MCB Program IFanfare, Bugaku, Theme&Variations
Posted 27 October 2010 - 11:11 AM
Posted 27 October 2010 - 11:23 AM
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!
Posted 27 October 2010 - 11:35 AM
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...
Posted 27 October 2010 - 12:05 PM
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.
Posted 27 October 2010 - 12:21 PM
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.
Posted 27 October 2010 - 01:02 PM
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.
Posted 27 October 2010 - 01:16 PM
Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:49 PM
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 ! -(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...").
Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:16 PM
Posted 28 October 2010 - 09:38 PM
Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:21 AM
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.)
Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:41 AM
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...?
Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:52 AM
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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