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NYCB Spring Season 2011


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#1 abatt

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 12:48 PM

I attended the May 5 performance. Chase Finlay made an incredible debut in Apollo. In the past I've found him a little disappointing in some lead roles, but my opinion changed when I saw him in Apollo. He clearly had been coached in every detail. Although he needs to iron out a few nuances of the performance, he was very impressive. His lines were gorgeous, and he brought youthful attack and energy to his role. His debut gave me a new appreciation of the role because most of the men I have seen dance the role were older. Finlay also did an excellent job in partnering his muses. I think there were five curtain calls, and the audience would not stop applauding until Chase emerged for a solo bow before the curtain. The audience was ecstatic. I'm sure it was a very special and memorable night for him. Bravo Chase. :clapping:

I enjoyed the performances of Scheller and Peck. However, I think Hyltin is miscast. Her performance didn't have the lyricism or musicality required for the lead muse, in my opinion.

I enjoyed the 4T's, especially Somogyi/Angle and Reichlin. Garcia did Melancholic, but he doesn't have enough upper body flexibility to do the role justice.

I was also present at the Tues May 3 performance. I feel that M. Fairchild is somewhat bland in Square Dance. Huxley gave a very fine performance in the male solo.

The performances that Wendy Whelan used to give in Agon were thrilling, especially with Jock Soto. Unfortunately, Wendy seemed a bit unfocused on Tuesday. Her timing was off in certain points, and she doesn't have the same level of flexibility as she used to.

Kowrowski did fine work in Stravinsky Violin Concerto in Aria I. However, I didn't think Ramasar was a particularly effective partner for her. Hyltin did Aria II with Ask LaCour. I've seen her in this ballet before, and thought she had greater rapport with R. Fairchild.

#2 melange

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 07:19 PM

The performances that Wendy Whelan used to give in Agon were thrilling, especially with Jock Soto. Unfortunately, Wendy seemed a bit unfocused on Tuesday. Her timing was off in certain points, and she doesn't have the same level of flexibility as she used to.


I too was at the May 3 performance and, sadly, share your view that Wendy Whelan is not as flexible as she once was. I had already noticed this in a few of her performances last year and I fear the twilight of her career now may not be unimaginable.

On a more positive note, I am excited to hear that Chase Finlay's Apollo was a great success and I am champing at the bit for tomorrow's matinee. Perhaps devotees of the unabridged version of Apollo might smile at the thought of a young dancer making this work his breakout role.

#3 Slant

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 07:51 PM

I was underwhelmed by Chase's performance in Apollo on Thursday night. True, his technique was fine, but that was all I really saw. It came off very thin, not much weight to it. There was no connection with his muses, no depth or maturity to the role. In other words, a nice corps member performance. For a role like that, I would rather see more inspiration - not perspiration.

The boy's a charmer with the audience, especially the females, in almost a teen idol way. Justin Bieber in tights we could do without. The role of Apollo deserves better.

Had hoped to see Robbie Fairchild, because there I could expect something magical to happen. Hope Robbie is recovering well, and I see he is slated to return later this month by way of the casting notice.

#4 bart

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 05:27 AM

I'd love to hear your impressions about the programming concept Balanchine Black and White Week -- and, of course, its execution.

These are the works that made me fall in love with ballet. It's thrilling to see so many great works presented in rep over a week. No other company in the world would (or could) attempt this.

It was a pleasure to read Alistair Macaulay, in Thursday and today's NY Times, especially when he writes --

The company, rising to the challenges of Balanchine Black and White Week, ... is largely in fine form General aspects of the Balanchine style -- dancing off balance, opposing stretched-open positions with tightly closed ones, arriving with the beat rather than following it -- have become steadily clearer in recent years.

[ ... ]

The pleasures of the season's first three nights have already been more considerable than several entire seasons. Six weeks of crowded repertory lie ahead.


I find myself relying on Ballet Alert members to confirm (or not) what NYC reviewers write. So, how is the Company doing so far, overall? How are audiences responding?

#5 vipa

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 03:09 PM

I saw the Sat. matinee. I'd like to give some impressions starting with Square Dance. The reason I wanted to see this performance was to see Bouder in Square Dance, and she did not disappoint. No one moves as fast and clearly, etching each movement & position in space. She phrases things as only she can. I found myself smiling while watching her. Unfortunately Taylor Stanley looked floppy by comparison. He got through the man's solo. It's a difficult and unforgiving solo, so getting through is an accomplishment. His partnering wasn't great. No flubs, but he had her off her leg several times. Of course she didn't have a problem so it never looked terrible, I could just see that he had her off her leg. I have to say the the corp looked great. I was delighted by the clean, sharp and open dancing of the corps from the opening onwards. World Class.

I thought Apollo had a freshness that I hadn't seen in years. Finlay, Hyltin, Peck & Scheller were the cast. They brought meaning to the piece in the way they related to each other, phrased the music and covered space. The Muses, feet parallel, doing traveling releves, covered so much space that it added the excitement that the music warranted. Finlay has the making of a great Apollo. I hope to see him have more weight in some of his movements in terms or being into the floor if you know what I mean. Also some added focus and sharpness would be nice. I look forward to future performances. I loved the section with just Peck & Scheller. They looked great together. Their variations were very well done. Peck's Polyhymnia variation has that pique turn into arabesque that often has a dancer hopping and fudging - Peck really did it - nailed it twice and a minor fix the third time. I've never seen it better. I liked Hyltin. I think she brought a sly humor to her characterization that worked for me in the pas de deux.

Agon was last on the program Teresa Reichlen in the 2nd pas & Bransle Gay was just terrific - very in control and witty. I love the expansiveness of her arabesque line. Ashleyy Laracy stood out for me in Gailliard. She never holds back, so her movements look big and joyous. Wendy Whelan looked OK in the pas. I've been watching her do it for years - it's been better, but she gets the job done. Does anyone else in the company do it? I've only seen her for quite a while. I was not familiar with Daniel Applebaum, but he made an excellent showing in Agon. Ramasar is a dancer I always enjoy. He has a fluid movement quality and ease on stage that I find very attractive.

All three pieces looked very well coached and rehearsed. It was a great afternoon at the ballet. I wish I could see it all again - same cast, same ballets!

#6 liebs

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 04:09 PM

Good to hear Peck got those turns into arabesque worked out. She - shockingly - missed all 3 on Thursday. I agree about the freshness of the performance of this cast and this is just the beginning. All the dancers can clearly grow into their roles. For me, the most beautiful moment of the ballet on Thursday was Hyltin's developee at the beginning of the ppd. Glorious.

#7 abatt

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 07:32 PM

Chase Finlay was even better today than on Thursday. He looked more relaxed and confident. Also, Whelan's performance today was much improved compared to opening night. I had never seen Bouder dance Square Dance. She was terrific. To answer Vipa's question, the only other ballerina that currently does the main pas in Agon is Kowrowski. I would love to see Reichlin do it some day.

#8 Natalia

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 09:14 AM

Finlay was also impressive in Duo Concertant, opposite Megan Fairchild, on May 6. It was also a treat to see Tombeau de Couperin once again.

#9 vipa

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 05:13 PM

Chase Finlay was even better today than on Thursday. He looked more relaxed and confident. Also, Whelan's performance today was much improved compared to opening night. I had never seen Bouder dance Square Dance. She was terrific. To answer Vipa's question, the only other ballerina that currently does the main pas in Agon is Kowrowski. I would love to see Reichlin do it some day.


Thank you for the answer abatt. I too would love to see Reichlin in it.

#10 Drew

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 09:58 PM

I'd love to hear your impressions about the programming concept Balanchine Black and White Week -- and, of course, its execution.

These are the works that made me fall in love with ballet. It's thrilling to see so many great works presented in rep over a week. No other company in the world would (or could) attempt this.

[ ... ]



This week has offered the kind of programming fans on this site regularly have clamored for (especially in years past) -- often complaining about Martins' (at least claimed) lack of attention to the Balanchine heritage; nor has the casting been lacking with regard to the company's most talented dancers. I, too, would very much enjoy hearing more about the performances and, insofar as one can tell, if the programming is indeed attracting audiences.

#11 abatt

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 05:17 AM

The house was packed yesterday, but Mother's Day is always a big day at the ballet.

#12 Eileen

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 10:06 AM

I saw the Thursday night performance - Chase Finlay's first as Apollo. He was handsome and perfectly coached, every movement just so. Apollo starts as an unformed boy and develops into a man, leader of the muses. Chase was believable as the boy, but unfortunately, I felt he was too young to be credible as the man. He did not have the gravitas yet to convince me he is Apollo. I hope I can see him in future performances, as subsequent performances always improve over the debut. I loved Sterling Hyltin, she is a favorite of mine, but I understand Alastair Macauley's comment that she has chosen to be dainty and pretty when she could be beautiful. She also needs to grow into her role as Terpsichore.

As the orchestra played the opening four notes of the music, the announcement as I call it, I put my hand to my heart. To hear that music again, that signature Balanchine theme! The opening of another season at NYC Ballet, and reason to rejoice and be thankful.

#13 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 12:18 PM

Some quick thoughts re NYCB's 5/8/11 Sunday Matinee

Program & casting:

CONCERTO BAROCCO: Kowroski, Mearns, Askegard [Conductor: Sill]
intermission
MONUMENTUM PRO GESUALDO: Reichlen, la Cour [Conductor: Sill]
pause
MOVEMENTS FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA: *Reichlen, Marcovici [Conductor: Sill, Solo piano: Moverman]
pause
DUO CONCERTANT: M. Fairchild, Finlay [Solo violin: Hong, Solo piano: Grant]
intermission
SYMPHONY IN THREE MOVEMENTS: A. Stafford, Hyltin, LeCrone, Ramasar, Hendrickson, Scordato [Conductor: Otranto]

Concerto Barocco:

1. The company seems to be having a hard time finding an apt ballerina pairing for this work. Back to the drawing board, folks -- Kowroski + Mearns just doesn't work. They're radically different in style in a way that isn't complementary. Mearns' volcanic 2nd violin made Kowroski's polite1st violin look puny. ( And I'm absolutely shocked to find myself writing "Kowroski" and "puny" in the same sentence!) Asking anyone to dance 1st violin opposite Mearns – a 1st violin if there ever was one – is probably unfair.

2. Two gentlemen from the orchestra's second violin section -- Cyrus Beroukhim and Kyu Young Kim -- were the featured soloists. They sounded lovely together.

3. Three latecomers decided to seat themselves in the row of armchairs at the back of the first ring and proceeded to scrape them noisily across the bare cement floor to get them pulled into position for what seemed like an eternity. If I'd had a weapon I would have been sorely tempted to use it.

Monumentum / Movements:

1. Reichlen's my favorite in "Monumentum" – to my eye nobody looks more gloriously serene in the role – especially in those climactic lifts and tosses. Well, she looked great in her "Movements" debut, too. She was cool without being remote and her attack had just the right amount of bite to show us the angles without hitting us over the head with them. (The audience actually chuckled with surprise at a couple of points—something I don't recall hearing before.) "Monumentum" and "Movements" are good roles for la Cour and Marcovici, respectively.

Duo Concertant:

1. First off, can I just say "thank-you" to the NYCB powers-that-be for casting Megan Fairchild with a partner who's genuinely taller than she is? She always looks scrunched down when she's paired with De Luz; she looked six inches taller dancing with Finlay. (As she does when she dances with Veyette.)

2. Secondly, seeing this ballet performed by dancers who are many years away from the twilights of their careers is a revelation. Honest to god, I thought Fairchild was throwing in some extra steps just for the hell of it, and she still had time to kill.

3. I don't think I've ever seen Fairchild dance with such razor-sharp attack. Her allegro is never less than quick and clean – but yesterday it was like she was throwing ninja stars at us.

4. The age difference between Fairchild and Finlay isn't vast, but there's just enough of one to put one in mind of "Der Rosenkavelier's" Marschallin and Octavian – I liked it and thought it made the sentimental gimmickry of the ending almost work. (I loathe that lighting effect almost as much as I loathe those mimed angel's wings in "Serenade.")

5. Finlay. Hmmm. The company sure is giving him the hard sell. (Oh, Slant, I wish you hadn't mentioned Justin Bieber!) I know I'm the odd one out here, but think his dancing is interesting more for its promise than for what it is in the here-and-now. Don't get me wrong – he's definitely principal material, and is already remarkably self-possessed on stage, but he doesn't yet dance with a fully-fledged principal's imagination and authority. If Martins wanted to cast this role from the corps for the sake of youth and freshness, I can think of several young men I'd equally have liked to have seen in it.

Symphony in Three Movements.


1. This work seems to be in heavy rotation with "I'm Old Fashioned" as the company's go-to closer. It may be time to rest it for a couple of seasons. (Do they ever put "I'm Old Fashioned" away?)

2. Good cast, overall. It was nice to see Ramasar back in the central pas de deux. (The last time I saw him do it he partnered Somogyi. I loved their delightful flower-power, summer-of-love reading of the duet.) Nice to see Adam Hendrickson again, too. Megan LeCrone and Andrew Scordato looked terrific together; more of them both, please.

3. The corps nailed that unfurling chain of rippling movement down their long diagonal at the close of the first movement. Bravi!

#14 kfw

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 01:20 PM

Hearty thanks to everyone who's reported on this thread. It's wonderful to read the reactions of NYCB regulars.

1. The company seems to be having a hard time finding an apt ballerina pairing for this work. Back to the drawing board, folks -- Kowroski + Mearns just doesn't work. They're radically different in style in a way that isn't complementary. Mearns' volcanic 2nd violin made Kowroski's polite1st violin look puny. ( And I'm absolutely shocked to find myself writing "Kowroski" and "puny" in the same sentence!) Asking anyone to dance 1st violin opposite Mearns – a 1st violin if there ever was one – is probably unfair.


I had a similar reaction when I saw this pair at the Kennedy Center last month. I've seen Kowroski in the role before and I love her in it, but the two of them seemed to be dancing on two different dynamic levels. I missed Hyltin's Terpsichore, but I'm not surprised by Macaulay's criticism. The role is not without playfulness at times, but it needs gravitas too, and that doesn't seem to be within her natural personality onstage, at least from what little I've seen of her. Perhaps I'm wrong.

#15 abatt

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 01:23 PM

3. Three latecomers decided to seat themselves in the row of armchairs at the back of the first ring and proceeded to scrape them noisily across the bare cement floor to get them pulled into position for what seemed like an eternity. If I'd had a weapon I would have been sorely tempted to use it.



I could not agree with you more. The same problem exists throughout the auditorium, including upstairs in the Fourth Ring, where scraping chairs on the un-carpeted floor REGULARLY disturb the performance. If anyone at NYCB is reading this, there are MANY people who are complaining about this problem. There is an easy, cheap fix to be found across the street at Bed Bath & Beyond. It's a magical invention called Furniture Slides, which are attached easily to chair legs. No more scraping! Use our new $2 per ticket facility fee to pay for it. When that's done, all of the doors need to have springs installed so that they do not slam when someone leaves the auditorium during the show.

About the performance, I thought Megan and Chase were very good in Duo C. yesterday. Hyltin's reading is more satisfying though, in my opinion. I'm not complaining, though. Duo C. languished for more than a decade because of poor performances. I never knew there were so many steps until last year. Reichlin was brilliant in M&M. I liked the pairing of Maria and Mearns in Concerto B.


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