SandyMcKean

Peter Boal in Red Angels

14 posts in this topic

I just happen to run into this video on YouTube. Perhaps others have seen it, but I hadn't. Starting at 0:57 there is a short stretch of Boal in this piece he loves so much:

P.S. I can never see Red Angels without thinking of Leslie Rausch. No one else ever quite measures up to her in that female role for me.

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Looks like Albert Evans, Peter Boal, Wendy Whelan, but is the last dancer Darci Kistler?

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not sure, but she was in the first cast and i did see her in it.

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Kowrowski looks fabulous in it. I didn't realize she was that tall! Watching her feet, I couldn't remember Kistler being able to move that fast in her 30's, but I couldn't see faces in those head-on shots. In a PNB video of the same ballet, I identified Lesley Rausch as Carla Korbes.

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This is the only segment of Red Angels I've seen. Can anyone tell me how the rest of the ballet -- described by NYCB as being 12 minutes long -- goes? And how this segment of 4 solos fits into the larger work?

Anna Kisselgoff of the NY Times said some interesting things about Dove in 1996:

Mr. Dove's choreography for classical ballet companies favors the same forceful pirouettes of his exuberant modern-dance pieces, but in his ballets the recurrent image is a deep plie, often rendered asymmetrical through a shift of weight.
At City Ballet, with "Red Angels" and "Twilight," his last work, Mr. Dove found classical dancers who best understood how energy could be used to the hilt. To see "Twilight," which had its premiere on May 23, on the same program with "Red Angels" for the first time was to trace Mr. Dove's artistic path from defiance to peace. The superb cast, Helene Alexopoulos, Albert Evans, Wendy Whelan and Peter Boal, plunged into both pieces with a profound thrust.

Kisselgoff was reviewing a memorial tribute to Dove, one week after his death, in which a number of his works were danced by several companies, including 2 by NYCB. I have the feeling that I might understand and appreciate Red Angels more if I could see it in the context of some of his other pieces.

http://www.nytimes.c...ngels%22&st=cse

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I like "Red Angels" a lot -- I love the score -- but I haven't been impressed with other Dove I've seen, apart from a male/male pas de deux in "Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven". "Vespers", despite a superlative all-female cast at PNB, left me cold. I missed "Serious Pleasures" in the "3 By Dove" program this Spring.

The solos are at the end of the ballet. There are other solos and pas de deux before the solos.

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I like "Red Angels" a lot -- I love the score -- but I haven't been impressed with other Dove I've seen, apart from a male/male pas de deux in "Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven". "Vespers", despite a superlative all-female cast at PNB, left me cold.

"Red Angels" doesn't do very much for me, and isn't the sort of thing I want to see from a ballet company, but I loved "Vespers" when I saw the Ailey company do it in '87, and I love it from them on You Tube. But the work seems so specifically African-American in its recreation of religious ritual -- especially so knowing that Dove was remembering his grandmother -- that I don't think I'd be as moved by a white cast.

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Has anyone seen Twilight? What did you think? Red Angels, which I love, has come back into the rep at least once, but I don't think Twilight has.

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Can anyone tell me how the rest of the ballet -- described by NYCB as being 12 minutes long -- goes? And how this segment of 4 solos fits into the larger work?

As Helene briefly described, the entire ballet is more or less like what you see in the video; there isn't a much large architecture that these solos fit into.

Like Peter Boal, I am a big fan of Dove. Like Helene, I truly love Red Angels. For me, it has the excitement of a modern ballet, but with the precise positions, foot work, and arm use of classical ballet. It is a good vehicle for showing off highly skilled classical ballet dancers (in something different) -- in a strange way it reminds me of Agon (austere) with completely different tempi. Unlike Helene, I also love Vespers. She and I have discussed this often, and we both don't seem to see what it is that the other likes/dislikes. For me, there is an power that comes from each dancer in solo that expresses some unsaid passion or pain that transcends. It more suited to a modern dance troupe perhaps, but I thought our always versatile PNB women did it justice (even if they later complained of bruises and other negative impacts on their bodies due to all the floor work). I'm probably in a minority on this, but my favorite of all was Serious Pleasures. I'll make no comment on it as "ballet", but as a stunning piece of dance and drama, it blew me out of my seat. If you like the "sexual expression" side of dance, and I do, this is a blockbuster. The heartache of the death of a gay friend that apparently inspired this work was as powerful as anything I have seen in dance.....especially when Lucien Postlewaite is doing the "narrator" role.

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Thanks, Helene and Sandy, for helping me see Red Angels more fully. Some thoughts about the video:

-- Boal's line and balance are beautiful. Of all the dancers, he alone maintains a center of calm. I wish I had been able to see more of him during his career at NYCB.

-- The speed and non-stop momentum work well with the sharply edged classical positions. Everything is very, very clear. This is definitely a ballet I would like to see in multiple performances, preferably with dancers I know well, which would add a human touch.

-- I'm sure I've seen one Dove's devices in more than a few other contemporary works. I mean, the way the dancers stride on, do their thing, and then make way for the next dancer, with no apparent connection or relationship to each other, and no noticeable l development from one part to the next. You have the feeling that you could rearrange the order of the four variations without really changing the viewer's experience.

-- I enjoy the music, though I don't know at what point it might start driving me up the wall. Not before the ballet's 12 minutes are up, one would hope.

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The speed and non-stop momentum work well with the sharply edged classical positions. Everything is very, very clear.

Excellent words......that's just how I feel about it.

I enjoy the music, though I don't know at what point it might start driving me up the wall. Not before the ballet's 12 minutes are up, one would hope.

I fully understand this comment. OTOH, and strangely for me since I am sort of a Bach-to-Wagner fan, the music actually grew on me. I've seen Red Angels maybe 6 times now, always with the same violinist*, and I found it rather jarring at first, but the more I've heard it, the more I feel comfortable with it. In the theater the combo of this music, the violinist, and the sharp power of the dancers work some sort of magic.

*I understand that only this violinist is allowed to play the piece. She goes to where ever it is done.

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bart, since you seem to be interested, here's a couple more videos. The first (~3 minutes) is a piece of a Red Angels performance that PNB did in Vail just this month (much better resolution -- altho I'm not so sure the dancers are at the top of their game....the red head who starts is a relativity new dancer who came from PNB's schoool, Andrew Bartee, he's a real comer). The second (~2 minutes) is highly recommended by me......it shows all the Doves PNB has done recently. Absolutely don't miss the very last part of this second video that has short snippet of Lucien Postlewaite as the narrator in Serious Pleasures.

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