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School of American Ballet Workshop 2014

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A release was sent. No new news but I thought people might like to see who is staging what:

"The 2014 Workshop Performances program will include Balanchine's Serenade (staged by Suki Schorer); and excerpts from Coppélia (staged by Dena Abergel, Yvonne Borree, Kaitlyn Gilliland, Arch Higgins, Katrina Killian, Lisa de Ribere, Jock Soto and Sheryl Ware), Swan Lake (staged by Darci Kistler) and Western Symphony (staged by Susan Pilarre). Additional performances of the evening's program will take place at Lincoln Center's Peter Jay Sharp Theater on Saturday, May 31 at 2pm and 8pm."

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Highlights of the 2014 program include: • Serenade. 2014 marks the 80th anniversary of the formation of the School of American Ballet andthe creation of Balanchine’s enduring masterpiece, which he began to choreograph on SAB’sstudents less than three months after the School opened in 1934. The first performance bystudents took place on June 10, 1934, at the estate of Felix Warburg near White Plains, NY.Balanchine continued to make revisions to the ballet over the succeeding four decades, and itbecame a cornerstone of the repertoire of New York City Ballet (founded by Balanchine andKirstein in 1948) and one of the most-performed Balanchine ballets by companies worldwide.Serenade was added to SAB’s Workshop repertoire in 1974 on the occasion of the ballet’s 40thanniversary and subsequently performed by SAB’s students in 1984, 1989, 1994, 2004 and 2009.This year’s seventh Workshop staging (along with each of those since 1974) has been undertakenby former NYCB principal dancer Suki Schorer, a member of SAB’s permanent faculty since1972. Among those former SAB students coached by Suki Schorer in the various Workshopproductions of the ballet are Judith Fugate, Maria Caligari, Kyra Nichols, Lourdes Lopez, NicholHlinka, Wendy Whelan, Margaret Tracey, Brian Reeder, Monique Meunier, Maria Kowroski,Riolama Lorenzo, Tiler Peck and Lauren Lovette. • Excerpts from Coppélia. SAB’s students will perform dances (Waltz of the Hours, Dawn,Prayer, Spinner, Discord and War) excerpted from Act III of the full-length Coppélia created in1974 for New York City Ballet by George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova. Famed for herinterpretation of Swanilda during her international performing career, Alexandra Danilova chosedances from the ballet for SAB’s first Workshop in 1965 and returned to it several times duringher 25 years overseeing Workshop. It remains the ballet with which she was most closelyidentified. Four faculty members (Yvonne Borree, Katrinan Killian, Lisa de Ribere, Sheryl Ware)will each stage one of the solos, and Dena Abergel and Arch Higgins will oversee the children’scorps of 24 dancers. • Excerpts from Swan Lake. Students will perform portions of George Balanchine’s one-act versionof Swan Lake, featuring the white swan pas de deux and a corps of 20 swans, to celebrateMadame Danilova’s Russian Imperial heritage. Danilova staged excerpts from Swan Lake on anumber of occasions for Workshop, most notably in 1980 when she introduced 15-year-old DarciKistler to Workshop audiences as Odette in a fully staged presentation of the Act II lakesidescene. Ms. Kistler, currently an SAB faculty member, will stage this year’s performance. • Western Symphony. Students will perform the fourth movement Rondo and finale to close theperformance. The ballet has been performed at three previous Workshops with notable pastcasting including Peter Boal and Wendy Whelan (1984), Maria Kowroski (1994) and RobertFairchild (2004). It will be staged this year by faculty member Susan Pilarre. The School of American Ballet, founded by legendary choreographer George Balanchine andLincoln Kirstein in 1934, is the premier ballet academy in the United States. Approximately 530 boysand girls ranging in age from six to nineteen attend classes during the Winter Term at SAB, which is botha constituent of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the official school of New York City Ballet.Each year, 20 SAB students on average sign professional contracts with dance companies around theUnited States and abroad. Not only do SAB alumni comprise 95 percent of New York City Ballet, butdancers trained at the School also currently appear on the rosters of over 60 U.S. and more than a dozeninternational companies. Tickets for the 2014 Workshop Performances may be purchased online atwww.sab.org/workshop . Ticket prices are $50 for May 31 (2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m). Tickets for theJune 3 benefit performance and dinner dance are available at $100 (performance only), $1,500 and$2,500. The Peter Jay Sharp Theater is located at 155 W. 65th Street (between Amsterdam andBroadway). 

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(editing mistake here, somebody feel free to delete)

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I've seen the Friday dress rehearsal and both Saturday performances so far.

Suki Schorer and Susan Pilarre staged their parts (Serenade and Western "Rondo") very well, and that the Coppelia divertissements were so well staged by several of the younger generation is good news for those of us concerned for the maintenance of the Balanchine repertory.

...

 • Excerpts from Swan Lake. Students will perform portions of George Balanchine’s one-act versionof Swan Lake, featuring the white swan pas de deux and a corps of 20 swans, to celebrateMadame Danilova’s Russian Imperial heritage. Danilova staged excerpts from Swan Lake on anumber of occasions for Workshop, most notably in 1980 when she introduced 15-year-old DarciKistler to Workshop audiences as Odette in a fully staged presentation of the Act II lakesidescene. Ms. Kistler, currently an SAB faculty member, will stage this year’s performance....

Whose Swan Lake is this? We got an adagio with corps of eighteen, then the four little swans, a variation for Odette and one for Siegfried, and a concluding ensemble with a corps of twenty. Several of us - I began watching Balanchine's half-hour distillation in the mid-70s - doubt the attribution of this, and I think there's a good clue in the press account. My guess - it's only that - is that Ms. Kistler has set the Danilova version she debuted in, instead.

For one thing, by my time, Mr. B. had already abandoned the four little swans - the dance in the "traditional" Act II where they link up alongside each other by crossing forearms and holding hands, maintaining this configuration as they move about - Clive Barnes, if I remember correctly, complained that Balanchine had "banished" them.

Not only that, but the rest of what we do see here doesn't look very familiar to me, nor, for what it's worth, do I like it quite as well. Especially those four little swans; but I'm the odd man out: They get the best hand of this part of the program! There's something to be said for pleasing the crowd.

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Video alert: The Friday dress and Saturday evening performances were recorded by PBS for the Live from Lincoln Center series this fall, possibly in conjunction with the PBS pledge drive. Friday all I could see from the balcony was a boom camera swooping and diving, and I thought, Who would want to see that footage? But Saturday I sat in the Orchestra and saw five pedestal cameras, so it may be okay in the end.

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Oh, that would be excellent!

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I saw the Saturday evening performance and was very impressed by everything except Swan Lake where the cygnets were a mess and Odette was soulless. However,this was the best Serenade I have seen in years; NYCB no longer performs it this well or in an authentic Balanchine style. My takeaway was twofold: 1) these are exceptionally gifted young dancers, and 2) it is a terrible shame that Peter Martins has so alienated former Balanchine dancers and refuses to let most teach the company.

Edited by Dale
As per our Workshop review policy, I removed a name.

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I saw the Saturday evening performance and was very impressed by everything except Swan Lake where the cygnets were a mess and Odette was soulless. However,this was the best Serenade I have seen in years; NYCB no longer performs it this well or in an authentic Balanchine style. My takeaway was twofold: 1) these are exceptionally gifted young dancers, and 2) it is a terrible shame that Peter Martins has so alienated former Balanchine dancers and refuses to let most teach the company.

I attended the Saturday matinee performance and agree about the "Serenade". It was absolutely splendid. One of the best ever! Can't say that about the "Swan Lake" excerpts, however. This was a bit of a mess and danced at such a breakneck tempo so to dilute the magic of the dancing, especially the pas de deux. The cygnets were very sloppy. The divertissments from "Coppelia" were OK, especially the 24 little ones from the school! They looked to be well rehearsed and seemed to be having a wonderful time. Can't say as much for the "Western Symphony" finale. Not much punch here. Everyone working hard, but not much to show for it. Nerves? First show is always difficult. But the "Serenade" was the main deal here. Kudos to Suki Schorer for her care and finesse with this work and the students. I took a friend with me who had never seen ballet before. All he could say at the end of "Serenade" was "wow"! Indeed!

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I enjoying reading reports from the SAB workshop. Just a reminder about writing about Workshop performances:

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/5338-student-workshop-reports/

We don't want to stop conversation but on the other hand, as Alexandra wisely wrote, "Please remember that you're writing about Very Young People, people who are not yet professional, who are students, who cannot be expected to dance like 30 year olds. Please remember that, especially with SAB, it is very likely that the students will be reading what you write -- parents, too."

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Now that our rules have been clarified, I'll just say I'm in general agreement with what people have said. It's gratifying to think that what I saw was seen by others, too! At its best, ballet seems miraculous. Those must be real miracles, then...

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...though not everything was miraculous: Alastair Macaulay also saw pretty much what I saw, and wrote about it in Monday's New York Times.

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I was at the Saturday night performance and pretty much agree with the postings here...but disclaimer, I am not an expert -- far from it. Beautiful rendition of "Serenade." Also, I thought Alastair Macauley's description of Lyrica Blankfein as "audacious and authoritative" was spot on.

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There is a dancer whose first name is Lyrica? Sounds ready made for a life in the arts.

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On my way into Lincoln Center Saturday night I saw a poster for a ballet company with a quote from a critic: “At this level, ballet is a belief system.” The sentence flashed back during Serenade, as a girl arched into a full arabesque, bounding across the floor. Serenade is an initiation, for performers and audiences alike, into a great mystery. For better or worse, this girl was becoming a believer, in an art form that goes beyond normal human experience. SAB’s performance was full of little flaws, but they didn’t matter, they even added to the spell. Here, in every sense, were human beings in the process of becoming angels, messengers of the divine.


More at


http://occupythearts.blogspot.com/2014/06/serenade-at-eighty.html

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Does anyone know who was chosen as apprentices?

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Just wanted to say that excerpts from the SAB workshop will be broadcast on PBS Great Performances on Dec. 12, 2014 at 9pm.

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A reminder here that this year's workshop will be featured in a not-really-Live from Lincoln Center broadcast on PBS entitled “Curtain Up: The School of American Ballet Workshop Performance." Some stations will show it tonight, Friday night. In New York it will be shown on Sunday. Alastair Macaulay has an enthusiastic preview: A Performance Onstage Returns Anew on the Screen

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This coming Sunday (12/14) on KCTS (Seattle area) at 4 pm. It's being rebroadcast at the usual middle-of-the-night choice - probably after a greatest-hits-of-the-60s pledge broadcast...

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In San Francisco it will be shown on KQED Life (Channel 54.3; XFINITY 189) -

Curtain Up: The School of American Ballet Workshop Performances (#3907H) Duration: 1:26:46

  1. KQED Life: Mon, Dec 15, 2014 -- 8:00pm
  2. KQED Life: Tue, Dec 16, 2014 -- 2:00am

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Out here in the heartland (Iowa City)...Iowa Public Television is showing this program, once, AT 2AM DEC 15. I tried to shame them into reconsidering but they are incapable of being shamed. The executive director told me they were going to show something, in the primetime slot, more in line with Midwestern values - an opera from Minnesota Public Television. It makes me sick. I guess they don't know that there are many aspiring young ballerinas dutifully taking ballet lessons in this state.

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Out here in the heartland (Iowa City)...Iowa Public Television is showing this program, once, AT 2AM DEC 15. I tried to shame them into reconsidering but they are incapable of being shamed. The executive director told me they were going to show something, in the primetime slot, more in line with Midwestern values - an opera from Minnesota Public Television. It makes me sick. I guess they don't know that there are many aspiring young ballerinas dutifully taking ballet lessons in this state.

The part I find most dispiriting is that they don't think it would be a good idea to show both.

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