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NYCB Spring Season 2011


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#46 Eileen

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 09:55 AM

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

#47 Eileen

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 10:18 AM

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.

#48 Ceeszi

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 11:19 AM

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.

#49 E Johnson

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 07:39 AM

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.

#50 abatt

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 12:16 PM

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.

#51 vipa

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 05:38 PM


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.


Wow - just as I was being amazed that Millepied was making an appearance he's gone. How long will he remain on the roster one only knows

#52 abatt

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 07:17 PM

I saw Millepied strolling w. Ms. Portman this evening in front of the Met Opera House. Millepied's new ballet premiered tonight at ABT (well, it's a New York premiere).

#53 Slant

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 09:21 PM

You think Finlay is being overworked? How about Justin Peck having featured roles in 8 different ballets this month, for a total of nearly 20 performances. This plus his additional corps work, plus his choreographic work on the side. He looks pretty fresh to me. I think Justin is the most solid, versatile performer in the corps. I think he has earned promotion to soloist.

#54 E Johnson

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 05:21 AM

You think Finlay is being overworked? How about Justin Peck having featured roles in 8 different ballets this month, for a total of nearly 20 performances. This plus his additional corps work, plus his choreographic work on the side. He looks pretty fresh to me. I think Justin is the most solid, versatile performer in the corps. I think he has earned promotion to soloist.


I'd happily sign on to any Promotion for Peck campaign.

#55 Slant

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 02:25 PM

So who caught Peter Martins' performance as Big Boss in Slaughter on Tenth Avennue Saturday night? Quite a surprise. I hope he died well.

#56 rg

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 03:26 PM

Martins appeared unannounced at today's matinee as the Big Boss in SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE.
he didn't wear Sharaff's costume, but instead wore a trim, double breasted, charcoal gray suit, w/ black dance oxfords and a fedora.
one knew immediately it wasn't La Cour.
as this was his second 'return to the stage' (at least for this weekend), he seemed very confident and mimed with his usual authority and clarity. he certainly made an impression.
a number of audience members i ran into atn the intermission hadn't even realized who they'd seen, tho' i trust most knew it wasn't La Cour, who i gather is indisposed as of last night.
here is the house program page: there was no insert and no announcement; tho' Martins appeared in the background of the group curtain call, he didn't take a bow, per se.
the co. seemed amused to have its big boss as the Big Boss.

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#57 Balanchinomane

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 04:08 PM

I was surprised to see him on stage - he looked very pleased with himself.
What a hoot. I'd love to see him as Drosselmeyer --- any bets?

#58 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 01:31 PM

The program consisted of two masterpieces by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins (Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and West Side Story Suite) and one very forgettable ballet by Susan Stroman (For the Love of Duke). I loved Stroman’s choreography for the Broadway musicals Contact and The Producers. I was entranced by her two act ballet for the New York City Ballet, Double Feature. I will very happy that the New York City Ballet will be reviving Double Feature during their 2012 spring season.

That being said, For the Love of Duke is a very slight ballet set to the iconic jazz rhythms of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. As already stated, For the Love of Duke is a very flimsy work with fantastic music, tremendously talented dancers and repetitious choreography. If only the choreography had lived up to the Ellington/Strayhorn score and the power of the dancers performing the steps. All the cast is spectacular – Amar Ramasar as Johnny, Tiler Peck as Rose, Sara Mearns as Frankie, Lauren Lovette as Sunset, Savannah Lowery as Blossom and Robert Fairchild as the musician. Hopefully someone will soon create a ballet worthy of these dancers’ talents and abilities.

Now on to the masterworks. George Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue is a show within a show. It was originally created for the Broadway musical On Your Toes in 1936. Slaughter is a perfect blend of Balanchine’s choreography and Richard Rodgers’ music.

As the Striptease Girl, Sara Mearns is unbearably lovely. Her long legs, which seem to go on to eternity, show off her high kicks to their best advantage. Mearns’ gorgeous backbends highlight the suppleness of her upper body. Andrew Veyette’s Hoofer stands out for his stylish tap dancing and his goofy, but endearing take on the role.

Anthony Huxley, Troy Schumacher and Giovanni Villalobus are very funny as the high flying “three blind mice” policemen, who can’t see the patrons and workers at the speakeasy hiding right under their noises. The bartenders, Justin Peck and Andrew Scardato, dance smartly in unison and sweep up the dead bodies with aplomb.

In a surprise bit of casting,(which has already been mentioned on Ballet Talk) New York City Ballet’s Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins, was the Big Boss. He mimes the role with power and precision. There was no announcement either in the program or from the stage that Martins would appearing in the May 29th matinee of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. The entire cast seemed to get a kick out of seeing their ballet chief perform with them.

The program ended with Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite. In 1995 Robbins staged West Side Story Suite for New York City Ballet. It is a compilation of six numbers from the musical West Side Story, plus a new solo for Tony to “Something’s Coming”.

West Side Story Suite is an energetic ballet which showcases virtuoso male dancing. Chase Finlay is a very young, optimistic Tony. The way he leaps toward the sky in his “Something’s Coming” solo is both poignant and exuberant. As Riff, Andrew Veyette leads the Jets with his bravura dancing. Veyette also has a strong singing voice, which he uses to great effect in “Cool”. In the role of Bernardo, Amar Ramasar scowls appropriately while dancing up a storm.

The ladies also do their part to make West Side Story Suite memorable. Georgina Pazcoguin’s Anita is reminiscent of Rita Moreno’s performance in the movie version of West Side Story. (I never saw Chita Rivera, Broadway’s original Anita, in the role.) All flashing limbs and brazen attitude, Pazcoguin belts out a wry and cynical “America”. The Latin ladies accompanying her are all excellent, especially Gretchen Smith, the naďve yet hopeful Rosalia. Lauren Lovette is a strikingly sweet and innocent Maria.

Even though West Side Story Suite changes the ending of the musical West Side Story, I tear up every time I see the concluding “Somewhere” ballet. The combination of Leonard Bernstein’s lushly beautiful music and Jerome Robbins’ transcendent choreography transports me to that wonderful “place for us”. It’s only for a few moments, but they are such glorious ones.

#59 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:23 PM

Mr. Martins has a great and under-utilized talent for humor, as demonstrated in "Calcium Light Night," "Eight Easy Pieces," his acting/dancing role in Mr. B's "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," and others. I wish he would give full and free rein to this wonderful impish ability.

#60 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:01 AM

I just wanted to mention that before Sunday's matinee I saw several NYCB ballerinas having lunch outside near the Koch theater. I went over and talked to them briefly, saying what a fan I was, etc. They were all lovely. (All the dancers I've briefly talked to - both ABT and NYCB dancers, have been super nice.) They were Wendy Whelan, Sterling Hyltin, Abby Stafford, Savannah Lowery and Gretchen Smith. Wendy asked me if I were going to that afternoon's show. When I said I was she told me to watch for something special at the end of Slaughter. I told her that I had seen it many times before. I saw On Your Toes when it was revived on Broadway in 1983. I knew about the hit man sitting in the box. But she said no, no, it's something else. Watch for it at the end. When the curtain went down on Slaughter, I'm thinking there's no surprise. Where's the surprise? Then it hit me. I knew (as has already been said) that the Big Boss was definitely not Ask La Cour. Ask is taller and considerably younger than the Big Boss on stage. But due to the fedora it was hard to tell who it was. Then it clicked. The Big Boss is Peter Martins!!! And when he took off his hat, I knew for sure. He was very good. Vipa is right. He should definitely do more character roles at NYCB. I can see him as Drosselmeyer (as has already been mentioned) Dr. Coppelius (wouldn't that be fun) Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet. And on and on.


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