberg to what I saw) -- This could be interesting because Hallberg's dancing is so refined, and the dancing I saw from Richardson is so... well, the opposite. :o

On For 4, I did like it, but it seemed to me more "structured" than the other multi-danseur works in the program (pas de deux in Morel et Saint-Loup, and Remanso). The piece For 4 begins somewhat dramatically as the four danseurs are shown as dark shadows against a medium blue background. They move around a bit to create different poses, while still in the shadows, typically with their arms raised in various positions. When they emerge, they are all clothed similarly -- in dark pants (some are a blackish purple, others are a dark grey laced with forest green overtomes). Along the edge of each pant is a matched satin/other similar material trim -- like certain tuxedo pants. The top worn by each danseur is black, with some sparkly buttons and is translucent. One can see the physique of the men's torsos beneath the translucent black material. De Lux seems noticeably shorter than the others, and Cote and Carreno seem more refined in their dancing than Matvienko.

The piece involves, in many places but not exclusively, the four dancers doing the same steps or doing the same steps one slightly after another in progression. Sometimes the four of them are side by side. Sometimes two of them are in front of the other two. They move and use different parts of the stage, but, to me, this work did not showcase the purportedly excellent qualities of the participating dancers. If I were to showcase a King, I would have chosen a work with greater technical difficulty and greater dynamism (not in the sense of kinetic energy, but in the sense of a work that aspires to do more) and more variation in the moves simultaneously conducted by the four dancers. To me, this work represented an opportunity cost rather than anything I didn't like. That is, there could have been so much more done to showcase the capabilities of the danseurs. Maybe you can report on your thoughts after viewing it?

The solo portions of For 4 were more interesting to me than the portions where all four danseurs were on stage together.

#7 carbro

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 09:45 PM

I just returned from the program.

I thought it was choreographically thin, except for Vestris (which was a custom piece by Jakobson for the very young Baryshnikov -- don't know that anyone else has danced it til now) and Ashton's Dance of the Blessed Spirits to Gluck's music, which shows that was made on Dowell, since it needs a man with gorgeous line.

The second act, which was the solos and the duet from Petit's Proust ballet, showed most of the men shirtless, supporting the observation that there is usually a direct relation between the skimpiness of costuming and the skimpiness of choreography. Only Matvienko and deLuz didn't show their naked torsos. I hope this is not read as a complaint -- such magnificent looking men!

The highlight was the mini defile that closed the program. Each man had a chance to display his jumping and turning chops. At one point, Gomes and Tsiskaridze (?--he was not the one I was watching :wink: ) chased each other in a manege while deLuz did a few double air-turns, then very fast single air turns. In the reprise, deLuz got off his spot, landing right in Gomes' path. Avoiding collision, both displayed amazing reflexes and grabbed each other in an accidental ballroom dance hold as they made their timely exit.

I went in with low expectations, so I'm glad to report that I left happy.

#8 4mrdncr

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 04:29 PM

I am going to see The Kings of Dance performance at City Center tomorrow (the Sunday matinee). I am looking forward to it even more after reading such a positive review. But nothing was mentioned about the Wheeldon ballet. As a big fan of Christopher Wheeldon, as well as Halberg, Gomes, Halberg and DeLuz I would love to read more about that ballet.


Colleen:

You're too kind about my posts. :wink:

The playbill does not seem to distinguish between the matinee and any other performance (if there is one) on Sunday (February 21).
Here is what is indicated for February 21, for the performances where danseurs can be different:

For 4: Matvienko, Carreno, Gomes, Cote (the same combination as I saw last evening)
Morel et St Loup: Cote as Saint Loup, Gomes as Morel (same as what I saw)
Remanso: HALLBERG, Desmond Richardson, Carreno (only common person is Hallberg to what I saw) -- This could be interesting because Hallberg's dancing is so refined, and the dancing I saw from Richardson is so... well, the opposite. :dunno:

On For 4, I did like it, but it seemed to me more "structured" than the other multi-danseur works in the program (pas de deux in Morel et Saint-Loup, and Remanso). The piece For 4 begins somewhat dramatically as the four danseurs are shown as dark shadows against a medium blue background. They move around a bit to create different poses, while still in the shadows, typically with their arms raised in various positions. When they emerge, they are all clothed similarly -- in dark pants (some are a blackish purple, others are a dark grey laced with forest green overtomes). Along the edge of each pant is a matched satin/other similar material trim -- like certain tuxedo pants. The top worn by each danseur is black, with some sparkly buttons and is translucent. One can see the physique of the men's torsos beneath the translucent black material. De Lux seems noticeably shorter than the others, and Cote and Carreno seem more refined in their dancing than Matvienko.

The piece involves, in many places but not exclusively, the four dancers doing the same steps or doing the same steps one slightly after another in progression. Sometimes the four of them are side by side. Sometimes two of them are in front of the other two. They move and use different parts of the stage, but, to me, this work did not showcase the purportedly excellent qualities of the participating dancers. If I were to showcase a King, I would have chosen a work with greater technical difficulty and greater dynamism (not in the sense of kinetic energy, but in the sense of a work that aspires to do more) and more variation in the moves simultaneously conducted by the four dancers. To me, this work represented an opportunity cost rather than anything I didn't like. That is, there could have been so much more done to showcase the capabilities of the danseurs. Maybe you can report on your thoughts after viewing it?

The solo portions of For 4 were more interesting to me than the portions where all four danseurs were on stage together.



FYI: For4 was choreographed by Wheeldon for the original four KofD: J. Kobborg, E. Stiefel, A. Corella, N. Tsiskaridze. In the many articles and interviews at that time, Wheeldon specifically said he didn't want it to be about "tricks" but yet differentiate each King's technique--in unexpected ways--which I thought it did quite subtlely. (His example was: Tsiskaridze doing the adagio variation.) If I knew how, I'd link to all the old BT reviews of the 2006 performances, or I would check out the LATimes, Orange County Register, NYTimes and DM which all did stories on it. (But the California papers were the most detailed.) I know because I was there (LA and NY in 2006). Thanks, though, for reviewing the current "Kings" performances. I very much would have liked to attend, (but have to concentrate on a greater CCtr priority now), so it's great to read how they have changed and progressed.

#9 Memo

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 06:20 PM

I thought it was choreographically thin, except for Vestris (which was a custom piece by Jakobson for the very young Baryshnikov -- don't know that anyone else has danced it til now) and Ashton's Dance of the Blessed Spirits to Gluck's music, which shows that was made on Dowell, since it needs a man with gorgeous line.

The second act, which was the solos and the duet from Petit's Proust ballet, showed most of the men shirtless, supporting the observation that there is usually a direct relation between the skimpiness of costuming and the skimpiness of choreography. Only Matvienko and deLuz didn't show their naked torsos. I hope this is not read as a complaint -- such magnificent looking men!

I went in with low expectations, so I'm glad to report that I left happy.


I saw it in LA but I saw Dennis Matvieneko who I will say was not as strong as the other men. I have seen video of Vestris with Barishnikov and feel that this performance of it lacked depth. I loved the Ashton piece and think that David Halberg has an amazing line and visually is very expressive".

I loved the duet by Roland Petit. Danced by Matvienko and Halberg.

I had not planned to go and got a ticket at the last minute as well as a backstage pass.

Desmond Richardson performed in the version I saw and he is also a force to watch. Its interested that he looks 6'3" on stage and is not nearly that tall in person.

#10 DeborahB

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 05:16 AM

I just returned from the program.

I thought it was choreographically thin, except for Vestris (which was a custom piece by Jakobson for the very young Baryshnikov -- don't know that anyone else has danced it til now) and Ashton's Dance of the Blessed Spirits to Gluck's music, which shows that was made on Dowell, since it needs a man with gorgeous line.

The second act, which was the solos and the duet from Petit's Proust ballet, showed most of the men shirtless, supporting the observation that there is usually a direct relation between the skimpiness of costuming and the skimpiness of choreography. Only Matvienko and deLuz didn't show their naked torsos. I hope this is not read as a complaint -- such magnificent looking men!

The highlight was the mini defile that closed the program. Each man had a chance to display his jumping and turning chops. At one point, Gomes and Tsiskaridze (?--he was not the one I was watching :wink: ) chased each other in a manege while deLuz did a few double air-turns, then very fast single air turns. In the reprise, deLuz got off his spot, landing right in Gomes' path. Avoiding collision, both displayed amazing reflexes and grabbed each other in an accidental ballroom dance hold as they made their timely exit.

I went in with low expectations, so I'm glad to report that I left happy.



I agree with Carbro. I too, went in with low expectations (a bunch of "stars" showing off. How good could that really be?) but had a lot of fun.
Of course, I would be very happy seeing two hours of just Hallberg, Gomes, and De Luz (the crowd really loved him which was nice. Sometimes I feel he's a bit unappreciated by the NYCB audience) -- with partners, of course. I liked the other "Kings" but it's impossible to get to know a new dancer in a short solo. But for me the highlight was Desmond Richardson. I lost track of him after Ailey (although I did hear his name associated with this and that over the years), but what a true thrill to see him yesterday. He was in fine form and was as electrifying as ever. It's hard to believe he's over 40!

#11 Barbara

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 05:30 AM

I also was at the Sat evening and Sunday matinee performances. What a wonderful experience to see my favorite ABT dancers in this kind of program and be introduced to Cote and DeLuz. Definite favorites for me was the Petit pas de deux and Remanso. I don't know if Petit's piece was originally meant to be danced by two male dancers but it works beautifully this way and both casts I saw were exemplary - Hallberg/Matvienko and Gomes/Cote. It was especially effective because of the matched coloring of the two pairs and the intense connection I felt they all had with their partners in this role. Cote especially achieved simply beautiful lines.

I agree about Matvienko in Vestris. Having seen Barishnikov in this piece on tape, Matvienko simply does not have the acting chops. But it's a delightful piece and was a nice contrast to the other more intense solos. I was happy that the audience really showed appreciation for Hallberg's solo (given that it's less flashy than the other pieces) and he was rewarded with the only thrown bouquet at the Sun matinee. And I must admit I couldn't take my eyes off of the beautiful muscular form of Gomes in his solo.

Desmond Richardson without a doubt fills the stage with his presence. I've been wanting to see him dance on stage for many years and was not disappointed. I also thought he must be exceptionally tall until one day several years ago I happened to see him at the Italian embassy where we were both getting travel visas. Only then did I realize that he is short to average height. He was a definite audience favorite and garnered the most applause.

The Grand Finale was such fun and the dancers seemed to revel in it too. The audience on Sat was especially vociferous (me included), so much so that the Kings actually repeated the Finale. They seemed to be having as much fun as the audience. Interesting note - Richardson only did some of the final turns in the Finale on Sat and on Sun left the stage during that portion only to return for the final bows.

And yes, many many Russian attendees and lots of fur :wink:

#12 bart

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 05:56 AM

Thank you all so much for your reports. Alistair Macaulay, in today's NY Times, seems to agree with everyone here -- though with a decidedly more acidic flavor:

The eight dancers are Jose Manuel Carreño, Guillaume Côté, Marcelo Gomes, Mr. Hallberg, Joaquin De Luz, Denis Matvienko, Desmond Richardson, Nikolay Tsiskaridze, culled from a wide range of nationalities and ballet companies. All of them — even Mr. Tsiskaridze, a huge star in Russia but who may well be the most bizarre male dancer before the public today — behave with commendable restraint and good spirit, impeccably anticompetitive to the point of dullness. Such competition as occurs is not for World’s Best Dancer but World’s Worst Choreography, with impressive entries from Boris Eifman, Igal Perry, Roland Petit and Dwight Roden.

The only piece that seems to satisfy him is Ashton's "Dance of the Blessed Spirit," to music of Gluck, as danced by Hallberg:

It currently features one solo that does indeed make a man as complex and subtle as a ballerina: the “Dance of the Blessed Spirits,” from Gluck’s 1774 “Orphée et Euridice,” as choreographed in 1978 by Frederick Ashton for Anthony Dowell, to the famous music for solo flute and strings.

This solo of Elysian grace is now being danced by David Hallberg, the first person to have danced it since Mr. Dowell himself, and surely the finest stylistic heir Mr. Dowell has ever had.


http://www.nytimes.c....html?ref=dance

Mary Cargill, writing in DanceViewTimes, is also on the same wavelength as our own posters. Her review is balanced, but and she tosses in a zinger at the end aimed at some of the choreographers, comparing them to peasants at a gathering of "Kings."
http://www.danceview...d-peasants.html

#13 aurora

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 06:17 AM

Thank you all so much for your reports. Alistair Macaulay, in today's NY Times, seems to agree with everyone here -- though with a decidedly more acidic flavor:

http://www.nytimes.c....html?ref=dance


I don't know if I would say that was agreeing with everyone here...it is so *much* more acidic.
He thoroughly disliked everything besides the one piece with Hallberg in it. That really wasn't the impression I got from the reviews here although they were not raves by any means.

What I find most interesting about this review is his call (more than once) for "male centrality in ballet." I didn't realize this was what he thought ballet should be aiming for, but I'm glad I do now. I think it is odd. A balance between the role of male and female dancers? that makes sense....But why are we going for one being central?

#14 abatt

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 06:19 AM

I went to the Kings performance on Sun. afternoon, and I found it mostly disappointing because of the poor choreograhy. Some of it (Vestris and Fallen Angel) was awful. Most of it was mediocre at best. The only piece on the program that I would ever want to see again is the Ashton piece w. David Hallberg. Why doesn't ABT add this to their mixed bills this spring? We say many dancers in the audience, including Irina Dvorovenko (who looked stunning in a sequined top), Tiler Peck,and Erica Pereira. We also saw Darci Kistler and Peter Martins in Au Bon Pain next door during intermission. Peter decided to pay for his coffee by clearing his pockets of a pile of nickels, dimes and pennies.

#15 DeborahB

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 07:00 AM

I went to the Kings performance on Sun. afternoon, and I found it mostly disappointing because of the poor choreograhy. Some of it (Vestris and Fallen Angel) was awful. Most of it was mediocre at best. The only piece on the program that I would ever want to see again is the Ashton piece w. David Hallberg. Why doesn't ABT add this to their mixed bills this spring? We say many dancers in the audience, including Irina Dvorovenko (who looked stunning in a sequined top), Tiler Peck,and Erica Pereira. We also saw Darci Kistler and Peter Martins in Au Bon Pain next door during intermission. Peter decided to pay for his coffee by clearing his pockets of a pile of nickels, dimes and pennies.


The choreography, with the exception of Ashton, was pretty awful. However, I easily overlooked this because it was such fun to see the dancers. Still, I laughed out loud when I read Alastair Macaulay's line ".... - since "Kings" is a long evening and this occurs after the second intermission -- I began to lose the will to live somewhere around the point Mr. Hallberg solemnly tucked a rose inside his bent knee." (the line is much funnier in context with the entire paragraph). I'm sure I'd feel this way too if I had to see the program more than once, but for one performance it wasn't too torturous (and Hallberg looks good doing anything -- even tucking a rose into his new. LOL!).

Peter and Darci were sitting right near me. Darci didn't make it back to her seat during the second (the longest) act. Maybe she was sitting with someone other than Peter then? She was there for the third act.


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