cubanmiamiboy

MCB Program I

81 posts in this topic

That reminds me, we used to complain (among ourselves) that ABT dressed "T&V" as though it were Petipa, with big, floppy tutus, which looked wrong for the quick movement Balanchine had made for it. His own company looked much better to us in the short, stiffer ones (the red or yellow ones for the corps, later the light or dark blue ones MCB's are modeled after).

Anyway, that was a personal gripe...

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For those who want a glimpse of the Fanfare costumes, MCB's website has a brief video by dancer Rebecca King, shot backstage at the dress rehearsal and at opening night. (I assume this is at the Arsht Center in Miami.)

I'm probably too old to adjust to the constant, restless movement and quick-cutting of contemporary videography. But, if you look very intently, you can glimpse some beautifully made costumes and some lovely young dancers.

http://www.miamicity...e-the-premiere/

There's a backstage shot of Mary Carmen Catoya in an evening gown. Isn't she dancing in this program? I don't recall reading about her in the reviews or posts.

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I've also been missing Catoya's name in the news, here and elsewhere, about this program. I haven't had a chance to tangle with that "contemporary videography" yet, but while the evening gown probably looks good, I think "T&V" would look even better on her!

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I haven't had a chance to tangle with that "contemporary videography" yet, but while the evening gown probably looks good on her, I think "T&V" would look even better on her!

YES, she looks great (all 1.5 seconds of her). And YES, a Catoya T&V would be marvelous. :flowers: (Alas, no one agrees with me that she would also be riveting in Bugaku, but I stand my ground on that.)

Incidentally, I've also heard nothing about Reyneris Reyes in any performance reviews or comments, even though he was featured in the rehearsal video as the first cast (with P. Delgado) in Bugaku. Has he been dancing this Program?

Unfortunately,, the West Palm Beach performances are almost a month later than Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, so I won't get to see the first night of Program I until Nov. 19. :angry2:

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Watching Catoya dance a range of roles has taught me not to "type-cast" her, so I'm not going to take a stand one way or the other on her suitability for Bugaku, but we've seen that rehearsal clip with three boys and four women and Kent and Villella (and, I think, Sosenko), and I didn't notice Catoya anywhere, at least not on her feet, so it looks like she's not in their plans for that one. I would be glad to see her in most anything, though.

I can remember a time when I thought, Ah, she's the whiz kid, very clear in very fast tempos; and then I saw her in adagio, and that was wonderfully clear and flowing, and so, strong and effective in that different way. Later I remembered the time I didn't even know who she was, having arrived late at the Gleason Theatre in Miami Beach (because I had foolishly allowed for one of Miami's notorious traffic jams but had actually encountered two of them), and naturally I wanted to see the dance, not the program book. As I entered the auditorium, where I was told to stand at the back, someone was dancing the "Spinner" variation in Emeralds, and the name "Verdy" popped into my mind - I mean, it looked like Verdy was dancing, although I knew it couldn't be. I soon learned Verdy had coached the role which someone named Mary Carmen Catoya had then realized, better than anyone I could recall since Verdy herself.

So if Kent had coached her in Bugaku, who knows? But we haven't seen any sign she was present, right? Not that I want you to be let down, bart, but it doesn't look like it. So far. The up side of that long wait you have is that gives them time to put her in it, man, so keep your hopes up!

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bart and jack...Catoya has been a no show in this program, at least so far. :dunno:

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I'm fairly sure Catoya knows Theme and Variations, because I think she danced it the last time MCB did the ballet.

I can't imagine that she wouldn't, as one of the two strongest technicians in the company.

Perhaps she is injured. Sadly, Mr. Villella, who has so many virtues, persists in his hideous practice of refusing to allow an audience ever to know who is dancing even a week in advance -- or to plan to see a specific dancer. This is invidious and very bad for box office besides. Even NYCB under Balanchine, who was extremely anti-'star', announced casting a week in advance!

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Sadly, Mr. Villella, who has so many virtues, persists in his hideous practice of refusing

to allow an audience ever to know who is dancing even a week in advance--or to plan to see a specific dancer. This is invidious and very bad for box office besides. Even NYCB under Balanchine, who was extremely anti-'star', announced casting a week in advance!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates this frustrating, unnerving practice... :angry2:

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I'll agree with the "virtues" point in these remarks - Villella has a lot to be proud of, and we have a lot to be thankful for - and there may be reasons not obvious to us why he doesn't announce casting - it may have something to do with company morale or interest or spirit. Running a company is also about developing and nurturing dancers as well as pleasing us.

As to Balanchine's practice, I think he experimented with that, along with everything else, even the way the company was listed in the program: For a time, there was one alphabetical list, which gave a corps girl I talked with a few times a feeling that she just couldn't win! (Her last name began with "Z.")

My memory is that for a time, NYCB casting was listed on sheets glued to the north wall of the theatre lobby, on both sides of the doors, but I don't think that was the case early in my days there, which began in 1973.

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Agree entirely about the strangeness of the refusal to issue cast lists ahead of time. I've wanted to ask a question about this for a long time at one of EV's pre-performance talks.

I suspect that the answer will have to do with the possibility of cast changes, though this doesn't seem to deter a company of similar size and rep, Pacific Northwest.

Another reason (which no one will admit) is that the audiences in south Florida, especially the subscription audiences, are probably perceived as not interested in casting. This may be true of the majority, who just go to "the ballet" or who follow brand names like Swan Lake, Jewels, Tharp, or Balanchine. But many audience members at the Kravis Center at least are or have been long-time NYCB subscribers, and I've had the chance to quite a number who go back with NYCB even longer than I do.

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Except I don't really think it's strange that he doesn't announce casting - it's just his way, for reasons not clear to us. Interesting what you and jsmu say about box office - pardon my skepticism, I'm not saying either of you are wrong or anything, but I just wonder what your remarks are based on. I'm keen to understand what brings different people in, and I hesitate to speculate about this, but my little knowledge, based on what I hear (and overhear) when in the theatre, among other interesting but inadequate sources, doesn't go far.

For instance, the expensively-dressed older lady next to me one evening in Fort Lauderdale who was eager to tell me, without prompting, what she like and disliked - especially disliked - as we waited for the program to begin: "Oh, and Stravinsky. I don't like Stravinsky." Knowing Apollo was the first ballet on the program, I thought, This is going to be interesting. After Apollo, she was clapping enthusiastically, and I asked her, "How was it?" "Loved it!" she said. "And the music?" I asked. "Loved everything about it!" She went on clapping nearly as long as I did.

So while some of the old NYCB hands you know in West Palm Beach may actually know what they're talking about, bart, I frankly don't know what to make of it sometimes, and in this connection I don't think marketers' practice of "branding" is at all helpful, furthering as I think it does this kind of sloppy thinking.

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I understand all of the above jack...but along with all those reasons, another immediate result of the practice is the inability to really develop a fan base on determined dancers...and hence the excitement that this type of artistic rivalries usually generates.

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Christian, I am looking forward to hearing your review of the other pieces...

I hadn't forgotten your request, cahill, but as I said before...I was trying to generate something interesting that could add some real weight to this thread, but...I haven't really been too successful. On top of that, now that the performances are far away, I remember even less of them, at least from Fanfare. Yes, Robbins' piece was cute...but just that. I can't even remember the music ! :crying: -(which is a BIG plus in my ballet viewing). Plus, I've never been too devoted of parodies and comedies in general, and that seemed to be the key element of this ballet. If anything, it was a nice way to salute the orchestra...and period.

Bugaku was interesting, weird, perhaps somewhat exotic, but it didn't impress me either. Never been a fan of contortions, and at some point-(right after the tutu was gone for good)-it kind of indulged too much on it.

I'm sorry that this is all I can think of about this two ballets. To finish as honest as I started, if it wasn't because I was going with my friend, my mother and two coworkers on Sunday-(one ex-ballerina and a neophyte to which Bugaku was the best piece of the program)-I would had gone after the second intermezzo, just in time to catch T&V, for which I had seen the other two the night before-(remember that on Friday night I was only able to watch "Theme...").

:tiphat:

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Thanks Christian, i always enjoying reading your thoughts on these programs. I am looking forward to hearing what Jack says from Lauderdale and REALLY looking forward to seeing this program in West Palm!

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Jack, actually, NYCB has ALWAYS listed casting at least a week in advance, sometimes more--Balanchine never , so far as I know from empirical experience and a great deal of reading, deprived audiences entirely of advance knowledge of who was dancing. (yes, he did toy with alphabetical listings, prompting the immortal Tallchief remark upon her resignation in 1965, lol) Too smart. People want to see Patty and Eddie, Suzanne, Allegra, Gelsey and Helgi, Mikhail, Erik, Maria, Wendy--yes, Wendy-- etc, and MCB would do well to attempt to cultivate more of this sort of awareness on the part of its audiences. Quite true that they get a LOT of NYCB stalwart/fanatics (Bart and yours truly, among others) and they should be making people want to see Deanna Seay (oh, wait, she's gone... :wallbash: ) or Catoya or J. Delgado, and getting the point across that these ballerinas' dancing is as brilliant and marvelous as that taking place anywhere in the country--indeed, more so in most cases.

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Another reason (which no one will admit) is that the audiences in south Florida, especially the subscription audiences, are probably perceived as not interested in casting. This may be true of the majority, who just go to "the ballet" or who follow brand names like Swan Lake, Jewels, Tharp, or Balanchine.

I'm still better acquainted with Balanchine's subscription audience, who gave me a few memorable occasions of lack of familiarity with the repertory, even, not to mention the cast. For example, there's a bit in the early part of Who Cares? where one boy can't get a partner - for those who don't know this ballet, there's something of the air of a social scene, whether the street corner or a dance, where the "boys and girls," as they are called in the program, are pairing off - and then the boy who can't get a partner can't dance with the girl who takes pity and chooses him, because he doesn't know the steps and has to follow her, when I often heard people around me clucking and fretting: "Tsk! What's the matter with him?" Of course, once Balanchine has had his little joke - not that that's all that's happening here, as I've tried to show - the boy suddenly does know the steps and the two dance very well together.

Another evening, going down the steps in the lobby, after a three-ballet program, I heard a discussion going on behind me between two people apparently just reading their program: "If Balanchine made the last ballet, then who made the second one?" They'd all been his, of course.

So there was a superficial portion, maybe a majority, in the audience there too, for sure, but aficionados were accommodated as well.

What I'm sensitive to is the disdain marketers seem to have for that stubborn minority who appreciate the art, or who are learning to, and find barriers in their way, because of the kind of perception bart suspects, which doesn't apply to everyone. Distinguishing among dancers may be part of that growth in appreciation, but there are companies - ABT is the archetype for me - where it's mainly the dancers you go for, the repertory isn't much, it provides vehicles for the dancers, and some people will insist that's all ballet is. I'm glad they're satisfied, but they have my pity, because I think they don't know what they're missing. They may not look for more, and marketing the dancers more obviously may discourage them from looking for more, and Villella, like his mentor Balanchine, may be wary of people coming for the stars and missing the ballet. Trying to read both their minds now, I think they may have wanted (or may want) us to get it all. (I also happen to think Balanchine's naming his ballets by their musical scores after a time may have been a nudge to get his audiences to listen, so we would get more than if we just looked.)

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there are companies - ABT is the archetype for me - where it's mainly the dancers you go for, the repertory isn't much,...

Couldn't it be the reason for which ABT-(and this is just a wild guess from an outsider)-

is nowadays probably a more exciting company than City Ballet...?

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Jack, I think we can agree that what the audience wants is complex, often inscrutable, and occasionally self-contradictory or even ... loony. (I will never be able to forget the performance at which my memory deserted me and I imagined Jerome Robbins to be the choreographer of Who Cares?. I even commented how much like Balanchine it appeared to be. :blushing::blushing::blushing::blushing:)

On the whole, MCB's audience development can only benefit from listing casts ahead of time. What do they have to lose by trying? Those who "don't care" (as many on't) won't pay attention. Those who do care may buy a few extra tickets.

However, listing casts in advance is not the same thing as featuring or focusing on casting, as ABT does. Neither MCB nor the south Florida ballet scene in general is large enough, or devoted enough, for that.

Villella almost never talks about individual dancers in his talks to audiences. If he does, it is usually in response to a question, which he answers in the most general terms. What counts for him is the work itself.

Cristian, I understand your position. There are many advantages to star system, especially when one performs a relatively limited repertoire of classics. But there are advantages to other kinds of programming and casting as well. For me, it's fun to have access to several different approaches.

As to the excitement generated by competition and "artistic rivalries." I can imagine that such rivalries exist at MCB as at any company. But I don't see that much is gained by defining a company around them or or by encouraging audiences to act them out in the auditorium.

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But why not, bart...? There was a time when one could buy bouquets and throw them to one's favorite ballerina, or when the roar of a heated audience filling an auditorium to see its favorite Odile's unbelievable fouettes was the experience of a lifetime. I'm sad to feel such absence...
Everyone loves a star and the chance to adore him or her. Me, too. The issue is: how essential is, and is it appropriate for all occasions?. That, in turn, depends on one's formative experience and personal taste.

The new thread is already getting lots of interesting comments, so we should probably continue our conversation on the star-system there, reserving this thread for MCB's Program I. The Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are coming up, and I hope there will be lots more to write about that !!! :clapping:

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I'm getting excited about the prospect of Program I reaching West Palm on the 19th. Bugaku is the intriguing work for me. A curiosity perhaps. A less-than-great ballet, certainly. But it encompases so much of Balanchine -- the range of his interests, his showmanship, his interest in both ancient and contemporary culture, etc.

Beyond that, the return of a live orchestra is something to look forward to. Dancer Rebecca King has a brief piece about the way that dancing to live music increases the challenge for dancers as well as enriching their experience.

Dancing with a live orchestra is such a great pleasure and a welcome treat, but along with our newly-revived luxury comes a few challenges. When rehearsing and performing to a recording, we have become accustomed to hearing the exact same notes, with the exact same tempo every time. With live music, that all changes. The dancers really need to be on their toes (no pun intended) by listening closely to the music, as the tempo is never exactly the same. Also, with the orchestra in the pit, many times we hear different notes played by different instruments that we never noticed in the recording. Recordings can never completely capture the full effect of live music, which is why it is so important for us, as dancers, to understand the musicality of the choreography and constantly count the music. Dance is an illustration of the music; in order for us to represent the music as the choreographer intended, we need to hear each and every element of the music.

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I'm getting excited about the prospect of Program I reaching West Palm on the 19th. Bugaku is the intriguing work for me. A curiosity perhaps. A less-than-great ballet, certainly. But there's so much of Balanchine in it.

The return of a live orchestra is also something to look forward to. The MCB blog has an entry by corps member Rebecca King expressing the effect of a live music from a dancer's perspective.

Dancing with a live orchestra is such a great pleasure and a welcome treat, but along with our newly-revived luxury comes a few challenges. When rehearsing and performing to a recording, we have become accustomed to hearing the exact same notes, with the exact same tempo every time. With live music, that all changes. The dancers really need to be on their toes (no pun intended) by listening closely to the music, as the tempo is never exactly the same. Also, with the orchestra in the pit, many times we hear different notes played by different instruments that we never noticed in the recording. Recordings can never completely capture the full effect of live music, which is why it is so important for us, as dancers, to understand the musicality of the choreography and constantly count the music. Dance is an illustration of the music; in order for us to represent the music as the choreographer intended, we need to hear each and every element of the music.

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I'm getting excited about the prospect of Program I reaching West Palm on the 19th. Bugaku is the intriguing work for me. A curiosity perhaps. A less-than-great ballet, certainly. But there's so much of Balanchine in it.

The return of a live orchestra is also something to look forward to. The MCB blog has an entry by corps member Rebecca King expressing the effect of a live music from a dancer's perspective.

Dancing with a live orchestra is such a great pleasure and a welcome treat, but along with our newly-revived luxury comes a few challenges. When rehearsing and performing to a recording, we have become accustomed to hearing the exact same notes, with the exact same tempo every time. With live music, that all changes. The dancers really need to be on their toes (no pun intended) by listening closely to the music, as the tempo is never exactly the same. Also, with the orchestra in the pit, many times we hear different notes played by different instruments that we never noticed in the recording. Recordings can never completely capture the full effect of live music, which is why it is so important for us, as dancers, to understand the musicality of the choreography and constantly count the music. Dance is an illustration of the music; in order for us to represent the music as the choreographer intended, we need to hear each and every element of the music.

Interesting what King says about counting the music. With regular tempi this could work-(where did I read that Sppessitzeva wasn't musical at all and always had to have someone placed in the wings to shout out loud the counts for her...?)-but arrythmical pieces like Bugaku present a challenge.

bart. I'll see you there. Diabolic I-95 can't hurt me that much if I just try and catch T&V at the end of the night. :thumbsup: On Sunday, I'll review the whole program...perhaps...well, maybe minus Fanfare... :blushing:

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