canbelto

NYCB Winter Season

83 posts in this topic

Was anyone else there? The combo of Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild in Who Cares? was absolutely magical. "The Man I Love" was gorgeous. Teresa Reichlen was also beautiful in "Embraceable You" although she's a little too tall for Fairchild to partner comfortably. Ashley Bouder fell at the beginning of her variation in Tchai Pdd but recovered nicely and the flying fish dives were spectacular. Le Tombeau de Couperin was a piece I was seeing for the first time, but it was lovely.

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Yes, I thought that Tiler and Robbie were fabulous in Who Cares. Tess did just fine too but -- and I can't put my finger on it -- but Mearns (for me) almost seemed miscast. Despite the tumble, Ashley Bouder is still the most musical dancer on that stage. Glad to see that the house was quite full.

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I too thought Mearns was miscast. She's a much better adagio dancer than allegro, and seemed to overcompensate with an overly aggressive attack that bordered on unattractive. I would have loved to see her try the Reichlen role actually and Reichlen try the Mearns role.

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Which set of songs did Mearns and Reichlen dance to: I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise/Who Cares? (von Aroldingen) or My One and Only/Embraceable You (Morris)?

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Which set of songs did Mearns and Reichlen dance to: I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise/Who Cares? (von Aroldingen) or My One and Only/Embraceable You (Morris)?

Mearns got the Karin role, and Reichlen got the Morris role.

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I attended the Wednesday night (Jan. 18) performance - Steadfast Tin Soldier, Tombeau, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Union Jack - and as promised, my report. Contrary to Macaulay, I loved almost every moment. After a long ballet hiatus, I was thrilled with the dancing, the program, the dancers. In Steadfast, I felt Daniel Ulbricht nothing less than perfection in his surprising military "moves", his lunges to kiss his beloved's hand, his airborne leaps. Although you know he is always going to be virtuoso, he manages to surprise you with just how extravagantly virtuoso. Erica Pereira was less impressive. I think she needed more angularity in her arms and as Macaulay noted, more depth to the role. I think he nailed it when he said she should have conveyed her desire for freedom. She is a wonderful dancer, and she partners well with Ulbricht - but there is some essential spark of watchability that I missed.

Tombeau - I have never warmed to this ballet. I think it's because its static quality becomes repetitious. Its theme is friendship (if I'm not mistaken), the ensemble as a group of equal colleagues. Put a man and woman on stage, says Balanchine, and you have a story. Put 16 dancers on stage, all in the emotionally tepid realm of brother and sister, and you have no story. Friendship is not balletic material.

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux - With Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia, may I say Tiler was beautiful and fearless. Her leaps into fishdives were thrilling. Her technique flawless, and her femininity brought out by the choreography. (Often she is cast in roles that lack that quality.) I first saw this ballet in 1976 in Baltimore with (gasp!) Peter Martins and Lourdes Lopez.

Garcia is an interesting issue. I say issue, because he has all the bravura motions and poses, but his solo leaps lack height, so you are disappointed. You are led to expect from his showmanship that he'll bring down the house - and instead his technique is tepid. He was an excellent partner, though. I'd much rather have seen Veyette or even better, the brilliant de Luz.

Union Jack - I have rarely seen this ballet, maybe once or twice in my 30 year ballet-going career. It is fascinating, a totally anamoly in the Balanchine canon. Meaning it's unique, no other Balanchine ballet is anywhere like it. Obviously, his chance to see Scottish regiments marching (like Mendelssohn visiting the Hebrides) inspired him artistically. The combination of massed combinations on the stage was brilliant, fascinating. What intrigued me was the way each group of Scots regiments was led by a principal, yet the principal was almost indistinguishable from the supporting dancers. So I made a game of it - from mid-orchestra, could I recognize who the leader of the regiments was? Which principal stood out? Joaquin de Luz stood out from the moment he took the stage as leader of the Lennox regiment. He did nothing different than anything else - but his personality, his esprit, just the bounce in his march, captured the eye. He has watchability, in spades! I did not recognize Tyler Angle, but figured it was one of the Angle brothers. And it was both! Each led a regiment. I recognized Janie Taylor by her diminutive height (the costuming helped to conceal the dancers' identities!) and she led Dress MacDonald with spirit. MacDonald of Sleat was led by the eternal Wendy Whelan (long may she dance!). Maria Kowrowski as head of RCAF and Wrens was replaced by Tess Reichlen (though there was no announcement or program insert, it was only on the casting list in the lobby). [Thanks for the corrrection - I didn't recognize Maria.] After the military manoeuvers, a quick change to the Costermongers pas de deux, which was charming. Andrew Veyette, in spirit if not in physique, reminds me of Gene Kelly. He has real showmanship. His new wife, Meg Fairchild, was adorable, and succeeded in hitting that sweet spot called "not overdoing it". I loved the moment (too brief) when the two Pearly Princesses are pulled on stage by a donkey in a carriage. They danced their little hearts out. I was happy to see Callie Reiff cast as one of the Pearly Princesses as I have a personal connection twice removed to her. I was surprised to see she is still so small. I hope she is cast as the young Mabel (is that the role?) in Double Feature. Back to the Royal Navy and Wrens. More dancing happiness.

The Wrens who come out in leg-bearing shorts, reminded me of when I saw Suzanne Farrell leading the Wrens in the 1980's. Was she ever a knockout. No one had legs like hers. She was just physically blessed, along with a natural musicality and a thrilling technique. Who says no one is irreplaceable? A talent like Suzanne's is irreplaceable.

What is also irreplaceable is a seat in center orchestra at curtain time. There were many empty seats in center orchestra around me. I wonder how the new pricing policy will play out. It certainly discourages last minute ticket purchases - at $149? I got my tickets at a reduced price as a subscriber, along with two "free" vouchers for a performance of Midsummer. I benefited from having a clear view, as the seats in front of me were empty. But the less expensive seats on the far sides were full. They even seem to have donated seats on the far side to minority children, a nice gesture.

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Maria was head of the Wrens last night, despite the erroneous info on the casting sheet in the lobby. She's pretty unmistakable (Tess has smaller feet), and she was lovely. Also, Macaulay did not write the NYT review of Tuesday night's performance, Claudia LaRocco did. Tyler Angle was amazing in his debut -- reminded me of Damian W. in the same role, they haven't had someone as good in a while. His double tours to each side in the second half were impressive and exciting!

Although Tiler Peck was great in Tchai pas, I preferred the Bouder/Veyette pairing on Tuesday -- especially their thrilling fish dives. Who Cares? on Tuesday was one of the best I've seen -- Robbie Fairchild owns the male role, and the Man I Love Duet was spellbinding. No-one can do the turning role like Tess R., either -- her alternating single and double fouettes were so beautiful and controlled! Agree that Sara M. was miscast in the third role.

Tombeau was wonderful both nights -- the inventiveness and intricacy of the groupings is beautiful, especially from above.

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The less expensive seats on the far sides were full. They even seem to have donated seats on the far side to minority children, a nice gesture.

That really is generous if that is the case.

Is that an assumption just based on the fact you saw a bunch of non-white children in the orchestra? That they must be there for free?

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I too thought Mearns was miscast. She's a much better adagio dancer than allegro, and seemed to overcompensate with an overly aggressive attack that bordered on unattractive. I would have loved to see her try the Reichlen role actually and Reichlen try the Mearns role.

Mearn's isn't really a turner, is she? I think she'd be wonderful in Embraceable You, but would struggle with My One and Only. It's hard, even for natural turners.

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I was at last night's NYCB performance. I skipped Union Jack (too much marching.) Steadfast has never been one of my favorites. Ulbricht has the technical merit for the role, but I miss Damian W., who also always added so much to the role with excellent acting. I didn't see any element in Erica P.'s dancing that indicated a desire to be free. Tombeau is always a pleasure. Such a wonderful ballet. I loved Tiler Peck's musicality and timing. She didn't pull out all the virtuoso tricks that Bouder tends to do, but her performance was very enjoyable. (She threw in some changes of arm position for good measure during her spins.) I was not impressed with Garcia. He didn't make mistakes, but his performance seemed underpowered. I'm writing this from D.C., looking forward to a weekend of Mariinsky Madness.

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I was also there on opening. I agree with much of what has already been said by canbelto. Tchai pas was wonderful even with Bouder's fall . The funny thing for me was that as the music started for her variation i thought "seems fast" and as she started to move I said to myself "boy she is going for it" the thought was barely finished in my head when down she went! But a terrific performance anyway (flying fish were amazing), I love Bouder's tweet & facebook comment “Well, I guess it wouldn’t be a NYCB season without a Bouder fall. Let the season begin!”

As others have said R. Fairchild and Tiler Peck were the highlights of Who Cares. I prefer a more stacatto dancer than Mearns for her role. Reichlen looked to me like she was still working out some of the kinks. Never-the-less I enjoyed both performances. Also Amanda Hankes was outstanding through-out, particularly in S'Wonderful

A word about tickets. I went to the Atrium that evening and bought a 4th ring seat for $30, center of row C. It was listed as a 50% discount. When I got there rows A & B were mostly filled and row C was filled in the center, The sides of row C and everything above row C was empty. If you go to the NYCB website 4th ring is "unavailable" and it appears that if it was available a ticket would be $55. I'm not complaining but it seems odd. I live and work about 20 blocks from the atrium so I guess I'll be trying my luck again soon.

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What is irreplaceable is a seat in center orchestra at curtain time. There were many empty seats in center orchestra around me. I wonder how the new pricing policy will play out. It certainly discourages last minute ticket purchases - at $149? I got my tickets at a reduced price as a subscriber, along with two "free" vouchers for a performance of Midsummer. I benefited from having a clear view, as the seats in front of me were empty. But the less expensive seats on the far sides were full. They even seem to have donated seats on the far side to minority children, a nice gesture.

I actually don't like sitting in center orchestra. The first and second ring offers a much better view of the formation of the corps de ballet, very important in Balanchine. Moreover, the stage from the orchestra seats often seems shallow and overly wide, while from the rings the whole stage looks better proportioned.

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Thanks for all the great reviews!!! I'll be attending Sunday's matinee and will post about it later in the week.

I just want to say that I, like so many Ballet Talk posters, am very confused and annoyed about the pricing this year and the lack of information (in my opinion) subscribers were given about price increases. I have a Sunday subscription. My seat is K3, which is center orchestra. During the 2010-2011 season, the price per ticket was $100. It was the same price (if you had a subscription) for all the orcestra seats. Last June or July or whenever it was, when I got my order form for the 2011-2012 seasons, I got a letter saying that the price per ticket for my seat was going up to $119 per ticket, since my seat was an extremely desired one, blah, blah, blah. Silly me, I naturally assumed all the orchestra seats for subscribers were going to be $119 per ticket. But when I switched a ticket and got seat K6, I saw the cost printed on the ticket was $103. Huh????? Three seats from the aisle is somehow worth $16 less than two seats from the aisle?? I then started looking into this further and found out there are orchestra seats that are much cheaper than $103. And the thing is you can sit all the way on the end in the David Koch Theatre and have a great view.

So when I get my order form for the 2012-2013 seasons, I'm getting a cheaper subscription. Was anyone aware of the diversity in prices when they ordered their subscriptions last year? Did I miss the fine print or something? I've been attending NYCB performances since 1980 and have had a subscription since 1996 or 1997 (At the moment I can't remember which one.)

Well, thanks for letting me vent about this. Oh, this is going to sound like a dumb question, but where is the promenade in the David Koch Theatre? I want to attend the 1:45pm talk on Sunday, and the NYCB website says it'll be held in the promenade.

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Colleen, the promenade is the large area up several stairs from the ground floor lobby and then up another half flight. (It's reachable from either side, left or right, of the lobby.) There are two large white sculptures on either end of the promenade, and on performance nights, a gift shop in the middle near the windows. They set up lots of chairs and it's first come, first seated. So line up in the lobby early!

I went last year and it was wonderful - the dancers were interviewed and they were so insightful and just lovely as individuals. This year, unfortunately, I am tethered to home waiting for Verizon guys to fix my computer! This process will take 4-6 hours!!! So Colleen, I am counting on you to report on the 1:45 panel discussion since I can't be there, and for other Ballet Talkatives as well. Oh, and you need a ticket, be sure to get one, free at the box office.

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Eileen, thank you so much for telling me where the promenade is and telling me I need to get a special ticket at the box office. I will definitely report on the talk as well as the performances some time next week. And I also want to mention, Eileen, that I really enjoy reading your posts.

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Colleen, the promenade is the large area up several stairs from the ground floor lobby and then up another half flight. (It's reachable from either side, left or right, of the lobby.) There are two large white sculptures on either end of the promenade, and on performance nights, a gift shop in the middle near the windows. They set up lots of chairs and it's first come, first seated. So line up in the lobby early!

I went last year and it was wonderful - the dancers were interviewed and they were so insightful and just lovely as individuals. This year, unfortunately, I am tethered to home waiting for Verizon guys to fix my computer! This process will take 4-6 hours!!! So Colleen, I am counting on you to report on the 1:45 panel discussion since I can't be there, and for other Ballet Talkatives as well. Oh, and you need a ticket, be sure to get one, free at the box office.

Worth it to reschedule the cable Eileen. If I lived as close as you do (and it weren't so cold), I would go. Trying to think how I can get to see Pina at Linc Center in the snow.

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A gentle reminder that the board is a place to discuss points made in posts, but not a place for specific criticisms of a poster or politics that is not arts-related.

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Why thank you, Colleen for your kind words. They brought a smile to my face. (I will omit the icon though!) Enjoy the panel discussion and the performances. I didn't mention, you also need a free ticket for an on-stage demonstration at 5:30 by Peter Martins teaching class to advanced students in the theater.

Just saw puppytreats' post. Thank you for your good words, too, but my ability to write what I think is what gets me into hot water!

I love this board, and the forum it gives people who love NYC Ballet to discuss performances and dancers on a high level. I also learn from other posters.

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Does anyone have any thoughts on attending performances at the end of a season (when fatigue, injuries, etc., may have taken their toll)? I'd really like to come up to see Agon, which is only being performed the last two weekends in February (and which I've never seen before). I know that the nature of live performance is unpredictable, but can anything generalizable be said about the quality of the dancing here as the season progresses? Thanks.

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Here is my review of NYCB's Sunday performance featuring Who Cares and Union Jack.

Let me start with Who Cares? All the dancers are wonderful, but the real standouts are Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild. Fairchild’s timing, his rhythm, the snap of his fingers – all remind me of a young Fred Astaire. Tiler Peck is just perfect as the girl in pink. The first time I ever saw New York City Ballet perform (February of 1980) Who Cares? was on the program. I was totally blown away by Patricia McBride’s solo to “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”. Her quicksilver footwork and dizzyingly fast series of turns left me gasping in disbelief. I saw McBride in Who Cares? many times. After she retired from NYCB, I hoped to find a ballerina who could equal her rendition of “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”. Some dancers came close – Nichol Hlinka, Janie Taylor, Jennifer Ringer – but they just could not match my mind’s eye image of Patricia McBride performing that solo.

On Sunday, however, Tiler Peck nails “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”. Her precision, her musicality, her phrasing – all are beyond compare. Peck’s whiplash turns are danced at a breakneck pace. In their pas de deux to “The Man I Love” Peck and Fairchild are magical. The radiant yearning of their love brings tears to my eyes.

As the girl in blue, Teresa Reichlen is demurely coy in her duet with Robert Fairchild to “Embraceable You”, but shows her steely technique to great effect in her solo “My One and Only.” Sara Mearns seems miscast as the girl in red. In both her duet with Fairchild to “Who Cares?” and especially her solo “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” she lacks the coltish playfulness needed for the role.

“Who Cares?” is a gorgeously joyous ballet. As Ira Gershwin once wrote, “Who could ask for anything more?”

The afternoon ends with Union Jack, a three part salute to Great Britain. It uses regimental military tattoos, Scottish ballads, British folk music, music hall ditties and sailors’ hornpipes to set the desired moods. The score is provided by Hersey Kay.

Part I is a tribute to the Scottish and Canadian regiments. 70 members of these clans, clothed in their tartan best, parade onto the stage in intricate patterns. Then the marching evolves into phenomenal dancing. The highlight of these is the MacDonald of Sleat variation, where the lead performer dances a very quick paced solo to a staccato drumbeat. Wendy Whelan has owned this solo for years. On Sunday the 44 year old ballerina performs it flawlessly. Obviously Whelan is ageless.

Part II is the Costermonger pas de deux. It is set in an Edwardian music hall, where a down on their luck husband and wife team perform. Andrew Veyette has a goofy charm as the Pearly King. Megan Fairchild, his wife in real life, is adorably hammy as the Pearly Queen. At the end of the pas de deux, their daughters, the Pearly Princesses, arrive in a pony cart. Then the whole family dances together, with the Pearly King and Queen still trying to upstage each other.

Part III is a salute to the Royal Navy. All the dancers join in the highflying hijinks. My favorite part of Union Jack is the second section of the Royal Navy tribute. In my mind’s eye I still see former NYCB principal, Damian Woetzel, performing the solo. He always made the endless leaps and turns look so light and effortless. On Sunday Tyler Angle is fantastic in this role. He doesn’t quite have Woetzel’s happy swagger but that will come in time.

As usual, Union Jack ends on a joyous note. As the orchestra plays “Rule Britannia”, the cast uses hand flags to signal “God Save the Queen” and the Union Jack rolls down the back wall of the David Koch Theatre. It was a wonderful afternoon at the ballet.

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I forgot to mention that I didn't get to attend the 1:45PM talk on Sunday afternoon. When I got to the box office at the David Koch Theatre (a little after 12:00PM) the man there told me the tickets were all gone. Could I have gotten the ticket to the talk over the internet? Do you have to go in person? I live in Staten Island and don't want to make that long trip if I don't have to.

With regard to simona's question, I have often attended performances at the end of NYCB's season (whether winter, spring or now fall). My subscription is on Sunday matinees and often I've gone to the very last performances of the season. I've never noticed any major differences between the quality of the dancing at the begining and end of the seasons. Sometimes dancers get injured and NYCB has to change performers or even the program. Injuries seem more likely to occur at the end of the season, but they can of course occur any time in the season.

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Thank you all for your impressions of the recent performances at nycb - I wonder if someone would be kind enough to list the 8 couples dancing Le Tombeau de Couperin? tia.

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thanks RG -

I'm a fan of Taylor Stanley's - glad to see his name there.

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I forgot to mention that I didn't get to attend the 1:45PM talk on Sunday afternoon. When I got to the box office at the David Koch Theatre (a little after 12:00PM) the man there told me the tickets were all gone. Could I have gotten the ticket to the talk over the internet? Do you have to go in person? I live in Staten Island and don't want to make that long trip if I don't have to.

With regard to simona's question, I have often attended performances at the end of NYCB's season (whether winter, spring or now fall). My subscription is on Sunday matinees and often I've gone to the very last performances of the season. I've never noticed any major differences between the quality of the dancing at the begining and end of the seasons. Sometimes dancers get injured and NYCB has to change performers or even the program. Injuries seem more likely to occur at the end of the season, but they can of course occur any time in the season.

I was told the same thing by two people behind the glass at the box office, but then spoke to a representative from the ballet (not the box office) and was let in to hear the lecture. Some people with subscription tickets indicated that they did not have notice of the need to get a ticket for the lecture; they were allowed to attend the lecture by the ballet company representative. I would hope that you are not too disappointed by having missed it, though. Other lectures I have seen have been more informative. However, the dancers were really nice.

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