Colleen Boresta

Philip Neal Farewell 6/13/2010

18 posts in this topic

I really enjoyed reading about all the Ballet Talkers getting to meet each other at the Alicia Alonso Birthday Gala. It made me wonder if any of you will be at the Philip Neal Farewell. It would be great to meet other Ballet Talkers before the ballet or during the intermissions or whatever. If it's before, a good meeting place would be the new public space in back of the Met, by the reflecting pool. I've hung out there a few times already this season, and it's so comfortable and cool. I'm usually pretty easy to spot. I'll be the middle aged woman with short red hair wearing a baseball cap.

Anyway, I'm really excited about the program (though I hate to see Neal retire). I'm not excited about Call Me Ben (I've seen one Melissa Barack ballet and the best thing I can say about it was that it was forgettable). But the rest of the program looks just sensational.

Let me know if any of you will be attending the Neal Farewell.

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The program has been changed for this performance. The new Barak -- Call Me Ben -- has been dropped for Chaconne, which is now closing the perfromance instead of Who Cares. Neal is dancing all three ballets. Here is the casting:

SUNDAY MATINEE, JUNE 13, 3 PM

PHILIP NEAL FAREWELL PERFORMANCE

SERENADE: Ringer, M. Fairchild, Mearns, Neal, la Cour [Conductor: Karoui]

intermission

WHO CARES?: Neal, *Whelan/T. Peck, Somogyi/Scheller, *Kowroski/Hyltin [Conductor: Otranto; Solo piano: McDill]

intermission

CHACONNE: Whelan, Neal, Pereira, Hendrickson, Muller, Bar, Scordato, Zungre, Arthurs, Applebaum, Hankes, Peiffer

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Wow. That's terrific. The best program all season.

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The program has been changed for this performance. The new Barak -- Call Me Ben -- has been dropped for Chaconne, which is now closing the perfromance instead of Who Cares. Neal is dancing all three ballets. Here is the casting:

SUNDAY MATINEE, JUNE 13, 3 PM

PHILIP NEAL FAREWELL PERFORMANCE

SERENADE: Ringer, M. Fairchild, Mearns, Neal, la Cour [Conductor: Karoui]

intermission

WHO CARES?: Neal, *Whelan/T. Peck, Somogyi/Scheller, *Kowroski/Hyltin [Conductor: Otranto; Solo piano: McDill]

intermission

CHACONNE: Whelan, Neal, Pereira, Hendrickson, Muller, Bar, Scordato, Zungre, Arthurs, Applebaum, Hankes, Peiffer

Interesting casting for Who Cares? Does this mean that Neal will do the duets with the senior ballerinas (all of whom he's partnered, no?) with the junior ballerinas taking the solos? I'm thrilled that I'll get one last look at Neal in "Chaconne" ... but it's gonna make me cry. He's always been a favorite of mine.

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If it's in the order of appearance, it would be Whelan/Neal in "The Man I Love", Somogyi in "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise", Kowrowski/Neal in "Embraceable You", Tiler Peck in "Fascinatin' Rhythm", Scheller/Neal in "Who Cares?" and Hyltin in "My One and Only".

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My thoughts about who'll be dancing what in Who Cares are the same as yours, Helene. Who Cares was on the program the first time I attended a NYCB performance. It was February of 1980. Patricia McBride danced an unforgettable "Fascinatin'

Rhythm" that has stayed in my mind's eye all these years. I can't wait to see Tiler Peck do that solo. I will really miss Philip Neal as a dancer with NYCB, but his farewell is shaping up to be one of the best ever (right up there with Jock Soto's farewell).

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I just looked at the online casting for Sunday's performance. I think I was somewhat wrong about who will be dancing what.

The only difference is that I think Jennie will be dancing "Embraceable You" with Philip, and Ana Sophia will dance "My One and Only." Maria K. will dance "Who Cares" with Philip, and Sterling will dance "Stairway to Paradise." I think that's what it is, but with so many ballerinas in one performance it's a bit confusing.

Again, I'm really looking forward to Sunday.

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And th casting has been changed:

SUNDAY MATINEE, JUNE 13, 3 PM

PHILIP NEAL FAREWELL PERFORMANCE

SERENADE: Ringer, M. Fairchild, Mearns, Neal, la Cour [Conductor: Karoui]

intermission

WHO CARES?: R. Fairchild, T. Peck, Scheller, Hyltin [Conductor: Otranto; Solo piano: McDill]

intermission

CHACONNE: Whelan, Neal, Pereira, Hendrickson, Muller, Bar, Scordato, Zungre, Arthurs, Applebaum, Hankes, Peiffer (Conductor: Otranto)

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The Neal Farewell was wonderful. He is retiring too soon. Hie is still a remarkable dancer. He reminded us of how wonderful he is as a partner yesterday, too, in a luminous performance of Serenade w. Ringer. He made Wendy look like she was floating in Chaconne. Thanks for the memories, Phillip.

I have to also comment on Who Cares, which Neal did not appear in. Tiler Peck was incredible. Even though I've seen the Fascinatin Rhythm section at least 15 times in the last 10 years or so, she showed me facets of the choreography I never really observed or focused on before. She gave a marvelous performance. It was like I was seeing this ballet for the first time. Robert Fairchild was also quite wonderful. Scheller made an error in the footwork of her solo.

I had the pleasure of meeting ballet talker Colleen Boresta during intermission.

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I was so glad they dumped "Call Me Ben", at least for this farewell performance, and replaced it with Who Cares? I was planning on catching up some reading between the intermissions. Philip Neal used to dance the part that Robert Fairchild danced yesterday, it's kind of symbolic hand over to the next genernation of dancers. I agree Neal retired too soon, he's still in top form. All three performances are wonderful all around.

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As a subscriber, I received a letter in the mail notifying me that at the request of Philip Neal, Call Me Ben was eliminated from the program and replaced so that all of the ballets on the program were closely associated with Philip's tenure at NYCB. The letter also advised that if subscribers want to exchage their tickets because of the change, they are free to do so. I laughed out loud when I read that. I want to send Phillip a personal thank you note for changing the program!

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I just want to say that it was great meeting Ballet Talkers Abatt, NY Susan and Volcanohunter at the Philip Neal Farwell yesterday. I always look forward to reading their posts, so talking to them was just wonderful. And the performance was fabulous - all three ballets were memorable. (I will try to post more about them later in the week.) What a class act Philip Neal is. I do agree with the posters who've already said he's retiring too soon. But I think that's better than thinking "When is he (or she) ever going to retire?" (I won't name names with regard to that last question.)

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Update: according to the Miami City Ballet School's Facebook page, Neal has moved to Palm Beach and is teaching at the School's Summer Intensive. Here's a video interview:

Philip Neal comes to MCB School

It was our pleasure to have former New York City Ballet dancer Philip Neal teach during the 5-week Summer Intensive Program. We recently chatted with Philip about his recent retirement, the students at MCBS, and what's next in his life!

Posted by Miami City Ballet School on Thursday, July 29, 2010

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I just want to say that it was great meeting Ballet Talkers Abatt, NY Susan and Volcanohunter at the Philip Neal Farwell yesterday.

I'm posting this belatedly, but I, too, had a great time meeting fellow Ballet Talkers, and I'm only sorry I didn't have more time to talk with them. I took along my aunt with whom I was staying, and our consensus was the same as everyone else's: Philip Neal doesn't look his age, and he certainly looked like he could have kept right on dancing. Like Colleen says, he's a class act. Even when faced with an avalanche of adoration from the audience, he kept it together and found it nearly impossible to take a solo bow. Lord knows Wendy Whelan did her best to give him the spotlight, but he's too much of a cavalier to step in front of his ballerina. It's almost as though it would cause him physical discomfort to upstage her. I don't have many opportunities to see City Ballet live these days, but I've always sought out Neal's performances, and I'll miss him.

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MCB has announced that Neal will be the Palm Beach County liaison for the company.

MIAMI (August 26, 2010) – Philip Neal, an acclaimed dancer, instructor and repetiteur, has been named Palm Beach Community Liaison for Miami City Ballet. Neal will represent the company at fund-raising events and related activities and build awareness of Miami City Ballet’s 2010-11 25th Anniversary Season.

Neal is currently on the faculty of both the Miami City Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. Neal is a repetiteur for both the George Balanchine Trust and the Jerome Robbins Trust, staging the ballets of these landmark choreographers throughout the world.

http://www.miamicity...s.php?NewsID=98

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I am delighted to hear that Philip is appreciated as much as he deserves; he is not only an incredible dancer (still) but an incredible teacher as well. Very self-effacing, knowledgeable and inspiring which is rare among such a high level of dancer and teacher. In addition, he is an incredibly refined, kind yet gracious human being as well. I think all these qualities mark his dancing and define him as the ultimate Balanchine cavalier-- fastidious, noble and gracious in light of his extreme beauty and ability.

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Starting this season, Philip Neal is doing all pre-performance talks and q&a for MCB's performances in West Palm Beach.

Based on Program I this weekend, Mr. Neal seems to have been a very good choice. Neal has danced two of the works on the program -- Square Dance, Afternoon of a Faun -- in the company for which they were created. He watched Wheeldon working with Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto on Lliturgy. He has observed Twyla Tharp at the barre and in rehearsal, and knows what she thinks about the way MCB dancers perform her work.

Neal knows his stuff in a way that only an insider can know something. He doesn't need a script. He can spin fascinating (but relevant) stories about the piece and about how dancers have adanced it. He illustrates his comments with movement. And, best of all, he communicates a real and touching passion for the art of ballet -- and for its future at MCB.

I've seen all 4 works on Program I numerous times. But I saw them differently as a result of a couple of Neal's comments. Sometimes these points were rather small, like one of his observations about Twyla Tharp's use of backward jogging in In the Upper Room. When walking back to my car after the performance, I actually found myself jogging backwards, with sudden 90-degree changes of direction, head bobbles, loose torso, and arms pumping. Neal said that running backwards is good practice for landing from a jump. So I tried it. And he was was right. tiphat.gif

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Neal said that running backwards is good practice for landing from a jump. So I tried it. And he was was right. tiphat.gif

...gotta try that, bart..! wink1.gif

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