canbelto

Winter Season

94 posts in this topic

I went to opening night. I didn;t much care for Kammermusik, but Concerto Barocco and Who Cares? were just sublime. I'd recommend catching the Fairchild/Peck/Reichlen/Bouder cast if you can this weekend. They are breathtaking. Maria Kowroski and Sara Mearns were such great foils in Concerto Barocco and Maria did some of the best work I've seen her do.

The Fairchild/Peck "The Man I Love" is worth the price of admission alone. Simply magnificent.

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Sorry to double post, but I don't seem to be able to add new material after a quote box when using the "edit" function.'

Just wanted to add something re Peck/Fairchild "The Man I Love." Possibly their performance has gained something from the coaching session with Jacques d'Amboise, reported in detail in the winter edition of Dance View and discussed here on a another thread.

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I attended last night's performance of Jewels. First a remark about the art installation by "JR". Very interesting and fun to look at. It's best viewed from above. In fact, the best opportunity to look at is when hardly anyone is on the Promenade level, so if you can get to the theater a little early before the masses arrive you can get an unobstructed view of the overall design. This was a very creative idea. The only thing that struckt me as a little odd was that while everyone was in white, one dancer (female) is clad in a nude colored leotard. Not sure why he decided to make that artistic choice.

The theater was pretty well sold. Bouder is now at the peak of her performance skills. Last night's performance in Emeralds was technically masterful and lyrical. Jared Angle looks out of shape, but was a good partner for Bouder. I have sometimes found Mearns' performance in Emeralds to be overwrought and too melodramatic. Last night she seemed to tone that down, and I found her performance more mature and satisfying than in the past. J. Stafford did a fine job. Reichlin was sizzling as Rubies tall girl. DeLuz was high flying in his solos, but there was a partnering error which nearly sent M. Fairchild to the floor. Diamonds, as always, was sublime. The evening was a balm for these cold, depressing winter days.

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I liked the opening night cast so much i went again this afternoon. It was an even better performance. Kammermusik was much sharper. Krohn and Stafford danced with more energy than opening night. Kowroski and Angle exceeded their own previous high standards in the Concerto Barocco pas de deux, and Mearns was a wonderful foil for Kowroski.

Who Cares? was as always a delight.

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There is an article in the NY Times (with accompanying video) about the art installation by JR at the Koch Theater. I assume it will appear in the Links section, but here is the link

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/arts/dance/a-giant-photoconnectsfanstoballet-stars.html?hp

It mentions that the installation will be open to the public during certain hours.

Glad to see it is such a hit.

I have to agree with everyone who posted above on the maginficent performances of Mearns, Angle and Korowski in Concerto B. last week, as well as the sublime R. Fairchild and Tiler Peck in Who Cares. To the list of kudos I must add a knockout performance by Sterling Hyltin in Rubies. She was brilliant.

Per the NYCB website, these are the public viewing hours and dates:

PUBLIC VIEWING HOURS
The installation will also be on display during all performances taking place during NYCB’s 2014 Winter Season, January 21 through March 2. The David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center will also hold one week of open hours for the general public to view the exhibition free of charge on the following dates: Sunday, February 2 through Sunday, February 9, with hours on Sundays from 10 AM to 1 PM; Monday to Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM; and Saturday from 10 AM to noon.

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I too went to Sun. matinee. I loved it. I agree with Canbelto but want to add a couple of details.

Maria Kowroski and Sara Mearns had a wonderful rapport in Concerto Barocco, and Kowroski had some extraordinary moments in the pas in which she suspended the lowering of her leg in different ways. It was as if each lowering made a different tone. She was able to bring out nuances in the music that added a richness to the performance.

I like Kammermusic, and every time I see I find more wit in it. Krohn, A. Stafford, J. Angle & Ramasar all looked great. I'm happy that Abi Stafford seems back in form (after a bad injury), The vibrancy of her attach was a joy.

Who Cares? - As other's have said, Tyler Peck/R. Fairchild doing The Man I Love is worth the price of admission. It is a rare case of emotion, artistry, technique and musicality all coming together in the choreography. It truly felt as if the entire audience was holding its breath. All I can say is try to get there. Peck's Fascinatin Rhythm is also a delight. Her musicality and ability to combine amazing speed with a fluid, expansive port de bras is unmatched.

T. Reichlin was lovely in both her variation (Stairway to Paradise) and the pas (Who Cares) Although I felt a little bad for her because she had to come out for her variation when the audience was still under the spell of the Peck/Fairchild pas.

Ashley Bouder's variation was of course technically on the money, but it felt a little flat to me. It seemed like step after step with out any flair. I have to add one more thing about Bouder, She is a dancer who I have enjoyed for years. I am often blown away by her, but I find in certain ballets, Who Cares, Stars and Stripes are two of them she plasters on an artificial look. I have to say it annoys my husband, he thinks she looks smug. I wouldn't be that harsh, but I wish she'd vary that style and give us some natural warmth.

I don't know if anyone else has noted this.

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Ashley Bouder's variation was of course technically on the money, but it felt a little flat to me. It seemed like step after step with out any flair. I have to add one more thing about Bouder, She is a dancer who I have enjoyed for years. I am often blown away by her, but I find in certain ballets, Who Cares, Stars and Stripes are two of them she plasters on an artificial look. I have to say it annoys my husband, he thinks she looks smug. I wouldn't be that harsh, but I wish she'd vary that style and give us some natural warmth.

I don't know if anyone else has noted this.

My mom uses that exact word to describe Bouder's performance sometimes - smug. I think she also has a bit of a tendency to mug to the audience in certain ballets. Sometimes I wonder if she's gotten too comfortable in some of her roles because she's been doing them so long. (She's been doing Stars & Stripes since Workshop ...) I find her performances in new/new-to-her roles are more nuanced.

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I'll just add that I really enjoyed seeing Teresa Reichlen cast against type in Who Cares? I know she's done this role before but I usually associate her with introverted, adagio roles. While she's not a natural in Who Cares? she was very elegant and beautiful.

I absolutely loved the two back-lifts Fairchild and Peck executed. Just perfect execution, no hesitation.

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I'll just add that I really enjoyed seeing Teresa Reichlen cast against type in Who Cares? I know she's done this role before but I usually associate her with introverted, adagio roles. While she's not a natural in Who Cares? she was very elegant and beautiful.

I absolutely loved the two back-lifts Fairchild and Peck executed. Just perfect execution, no hesitation.

Amen to both of those statements!!

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I attended last night's performance of Jewels, and I feel as if I can watch this ballet over and over again and find new and exciting things in the choreography. No matter the casting, it usually provides such a satisfyingly complete night at the ballet. I sat closer than usual and was able to appreciate the way in which all three sets of glitzy costumes echo one another in certain motifs. I usually think of the costumes as being so different from one another, but there really is a common thread that unites them. With all due respect to Karinska, I Iwish City Ballet could lose the fingerless gloves in Diamonds. They provide a welcome dash of pure white, but the dancers look as if they are wearing arm braces for tendinitis!

Emeralds was perhaps the weakest performance of the evening. The steps were executed very well, and both Tiler Peck and Abi Stafford were quite musical. However, both ladies, especially Tiler Peck, seemed to lack the necessary lyricism for this ballet and didn't create a Romantic atmosphere. I always look forward to the arm motions at the beginning of the first female variation, but the way Peck performed them looked rote rather than ravishing. Ramasar partnered her very well. The walking pas de deux (with Danchig-Waring) was executed flawlessly, but again, looked a bit mechanical. If both ladies had had more expressive upper bodies, I think it would have made a world of difference.

Rubies was the standout of the evening. Teresa Reichlen's cool aloofness and gorgeous legs were just perfect for the role of the first woman. The leaps in which she kicks her leg up behind her were thrilling. Ashley Bouder was a force of nature in the second female part, whipping off triple and quadruple unsupported pirouettes (with only one slight bobble throughout the entire performance). Others have discussed her tendency towards mugging, and it was in full evidence last night, though perhaps it’s more excusable in this role than in others. I must say that I did find it a bit distracting; the choreography is already so showy that you don’t have to accent it with a ton of wink-wink facial expressions.

In Diamonds, the choreography for the corps can leave me a bit cold, but it was such a pleasure to watch Sarah Mearns in this piece. She truly does embody classical style, and every arabesque she struck was just exquisite. Her demeanor and expression created such an incredible mood during the pas de deux (unlike Emeralds, in which no specific mood seemed to be conveyed by the dancers.) The way she was able to almost speak through her arms and hands was very moving. (I don’t think I’ve ever been so fascinated with a ballerina’s hands before.) I do feel as if a more flexible back and upper body would have been an asset in this role, though. Zachary Catarzo was an excellent partner, and the only glitches occurred towards the end, by which time everyone on stage must have been exhausted.

As someone who goes to a lot of ABT performances, it has been interesting to attend Jewels, and, earlier this year, Balanchine Black and White. I’m struck by how NYCB is very consistent in the quality of the dancing. Often times, the partnering is perfect, and the fiendishly difficult sequences of steps appear executed with ease. I have seen very off performances at NYCB, but I suppose the overall consistency is due to the fact that everyone in the company is able to dance so much more and garner so much experience with partnering. At ABT, you can’t really count on a female dancer to do a double pirouette without falling out of it early, and so much of the partnering appears tentative. I realize it’s like comparing apples to oranges, but I wish ABT could provide more rehearsal, dancing opportunities, or whatever it takes to get their dancers up to par across the ranks.

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I saw Jewels last night with an almost identical cast (different Rubies lead). It was an excellent performance. Mearns is really something incredible - her movement is so fluid, but she does this thing where she changes how fast she's moving in the middle of the movement, which is just wonderful. She's also very very musical. I didn't really like Catazaro that much - I thought he was benefiting from a good partner and good music (has anyone ever not gotten applause from the turns in second at the retransition of the 3rd movement of Diamonds? I wanted to applaud and yell Bravo, Tchaikovsky!).

I really liked Tiler Peck in Emeralds - again has some of the same qualities as Mearns in this performance. Very delicate, quiet, light, expressive performance - perfect for Emeralds.

Bouder was really good in Rubies, but right now, for me, she's suffering from a severe case of not being Natalia Osipova. There were some great touches to her performance, but it seemed very low energy in comparison to the Royal Ballet performance I saw a few weeks a go.

The corps is looking great.

Anyhow, full review here: http://itinerantballetomane.blogspot.com/2014/01/defying-laws-of-physics.html

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Sorry that I'm a bit late in posting this, but I also went to Sunday's matinee.

I agree with with everyone has said about 'Concerto Barocco', Maria Kowroski and Sara Mearns complement each other beautifully. Mearns dances with joyous abandon and Kowroski's supple body and glorious extensions are shown to their best advantage. Every time I watch 'Concerto Barocco', however, Peter Anastos' satirical piece, 'Go For Barocco'.created for the Ballet Trocks, plays in my head. I often wish I could see the NYCB dancers play patty cake and get tangled up in twisting daisy chains like the Trocks do.

'Kammermusik No. 2' is an interesting piece, but not one I totally enjoy. I find the piano music for the duets to be somewhat atonal and redundant. I feel like it is almost a sin to criticize any creation of George Balanchine's, but the choreography for these pas de deux is very repetitious. Myu favorite parts of this ballet are when Rebecca Krohn and Abi Stafford perform together. They are wonderfully paired as they dance on their heels, perform high kicks or leap across the stage, ponytails flying. The leading men don't have as much to do but Amar Ramasar is a very good partner for Krohn. Jared Angle's lower body is so noticeably out of shape, however, that I can't concentrate on his dancing.

My favorite work is 'Who Cares?' The four principals are so fresh and joyously musical that I feel like i am seeing this work for the first time. (I've seen this Gershwin ballet close to 40 times.) Teresa Reichlen is all coltish playfulness, her long legs whipping across the stage as she buildis her as she builds her "stairway to paradise". Ashley Bouder is sweetly coy in her duet iwth Robert Fairchild to "Embraceable You". She effortlessly tosses off endless fouettes and chain turns in her solo to "My One and Only." As fantastic as Reichlen and Bouder are, the real standouts (for me) are Robert Fairchild and especially Tiler Peck. Fairchild's timing, rhythm and wonderfully light leaps with the softest of landings - all are beyond compare.

When I first saw Tiler Peck in 'Who Cares?' (June of 2011) I found her to be the equal of the role's creator, the great ballerina Patricia McBride. That was an accomplishment I had been afraid I would never see. At Sunday matinee's, however, Peck's dancing surpasses not only McBride's, but her own incredible performances in 'Who Cares?' Her solo to "Fascinatin' Rhythm" shows off Peck's precise quicksilver footwork as well as her musicality and phrasing. I have never seen anyone else whirl across the stage at such a breakneck pace.

Peck and Fairchild's pas de deux to "The Man I Love" is heartstoppingly beautiful. The two are magical togther. Peck lights up with an inner rapture as she dances with the man she really does love The luminous yearning of their passion brings tears to my eyes.

If only NYCB would replace Santa Loquasto's cheesy and gaudy costumes, 'Who Cares?' would be an absolutely perfect ballet.

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I'm wondering if anyone attended the performance last night. I'm anxious to hear about the new Scarlett ballet.

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I'm wondering if anyone attended the performance last night. I'm anxious to hear about the new Scarlett ballet.

I'm at a pay per second computer at a hotel, but will say briefly that despite some ingenious lifts and partnering, I found it mostly disappointing...not terribly musical, not terribly memorable. (Though Mearns certainly danced beautifully.) Problems aggravated by uber-shadowy lighting and costumes that blended into the shadowy-ness. Scarlett designed the costumes and I assume he wanted the shadow appearance--the ballet's title is Acheron and it concludes with a dark drop falling up stage--but for me it contributed to an amorphous quality that wasn't suggestive, just rather undefined.

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I have been to several performances over the past two weeks, all highly enjoyable. Last night was my second viewing of the Dances at a Gathering/Union Jack program, and I totally loved both performances.

Dances at a Gathering was sublime. The ensemble cast of Maria Kowroski, Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck, Brittany Pollack, Megan Fairchild, Antonio Carmena, Joaquin de Luz, Zachary Catazaro, and Joaquin de Luz (I hope I haven't forgotten any!) was perfect. There are so many heart-catching moments. The piece is quiet and seems so humble, then suddenly something beautiful happens and your heart is in your throat.

Union Jack is a blast. The rolling drumbeat and relentless entry of one regiment after another has me rapt. The contrast with the rollicking joy of the Royal Navy section is wonderful. (I could do without the middle section, although Ringer and Ramasar are both very charming comedians, and the pony provided a lot of entertainment by doing his business onstage, then bolting off into the wings before he was supposed to.)

So many of the dancers looked wonderful. Jared Angle is always intelligent, gracious, in good humor, and has a natural connection with the audience. Teresa Reichlen was animated, sweet, and sassy leading the WRENS. Andrew Veyette seemed to enjoy kissing her and looking up and down those legs a little too much! Sean Suozzi is always committed and interesting -- I'd like to see more of him! I could go on and on, but I'll just single out Abi Stafford. For some time I just didn't "get" her at all. I started to enjoy her more this past fall season, and in several performances so far this season she has totally won me over with her charm, humor, and some special piquancy she has.

I look forward to more!

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I'm going to disagree with everyone, apparently. I was at the ballet on Friday and Saturday night. I enjoyed the contemporary pieces. Spectral Evidence was much better than I remembered, and danced with great conviction. I thought Acheron was a very good piece - I love Scarlett's use of masses onstage, and I think it produces an excitingly different counterpoint from the Balanchine type we see so often. The designs were unfortunate, and also it unfortunately was the third ballet of the evening done in half lighting, which tired my eyes and made for a singular lack of contrast.

Dances at a Gathering was AMAZING. Beautiful performances. I've been waiting to see this work for a few years now and it was well worth it. Union Jack sadly should burned. Not the flag - the ballet. It was so dull, the score was plodding and nonsensical and desperately annoying. The performances were virtuosic, but there's not much you can do with that material. The only good thing about it was the pony. Thank you pony.

Full review: http://itinerantballetomane.blogspot.com/2014/02/mixed-bags.html

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You're not alone. Union Jack is the one Balanchine ballet I will never sit through again. Way too much fluff/dancing ratio.

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FYI, there is a program change in February. The New Martins work that was scheduled to premiere in late Feb. (on a program w. La Valse, Walspurginacht and Faun) is not ready yet, so Acheron (new L. Scarlett ballet) is replacing the New Martins ballet. Yeah, I don't have sit through Vespro and Spectral Evidence to see Acheron.

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Fun fact: In the January 2014 program, in the back, is a list of the NYCB "Family of contributors." In the category $6,500-$9,999: Julia and David Koch.

In the January 2013 program, in the category $100,000-$249,999: Julia and David Koch.

They have a Koch Foundation, which has donated to ABT in the past, along with their individual donations, but I couldn't find the Foundation on the NYCB lists.

This is for programs, both years, in the Koch theater, for which he donated $100 million for renovation.

I did some googling to see if there were any published reports or if reporters had asked him about this and I could not find anything. If anyone sees published reports addressing this (no speculation or rumor, please), let us know.

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You're not alone. Union Jack is the one Balanchine ballet I will never sit through again. Way too much fluff/dancing ratio.

Interesting. I have to say that Dancers at a Gathering is one ballet I will never sit through again. I've seen it several times, and had vowed - never again. I decided to give it another chance. For the first 20 minutes or so, I loved it, and couldn't imagine what my problem had been with it. After another 10 minutes I wanted to shout out - All right you can stop now. 5 minutes after that I was willing to beg - Please, please stop now. Each to one's own I suppose.

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I've been reading this thread and find it very interesting. First, I had to cancel my weekend of Jan 25 for the matinee and evening performances because my Golden Retriever, Fergus, is ill. He's doing better and was actually better in time for the weekend, but we did not want to chance leaving him, wouldn't have enjoyed ourselves, anyway, being so far away from him. Given that, I can see the company is performing beautifully and am sorry to have missed Concerto Barocco with that matinee cast (Mearns and Kowroski, I believe), and the Gershwin cast, esp. Tiler and Robbie. And missing Jewels was a great disappointment, too. From MaCauley's review, Maria danced Diamonds beautifully. Oh, as an aside, from my Google Alerts, I get reviews from that NJ Star Ledger critic, Robert Johnson, I think that's his name. He absolutely hates Maria Kowroski and IMO, if what he says stands in for meaningful critical assessment, I think he should find another occupation. Last winter season, when she danced Balanchine's Swan Lake, he made some fatuous statement that she couldn't dance. I just shook my head (and fist, in fury).

I saw Barocco at SPAC two years ago and I don't think it was the greatest perf. I'd seen of that ballet. I believe the cast at that time was Lowery and Reichlen, and I saw it twice that summer, but it was somehow, I don't know, I can't put my finger on it. I was thrilled to be seeing it - it is always a privilege to to see this company, but.... So I was looking so forward to this prformance on the 25th, with these particular principals. Since I had to cancel, I exchanged my tickets for June 1, so it will be interesting to see who dances Barocco then. Who Cares is on that bill, also. As for Kammermusik, I, too, am loath to criticize Balanchine choreography but I saw it twice two years ago at SPAC and I have to say, I just didn't like it. So I am not terribly upset to have missed it.

Dances at a Gathering, which I've only seen a couple of times, well-spaced out, is, in my opinion, too long. I enjoy it, I love, love, love the music and the dancing, but it seems to need editing. Union Jack is a ballet I haven't seen in years, so I don't know how I would receive it now. I remember liking it very much, but I was young when I saw it so I appreciate the critical input on the ballet in this thread.

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You're not alone. Union Jack is the one Balanchine ballet I will never sit through again. Way too much fluff/dancing ratio.

Interesting. I have to say that Dancers at a Gathering is one ballet I will never sit through again. I've seen it several times, and had vowed - never again. I decided to give it another chance. For the first 20 minutes or so, I loved it, and couldn't imagine what my problem had been with it. After another 10 minutes I wanted to shout out - All right you can stop now. 5 minutes after that I was willing to beg - Please, please stop now. Each to one's own I suppose.

Dances at a Gathering, which I've only seen a couple of times, well-spaced out, is, in my opinion, too long. I enjoy it, I love, love, love the music and the dancing, but it seems to need editing.

You're in good company. Arlene Croce on Dances at a Gathering: "I would like to see it cut by fifteen minutes--though not the same fifteen minutes--at every performance."

(From "The Relevance of Robbins," first published in Ballet Review as "Waterloo" in the Spring 1972 issue, and republished in her first review collection, After Images.)

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just a few comments...... I agree w/ vipa that Bouder often looks smug, even conceited about her talent. I thought so all the years she was coming up, then thought I liked her better in recent years but maybe she's back to that. I admire her talent but she's one ballerina who could never make me cry or feel something deeply. Dances at a Gathering I find too long. I love the dances and I hate that my feeling at the end is relief that it is over. I would like to be left with a more pleasant feeling! If only they had cut those 15 minutes that Croce wrote about...... I do love Union Jack though! I even get goose bumps during the procession of regiments. Maybe it's my English roots but I thoroughly enjoy it. I love the costuming and I love the fun the dancers have during the Royal Navy section. Sometimes I tire of the costermonger part but it was great to see Ringer hamming it up on Feb. 1, and the new pony was a scream!

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I agree that Dances at a Gathering is too long ...which leads to the question...what part or parts would we be willing to give up? After much thought, over several years of Dances watching I cannot come up with an answer. Thoughts?

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If it is too long for you---don't go to see it!! Leave it untouched for the rest of us.

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