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2012-2013 season announcedNew commission from Scarlett, Ratmansky's 'Symphonic' high


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#1 brokenwing

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:40 AM

Per the MCB website, the new season is as follows:

Program I:
Les Patineurs (Ashton/Meyerbeer)
Apollo (Balanchine/Stravinsky)
Piazzolla Caldera (Taylor/Piazzolla)

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™

Program II:
Divertimento No. 15 (Balanchine/Mozart)
Duo Concertant (Balanchine/Stravinsky)
Don Quixote Pas de Deux (after Petipa/Minkus)
World Premiere by Liam Scarlett (Scarlett/TBD)

Program III:
La Valse (Balanchine/Ravel)
The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Balanchine/Bizet)
Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (Balanchine/Tchaikovsky)
Symphonic Dances (Ratmansky/Rachmaninoff)

Program IV:
Dances at a Gathering (Robbins/Chopin)
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Balanchine/Rodgers)

The season has some interesting works, including some long out of the repertoire, but I was honestly expecting something a bit more spectacular for Villella's final season (Jewels? Maybe a new production of Balanchine's Midsummer, for which he was the original Oberon, to go out with a real bang?). Perhaps they didn't have the money.

#2 bart

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:19 AM

Thanks, broken wing. The season does seem to include a lot of recycling. I, like you, would have liked and expected something that reflected -- and honored -- Villella's long career, especially with the Balanchine repertoire. Midsummer Night's Dream would indeed have been a gorgeous -- though extravagant -- way to conclude the Villella years.

I'm trying to find a "theme" here but don't seem to be able to. Perhaps Villella's oft-repeated statement that "these dancers can dance anything" is as close to a theme as there can be.

It's good to see Liam Scarlett's new piece on the list, although we already knew about this. Also, it's good that the Ratmansky piece will be there for those who did not make it down to Miami for the special performance with the Cleveland Symphony.

Apollo (not seen since 2002) is a big plus, raising questions of who will (or can) dance the God as it should be danced? (MCB has lots of women who can do an excellent job as one of the Muses.)

Les Patineurs will be interesting. Definitely Kleber Rebello is the Blue Boy of choice. Looking forward to seeing the men's corps, after their technical brilliance and esprit in Ballet Imperial a couple of months ago.

Always love to see MCB in Dances at a Gathering (2006 and 2010), La Valse (2005 and 2008), Divertimento No. 15 (2004 and 2010) and Slaughter on 10th Avenue (2002 and 2010). The Robbins especially is associated with Villella.

Two works I haven't seen MCB do: Steadfast Tin Soldier and Duo Concertant (Stravinsky! Musicians on stage!)

Revivals I can do without: Don Quixote Pas de Deux (full ballet performed in 2006 and 2009, with frequent performances of the pdd at various galas, Open Barre, etc) and Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.

No Tharp! Posted Image But there IS one revival of a Paul Taylor. Posted Image I saw Taylor's own company dance Piazolla Caldera just a week ago, so it will be fun to compare my memories of that with what MCB does. MCB danced it in 2004 but I have no memories of it. (P.S. I also saw the Taylor Company's Brandenburgs -- with its visual homage to Balanchine's Apollo plus a fantastic male corps. I would have LOVED to see MCB do that.)

#3 Jack Reed

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:04 PM

I'm a little disappointed too, brokenwing. Living in Chicago, I already have a reason to visit Florida in the wintertime, and being a Balanchine addict, I like to time my break(s) according to MCB's schedule, but by the same token it takes a strong program to get me to go to the trouble to travel. I would have seen a few Giselles if I lived there, for example. (Balanchine liked Giselle too, I believe, though he felt no need to present it himself.) But this season's and now next season's repertory make me regret all the more keenly that circumstances prevented my going to Paris, where the repertory was stronger.

Yes, why not Jewels? For a time, it was their strongest program, I thought, until they surpassed themselves, with Ballet Imperial, for example. MCB's Jewels, with Catoya in the Verdy part, could even be a restoration of the original, which had the Verdy variation, "La Fileuse," or "The Spinner," as the third number, after Mimi Paul's variation; when Verdy retired, so my speculation runs, Balanchine reversed the order of the two dances because he had no one with Verdy's unique abilities to dance it, and the better dance ought usually to follow the lesser one (according to the principle implied by the show-business phrase "a hard act to follow"), so that now "The Spinner" was less likely to be so fully realized, it came before the variation which, being easier or something, still could be strongly presented.

The first time I saw Catoya in Verdy's role, I had to stand at the back, having encountered two of Miami's notorious traffic jams on the way to the theater instead of just the one I had allowed for, and at that distance I had to work to put out of my head that she was Verdy, who, as it turned out, had coached her. So having such a good dancer, Villella could put Catoya second, although, following Balanchine, he might use the later ordering when Catoya was unavailable (or when another dancer deserved the opportunity - repertory is partly about dancers' development, too). Not the least advantage of my little scheme is that the Verdy dancer gets a few minutes to rest after dancing in the opening ensemble in the original plan; Catoya may need that.

Yeah, brokenwing, Jewels. Right on! And they have the "production," no added expense. Midsummer is a great concept, a huge cast, but they have it! The quality goes all the way down the ranks.

But I don't discount Balanchine's The Nutcracker. It might surprise some people that that is worth the trip for me, but throughout, you see how Balanchine let Tchaikovsky tell him what to do; and the result is a true collaboration, one of Balanchine's more memorable ballets. I was especially glad to see it soon after seeing the televised NYCB one, by a lucky coincidence. MCB's vital dancing of this was just the antidote I needed after NYCB's soul-less rendition. (And the few other Nutcrackers I've seen suffer more or less seriously from lack of musical awareness, or other problems.)

#4 Jack Reed

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:46 PM

I saw Taylor's own company dance Piazolla Caldera just a week ago, so it will be fun to compare my memories of that with what MCB does. MCB danced it in 2004 but I have no memories of it.


That it left no memory doesn't bode well. In 2004, I felt it fell a little short of Taylor's own company's renditions but still had welcome effect.

Assuming no changes between now and then, I think now I might take in Program I, and I'm obviously disposed to more of their Nutcracker. They really put on a bunch of them in the Broward CPA, and watching Balanchine and Tchaikovsky's patterns form and disappear from a seat in the front of the Mezzanine seems like fun.

#5 Birdsall

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:35 PM

It has more Balanchine on the program which is great. I guess that might be the way they are honoring Villella. Maybe Slaughter on 10th (which they did just a season or two ago it seems) as the final ballet of the season is Villella's message of how he feels. About to be slaughtered.....could it be an in joke to program that as his final ballet at MCB?

#6 Birdsall

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:45 PM

Interesting that next season the Kravis performances of Program 3 & 4 will come before performances in Broward and Miami. The Kravis performances are usually the final performances of all programs. It will be fun to see some of the shows first for a change! LOL

#7 Jack Reed

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:31 PM

Bart Birdsall, remember in Slaughter, one of the characters, named "Gangster," is a speaking part; he's hired to murder one of the other characters, during the performance, a "heavy" part, to say the least. Villella himself often plays it, and he's the best one I've ever seen in it, by far. The audience will be torn, because it will be the last time he does it, with MCB at least, and it's usually a hoot, when they give him as much or more applause as, say, "The Strip-Tease Girl" or "The Hoofer", who have much bigger parts, but this time, because it's the end, some will have tears in their eyes while they clap.

Above, I alluded to the show-biz idea of arranging your material to build from strength to strength as the performance goes on, and now thinking about Villella's retirement, another show-business maxim comes to me: "Leave 'em wanting more." Villella is many things on many levels, a man of the theater, and more, but as to an in-joke in the choice of Slaughter, I don't claim to know his mind. But I can take the scheduling of Dances at a Gathering, with its large cast shown mostly in small groups, as a salute to the great repertory company he has nurtured.

Edited by Jack Reed, 13 August 2012 - 06:24 AM.


#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 01:41 AM

I'm generally happy with the season. I didn't get to see MCB in 2002, so this will be my first time I see Apollo in US. It will be very interesting to compare it with the 1940's/unlicensed Alonso production-(muses with headpieces and everything)-staged after the production in which she often did the Terpsichore to Eglevski's Apollo. I saw that several times in Havana. Ditto with Les Patineurs. bart, I agree completely with you about Rebello. That's a role that fits him like a glove. Of course I can anticipate the opening Apollo night will be given to the favorite Guerra/ Kronenberg duo-(Posted Image). The other two Apollos I can think of are Trividic and Reyes. Terpshicore could be given to the Delgado sisters and Carranza-(I like to see beautiful women in this role). Very excited to see The Steadfast Tin Soldier . It will be my very first encounter with this ballet. I think I've seen a video somewhere of Misha dancing it with McBride...? I remember I liked it a lot...very sweet and sad story it is. My other personal premiere will be Duo Concertante. What is that about...? Can I see it somewhere in video...? Let's see...when was the last time I saw a MCB ballerina do 32 fouettes...? I think NEVER! So I will be counting-(yes, I do count every time)- on their rendition of the Don's PDD. Here, again, I want to see Jeanette...and Catoya. Probably Carranza too, if she's available. Nathalia Arja could be also a nice try...who knows...? Rebello, Reyes and Panteado are my picks for the Basilios...(where ON EARTH is Isanusi this season...?! Posted Image ).
Welcome back Divertimento # 15 and La Valse ! Posted Image . My picks for T PDD are the same ones as DQ PDD. In fact, I want Rebello/Catoya, or Rebello/Arja-(both ballerinas are petite...perfect for him), Panteado/J.Delgado and Reyes/P. Delgado . Not excited at all with Program IV. I like In the Night, but Dances...is a little too heavy for me, and Slaughter.. too thin. What's that Piazolla Caldera...? Is that ballet or modern dance...?

#9 Helene

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:34 AM

"The Steadfast Tin Soldier" was filmed for the Dance in America "Choreography by Balanchine" series with McBride and Baryshnikov) and is available on DVD with "Chaconne" (Farrell/Martins), "Prodigal Son" (Baryshnikov/von Aroldingon), "Ballo della Regina" (Ashley/Weiss),"Elegie" from "Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3" (von Aroldingen/Lavery), and "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux" (also McBride/Baryshnikov).

It has the virtue of being short. I think it plays best with young dancers.

#10 sandik

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 01:01 PM

Duo Concertant was filmed early on for a Choreography by Balanchine program (I cannot remember which one, and don't have time to look it up) -- it's really more of a quartet, with the pianist and the violinist as equal partners onstage. There are moments that feel a bit dated to me now (when the dancers "thoughtfully listen" to the musicians -- it's very much of its time) but it's got some great rhythmic moments, and the ending is an excellent example of Balanchine's attitude about women in ballet (she's a goddess, he's an acolyte).

The Piazolla is a relatively new work by Paul Taylor (if it's the dance I'm thinking of) -- I'm not sure if this is the first time it's been set on a ballet company.

#11 California

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:07 PM

Duo Concertant was filmed early on for a Choreography by Balanchine program. . .


Alas, it wasn't in the Choreography by Balanchine series (which is still for sale on DVD on Amazon). But it was included in the "Three by Balanchine" PBS show, filmed in Germany in 1973 and broadcast on PBS in 1975. Mazzo and Martins are the dancers. You can see it at the Dance Collection at the New York Public Library, but I don't believe this was ever sold commercially. Apparently, in 1975, it had not yet occurred to anyone that there was a future in sales through video.
http://nypl.biblioco...e_by_balanchine

#12 bart

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 06:59 PM

The Piazzolla is a relatively new work by Paul Taylor (if it's the dance I'm thinking of) -- I'm not sure if this is the first time it's been set on a ballet company.

Piazolla Caldera dates from 1997, I believe. Miami did it in 2004 but I don't know about other ballet companies. It will be included in the Taylor Company's season at Lincoln Center later this month.

Cristian, it's "modern" only in the sense that it is NOT ballet. It's tango -- but not your typical tango piece. I'd almost say that it is closer to Tharp than to the other Taylor pieces in MCB's rep.

From the NY Times review (1998):

The curtain rises on a stylized version of the requisite red-and-black tango setting. Smoke hovers above sleek hanging lamps. There is a promising distance between the men and women gathered in separate clusters. Before the dance is over, we know, all distances will be breached in sensual, electric couplings.

That does happen in ''Piazzolla Caldera,'' whose title translates roughly to ''Piazzolla Cauldron.'' Arms and legs wrap around partners' torsos, and legs thrust suggestively between other legs. Historically, the tango has been an equal-opportunity dance. Women are as much the sexual aggressors as men, and there are both same-sex and heterosexual clinches. Mr. Taylor honors that tradition.



#13 kfw

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:31 PM

The Piazzolla is a relatively new work by Paul Taylor (if it's the dance I'm thinking of) -- I'm not sure if this is the first time it's been set on a ballet company.

Piazolla Caldera dates from 1997, I believe. Miami did it in 2004 but I don't know about other ballet companies. It will be included in the Taylor Company's season at Lincoln Center later this month.

Cristian, it's "modern" only in the sense that it is NOT ballet. It's tango -- but not your typical tango piece. I'd almost say that it is closer to Tharp than to the other Taylor pieces in MCB's rep.


Cristian, if you want a preview, pick yourself up a copy of the "Paul Taylor: Dancemaker" DVD. I don't think it has the whole dance, but it has excerpts. I don't know why, but Taylor's work largely leaves me cold. Posted Image

#14 Jack Reed

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:41 PM

Also, Cristian, YouTube has a clip of the last few minutes, I think, including that Huber plie', in a simpler, more direct video treatment than the Dancemaker disc, which renders the lighting more accurately, however.


[size=4]Joan Acocella's review (scroll down) in The Wall Street Journal for 2nd April 2008 seems rather juicier to me than what I take to be Kisselgoff's bart quoted from The New York Times:

[/size]

[size=4]... Mr. Taylor hasn't made a real masterpiece since the 1983 "Sunset." (Why, why doesn't he revive it?) Maybe he feels it's safer, for the moment, to work within a mannerism that can at least take up a certain amount of space, and let him, and us, have some fun.[/size]


[size=4]If so, it's a good strategy. The style of "Piazzola" is Argentine dance-hall tango, the girls in spikes and frills and panties (Mr. Loquasto again), the guys with their chest hair showing. They behave as we expect them to. The girls are alternately slinky and plaintive. (Francie Huber, in a wonderful I-need-a-man solo, pliés as if she were laying an egg.) The boys snap their fingers and act tough. So we get to laugh with Mr. Taylor at all this. And when, repeatedly, he has the dancers do things that people normally do only in the Olympic Games--in one duet, Ms. Viola sits on Patrick Corbin's head, then dives head first down his front, then shoots off his chest as if dynamited--we get to enjoy with him the sheer extremeness of the whole thing. "What about tango!" he seems to say. "And Latin love. And my dancers."[/size]


[size=4][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]But there's a story inside it. Over the years Mr. Taylor has been very coy about sex. His men tend to put their arms sweetly around the women's waists; his women tend to nestle tenderly in the crook of the man's something-or-other. Meanwhile, they all look as though they wished they were on a real date. "Piazzola Caldera" is different. I haven't checked my colleagues' reviews, but I'll bet it was noted that the piece has same-sex couples. The crucial point in this dance is not homosexual feeling, however. It's omnisexual feeling, pansexual feeling--the fact that love is something we just send out, and God only knows what's standing in the line of fire. "Piazzola Caldera" has trios (MFF), quartets (MMMF), whole masses of dancers in a scrum on the floor. It is an enthusiastically dirty dance, the first, to my knowledge, that Mr. Taylor has ever made, and not just dirty, but philosophical, with much to say about how human beings, and also choreographers, have difficulty expressing themselves directly--how we often need to put on a style, a fedora, in order to be ourselves.[/font][/size]


[size=4][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]...[/font][/size]

[size=4]


[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Taylor's work doesn't do as much for me as Balanchine's does - some dances, like Promethean Fire, I haven't even figured how how to take - but as Acocella makes clear, Piazzola Caldera is at an extreme from the pristine Divertimento No. 15, and I suppose Villella or somebody aims at contrast. The later part of her account makes the prospect of seeing Piazzola Caldera more interesting. I'm wondering now whether I'd get more out of seeing it with those ideas in the back of my head. Meanwhile, I can vouch for the aptness of her evocation of how its surface effects work. Work on me, anyway.[/font][/font][/size]

#15 Jack Reed

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:15 PM

As for Duo Concertant, Google isn't turning up any video, and that 1973 one, while it gives a pretty good impression if you can get to it, does have some nuisances, like cutting away from the dancing to a stepladder in the wing. But there's an image of the ballet's original cast (Kay Mazzo and Peter Martins) on her SAB faculty page.


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