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New York City Ballet Moves

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That's the name of the new touring troupe announced today. Sounds like sort of a "NYCB Lite," bringing quality ballet to summer resort destinations across the country . . . .

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What wonderful news! And they're bringing musicians with them! I rather wish there was a NYCB junior company to come visit the college tour... there's very little real ballet coming through... the best we might hope for aroun dhere usually is a "stars of"... more often it's contemporary ballet or these small Russian o companies (which is real ballet, of course, and interesting, but still, i would that our university population outside of the few main cities would know something of what American ballet companies can do)

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Thanks for posting the article, sounds like a most inspired idea, frankly. but with the real stars, not really 'NYCB Lite', except insofar as they have to adjust to small auditoriums and the like.

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and of course, it would be nice for the universities to see some Balanchine once in a while... I wonder if a Balanchine ballet has ever been presented, for instance, on stage by anyone, at the University of Connecticut. I can't tell you the number of "educated" people I've met with advanced degrees who have never heard of him. It's a disgrace that this can be so.

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I think Morphoses used to be a regular source of additional income for some NYCB dancers. Now that Morphoses (in its original incarnation) is finished, "Moves" seems like a great alternative for them to dance more weeks and earn additional money.

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I think Morphoses used to be a regular source of additional income for some NYCB dancers. Now that Morphoses (in its original incarnation) is finished, "Moves" seems like a great alternative for them to dance more weeks and earn additional money.

I'm not sure that Morphoses is "finished" so much as "morphed." While Wheeldon may have abandoned his baby, there are others who are continuing with its care and feeding. That said, I also wonder whether with the shortened Saratoga season, this new troupe will end up saving the company money in the long run.

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This is indeed good news. I do find the first season repertoire disappointing. Out of seven works, three Martins, and only one Balanchine!

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This is indeed good news. I do find the first season repertoire disappointing. Out of seven works, three Martins, and only one Balanchine!

To say the least, LiLing. Not only three Martins, but "Fool for You" and "Zakouski" :icon8: !!

Perhaps Martins will ALLOW the troupe to bring Apollo, Minkus PdT, Glinka PdT, etc, in the future?

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I agree that the rep is disappointing, but what a great thing. World class dancers with live music visiting those smaller venues is such a good move. The live music aspect is so wonderful. Good for Peter Martins. I think he has really grown in his job (boy that sounded pretentious). I just thing that this is a good move and that the company looks much, much better now than it has in a while.

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I agree that the rep is disappointing, but what a great thing. World class dancers with live music visiting those smaller venues is such a good move. The live music aspect is so wonderful. Good for Peter Martins. I think he has really grown in his job (boy that sounded pretentious). I just thing that this is a good move and that the company looks much, much better now than it has in a while.

The commitment to live music -- which is commendable -- has a downside: there isn't that much Balanchine that can be done with the very small contingent of musicians that will accompany the dancers for the first season of performances.

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The commitment to live music -- which is commendable -- has a downside: there isn't that much Balanchine that can be done with the very small contingent of musicians that will accompany the dancers for the first season of performances.

Good point Kathleen. I didn't think of that. The number of musicians needed for the bulk of the NYCB rep. would certainly limit the choices. :wallbash:

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The commitment to live music -- which is commendable -- has a downside: there isn't that much Balanchine that can be done with the very small contingent of musicians that will accompany the dancers for the first season of performances.

At the 2009 and 2010 Vail Festival (a performing site for the new group in 2011), much of the music for the "International Evenings of Dance" was recorded. Last year, they had a 5-person string ensemble ("Sybarite5") for Sarah Lamb's Dying Swan and Ratmansky's Fandango for Wendy Whelan. A pianist played for the Robbins' "A Suite of Chopin Dances" and a violin soloist for the Hans van Manen Solo. But for the rest of the 14 pieces on the program (including pas de deux from Agon, La Sylpide, and Don Quixote) it was recorded music. Vail has a very small orchestra pit and a small stage with no options for scenery. Damian Woetzel will continue next year as the artistic director so he is well aware of the limitations of the venue and is presumably working on things which will work with these restrictions. The Vail web site says the full schedule will be posted next week, so we'll see what they've come up with.

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I agree that the rep is disappointing, but what a great thing. World class dancers with live music visiting those smaller venues is such a good move. The live music aspect is so wonderful. Good for Peter Martins. I think he has really grown in his job (boy that sounded pretentious). I just thing that this is a good move and that the company looks much, much better now than it has in a while.

The commitment to live music -- which is commendable -- has a downside: there isn't that much Balanchine that can be done with the very small contingent of musicians that will accompany the dancers for the first season of performances.

But there's a lot of Robbins.....

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According to the Times, the union, AGMA, has moved to block MOVES on the ground that it violates the dancers' labor contract.

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So are we to assume then, that AGMA's objection to Moves simply is an attempt to gain leverage during contract negotiations? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I cannot see how objecting to Moves does anything good for NYCB's dancers, as squelching the project (i.e., tour with the entire company or not at all) would deny them the opportunity to have additional off season work while giving them extra practice dancing the company's repertory with one another, as they would during the season. Since Peter Martins intends to rotate the casts, one cannot say that Moves will be an extra opportunity for a privileged few dancers, to the exclusion of the rest of the company; it's just that the entire company won't touring at a time. Moreover, Moves cannot be anything but good for NYCB, as it will expose the company to a wider audience that may know little of NYCB, or ballet itself, and if Moves captures additional interest in the company, it may result in additional attendance, to the benefit of the company's coffers. Surely the union understands that this cannot be anything but a benefit to the dancers as well, particularly when one recalls how AGMA could do little but sit by and wring its hands when NYCB culled its corps in 2009, ostensibly for lack of funds?

A union has the responsibility, indeed the duty, to get the best deal possible for its members, so anything AGMA can do to gain a tactical advantage in contract negotiations is fair play, I suppose, but to object to a scaled down touring company simply because it doesn't include the whole company is simply taking sugar plums out of the dancers' mouths, isn't it?

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Not surprised...it results in additional income and stage time for the "chosen" dancers, while probably excluding those who the union has to work to protect the most (the corps). The original press release made it pretty clear it wouldn't just be a bunch of corps/apprentice dancers on the tour (not that the corps isn't great, but they did have a lot of starry names in the first roster). Doesn't bode well especially since there is probably lingering resentment from the corps and union over the layoffs and the way they were handled. Even if it's a rotational thing, for the corps dancers there's no guarantee they will still have employment when it finally gets to be their turn for the extra weeks and they are the ones who don't get to make up their extra income with guesting gigs and galas during the off season like many of the principals and soloists.

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So we saw the first of two programs last night here in Santa Barbara at the Granada. I listed the program above, but it's Dances at a Gathering, After The Rain, and A Fool For You.

This is the first time I'd seen Dances completely --- I'd only seen very short excerpts here and there --- and it really, really made me wish we had better classical choreographers today. It looks like a modern composition of classical steps, and yet manages to weave so much humanity into it, too. The musicality of the piece was also really interesting. I loved the ending and its simplicity that managed to still speak volumes.

The cast was:

Lauren Lovette, apricot

Sara Mearns, mauve

Tiler Peck, pink

Abi Stafford, blue

Wendy Whelan, green

Antonio Carmena, brick

Chase Finlay, green

Gonzalo Garcia, brown

Jonathan Stafford, purple

Christian Tworzyanski, blue

Tiler was beautiful, and her ending pas was just stunning. I can't get enough of her dancing! I'd been looking forward to Sara after hearing all these great things about her, and I can see why people like her --- she has a wild, edgy quality to her dancing --- but this didn't seem like her ballet. I'd love to see her in any of the leotard ballets, especially 4Ts. Her shoes were also really, really noisy. Lauren Lovette is super young, and was really nice as the yellow girl --- she'll be one to watch for sure.

Next came After the Rain with Wendy Whelan and Ask la Cour. I don't think much needs to be said beyond the fact that she is incandescent.

Finally, A Fool For You ... to borrow a phrase from Clement Crisp, it was quite simply total rubbish. What an embarrassing excuse for a dance piece. It was like a warmed-over Dolly Dinkle recital piece. Ugh.

Tonight we get Polyphonia (with Wendy!!), Sonatine, Zakouski, and Hallelujah Junction.

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Program B was pretty great. Capped by Polyphonia and Hallelujah Junction, with Sonatine and Zakouski, it was more satisfying than the first night, which ended on a sour note. Polyphonia reminded me why Christopher Wheeldon was exciting everyone back then: it had invention, wit, mystery, even soul. It felt consequential. Then why does he look like bad copy of himself these days? Anyway, at times it was an embarrassment of riches: who do I look at? We had Sara Mearns, Wendy Whelan, Tiler Peck, and Brittany Pollack (partnered respectively by Christian Tworzyanski, Ask la Cour, Gonzalo Garcia, and Jonathan Stafford), and they were all fantastic. I was really happy to see Sara in a leotard ballet, and as expected, she was pretty darn great, especially her slow solo. Tiler's musicality really shone in her waltz duet, but really all the couples looked great.

Hallelujah Junction is a great calling card for the company: it shows off the lines and speed that you can only find in this company. Janie Taylor danced the girl in white, and had a really dark quality to her dancing, like she was really angry or dancing from some really dark place. At times, she looked right on the edge of control. Daniel Ulbricht danced the man in black, and was just jaw-dropping in his virtuosity and speed, while still remaining really musical. The other couples (Ashly Isaacs, Antonio Carmena, Lauren King, Tworzyanski, Lauren Lovette, Allen Peiffer, Brittany Pollack, Taylor Stanley, along with Gonzalo Garcia as the 3rd lead) all looked great, too.

The two pieces in the middle were OK, if a bit inconsequential. We had Abi Stafford, and Chase Finlay in Sonatine, and Tiler and Joaquin de Luz in Zakouski.

I would happily see this whole program again.

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MOVES will be at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis on 10/23 and 10/24 as part of the Northrop Moves 2012-13 season. The rep will be:

Polyphania (Wheeldon, 2001)

Duo Concertant (Balanchine, 1972)

Herman Schmerman Pas de Deux (Forsythe, 1992)

Zakouski (Martins, 1992)

Hallelujah Junction (Martins, 2001)

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It seems like they are choosing works based on whether a full orchestra is needed. Polyphonia only requires the strings, I believe. The other works only require pianists and violinists. Herman Schmerman uses recorded music.

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