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Reviews Spring 2010 Season Weeks 2 & 3May 2-May 16


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#1 abatt

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 08:07 AM

Yesterday's program was wonderful. It contained 3 Balanchine masterpieces- Concerto B., the 4 T's and Symphony in 3 Movements. Wendy Whelan was sublime in Concerto B., and it was great to see C. Askegard back. (I don't think he performed much, if at all, during the winter season). The other lead in Concerto B. was Ellen Bar. She and Wendy worked well together.

T. Reichlin was outstanding in the Choleric section of 4 Ts. She was fearless in her space devouring movements. Sebastian Marcovici looked better than he has in quite some time. He had more flexibility in his upper body than in previous seasons. He performed the Melancholic variation. I liked J. Somogyi and T. Angle in the central pdd. This role seems to fit Somogyi well. Albert Evans had problems balancing on one leg in his Phlegmatic variation (in the section where he must hold his other leg.) He wobbled a great deal, and seemed perilously close to completely losing his balance. The enitre cast in Symphony in 3 Movements was wonderful, but Ulbricht was particularly sensational. He defies gravity.

#2 balanchinette

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:27 AM

Yesterday's program was wonderful. It contained 3 Balanchine masterpieces- Concerto B., the 4 T's and Symphony in 3 Movements. Wendy Whelan was sublime in Concerto B., and it was great to see C. Askegard back. (I don't think he performed much, if at all, during the winter season). The other lead in Concerto B. was Ellen Bar. She and Wendy worked well together.

T. Reichlin was outstanding in the Choleric section of 4 Ts. She was fearless in her space devouring movements. Sebastian Marcovici looked better than he has in quite some time. He had more flexibility in his upper body than in previous seasons. He performed the Melancholic variation. I liked J. Somogyi and T. Angle in the central pdd. This role seems to fit Somogyi well. Albert Evans had problems balancing on one leg in his Phlegmatic variation (in the section where he must hold his other leg.) He wobbled a great deal, and seemed perilously close to completely losing his balance. The enitre cast in Symphony in 3 Movements was wonderful, but Ulbricht was particularly sensational. He defies gravity.


Agreed that yesterday's program was wonderful! What a treat to have an all-Balanchine program again after last season's story ballets. Wendy and Chuck Askegard were wonderful in the Adagio section of Barocco, and the corps members were also excellent. However, I didn't like Ellen Bar's performance -- she danced very "small" and didn't make the second role register as other dancers have in the past (Abi Stafford, who makes great jumping entrances in Barocco, and Rachel Rutherford).

My favorite performance yesterday was Tess Reichlen as Choleric -- such amazing stage presence! It's hard to watch anyone else when she's on stage. And marvellous gargouillades! I also thought the three opening couples in 4Ts were very strong, and Tyler Angle and Jenny Somogyi were also wonderful. Can't wait for Divertimento No. 15 this week! :)

#3 bart

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 12:20 PM

I was wondering -- considering all the talk recently about the "fell influence of Balanchine" -- how the audience as a whole responded to these works. Is it possible to compare this to the audience response to the program of new works. (Ideally esponses to BOTH would be enthusiastic and heartfelt, and everyone would rush out into the lobby to order multiple subscriptions for next year. :) )

PS. For me this is one of a number of possible Balanchine dream programs. I feel blessed that my local Balanchine-derived company, Miami, has danced all three works within the past couple of years.

#4 abatt

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 12:41 PM

I was wondering -- considering all the talk recently about the "fell influence of Balanchine" -- how the audience as a whole responded to these works. Is it possible to compare this to the audience response to the program of new works. (Ideally esponses to BOTH would be enthusiastic and heartfelt, and everyone would rush out into the lobby to order multiple subscriptions for next year. :) )



Interesting point Bart. I thought the crowd was very enthusiastic yesterday, and was most likely comprised largely of regular NYCB fans. In particular, Albert Evans received especially warm and loud applause since this is his last season. This indicates it was a very knowledgeable ballet crowd. In contrast, galas tend to be comprised largely of very wealthy people who want to be seen, and want to connect up with other rich, powerful people. I doubt many of them attend any ballet performances other than galas.

#5 balanchinette

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:04 AM

Saw Divertimento last night. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing it again (going again this week!) Ashley Bouder was her usual wonderfully musical self, just a delight to watch. Tiler Peck, Sterling Hyltin and Ana Sophia Scheller were all very strong, and I thought the men were excellent as well. Andrew Veyette's solo was filled with great jumps and at least two perfectly-landed double tours. :) Tyler Angle and Amar Ramasar both danced with amplitude and were great partners. Apart from Yvonne Borree, who had her usual shakes (which I still find distracting and disruptive), it's a very strong cast for Divertimento. The orchestra strings had its problems with the high notes, par for the course, but I thought the music was conducted at the perfect tempo.

First (and last, I think) Namouna for me last night. Especially after the brilliant choreography of Divertimento (I can never watch it enough to appreciate all the myriad touches of genius) I found Namouna rather long and boring, although the dancing throughout was excellent. I liked maybe 10 minutes of it. The pdd near the end was one of the better parts, although Peter Martins' loudly ringing cellphone right when the pdd started didn't help. Really, of all people to commit a cellphone faux-pas. :) And Lalo is no match for Mozart. Maybe Namouna would do better paired with something else that doesn't invite such unfavorable comparison.

#6 abatt

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:21 AM

I was at last night's performance as well. Bouder and Veyette were outstanding in Divert. 15. Despite the fast tempo, Bouder sailed through her killer variation. I'm liking Veyette more and more, and look forward to seeing him in new roles in the future. All the cast members were wonderful, with the exception of Borree. Balanchinette, I didn't think that the shaking was as awful as it has been in the past, but her footwork in her solo variation was a blurry mess. I liked Namoura very much (my second viewing), although I agree it is too long.

My normally dull, long subway ride back to Queens after the performance took a wonderful twist last night. I noticed an older woman on the platform who was holding the NYCB playbill and we struck up a conversation about all things ballet during the 45 minute ride home. I learned that I was speaking with Madame Gabriela Darvash, who taught ballet to, among others, Nancy Raffa (of ABT). Thank you Madame Darvash, and I hope to see you again on the "R" train platform again soon!

#7 balanchinette

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:30 AM

I was at last night's performance as well. Bouder and Veyette were outstanding in Divert. 15. Despite the fast tempo, Bouder sailed through her killer variation. I'm liking Veyette more and more, and look forward to seeing him in new roles in the future. All the cast members were wonderful, with the exception of Borree. Balanchinette, I didn't think that the shaking was as awful as it has been in the past, but her footwork in her solo variation was a blurry mess. I liked Namoura very much (my second viewing), although I agree it is too long.


Yes, Bouder was amazing!! She is a master of timing/phrasing and never looks hurried, she always looks like she's having fun. I really want to see her Theme and Variations again, as well as her Liberty Bell!

#8 abatt

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:34 AM

Yes, Bouder was amazing!! She is a master of timing/phrasing and never looks hurried, she always looks like she's having fun. I really want to see her Theme and Variations again, as well as her Liberty Bell!



I just looked at Bouder's twitter page, where she notes that Divert. 15 was a little "speedy" last night. She certainly didn't show any sign of being rushed.

#9 vipa

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 03:22 PM

My normally dull, long subway ride back to Queens after the performance took a wonderful twist last night. I noticed an older woman on the platform who was holding the NYCB playbill and we struck up a conversation about all things ballet during the 45 minute ride home. I learned that I was speaking with Madame Gabriela Darvash, who taught ballet to, among others, Nancy Raffa (of ABT). Thank you Madame Darvash, and I hope to see you again on the "R" train platform again soon!


Congrats abatt on your train ride with Madame Darvash. My husband studied with her years ago, she is quite a character and a story teller.

As far the performance I agree with most of the posts. I could see Divertimento again & again. Bouder's ability to move fast while having time for phrasing, and to kind of leave space around the steps (I'm not sure how to say what I mean) is amazing. It just made me smile. I wouldn't be as hard on Borree as some others, but aside from her variation everyone else was stellar. I've seen the ballet before but still find the variations to be very inventive.

Ratmansky - I didn't hate it, but will avoid sitting through it again. Although I enjoyed some of the performances, it was way too long and most of it was not very interesting choreographically. The quality of the performances is what made it enjoyable, so I'd rather see those dancers in better works. I read that Ratmansky wanted to "use the cliches of very romantic and classical ballets of the past .... and put them in a different context, make them more abstract." It wasn't abstract, so much as a vague story, so I'm not sure what he meant by that. I've enjoyed the other works he has done for NYCB, but this on didn't do it for me.

#10 4mrdncr

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 07:06 PM

I was wondering -- considering all the talk recently about the "fell influence of Balanchine" -- how the audience as a whole responded to these works. Is it possible to compare this to the audience response to the program of new works. (Ideally esponses to BOTH would be enthusiastic and heartfelt, and everyone would rush out into the lobby to order multiple subscriptions for next year. :wink: )



Interesting point Bart. I thought the crowd was very enthusiastic yesterday, and was most likely comprised largely of regular NYCB fans. In particular, Albert Evans received especially warm and loud applause since this is his last season. This indicates it was a very knowledgeable ballet crowd. In contrast, galas tend to be comprised largely of very wealthy people who want to be seen, and want to connect up with other rich, powerful people. I doubt many of them attend any ballet performances other than galas.


I was one of those "enthusiastic" audiences on Sunday (5/2) and did notice Mr. Evans difficulties but was very glad I got to see him and all casts that day.
I came (remember 8hr RT journey for me) specifically to see this program because...

I'd never seen "Concerto Barocco"-- but as a seminal work of Mr.B's, AND danced to JSBach (a favorite), I had to see it. Since I don't know all the NYCB dancers as well, I'm glad for all the more knowledgeable comments/reviews of all BT'ers above.

I hadn't seen "4T's" in 25 years--how sad is that?!--but still remembered small moments from 'way back then' despite no videos available; and, of course, the music, despite never hearing it played elsewhere. Now I see, BB is doing it this week with "Apollo" and "T&V"--(but it was actually cheaper for me to go to NYC than Boston!)

Everyone has spoken of "Symphony in 3 Movements" so many times, I felt it my duty to attend and learn why. Definately a learning experience in itself, and to see how many other, more recent choreographers, have referenced it in their works!

(Just an aside--but related to that recent thread about audience behaviors.... The women next to me I think had a combination of the plague, TB, whooping cough, H1N1, pneumonia/bronchitis etc.etc.etc. and NEVER stopped coughing--and we're talking deep chest---throughout. I'm only hoping the runny nose I have today is an allergy and not any of the above.)

#11 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 06:12 PM

I hadn't seen "4T's" in 25 years--how sad is that?!--but still remembered small moments from 'way back then' despite no videos available; and, of course, the music, despite never hearing it played elsewhere.


There is a DVD available with The 4 T's on it, with a superb cast from the 1980's. It is available from NYCB gift shop and probably at most other video outlets. It has: George Balanchine's Tzigane, Andante from Divertimento #15, The Four Temperaments, Jewels (selections from Emeralds and Diamonds ), and a full performance of Stravinsky Violin Concerto.


I was thankfully able to see both those programs last week, and of course enjoyed the all Balanchine (with three out of four being in my "top ten.") I agree with all the positive comments about Divert., and really enjoyed the Ratmansky -- it was a total hoot with perfectly serious choreography. It was beautifully danced with such a rich variety of styles (it glorified in being a pastiche). Ratmansky uses the dancers to their full abilities and individuality. Again, what a shame he went with "the competition."

#12 jeb

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 08:18 AM

2 and 3 Part Inventions last night was perfect - I had forgotten how much I love the music and the choreography. And the dancers were each phenomenal - it was a really great cast. Each dancer captured and expressed such joy and excitement. I would highly recommend this ballet, with this cast (Morgan, Pereira, Laracey, Zungre, Finlay, Peiffer, Appelbaum, Thew).

#13 LiLing

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 08:12 PM

I was there last night 5/13 as well. What a terrific program, four strong works in one performance! Nothing but Robbins, Balanchine, Bach, and Stravinsky, who could ask for more.
Teresa Reichlen was glorious in Concerto Barocco, partnered by corps member Justin Peck. He seemed a tad short for her, but danced and partnered extremely well.
Symphony in Three Movements received a powerful performance, with Sterling Hyltin standing out but really the whole huge cast (thirty two, I counted) danced like a house afire.
A great evening. :wink:

#14 vipa

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 08:52 PM

I was there tonight Saturday. I had a fine evening. I'll post a few thought, but am curious about other opinions.

4 T's I thought was performed well (not great). I more and more appreciate Abi Stafford. I love her phrasing and use of port de bras to stretch out a moment in space.
I'm old enough to still miss Bart Cook's amazing back bend walking off.

I enjoyed Outlier and would see it again (unlike the new Ratmansky piece). It was my first experience with McGregor. I loved the way the lighting was an intense part of the choreography. The dancers looked wonderful. I have to say that no one moves like Bouder. Her ability to etch movement without being hurried is truly amazing.

Cortege - Not Balanchine's finest but a great reminder of how he took the old and made it new again. Lauren King was a stand out in the Pas de Quatre. Ana Sophia Sheller always delivers. Sara Mearns was a glowing, expansive joy to behold with technique to spare. Her chainee turns getting faster and faster were so satisfying to watch. Jonathan Stafford seemed under powered to me.

I've only been twice so far this season, but I think the company looks great.

#15 abatt

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 08:18 AM

I attended the Friday evening and Sunday matinee performances. I also attended the Serenade performance at the Sat matinee. I thought Outlier had its interesting moments, and I would see it again. However, I can't really say that I liked it. In particular, I don't care for the undulating body movement that McGregor seems to favor. That's what hip hop dancers do. I could have stayed home and watched MTV to see that. I expect more from NYCB. I also disliked the choreography for Maria K., where her limbs are manipulated by male partners. I thought the opening section for Tiler Peck was wonderful, and the choreography for Wendy Whelan was also very good. The lighting was very well done. The cast seemed too large and underutilized.

I can't decide whether I preferred Maria K's Cortege over S. Mearn's. They were both pretty wonderful. An embarrassment of riches. J. Stafford is an adequate partner, but he is overall a pretty bland personality on stage, and is not terribly impressive on a technical level. Krohn and Suozzi danced their variations with thiriling abandon on Friday evening. It was excellent. I wasn't so impressed with S. Lowery's performance in the same role on Sunday afternoon. It looked underpowered. Was it my imagination, or did Scheller not perform her variation on Sunday afternoon in Cortege?

Wendy and Gonzalo were excellent in Sunday's Opus 19. Wendy has lost some speed and energy in this ballet since she first took it on several years ago.

Serenade is always a joy. I first saw Ringer do the waltz girl a few years ago. She was stunning. After that, they never assigned her the role again. I have literally been waiting YEARS for Ringer to return to this role. I finally got my wish on Friday evening. Once again she was spectacular. Darci was moving in the Sunday cast. I didn't love M. Fairchild as the Russian girl. One problem was that she was much shorter than the others in the cast. Tess Reichlin was a revelation in this role on Saturday afternoon. Her long limbs made the sweeping choreography look gorgeous. Her jumps were high and covered so much space. Gilliland has improved a great deal in the Dark Angel role since she first took it on a few years ago. The male leads were excellent in both performances. However, Ask LaCour had some awkward partnering issues on Fri evening.

Divert. 15 was even better on Sun than when I saw it earlier in the season. Bouder outdid herself. She was incredible. Tiler Peck and Veyette were also standouts in a fantastic cast. Borree was better on Sunday than earlier in the season.


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