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Balanchine and Robbins weeks


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#16 bart

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 04:37 AM

Peter Martins' "Naive and Sentimental Music," one of the biggest train wrecks ever on the stage of the New York State/David H. Koch Theater.

All the reviewers seem to agree with you, to one extent or other. (At least I think so; I haven't seen any positive reviews.)

This raises questions for me. Putting on a ballet, especially one with so many principal dancers, is a complex affair with plenty of opportunities to stand back and say: "Hey, this isn't working." So why didn't that occur? How does something widely perceived as deeply flawed survive the long creation process and still get on stage? (Especially in these times of diminished financial resources.)

(P.S. Maybe we need a new thread: "What were they thinking?!? (When talented people put awful work on stage.)

#17 DeborahB

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 05:38 AM

Peter Martins' "Naive and Sentimental Music," one of the biggest train wrecks ever on the stage of the New York State/David H. Koch Theater.

All the reviewers seem to agree with you, to one extent or other. (At least I think so; I haven't seen any positive reviews.)

This raises questions for me. Putting on a ballet, especially one with so many principal dancers, is a complex affair with plenty of opportunities to stand back and say: "Hey, this isn't working." So why didn't that occur? How does something widely perceived as deeply flawed survive the long creation process and still get on stage? (Especially in these times of diminished financial resources.)

(P.S. Maybe we need a new thread: "What were they thinking?!? (When talented people put awful work on stage.)


In this case the answer is surely that Peter Martins runs NYCB (albeit, now as Artistic Director only ). Who is going to say "no" to him? (no one). Plus he must have thought it was working (i.e. viable/good etc.).
I bet this ballet will fade away (thank goodness!) by 2011.

#18 nysusan

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 05:47 AM

Peter Martins' "Naive and Sentimental Music," one of the biggest train wrecks ever on the stage of the New York State/David H. Koch Theater.

All the reviewers seem to agree with you, to one extent or other. (At least I think so; I haven't seen any positive reviews.)

This raises questions for me. Putting on a ballet, especially one with so many principal dancers, is a complex affair with plenty of opportunities to stand back and say: "Hey, this isn't working." So why didn't that occur? How does something widely perceived as deeply flawed survive the long creation process and still get on stage? (Especially in these times of diminished financial resources.)

(P.S. Maybe we need a new thread: "What were they thinking?!? (When talented people put awful work on stage.)


In this case the answer is surely that Peter Martins runs NYCB (albeit, now as Artistic Director only ). Who is going to say "no" to him? (no one). Plus he must have thought it was working (i.e. viable/good etc.).
I bet this ballet will fade away (thank goodness!) by 2011.


It's faded away already. They usually run a new piece for 3 seasons but this one didn't make into next season's schedule. Hooray!

#19 jsmu

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 03:48 PM

Is it possible that the situation Macaulay laments is a reflection of everyone's enormous work load, as compared with companies with a different system? Isn't it inevitable that there will be some unevenness in a succession of Jewels performances? Or is the problem greater than that?


Sadly, the problem is far greater than that. For a Jewels example from one golden age, imagine Nichols and Calegari in Emeralds, McBride in Rubies, and Farrell in Diamonds. I saw this cast more than once, and it was even more splendid than one would imagine. This was also in a period where one could see Nichols and Ashley at their zeniths virtually every night--for several years--often on the same evening. There can hardly be a bigger workload than these two dazzling ballerinas sustained for years, in the most taxing and revealing Balanchine repertory. I probably do not need to add that NYCB's current Jewels casts are not in the same universe as the one I mentioned...nor on a par with such dancers (Nichols and Ashley aside) as Alexopoulos, Hlinka, Saland, even Fugate. Mearns may be a good dancer, but not in an iconic Verdy role.
Fairchild is efficient and usually clean. Taylor is wild, undisciplined, clearly has never fully recovered from serious injuries, and is occasionally very stimulating. This is not the level of dancing Jewels needs. It's quite true that Seay, J. Delgado, and Catoya at MCB; Nadeau and Pantastico at PNB; and Feijoo at Boston Ballet, put all of NYCB's current Jewels cast to shame and embarrassment.

#20 carbro

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 05:40 PM

A lot of this comes down to personal taste, of course, but I was never a huge fan of Kyra Nichols (heresy, I know) and even less of a fan of Merrill Ashley, unless she was going 90 mph. I have to go quite a while back -- before Calegari (whom I did like) or other ballerinas who came up in the '70s and '80s, to find one whose Diamonds left as strong an impression on me as the one Sara Mearns danced this season. Suddenly, I see Mearns as a world-class ballerina. There are stronger technicians, but what an amazing stylistic range she has! What fluidity of movement! What imagination!

I think between Mearns, Bouder and Tiler Peck, with Kathryn Morgan coming up, NYCB has a mini-golden age of young or youngish ballerinas (maybe not so mini :) ). Unfortunately, its male roster is not so golden. The company does not excel at developing its male talent from within the ranks. Martins imported Garcia. We can see how Robert Fairchild continues to develop. I hope Tyler Angle can become more consistent, because I really like him when he's on. Hopefully, the promise that Chase Finlay displayed in his first solo role was not deceptive.

But I don't think it's only the principals who determine the quality of a company. More important is the aptly termed corps de ballet. You can have a brilliant lead cast, but if the corps isn't good, the ballet as a whole will fall apart. In this regard, NYCB runs the gamut.

#21 DeborahB

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 06:00 PM

A lot of this comes down to personal taste, of course, but I was never a huge fan of Kyra Nichols (heresy, I know) and even less of a fan of Merrill Ashley, unless she was going 90 mph. I have to go quite a while back -- before Calegari (whom I did like) or other ballerinas who came up in the '70s and '80s, to find one whose Diamonds left as strong an impression on me as the one Sara Mearns danced this season. Suddenly, I see Mearns as a world-class ballerina. There are stronger technicians, but what an amazing stylistic range she has! What fluidity of movement! What imagination!

I think between Mearns, Bouder and Tiler Peck, with Kathryn Morgan coming up, NYCB has a mini-golden age of young or youngish ballerinas (maybe not so mini :) ). Unfortunately, its male roster is not so golden. The company does not excel at developing its male talent from within the ranks. Martins imported Garcia. We can see how Robert Fairchild continues to develop. I hope Tyler Angle can become more consistent, because I really like him when he's on. Hopefully, the promise that Chase Finlay displayed in his first solo role was not deceptive.

But I don't think it's only the principals who determine the quality of a company. More important is the aptly termed corps de ballet. You can have a brilliant lead cast, but if the corps isn't good, the ballet as a whole will fall apart. In this regard, NYCB runs the gamut.


Carbro,
I agree with everything you've written. Thanks for expressing this opinion (mine too!). One thing -- I wish we could see more of the SF Ballet!
Talk about stellar male dancers (wow!). I wish Helgi (sp?) could come coach our male dancers. Do note that I think we have many very good male dancers: both Angles, Robbie Fairchild, Adrian Danchig-Warning (whom I adore and wish he danced more), Sean Suozzi (a personal friend), Philip Neal (I'm going to miss him so!), Joaquin DeLuz, Ben Millepied (who is dancing so much better this season), Adam H.,
Andy Veyette, Amar Ramasar, Antonio Carmena, and others. That said, there's room for improvement (and even thought I'm a NYCB nut, David Hallberg is, by far, my favorite male dancer. M. Gomes comes a close second.)

#22 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 06:22 PM

The company does not excel at developing its male talent from within the ranks. Martins imported Garcia.


I agree. If you look at male principals over the last 20 years, Martins imported many of them, and most of those from Europe: Hubbe, Lindsay Fischer, Robert Hill, Marcovici, Millipied, Martins, Askegard, deLuz, and Zelensky among others. Come to think of it, Mr. B.'s imports were mostly male: Anderson, Luders, Horiuchi, Tomassen, Kozlov.

#23 Helene

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 06:45 PM

Horiuchi won the Prix de Lausanne and studied at SAB. I doubt he would have been hired at NYCB had he not been at the school. But missing is Peter Martins himself :), and Bruhn danced with NYCB for a short while. For a few years though, Martins, Andersen, Luders, and Tomasson danced with NYCB at the same time and constituted the core of the male Principals, since d'Amboise was dancing rarely in that overlap period. Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux danced with NYCB in the 70's.

I can think of several non-North American women who did not study at SAB or join NYCB early and that Balanchine hired: Verdy, von Aroldingen, and Kozlova. Thesmar also guested with the company.


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