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#61 vipa

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 09:28 PM

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!

#62 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:41 AM

Christopher Wheeldon has his own Vimeo channel now, and has uploaded all of the NYCB premiere of DGV as well as Les Carillions and excerpts from some of his other ballets.

#63 Helene

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 11:21 AM

There is a thread for discussing the Wheeldon videos in the videos forum:
http://balletalert.i...t-nycb-dancers/

#64 Krystin

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:14 AM

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

#65 LiLing

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:15 PM

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

#66 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:05 AM

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.

#67 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:42 AM

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.

#68 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:20 AM

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.

#69 California

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:52 AM

The slap is definitely in the MacMillan version with Fonteyn and Nureyev from 1966:
http://www.amazon.co...30019237&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!

#70 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:30 PM

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?

#71 cobweb

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:19 PM

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!

#72 canbelto

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 01:13 PM

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.

#73 vipa

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 05:03 PM

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.

#74 cobweb

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:33 PM

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.

#75 cobweb

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:38 PM

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!


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