canbelto

NYCB Winter Season

83 posts in this topic

Would appreciate opinions. I haven't seen the Martins R&J. Should I see it? I'm inclined to see the Pereira-Stanley pairing, since Taylor Stanley has been a favorite ever since he leaped out at me from the Spanish dance in Swan Lake a year ago. I can still picture the way he snapped his wrists, his perfect form and effortless jumps, and that "je ne sais quoi" that makes him a standout. But I can't stand ballets that, well, I can't stand. And I'm doubtful about the merits of this R&J. I value the opinions on this board and if you have a recommendation, I'd be glad to hear it.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm hesitant to recommend that anyone avoid a ballet altogether. That said, I've already seen it, twice, and even though Tiler Peck has skyrocketed to the top (albeit a rotating top) of my Favorite Ballerina list, I won't bother seeing her in it. Ever. Or anyone else.

Share this post


Link to post

cobweb, I'm a fan of his as well and would go if I were in nyc. I think it's his first "story ballet" principal role so I'm thinking it's going to be special.

Share this post


Link to post

I attended the February 12th matinee. I did see "Sins" again. It still isn't great, but it was somewhat better than what I remembered from when I saw it last May.

The ballet begins with Anna 1 and Anna 2 leaving their home in Louisiana to find fame and fortune. Anna 1 and 2 seem to be different parts of the same person. As they travel throughout America, Anna 2 encounters those seven deadly sins, one for each city they journey to. Anna 1 sings about all the temptations Anna 2 faces. Anna 2 does all the heavy lifting while Anna 1 takes most of the money her sister (Anna 1 refers to Anna 2 as her sister) earns.

Their family back home in Louisiana consists of a mother (sung by a man in drag), father, an older brother and a younger brother. They function as a sort of Greek chorus/barbershop quartet. For some reason, both Anna and the Family constantly criticize Anna 2. Anna 2 doesn’t seem to be committing the sins she encounters in every city she goes to. Her family and sister sing about how lazy she is (for the deadly sin of sloth), but Anna 2 is shown scrubbing the floor with all her might. Her anger seems justified in response to a movie star (Sara Mearns) firing her dance partner when he accidentally bumps into her.

Poor skinny little Anna 2 is not even allowed to eat a chicken leg, yet her Family accuses her of gluttony. And how lustful is it when Anna 2 is forced to give up the man she loves (Craig Hall) to become the mistress of a wealthy man (Zachary Catazaro)? The sin of envy has Anna 2 stealing a baby. She doesn’t seem envious of the baby’s mother. To me it looks like Anna 2 has finally cracked up due to all the pressure Anna 1 and the Family have placed on her to make money for them.

In the Epilogue Anna 1 returns to her family in Louisiana wearing a mink coat. Due to all the money Anna 2 has made for them, the Family is now living in a mansion. Anna 2 goes back to Louisiana as well, only to collapse to the ground and die. Her body is then pulled off the stage.

“The Seven Deadly Sins” is all right as a novelty, but it is not a ballet I want to see very often. Besides the storyline bordering on the ridiculous, the choreography is pedestrian at best. As Anna 2, Wendy Whelan tries very hard, but she really doesn’t have much to work with. It’s always good to see Patti LuPone, but both the music and lyrics are pretty forgettable. Obviously, even great artists like Weill and Brecht have their failures. This time at least I was able to understand what LuPone was singing. When I saw Sins” last May, I was barely able to make out a word being sung. If Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins, wants to get guest artists from Broadway or television or the movies or the music world, he has to give them a better performance vehicle than Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s “Seven Deadly Sins”.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of two lightweight ballets – Jerome Robbins’ “Interplay” and Peter Martins’ “Zakouski” and one sublime work – George Balanchine’s “Vienna Waltzes”.

Jerome Robbins choreographed “Interplay” in 1945 to a jazzy score by Morton Gould. “Interplay” is a slight but enjoyable ballet. It gives its young dancers a chance to shine as they play hopscotch, do cartwheels and try to outdo each other with their leaps and turns.

“Zakouski” is a trifle of a piece choreographed by Peter Martins and set to the music of four Russian composers – Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. It is very well danced by Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette, but there’s not much to this ballet.

The afternoon ends on an extremely high note – with George Balanchine’s “Vienna Waltzes”. The ballet is a series of four waltzes and one polka, with music by Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehar and Richard Strauss. The sets by Rouben Ter-Arutunian are magnificent – from the forests of the Vienna Woods to the haunted ballroom of “Der Rosenkavlier. Karinska’s period costumes are gorgeous.

“Vienna Waltzes” begins with “Tales from the Vienna Woods”. Savannah Lowery is lovely as a young debutante with Tyler Angle her attentive cavalier. Next is the only section danced on pointe – “Voices of Spring”. Janie Taylor is a sparkling sprite. Antonio Carmena excites the audience with his tremendous elevation and dancing rich with musicality and joy. Erica Peirera and Adam Hendrickson are very funny as they dance “The Explosions Polka”.

The Silver and Gold Waltz is a disappointment. Jonathan Stafford is stiff rather than dashing. Teresa Reichlein as the Merry Widow looks like she’s playing dress-up. Reichlein’s widow lacks both mystery and allure.

The most romantic dance of the afternoon was performed by Sara Mearns, alone, in front of a mirror. She is a woman haunted by memories as a phantom lover (Jared Angle) waltzes in and out of her life. Mearns is absolutely perfect in the role – with just a wave of her arm she conveys a whole world of meaning. The gorgeous arch of her pliant back shows the depth of her heartbreak. The Hollywoodesque finale, with chandeliers aglow and white gowns swirling, is as intoxicating as ever. I can only hope that NYCB will dance “Vienna Waltzes” for many years to come.

While watching Daniel Ulbricht in "Interplay" I found myself wondering why he seems stuck in the same roles he did while he was a soloist and even a corps dancer. I loved Antonio Carmena in "Voices of Spring", but that seems to me a part that Ulbricht would be spectacular in. Why isn't he ever El Capitan in Stars and Stripes instead of the guy leading the male corps? Why isn't he in Union Jack? As much as I liked Tyler Angle in the part this winter, I think Ulbricht would be even better. Besides being a fantastic dancer, he's got charisma to burn. I think he should be dancing all the Damian Woetzl parts. Of course, Peter Martins isn't asking me for my advice (obviously). It's not just the fact that Ulbricht is short. I think DeLuz is even shorter (or at least the same size) and he's moved on to bigger and better roles (which he is marvelous in.) I remember that once Herman Cornejo became a principal at ABT, for a few seasons he continued to dance his old roles. But Kevin McKenzie did finally give him a chance to perform many leading roles. And Cornejo had partnering problems for a while. Ulbricht doesn't. Anyone who can partner Teresa Reichlein as well as Ulbricht does in "Prodigal Son" is a partnering pro.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm hesitant to recommend that anyone avoid a ballet altogether. That said, I've already seen it, twice, and even though Tiler Peck has skyrocketed to the top (albeit a rotating top) of my Favorite Ballerina list, I won't bother seeing her in it. Ever. Or anyone else.

I too am hesitatant to say "Don't go" -- especially if your reason for going is to see a dancer you really like (I really like Stanley, too). I've been to see "R+J" once, and now that that box is checked I won't trouble myself to go see it again. I would like to see more of both new Romeos (Zachary Catazaro is debuting as well), but would prefer that they were featured in some other, better ballet. Storytelling isn't Martins' strong suit and Per Kirkeby's "R+J" production -- every bit as much of an inert eyesore as his production for "Swan Lake" -- doesn't give him any help. Never has Renaissance Italy looked so dinky.

But -- and this is a big but -- you will get to see Stanley (and some other very fine dancers) do a lot of dancing. If you can get past the sets and costumes, like Martins' choreography in general, and don't mind that the storytelling is hit or miss, you will get the chance to see a rising young dancer you like test himself against new challenges, and that's no bad thing.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the suggestions on R&J. I suspect that once I see it, I won't ever want to see it again, but it may be worth it once, especially to see Taylor Stanley. I'll report back if I go.

I agree with the praise for Antonio Carmena in Vienna Waltzes. I was expecting Megan Fairchild and Joaquin de Luz again, so when two other dancers came out I could only determine it was Janie Taylor and a guy I didn't recognize -- but he amazed me with his leaps, height, and energy. As soon as it was over I was scrambling for my program. It made me very eager to see him again!

Share this post


Link to post

I completely agree w. Colleen's description of Mearns in Vienna Waltzes. It was magnificent. She is able to speak volumes with her limbs and her back. A breathtaking performance.

Share this post


Link to post

I haven't reported in yet this season, but I am compelled to post an appreciation of Ms. Tiler Peck, who has matured into such a complete ballerina that I am awestruck (not too strong a word) by every role she dances.

The first time I saw her this season was in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. It was the third number on a program, and arriving late, the first one I saw. During the pause between ballets 2 (Tombeau) and 3 (Tchai Pas) on the program, I found myself seated next to a good friend. After the adagio, I turned to her and said, "I could go home now." She was just that satisfying. The purity of her dancing -- completely without mannerism -- nothing tossed off, every in-between the in-betweens was expressive. My eyes were moist. Needless to say, the bravura of her allegro and coda were absolutely effortless and crystal clear.

I saw her next in Who Cares?, in McBride's role (The Man I Love and Fascinatin' Rhythm). I have seen literally every cast of Who Cares? that City Ballet has ever offered, and then a handful of others. I had no idea all that was in The Man I Love. Peck gave us not only a young woman who was fantasizing about the joy of falling in love, she gave us someone with a history. You could see, the trepidation of entering a new relationship, the pain of her last one(s), the giddiness of falling in love, the anticipation and, finally, her decision to go for it. Yes, all that was in there. Who knew? And how on earth did she know? Most remarkably, she did it all without acting. It was all in her timing, musicality and gesture. I hope that somewhere, someone managed to capture that performance on video.

Tonight, after her sparkling performance in Allegro Brilliante, Tiler came back and danced Fancy Free's pas de deux with Tyler Angle. I love the Tiler-Tyler pairing. What struck me about this performance was, we knew from her first entrance that, as much as the three sailors were looking for girls, she was also on the prowl. Perhaps her sweetheart was overseas, but she felt an emptiness that she needed to fill. Most of the dancers I've seen in this, including Stephanie Saland, who usually exuded sexuality, were as proper as the heroines in 1940s movies. This gal wasn't. She needed someone to hold her through the night, and while she wasn't falling in love with Sailor #2 (he WAS falling for her!), he'd do just fine.

I've seen other fine performances over the course of the season, and I don't mean to give those extraordinary dancers short shrift, Tiler's sudden blossoming from an exceptional talent to an artist of extraordinary depth has been so stunning, I couldn't let it go by. I've never seen anything like it. jawdrop.gif

And for what it's worth, although he isn't one of my favorite dancers, Amar Ramasar certainly earned his pay tonight. Tiler may have danced in two ballets, but Amar danced in all three, none of them easy. From Allegro Brillante, he went on to Russian Seasons before finishing as the Third Sailor in Fancy Free.

A word about the "former Fourth Ring Society" (I can't get used to "Society NYCB"). I was very skeptical about the new system, but aside from the inconvenience of not being able to plan in advance, I've found it very workable. I've been able to get seats to almost everything I wanted to see, and typically much better seats than Fourth Ring. The price has allowed me to see a plethora of performances that I never could have seen at regular prices, making my heart very happy. I'm very grateful, and I fervently hope the program continues next year.
Mega-ditto.

I have consistently been seated in good seats in the Second and Third Rings. Once, I was seated in the Fourth Ring, which was fine, and once, I was given a seat at the far end of the fourth row of the orchestra, which was awful, since Union Jack was on that bill. Tonight, I arrived at the box office about 15 minutes before curtain. The gentleman asked me what I liked. "Oh, Second or Third." I gave him $17, and he gave me Second Ring, Row A, seat 108 -- dead center. (Obviously a returned ticket). Forgive the redundant smiley but jawdrop.gif . The only drawback is that when we were all seated in the 4th Ring, it was easy to find friends. Now, not so much. dunno.gif

Share this post


Link to post

I haven't reported in yet this season, but I am compelled to post an appreciation of Ms. Tiler Peck, who has matured into such a complete ballerina that I am awestruck (not too strong a word) by every role she dances.

The first time I saw her this season was in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. It was the third number on a program, and arriving late, the first one I saw. During the pause between ballets 2 (Tombeau) and 3 (Tchai Pas) on the program, I found myself seated next to a good friend. After the adagio, I turned to her and said, "I could go home now." She was just that satisfying. The purity of her dancing -- completely without mannerism -- nothing tossed off, every in-between the in-betweens was expressive. My eyes were moist. Needless to say, the bravura of her allegro and coda were absolutely effortless and crystal clear.

I saw her next in Who Cares?, in McBride's role (The Man I Love and Fascinatin' Rhythm). I have seen literally every cast of Who Cares? that City Ballet has ever offered, and then a handful of others. I had no idea all that was in The Man I Love. Peck gave us not only a young woman who was fantasizing about the joy of falling in love, she gave us someone with a history. You could see, the trepidation of entering a new relationship, the pain of her last one(s), the giddiness of falling in love, the anticipation and, finally, her decision to go for it. Yes, all that was in there. Who knew? And how on earth did she know? Most remarkably, she did it all without acting. It was all in her timing, musicality and gesture. I hope that somewhere, someone managed to capture that performance on video.

The woman is every kind of awesome. I saw her in "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux" this season too, and it was the first time I can remember being blown away by the lifts. Peck was so gloriously, gorgeously on the music it was like watching a flower explode into bloom right before your eyes. Obviously her partner (Gonzalo Garcia) gets a ton of credit for the effect, but she made the most of the beautiful opportunity he gave her.

And I would sit through "The Seven Deadly Sins" twice if it were a precondition for watching Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild dance "The Man I Love."

Share this post


Link to post

Totally agree with Carbro and Kathleen about. She was amazing in Who Cares earlier this season and last night Allegro Brilliante was a revelation. Her the fullness of her musical phrasing is just beautiful. Her technique is totally secure but she never looks like she is doing tricks, everything is in service of and reveals the choreography. She delivers the whole package!

Once again, Lauren King was a standout in the corps.

I had never seen Russian Seasons before. I like a lot of the imagery and the dancers looked good, particularly Tyler Angle. I did think it a bit long

Good performance of Fancy Free. I hadn't seen it in a while, and it was nice to be reminded of how good the choreography is. Every moment give us character & story. What a pleasure. I particularly enjoyed De Luz in the 1st variation. He made it look easy. I love his dancing in everything I see him in. I'm going to try to see his Theme & Variations.

Share this post


Link to post

I just came from the Sat. evening performance. I'll start with a complaint - the "See the Music" lecture/demo at the start of the program with asst. Music Director, Andrews Sill lecturing us about the Morton Gould score for Interplay and having the audience participate in a clapping exercise. I feel this was done because the program was a short ballet (Interplay) intermission, short ballet (Agon) intermission and Tchai 3, and they wanted to add time. In any event I want Robbins to reveal the music with the ballet, I don't want a musician "explaining" it to me.

On to the ballet. I saw Interplay earlier this season. Lauren Lovette was even better in the pas de deux this time. Ulbricht is still a warm and wonderful performer. He was not as on as he was the other night for the four consecutive tours, but no matter he did them and finished with finesse.

Agon - can't see this too many times. Maria Kowroski and Amar Ramasar were terrific in the pas. They had the right air of mystery. The beauty of her body and the shape of her legs makes for beautiful shapes and lines. Megan LeCrone danced with great clarity in Bransle Gay. Sean Suozzi is starting to grow on me. I used to think of him as a dancer lacking in substance and weight, but I really liked him tonight.

Tch 3 - I prefer to jump to Theme and Variations, but that would have made for an even shorter program and we might have gotten another music lecture. The only thing I have to say about the first 3 movements is about the Scherzo - Ana Sophia Scheller was outstanding - beautiful to look at, outstanding technique. Antonio Carmena was well terrible. He looked like he was just jumping around

Theme and Variations - Overall, I haven't seen as satisfying a performance in years. De Luz is wonderful in his partnering, stage presence and noble presentation of the ballerina. His variation with the pirouette, double tours was the best I've seen since seeing Peter Martins did it years ago. De Luz pulled off alternating single turn, double tour and double turn double tour for the whole sequence (I think 8) finishing the double tour to the knee, and he made it look easy. The partnering section in the polonaise movement was outstanding. This section can look very rushed, but not this time. Throw lifts worked like I haven't seen them work in a long time. With Megan Fairchild, I would have wanted more expansiveness in the pas de deux, but all the way through she met all of the technical demands and her phrasing was delightful, I mean really delightful. She played with the music, held balances and moved with and eagerness and quickness that made for very exciting moments.

One last funny thing. My husband and I are both former dancers. During intermission before Tch 3 my husband said - OK listen for the following sound - thud, wait, wait, wait, thud, wait, wait, wait, thud, wait, wait, wait etc. I thought he was crazy and then I heard exactly that! My husband said that's De Luz practicing double tour (land thud) followed pirouette (no noise as in wait, wait, wait) etc. Well if that was it, it worked!

Share this post


Link to post

There is a thread for discussing the Wheeldon videos in the videos forum:

Share this post


Link to post

I know this isn't the place to discuss reviews, but I have to link to the latest review of City Ballet's season in the New York Times for the lead photo alone. It may be one of the most stunning dance photos I have ever seen. The rich purples of Mearns' costume contrasted against her wild hair and free spirit are incredibly striking. It really made me regret having missed that exact moment in her performance. Kudos to photog Andrea Mohin!

http://www.nytimes.c...?_r=1&ref=dance

Share this post


Link to post

What I love about this picture is that it captures the passionate abandon so characteristic of Mearns' dancing. Just gorgeous!

Share this post


Link to post

No one has posted anything about 'Romeo and Juliet". I'm aware I'm into a very small minority, but I really like Peter Martins' 'Romeo and Juliet'. Anyway, let me post my thoughts about it.

Peter Martins’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has received mainly mixed reviews from the press. I, however, was totally absorbed by Martins’ ballet. I do agree that the costumes by Per Kirkeby and Kirsten Lund Nielsen are, for the most part, very unattractive. It’s almost as though a contest was held to decide what were the ugliest shades of green, purple, yellow, blue, etc. The scenery, designed by Per Kirkeby, is definitely on the cheap side. When compared to the true to Renaissance Italy’s scenery and costumes of American Ballet Theatre’s ‘Romeo and Juliet”, NYCB versions fall flat.

Costumes and sets aside, Martins’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a very valid production. It is certainly different from ABT’s adaptation, but in its own way, equally as good. NYCB’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a bit shorter than most productions of the work, but I do not feel in any way shortchanged.

I am very impressed by the performances of Robert Fairchild’s Romeo and especially Sterling Hyltin’s Juliet. At Sunday’s matinee Hyltin is by far the best I’ve ever seen her. She is a perfectly natural Juliet full of coltish charm. She is so beautifully innocent that Hyltin becomes Juliet for me. She also knows how to use her body to show Juliet’s development from a fourteen year old child to a young wife who cannot live without her husband.

Robert Fairchild is an ardent young Romeo who clearly shows his love for Juliet with every leap and turn. As well as they dance individually, the real joy is how perfectly complete Hyltin and Fairchild are together. In the balcony pas de deux the couple performs a beautiful circle of flying lifts. Hyltin and Fairchild are in so in sync they bring tears to my eyes.

Daniel Ulbricht is outstanding as the happy go lucky Mercutio. He is an incredible actor and his dancing is beyond spectacular. His leaps have tremendous elevation and his whiplash turns are very exciting. Antonio Carmeno is wonderful as Benvolio, both in his acting and dancing. Gonzolo Garcia is a powerful Tybalt, the leader of the Capulet family. His sword fighting scenes with Daniel Ulbricht’s Mercutio are very authentic.

Darci Kistler is a sweet and loving Lady Capulet. As Lord Capulet, Jock Soto’s take on the role is confusing. For the first half of the ballet he is an ineffective leader of his family, staying mostly in the background. After Tybalt’s death he suddenly becomes a very stern father to Juliet. Soto’s acting, however, is not very convincing. When he “slaps” Juliet, his hand is so far from his daughter’s face that his action seems pointless. Obviously Lord Capulet does not know how to replace Tybalt as head of the family.

I may be in the minority, but I really enjoyed Peter Martins’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’. I hope NYCB continues to perform it for many years to come.

Share this post


Link to post

No one has posted anything about 'Romeo and Juliet". I'm aware I'm into a very small minority, but I really like Peter Martins' 'Romeo and Juliet'. Anyway, let me post my thoughts about it.

Peter Martins’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has received mainly mixed reviews from the press. I, however, was totally absorbed by Martins’ ballet. I do agree that the costumes by Per Kirkeby and Kirsten Lund Nielsen are, for the most part, very unattractive. It’s almost as though a contest was held to decide what were the ugliest shades of green, purple, yellow, blue, etc. The scenery, designed by Per Kirkeby, is definitely on the cheap side. When compared to the true to Renaissance Italy’s scenery and costumes of American Ballet Theatre’s ‘Romeo and Juliet”, NYCB versions fall flat.

Costumes and sets aside, Martins’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a very valid production. It is certainly different from ABT’s adaptation, but in its own way, equally as good. NYCB’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a bit shorter than most productions of the work, but I do not feel in any way shortchanged.

I am very impressed by the performances of Robert Fairchild’s Romeo and especially Sterling Hyltin’s Juliet. At Sunday’s matinee Hyltin is by far the best I’ve ever seen her. She is a perfectly natural Juliet full of coltish charm. She is so beautifully innocent that Hyltin becomes Juliet for me. She also knows how to use her body to show Juliet’s development from a fourteen year old child to a young wife who cannot live without her husband.

Robert Fairchild is an ardent young Romeo who clearly shows his love for Juliet with every leap and turn. As well as they dance individually, the real joy is how perfectly complete Hyltin and Fairchild are together. In the balcony pas de deux the couple performs a beautiful circle of flying lifts. Hyltin and Fairchild are in so in sync they bring tears to my eyes.

Daniel Ulbricht is outstanding as the happy go lucky Mercutio. He is an incredible actor and his dancing is beyond spectacular. His leaps have tremendous elevation and his whiplash turns are very exciting. Antonio Carmeno is wonderful as Benvolio, both in his acting and dancing. Gonzolo Garcia is a powerful Tybalt, the leader of the Capulet family. His sword fighting scenes with Daniel Ulbricht’s Mercutio are very authentic.

Darci Kistler is a sweet and loving Lady Capulet. As Lord Capulet, Jock Soto’s take on the role is confusing. For the first half of the ballet he is an ineffective leader of his family, staying mostly in the background. After Tybalt’s death he suddenly becomes a very stern father to Juliet. Soto’s acting, however, is not very convincing. When he “slaps” Juliet, his hand is so far from his daughter’s face that his action seems pointless. Obviously Lord Capulet does not know how to replace Tybalt as head of the family.

I may be in the minority, but I really enjoyed Peter Martins’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’. I hope NYCB continues to perform it for many years to come.

I know that I for one have kvetched about Martins' R+J, but as Colleen points out, there are some good things in it and I wish the production could be fixed. I think it's much to Martins' credit that he didn't opt for a sentimental, easy-sell Renaissance Disneyland version of "Romeo and Juliet": it's a dark tale about a dark time and there's value in letting it look ominous, if not downright nasty. That said, I wish Martins had found a production designer who could have helped him realize that vision more skillfully than Kirkeby did. His Verona doesn't look ominous or nasty: it looks like it was built on the cheap.

And I thank Martins for creating good roles for talented dancers who don't happen to be tall. I suppose Martins' Mercutio, Tybalt, and Benvolio can seem cliched, but I think he lets all three be more than the sum of their pyrotechnics. Mercutio practically steals the show in Shakespeare's play, too, so I'm pleased that Martins saw no need to overturn that bit of tradition when he had a dancer like Ulbricht to hand. (An aside: Mark Morris had the brilliant idea of casting Mercutio and Tybalt with women. For once it was possible to tell one dashing young Renaissance swain from another and it really showcased the conflict between the two men, which did not for a moment get lost in the on-stage hubbub. I really liked Morris' "Romeo & Juliet" -- happy ending and all -- but I don't think it met with much critical success.)

I have mixed feelings about "The Slap" -- Martins has to somehow convey to a modern audience that Juliet's defiance of her family is a much more fraught and serious undertaking than your average bout of teen rebelliousness -- and the slap does suggest that she's at risk of more than being grounded. But there are already enough casual, creepy images of violent conflict between men and women in Martins' other ballets that this one makes me uncomfortable above and beyond the dramatic conflict it's meant to convey. ("Barber Violin Concerto" has many examples of what I'm talking about, and not just in the closing duet between the barefoot modern woman and the ballet cavalier. There's an image of flailing feminine fists in one of the "Fearful Symmetries" duets, too.) But as Colleen points out, at the very least it needs to be well-executed!

Fairchild and Hyltin both did Martins proud when the ballet was new, and I'm glad to hear that they're protrayals are still moving and true.

Share this post


Link to post

I just want to say that I don't think the slap belongs in 'Romeo and Juliet' at all. And looking at what I've written, I also want to say that I don't think the portrayal of Lord Capulet is Jock Soto's fault. I suspect he was told to perform Lord C. the way he did. I think Martins should get rid of the slap entirely and rethink the entire character of Lord Capulet. I haven't read the play in years (since high school I think and that was many many years ago) but does anyone know offhand what Shakespeare's take on Lord Capulet is? In the ABT production of 'Romeo and Juliet' he's portrayed as ineffectual throughout th entire ballet. But this could be Kenneth MacMillan's idea, not Shakespeare.

Share this post


Link to post

The slap is definitely in the MacMillan version with Fonteyn and Nureyev from 1966:

http://www.amazon.com/Juliet-Ballet-Rudolf-Nureyev-Fonteyn/dp/B00003M5GE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1330019237&sr=8-2

I hadn't thought about it until we saw the Colorado Ballet's version in spring 2011 and my great-niece (who had watched the DVD with us) noticed there was no slap. But her generation has been taught that it's always wrong to hit somebody, so perhaps she was more attuned to this!

Share this post


Link to post

Even though I've attended performances at ABT since 1980, I didn't see Romeo & Juliet until the mid 1990s. Since then, I've seen it at least 15 times. ABT dances the MacMillan R & J and since the 1990s, Lord Capulet has not slapped Juliet. Does anyone know if ABT included the slap before the 1990s? I've never seen the Royal Ballet's version so I don't know if the slap is still included. Does anyone know about that?

Share this post


Link to post

I'm heading into the final weekend planning on seeing most of the performances. It's been a great six weeks.

Tonight, Donizetti Variations -- the corps looked a little ragged (tired?), but Tiler Peck made up for everything. Thanks to the previous post-er who described her as being like watching a flower explode into bloom. That was exactly it. And the partner, Gonzalo Garcia, getting a lot of the credit (if a little underpowered in his own variations).

Russian Seasons -- this is like the third or fourth time I've seen this, and I suddenly appreciate it. Wish I could see it again. Robert Fairchild was so terrific in every way that I can't help but think of him as the NYCB version of Marcelo Gomes -- the dark-haired sexy guy who can do everything! Beautiful form and charisma, and every woman he dances with looks great.

Tchaikovsky suite #3 -- Bouder and Veyette were great in T&V. She is musical and beautiful and he is a great partner. Love watching him partner -- so intent and concentrated. And he did great with the tour-pirouettes.

A wonderful evening!

Share this post


Link to post

I agree that Tiler Peck simply sparkled in Donizetti Variations. I love her ability to seem like she's never really touching the ground, just skimming it. She's by far my favorite dancer currently in the NYCB.

I thought the three ladies who made their debuts last night in Tchai Suite #3 were all fantastic -- Reichlen was glamorous and enticing, Rebecca Krohn lyrical with a very soft, pliant back, and Erica Pereira very fine as well. Bouder and Veyette were great in T&V. Bouder was so good at the balances, so solid, so confident. Veyette was a good partner, but looked somewhat tired. Understandable, considering he's been dancing almost every night since the winter season began.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you for your reviews everyone. I saw this afternoon's performance.

Allegro Brilliante - Sara Mearns fine debut. She was lush and danced with a wonderful abandon. I do prefer Tiler Peck, who I saw earlier in the season in the role. I think Peck's allegro abilities are more suited to the role, but in any event is was like hearing a piece of music on two different instruments. A cello won't sound like a violin but can bring something to a piece that's special even if the piece written for a violin. Jared Angle's partnering was wonderful. A woman can't dance with risk taking and abandon without a great partner. Jared Angle also has a nice masculine appeal on stage.

Zakouski - I know a lot of people don't like this piece, but I enjoyed it. It is a nice vehicle for a couple, and I'd rather watch it than a lot of war horse pas de deux that some companies do as vehicles for dancers. Megan Fairchild and Joaquine De Luz (one of my favorite male dancers around today) were charming.

Fancy Free - What a great work. So many wonderful details go into the characterizations. Of the men Suozzi, doing the Rumba section, was the best. R. Fairchild was OK in the dreamy guy variation. This IMO is the most difficult to pull off because the choreography is subtle. I have a great memory of seeing Daniel Levins in it years ago. Adam Hendrickson wasn't very good in the flashy variation. It's a shame he has to share some roles with Ulbricht and De Luz

Tchai #3 - Reichlen was lovely, Krohn and Jared Angle fine (I noticed that the guy does a lot of running around in that movement). For me, in the Scherzo, it was all Daniel Ulbricht. He was the only one I watched. For the T&V section. Bouder is amazing. She did some phrasing that took my breath away. Veyette was excellent, but I saw De Luz do it earlier this season, and I preferred him. One problem with Veyette is that he always appears somewhat underpowered to me. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe it's just his body type (being long waisted and on the thin side). I'm not sure how to explain this because his dancing doesn't reflect a lack of power or stamina, it's just an appearance. Anyway Veyette partnered Bouder wonderfully. The polonaise section which can looked rushed partnering wise was beautiful and they looked like they had all the time in the world. And I give Veyette a lot of credit, there was a point when one of his variations started to look like it might fall apart, and he fixed and ended well.

Last thoughts. 1. What a great company. 2. When corps member Lauren King is on stage, my eye goes to here. Promote the woman please.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw the afternoon and most of the evening (left before Fancy Free). I don't know how Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette ended the matinee with a bravura performance in T&V, then opened the evening performance with an even better one in Donizetti Variations! Veyette did some of fastest turns I've ever seen (hope someone else can describe the precise moment in the choreography better than I can), and got a rip-roaring round of applause that sounded more like ABT than NYCB! Sometimes I struggle to like Veyette, he has a harsh, sometimes angry look -- but then I see him dance, and he's just terrific!

Kowroski and Ramasar were great in the pas de deux in Agon. Her legs and feet always have me transfixed. Sometimes I'm not sure what it is about her -- the legs? the flexibility? the warmth and vividness? something else? -- but in the embarrassment of riches currently at NYCB, if I had to choose a single favorite, it would be her.

Share this post


Link to post

p.s. as per vipa's comment about Lauren King, if we're playing that time-honored game called "corps favorite," I'd vote for Brittany Pollack and Ashley Laracey!

Share this post


Link to post