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Christopher Wheeldon's EstanciaHas anyone seen Saturday night's premiere?


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#1 erpollock

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:10 AM

The audience was very enthusiastic and gave the performers and choreographer a standing ovation. I saw Wheeldon's theatrical sense, his talent for movement flow, the way he told the story through dance, not mime and acting. He was able to display "horizontal vertigo" (characteristic of the pampas) through horizontally focused dance. He deploys props effectively - ropes, bridles, sticks representing I think fencing. The "wild horses" stole the show. The two "Ti/ylers" - Peck and Angle - in the leads were superb. Tiler Peck is a force of nature. That said, I think she is more Broadway in spirit than Balanchine. Tyler Angle skillfully went from "city" to "country" as he learned the ways of the Argentine pampas and won the girl. Early in the ballet I thought the dancing reminded me of Oklahoma, only with an Argentine flavor. But Wheeldon is original. The diminutive conductor, Clotilde Otranto, must be a ball of fire - the music was beautifully, strongly executed. As always, Georgina Pazcoguin was a standout, even in a horse's costume. The horses' movements are exceptionally conceived and executed - Andrew Veyette as the "wild horse" looked like he was having a ball!

I don't think I'd want to see this dance again though. It's rather dark, and it lacks transcendency, which is what I go to the ballet to experience. Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, which followed, to me represents the total Balanchine experience of transcendence through dance magic. The literalness of Estancia's plot, in which a girl rejects a boy because he can't tame a wild horse, is to me foreign in flavor. I prefer something more universal, more - well, plotless in which the story is inferred by dance values, like Brahms-Schoenberg!

I'd be interested to hear other points of view.

#2 CAM

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:56 AM

I saw the dress rehearsal and was very impressed by the energy of the orchestra and the dancing. The conductor was very demanding and kept asking for more energy. Then Wheeldon asked that the last dance be faster. Everyone watching was exhausted by the end of the dance--I can only imagine what the dancers must have felt like. I agree that the horses were very good, Wheeldon got the leg movements beautifully. The pas de deux had some tricky partnering moves, but the effect was lovely.

CAM

#3 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 06:15 PM

I had heard some negative responses from friends who saw the dress rehearsal, so I had low expectations. However, I was very pleased by the ballet. I didn't pay attention to the plot, but enjoyed the stage pictures, and the movement, especially of the horses. The way the cast moved fence boards around to create different shapes (of corrals?) didn't quite make sense to me. Why did the shapes have to shift so much?

Wheeldon doesn't yet have one of Balanchine's special talents, which is to highlight the main couple through the flow of the movements of the entire group, so his leads (to me) were not always easy to find. That said, I was under the double handicap of no opera glasses and a bad seat (yes, there are some in the house).

Some people said that it was derivative of "Rodeo," and I can see that in some of it, but he made the decision to follow the plot as laid out by Ginastera. What I didn't like were the costumes (which reminded me of "Oltremare"). I think it's worth additional viewings, to watch both the whole and the parts more closely. Tyler Angle is just a lovely, lovely dancer and it would take a lot for me to tire of his work. I can't say the same for Tiler Peck, as good and crisp and clean as her movements are.


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