Philip Neal Farewell 6/13/2010Will any Ballet Talkers be there?
Posted 12 October 2010 - 11:39 AM
Posted 11 December 2011 - 06:34 PM
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.
Posted 11 December 2011 - 11:40 PM
...gotta try that, bart..!
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