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NYCB Spring Season 2011

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I also attended Wednesday's performance (last night). Chase's third performance as Apollo was much improved over the first. He is feeling more comfortable in the role's later masterly aspects. The first time he danced Apollo ten days ago, I felt he was carefully doing the movements just so, now do this, now do that. Last night, he had more of a flow, the movements were not so calculated but felt intrinsic.

The three muses - all superb principals Kowroski, Mearns and Reichlen. But each is such an individual. Mearns is extremely sharp and dynamic. She has the quality I call "watchability". She is a star; she twinkles. But - she should not twinkle and pose and smile sparklingly while Maria is doing her solo variation. This is distracting. A bit of self effacement is called for here. I was relieved to see in Antique Epigraphs she was able to blend into an ensemble without attracting undue attention to herself. Kowroski is one of my favorite dancers and she should not be upstaged. Each muse has her moment.

Teresa Reichlen is the opposite of Sara - an artist of great beauty, but a wee wan. She does not self promote. The beauty of her form and shapes in Antique Epigraphs was riveting.

Apollo is a masterpiece; with the right cast as last night, it is revelatory. One quibble - the second muse following Apollo at the famous closing image - whether Mearns or Reichlen I don't recall - held her leg too high. She should have moderated her extension to create equal angles among the three muses.

On to Antique Epigraphs, with Savannah Lowery in a prominent role. I know I am hyper-critical, but I do not think she should be in this company. She glowered grimly, she was statuesque but not svelte. Her appearance and demeanor simply do not lend themselves to ballet at this level.

In Faun, I was struck for the first time the beauty of Craig Hall and Janie Taylor. Janie has always seemed sort of a waxen figure to me, with too long eyelashes screening her face. Thankfully, she has trimmed her lashes and I could see her eyes. She and Craig were simply beautiful creatures, both narcissistic, but she awoken by a kiss. A perfect performance, perfectly danced.

La Sonnambula I have seen many times, but my recent memory of Nikolai Hubbe (alas, retired!) cannot be supplanted. Sebastian Marcovici is fine, but he is not the Poet as was Hubbe. Wendy is wraithlike. I attended this performance to see my most beloved dancer in the company, Jenny Ringer. She embodies to me the poetry of woman itself. She is beautiful, but she is also womanly, not a girl like most of the dancers. And she exudes a refinement that is rare. She is self possessed. She does not grab the spotlight, but dances with artistry. I am not looking for pyrotechnics from Jenny - I find rare pleasure in her presence. She hosted the Dancer's Choice of 2 years ago and was on the Balanchine panel in January so I see her refinement is not limited to dancing. But! She has to convince me in La Sonnambula she is vain and a flirt - a coquette. She could use a bit more coquettry, more vanity. So when she sees the Poet and the Sleepwalker together, I expect more intensity in her reaction than I saw. Not acting - don't act! But as she stands at the side of the stage, she must look as if this affront to her vanity is sinking in and she is absorbing the unfamiliar humiliation to her ego. Jenny is too nice! She has to have more of the back-stabber in her.

Have I said too much? Have I mentioned that Ana Sophia Scheller and Antonio Carmena were sublime in the pas de deux in La Sonnambula?

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I attended last night's performance as well. I have to make a confession - this is the first time that I have been to New York City Ballet in over ten years. I have been meaning to go, but last night just proved to be the perfect opportunity. After a steady diet of ABT, I felt like I had landed on another planet. With the exception of La Sonnambula, there was no scenery or fancy costumes, but I found myself paying more attention to the choreography and the dancers themselves.

Apollo was very good with Chase Finlay in the lead role. The audience was buzzing during intermission that he slipped at the beginning, but I did not notice at all. Of the three Muses, I enjoyed Maria Kowroski the most. I am no expert in this area, but the choreography looked super difficult and it was amazing to watch the four dancers and the shapes that they made together.

I did not get Afternoon of a Faun. The music was beautiful, but I just didn't get what it was supposed to be about.

Same with Antique Epigraphs, although I really enjoyed Sara Mearns. And the unison of the eight women was great to see.

I would say that La Sonnambula was my favorite of the night. The corps was wonderful. I thought Jenifer Ringer was so beautiful in the role of the Coquette. There was a great Pas de Deux with Ana Sophia Scheller and Antonio Carmena and Daniel Ulbricht was fantastic as the Harlequin, especially when he lept off into the wings head first. And Wendy Whelan was so striking as the Sleepwalker. This was the ballet which moved me the most.

I am so happy that I went last night. It was good to see something different and I want to come back to see Jewels at the beginning of June.

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I went last night specifically to see this cast of Apollo and left after Faune (too may nights at the ballet these last few weeks!)

I loved Apollo but it was not without its problems. Chase did slip during the part where he pirouettes down to the floor right before Terpeschore enters for their pas de deux.

The partnering in the pdd was shaky but there were no calamities and Maria handled the less than perfect partnering beautifully.

I agree with Eileen that Finlay's interpretation has deepened since his first performances with Hyltin but I think that at this point he is not quite strong enough or experienced enough to handle a ballerina as tall as Maria. In fact, the partnering with the 3 muses was also a tad rough.

All 3 muses were wonderful - Maria was beautiful and lyrical, Sara was so dynamic and incisive as Polyhimnia and I don't think I've ever seen Calliope danced as well as Theresa did it last night. Bravo to all 3 of them.

Despite its flaws this was such a rewarding performance and I look forward to watching Finlay develop in this role throughout the year.

Janie and Craig were pure perfection in Faune and I left the theater on a real high!

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I was also at last night's performance. I left after Antique Epigraphs. I thought the three muses were phenomenal. Finlay was less comfortable partnering them than he was last week with Scheller, Peck, and Hyltin as the muses, and he also slipped and almost fell in both his solos. But I thought the more "grown up muses" added a new dimension to his portrayal -- this Apollo all of sudden really was a boy-god learning from more experienced women. His chemistry with Kowroski was great, and that Reichlen, Mearns, and Kowroski just glowed as the muses. Mearns especially has such a way of articulating all the steps in this unique, grand style. I loved the noisy ovations after Apollo.

Afternoon of a Faun was also fantastic. Craig Hall - why don't we see him more? He and Taylor were very sensual in their pas de deux, and I always love watching Taylor. Just the way she grand plies on the barre after her entrance -- able to make so much out of such a simple move. Loved this mood piece.

I can't say too much about Antique Epigraphs because last night was the first time ever seeing this ballet, but Sara Mearns again shined in her solo. At this point I'd pay good money to see her dance the electric slide.

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Sara Mearns again shined in her solo. At this point I'd pay good money to see her dance the electric slide.

I think one of the things that distinguishes Mearns is that she often dances with abandon (but not recklessness). I would love to see what she could do with roles like Giselle and other full length dramatic ballets. (Her Swan Lake is sublime.)

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Ceeszi, it's good to read that you were finally able to see NYCB again! Afternoon of a Faun is something of a take off on Nijinsky's L'après-midi d'un faune. I could say more, but you'll find it more interesting to note the similarities and differences yourself. Try YouTube if you don't know the Nijinsky.

Robbins choreographed Antique Epigraphs after seeing bronze statuary in Naples. He wrote that the ballet "was inspired by French poetry about life and myths of Greek antiquity." I hope that helps.

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Ceeszi, another poster described Afternoon of a Faun as a commentary on the original Nijinsky Faun. That's valid. But I've always considered it a ballet studio where the dancers are stretching on the floor, doing a barre, each at first oblivious to the other because they are concentrating on the "fourth wall" - gazing intently at an unseen mirror in front of them. They are concentrating on themselves and their perfect form, which is why I described them as narcissistic.

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I did not get Afternoon of a Faun. The music was beautiful, but I just didn't get what it was supposed to be about.

Ceeszi, another poster described Afternoon of a Faun as a commentary on the original Nijinsky Faun. That's valid. But I've always considered it a ballet studio where the dancers are stretching on the floor, doing a barre, each at first oblivious of the other because they are concentrating on the "fourth wall" - gazing intently at an unseen mirror in front of them. They are concentrating on themselves and their perfect form, which is why I described them as narcissistic.

Eileen, you are right about Robbins's "Faun". I've always known it to be as you describe. I also found reference to its creation by Eddie Villella in his book Prodigal Son:

In a matter of weeks after joining the company, which had actually occurred on my twenty-first birthday, I was told by Jerome Robbins to learn the male role in Afternoon of a Faun. I was scheduled to perform it during the second week of the season. This was completely unexpected. I knew next to nothing about the ballet,.....

.....I was flattered and excited. Faun is a pas de deux set in a ballet studio, a fleeting encounter between a young man absorbed with his image in a mirror and a woman who enters the studio and interrupts his reverie. It's set to music by Debussy, the same score that Nijinsky used for his ballet for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1912. That choreography caused a scandal.

....Another challenge in Afternoon of a Faun was that I had to create a character, reach the audience dramatically as well as show off my technical capabilities in this role. The ballet depicted a brief sensual encounter between two dancers in a studio. I danced with my shirt off. I was very young and felt that I looked good in the part. Jerry Robbins gave me a lot of visual imagery to use.

'You've just come out of the shower,' he'd say. 'You've put on cologne. It's summer, late afternoon, and you're lying in a shaft of sunlight.'

....A number of years later, I learned that I had actually been Jerry's inspiration for Afternoon of a Faun when he had seen me as a teenage student work at SAB on Madison Avenue. Studios there had huge windows, and sunlight often poured in through them. One afternoon, I was standing in the fading light day-dreaming and leaned against the barre, yawning and stretching absentmindedly. Watching me, Jerry was struck with an idea for the ballet. Although I was very flattered by that story, I was glad that I had been unaware of it when I first danced the role.

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Ceeszi, another poster described Afternoon of a Faun as a commentary on the original Nijinsky Faun. That's valid. But I've always considered it a ballet studio where the dancers are stretching on the floor, doing a barre, each at first oblivious of the other because they are concentrating on the "fourth wall" - gazing intently at an unseen mirror in front of them. They are concentrating on themselves and their perfect form, which is why I described them as narcissistic.

Quite right, of course. Here are ABT's notes on the ballet.

All these ladies need a heartthrob for balance.

canbelto, what an interesting idea.

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Regarding Chase in "Apollo," I felt more of the character and story come out this time. I also felt that his problems partnering were related to Maria Korowski's size. I loved what she did, but felt she was too big for him. The same issue--size--affected the ending of "Sonnambula.". This time it was Marcovicci overpowering Whelan.

I agree with the previous poster about Lowery, as I mentioned about two weeks ago. On the other hand, it was lovely to see Rachel Rutherford on stage again.

Marga, that was wonderful of you to quote so extensively from Villella's book. Much information about the ballets can now be found in the programs, and in the "Repertory Notes" distributed by volunteers at the "Info" booths. Also , the "First Position" talks before many performances on the 4th ring right.

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Ceeszi, Antique Epigraphs is more mysterious than Faun, and I think it is related to the Nijinsky Afternoon of a Faun in the attitudes of the dancers - the row of sirens in Faun is similar. I was researching Greek art on the Met Museum's website, because I think the poses of the dancers in Antique Epigraphs is related to ancient Greek art - the row of women, their stylized poses. Here is an example of what I mean:

http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/collection_database/greek_and_roman_art/terracotta_alabastron_perfume_vase//objectview.aspx?OID=130016222&collID=13&dd1=13

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Ceeszi, Antique Epigraphs is more mysterious than Faun, and I think it is related to the Nijinsky Afternoon of a Faun in the attitudes of the dancers - the row of sirens in Faun is similar. I was researching Greek art on the Met Museum's website, because I think the poses of the dancers in Antique Epigraphs is related to ancient Greek art - the row of women, their stylized poses. Here is an example of what I mean:

http://www.metmuseum...ollID=13&dd1=13

Thank you, Eileen. I never made the connection between Nijinsky's Faun and the women's poses in Antique Epigraphs. I thought Robbins liked them paired due only to the fact that the music for both is Debussy, but I think you're onto something.

Here is a link to NYCB's notes for Antique.

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Thank you for that validation, Carbro. Searching the Met Museum website of pictures of their Grecian reliefs, here is another example that reminds me of Antique Epigraphs:

http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/greek_and_roman_art/marble_relief_of_hermes_three_nymphs_and_acheloos/objectview_enlarge.aspx?page=1&sort=6&sortdir=asc&keyword=reliefs&fp=1&dd1=13&dd2=0&vw=1&collID=13&OID=130012329&vT=1&hi=0&ov=0

Also many of the vases are terracotta, a shade of red that is the same as the dresses of the 4 corps girls in Antique Epigraphs.

I looked at the Parthenon sculptures, the so-called Elgin Marbles, on the British Museum website and it is so obvious that in Apollo, Balanchine was molding his Greek God after Grecian art, with Apollo striking poses strikingly reminiscent of ancient Greek sculpture. There is a clear connection from ancient Greek sculpture to Michelangelo's famous image of Adam and God reaching out fingers touching, to that very image in Apollo where Apollo anoints Terpsichore, that "it" moment.

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Ceeszi, Antique Epigraphs is more mysterious than Faun, and I think it is related to the Nijinsky Afternoon of a Faun in the attitudes of the dancers - the row of sirens in Faun is similar. I was researching Greek art on the Met Museum's website, because I think the poses of the dancers in Antique Epigraphs is related to ancient Greek art - the row of women, their stylized poses.

Great point. As related in Greg Lawrence's bio Dance with Demons, Robbins went to see Grecian statues in Naples after being impressed with photographs in a book brought back by Bart Cook. The book quotes the following from Robbins' original program note (I wonder why NYCB doesn't have this on its website): "Like Epigraphs and Afternoon of a Faun, Syrinx [for those not familiar with the ballet, this is one of the Debussy pieces the ballet is set to] was inspired by French poetry about life and myths of Greek antiquity."

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I feel that nearly ALL robbins' late ballets that are not costumed In white use those same earth tones and olive-ish green.

His "Faun" has at least two poses that are direct quotes from Nijinsky.

And Balanchine, in "Apollo" quotes Nijinsky's "Spectre de la Rose. " Right after he raises both arms with flat palms, He brings his arms down and raises them again -- elbows first -- and briefly holds that with wrists down, hands on either side of his face.

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This evening's performance was sadly not well attended, bit those that were there saw some lovely work and were very responsive.

"Divertmento #15" was a treat for the eyes and beautifully danced -- except for Jonathan Stafford nearly toppling sideways from a kneeling position with Ana Sophia Scheller. He actually did not look well, and I hope he is OK.

"Polyphonia" was danced with precision and seriousness that brought out the humor. I had not seen this cast, and liked the contrasts in the different dancers' bodies and approaches. Wendy Whelan and Tyler Angle were superb.

The cast for "Sonnambula " was different from Wed.'s cast. Jennie Somogyi and Robert Fairchild seemed to give the Poet and the Coquette more of a history together, yet when she removed her mask, he had no reaction. Jennie acted the jealous/deceived lover to the hilt, and Justin Peck as the Baron responded well. Janie Taylor was a natural as the "Sonnambula " though I wondered if she would be strong enough.... And the arms of a stage hand to help her out when she backed into the set were.very visible.

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I attended the Saturday matinee (May 21) and it also was not well attended. Divertimento was lovely as always, and Lauren King danced beautifully. It's always interesting to see who replaces a retiring dancer, in this case Yvonne Borree, who had a lock on one of the principal roles until her timely retirement.

Polyphonia - it was my first time seeing this ballet by Wheeldon, and it premiered ten years ago! I can see why I had passed it by til now. It is not dancing to me, but acrobatics. It's not about movement, which, as Suki Schorer wrote in her Ballet Technique book (which I looked at before the performance), is the touchstone of Balanchine's choreography. Balanchine is about movement; she emphasized this. I wish the company would revive Wheeldon's Variations Serieuses, I remember from a dozen years ago as a brilliant vehicle for Maria Kowroski's comedic talents, as well as terpsichorean gifts.

La Sonnambula with Janie Taylor and Robert Fairchild - Robert Fairchild was far more ardent than Marcovici had been Wednesday night. He convinced me he was the Poet. Jennie Somogyi, Coquette and troublemaker, as ViolinConcerto pointed out, conveyed better that she and the Poet had been lovers. But I still missed my favorite of all, Jenny Ringer, whose presence is beauty and whose refinement conveys to me all that ballet is, or should be, about.

Exciting sighting! This morning about 9:15 I was on Broadway at Lincoln Center and I passed none other than Jenny, her hair in short ringlets and with her husband and little girl in a stroller. She was obviously on her way to the theater for her performance in La Sonnambula.

Janie Taylor as the Sleepwalker - she was excellent. It will take some getting used to her as I identify this role very closely with Wendy Whelan, who emits an intensity despite her emotional absence in the dance with the Poet. But Janie certainly looked ghostly, and I saw that she was wearing very white makeup when they took curtain calls.

Adam Hendrickson acquitted himself respectably as Harlequin - but Daniel Ullbricht the other day had been thrilling, and funny. This is the difference between principal and soloist. Daniel Ullbricht is a principal and deservedly so, his jumps were spectacular and he was spectacular.

The pas de quatre featured two new corps members, Ashly Isaacs and Sarah Villwock, who were clearly thrilled to be given this opportunity. They were lovely, and their cavaliers, David Prottas and Devin Alberda, were eloquent.

I also was glad to see one of the most expressive of the corps members, Alina Dronova, in the pas de deux with Vincent Paradiso. She has lovely qualities, and an alertness that I have noticed. All the dancers were superb.

Question: Which corps members or soloists should be promoted? There are many I can think of. But there are currently so many principals, and none seem to be headed toward retirement, so how can Peter Martins promote anyone unless someone at the top retires?

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I went to the Sunday matinee and had a wonderful afternoon despite one big annoyance.

The program began with Martins' "Fearful Symmetries". I have begun to notice that there are different ballet masters for the repertory and sometimes the Martins ballets look sloppily prepared. There was a lot of out of sync corps work in this revival of Martin's 1990 ballet. The leads were all quite nice but not all on the same page. I was blown away by Tiler Peck who really defined her movements so that they read more specifically than Sterling Hyltin's. Peck's whole body would dance so if she had a bit where she was turned with her leg out, her whole torso would be turned outward so it looked like she was entirely at an angle. Whereas Hyltin in the same choreography was just prettily putting her leg out. Chase Finlay partnered Hyltin and looked good but didn't have much to do. This is a good ballet and well-organized in its formations and alternation of large and small masses. Not much profundity but that may have to do with the John Adams score which is superficially energetic but fails to develop interestingly. However it is very technical and physical and needs to be performed with absolutely sharp ensemble to make its effect - not so here despite good dancers all over the stage.

Second ballet was Robbins' "Opus 19/The Dreamer" which was magnificent. Janie Taylor has this aloof, unreachable allure that defined the ballerina role in this piece. Also Gonzalo Garcia has a soft feline grace - no step looked pushed or separate from the physical line. All the roles were deceptively difficult with knotty combinations that must come off with a sort of seamless flow and cool serenity - I think this is an incredibly demanding ballet. These two pulled it off. Beautiful playing by the orchestra of the Prokofiev score.

Last ballet on the program was "La Sonnambula" with a great cast: Whelan, Marcovici and Ringer as the Sleepwalker, Poet and Coquette. Amar Ramasar (a bit young-looking) as the Baron and Anna Sophia Scheller danced the intriguingly off-kilter pas de deux gloriously. Daniel Ulbricht was in his element selling the Harlequin's acrobatics, comedy and bravura. Whelan had a combination of empty ethereality and a kind of gothic driven intensity that made you wonder if this was a Bertha Mason madwoman in the attic. Marcovici did not surpass memories of Nicolae Hubbe as the Poet but brought out a kind of oblivious self-absorption - so into himself and living in his own world he doesn't sense danger and brings his destruction onto himself. Ringer's refined delicate beauty like a porcelain figurine made the Coquette's deceit more lethal. Very good show.

As for the annoyance - there were empty seats in my row in the side orchestra and I moved more center. There was an asian girl next to me. At intermission her boyfriend turned up and seemed to be arranging something with her. When I returned to my seat for the second ballet he was sitting in the seat I moved into. He insisted on seeing my ticket and refused to move over one. The usher came over alerted by his rudeness and asked to see his ticket. He elaborately searched his pockets but didn't have one. The usher said that he would need to show his credit card to the box office and they would print another ticket. My suspicion - his girlfriend probably was given a free ticket and she instructed her boyfriend to skip the first Martins ballet and sneak into the theater for the second act. He didn't have a ticket at all. I had a ticket for that row and had just moved more center. Anyway, a woman behind me asked me to move one over so her old, short mother behind me could see and I obliged. The girl and her ticketless boyfriend then reappeared and moved into the empty seats next to me as the lights were dimming and the usher had gone. He didn't return for "La Sonnambula" because he was afraid that usher would find him and probably sat somewhere else. Anyway the gall of them bullying ticket holders to seat jump really riled me. This totally off-topic but I just had to vent publicly! :FIREdevil:

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The first cast of Fearful - Mearns, Reichlin et al - was much more incisive and dynamic than the second cast on Sunday afternoon. Taylor was great in Opus. Janie reminded me of how Wendy used to look in this role when she first took it on more than a decade ago. Wendy was wonderful as the Sleepwalker, but the rest of the cast nearly put me to sleep. Marcovici is not very good as the Poet. Ticket sales for Sunday afternoon were POOR. Tons of empty seats.

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This was posted in error. Administrator, please remove this.

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Faux Pas, if you ever have a problem like this you should involve the usher. That's not always possible and sometimes ineffective unfortunately. I always try to avoid confrontations, but people take advantage, like this couple. They were outrageous. You should also tell the couple THEY should report YOU to the usher. It often has a marvelous intimidating effect. Because they don't want to get caught! I've had some terrible issues at State Theater:

The Arm Game: A few years ago, City Ballet was giving away tickets on the side of the orchestra free to senior citizens who were obviously not regular balletgoers. I had paid $55 for my ticket, but the elderly woman beside me was trying to occupy my seat as well as her own. She was doing this by resting her arm in a very intrusive way on the armrest and leaning against me! I tried to gently move against her, but she was determined and pushed back. At intermission, I inquired in my sweetest voice, "Do you have enough space?" "Oh, yes!" she assured me. After that gentle confrontation, she played the arm game no more.

The Hygiene Challenge: The distribution of free tickets (by the ticket office?) is often a misery to paying customers. For example, the other day when the orchestra was not populated, two men who clearly had both hygiene issues and mental health issues sat in the chairs next to me. I moved over 3 seats - in the middle of the orchestra there were 3 seats empty! But I paid a fortune for my ticket and should not have to experience suffocation from BO at a ballet performance.

Kicking the Chair Game: I tried to shush a couple who were talking throughout Act 1 of Swan Lake. At intermission, I told the usher where they sat and told him to quiet them. But the usher tried to put the onus on me, telling me, "Have you asked them to be quiet?" I said to him, I am asking YOU to ask them. So he had to be prodded. But then he spoke to the row in general (about talking during the performance). And now the woman who had been talking behind me started kicking my chair! I turned around and said loudly so everyone could hear: "AND DON'T KICK THE CHAIR. IT'S CHILDISH AND I WON'T STAND FOR IT." That did it. The bully was finally neutralized. I embarrassed her in front of a row of strangers.

I try to avoid all confrontations, but sometimes you have to Stand up! Stand up for your rights! as the song says. I'm sorry you had such an experience.

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Hygiene - I almost passed out at the Met in the Spring of 2009 during "La Sylphide". For some reason, the air conditioning was not turned up that high and the man next to me smelled like he lived with 20 cats. I am a cat lover, but - wow! - that was heinous.

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I was also at the Saturday May 21 matinee. Brief comments:

Divertimento No.15 was a pleasure, marred only by Megan Fairchild’s continued refusal to be partnered. Stafford is a good partner and he was trying hard but she pulls away at times so severely as to disrupt her and his line significantly. Fairchild’s solos were very lovely, however. Stafford seems more callow now than when he was first a principal, and it’s an improvement. Before he had an air of detachment at times – now he’s really there.

Polyphonia is an interesting ballet -- more interesting than good, I think, although it was very well danced. To me, it’s choreography about choreography, about Wheeldon's trying to work in a different style than he is comfortable in – trying out the angular, black and white Balanchine style. It’s not bad, because Wheeldon's a pretty good and careful choreographer (compare Reliquary, which comes from a similar idea but is bad and creepy). But it’s unusual -- to me it doesn’t feel like a response to the music but more that the music was chosen for the movement that Wheeldon wanted to make. Standout performances by Whelan and Tyler Angle (wow, is he growing up nicely), and Mearns. Amar Ramasar was adorably attentive to his partner(s). Chase Finlay, I hate to say, looked wiped out, and I don’t blame him, he’s had an amazing season and is still so young. He didn’t do a bad job, just a tired one.

I've always thought the Sleepwalker was a perfect role for Janie Taylor and she did not disappoint, but I think will get better with time. She was most shockingly otherworldly after the Poet's death. I was pleased to see Justin Peck, one of my favorites, as the Baron. He is such an easy dancer and has a real gift for characterization; he's always aware of, and has specific relationships with, the other people on stage. Adam Hendrickson was perfect at the Jester. My quibble was that the atmosphere of decadence was not as strong as it should be. The corps dancers were a bit too nice and sunny for this ballet.

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Chase Finlay, I hate to say, looked wiped out, and I don’t blame him, he’s had an amazing season and is still so young. He didn’t do a bad job, just a tired one.

Martins may be killing Finlay with kindness by casting him in so many new leading roles. Finlay is debuting in yet another role this week - Tony in West Side Story Suite (per casting on line). Millepied - NYCB's phantom employee -was originally listed for that role this week, but Finlay is replacing him.

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