abatt

Spring Season 2014

115 posts in this topic

I agree totally with Vipa about Andrew Veyette. He has it all - great parnering as well as great leaps and turns. And he's a good actor as well. He was absolutely hysterical in The Concert. And you know what the great actor Edmund Kean said over two centuries ago - "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard."

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Agree with everything said about Veyette. He and Ashley Bouder are still hands-down the best pair I've ever seen dance T&V.

A few thoughts on the three casts of MND so far. I loved Ashley Bouder in the Act II divertissement last night. She came the closest to capturing the magic that Wendy Whelan used to give it. Some inner meditative quality, and the smoothness, timing and flow to her movements, made it more special for me than Tiler Peck the previous night, who treated it like more of an emotive Adagio (I don't think it is at all) and who benefitted from having a better partner, Tyler Angle, which made for a better final fall forward in to his arms, where Chase Finlay seemed afraid to let Ashley fall more before catching her. Megan Fairchild had the best supported cabrioles (not sure if that's the right way to describe them?), but overall Ashley drew me in the most, including in the allegro parts surrounding the adagio. As that was her debut, I'm sure she will only get better the more she gets to perform it. Chase Finlay was fine, which was better than I expected (I'm clearly in the minority but I don't really "get" him). He had some issue with his cap, and flung it half a stage away, where it lurked in the wings, clearly visible, and distracting me because I thought some poor kid fairy would trip on it. Not the best way to deal with it.

Last night's cast for the two fighting couples was also my favorite. Loved Ashley Laracey and Faye Arthurs, both of whom have beautiful extensions and also acted very well. Laracey has had an amazing season, I think she should be promoted. All her debuts were better than some principals dancing the same parts for years. I hope they cast her as the Sleepwalker in next season's Sonnambula. Sterling Hyltin as Hermia had a bad slip on Tuesday, falling pretty much on her face as she ran around a corner, but then incorporated it into her act almost seamlessly - very professional!

Tuesday and Wednesday had the better casts for Oberon and Puck. Joaquin DeLuz and Andy Veyette both were amazing Oberons, making the fiendishly difficult Scherzo look like a breeze. Joaquin eats up even more space than the taller Veyette, and threw in extra tricks(!!). Both had beautifully controlled turns (unlike Carmena last night, who struggled and seemed rushed). Joaquin really impressed given that the guest conductor that night was taking all of Act 1 at double time.

Maria Korowski was my favorite Titania (as always) in her solo dancing, for her glorious extension and her regal glamour, but Ask la Cour didn't do her any favors as her cavalier -- where's Chuck Askegard when you need him, can't he guest?? Tess Reichlen and Russell Janzen danced a much more compelling pas de deux. I did not like Sara Mearns as Titania as much as I liked her in other roles this season.

I thought Craig Hall and Taylor Stanley were great Bottoms, and the divertissement corps cast that included Alina Dronova and Devin Alberda were spectacular. Balanchine made the greatest use of the double pirouette in Act II, and it was lovely to see everyone doing them so beautifully.

Best Butterfly vote goes to Erica Pereira -- her featherlight style of dancing really suits that role. Pollack did not impress, and Lovette seemed rather earth-bound and a bit too glam for Butterfly.

I liked Megan LeCrone's debut as Hippolyta, even if her fouettes were not as impressive as Savannah's. Ashley Isaacs seems a bit too slight for the role, she kind of got lost in all that stage fog.

As for the new costumes, I noticed that Maria and Tess wore a new Titania dress that was more pink, less peach, and had a sparkly under-bust ribbon. Compared to the older version Sara Mearns wore, which has more intricate, darker embellishment and a prettier color, I don't like it nearly as much. Puck seems more covered up this time around, but you notice he's wearing a leotard more than before -- not sure if that makes him less fairy like?! But the new Act II corps costumes were to die for, especially the pink tutus!

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Lots of debuts in last night's Midsummer. I thought everyone looked fine in their new roles, but some looked more fine than others.

I would like to see Ashley Bouder's second or third performance of the Divertissement. I thought her performance looked a tad mannered last night -- or "studied" perhaps, rather than spontaneous -- but she met the adagio's big challenge, which is filling in all that white space with control and musicality. I especially liked the way she kept her arms circling in a continuos flow on that famous diagonal; not every ballerina does it that way, but she did, and it looked beautiful. There wasn't a lot of chemistry between her and Chase Finlay last night -- hopefully that will get sorted out the next time around too.

Ashley Laracey was a lovely Hermia -- no surprise there since she is practically the distilled essence of loveliness. But she was more than that, too, especially in her solo. She's willing to dance with more "face" (to steal a term from opera ... ) than your typical NYCB dancer: her bug-swatting and cobweb-flailing -- the emblem of Hermia's frustration and bewilderment -- were appropriately vivid. I second Balanchinette: I'd like to see her get a crack at Sonnambula.

General observation: more than a bit of Rom-Com slapstick seems to be creeping into the couples' sections ...

I really liked Ashley Isaacs super-musical fouett├ęs as Hyppolyta: her heel hit the floor right on the beat every single time -- bam-bam-bam. It's the kind of detail that makes reloading for the next turn as exciting as the turn itself.

Russell Janzen is finally starting to take center stage like he believes that he belongs there -- in the theater modesty is a virtue only up a to a point -- and looked great as Titania's Cavalier: elegant, gracious, ardent. He doesn't yet have the rapport with Reichlen that Tyler Angle does -- let's hope that comes with time and experience, because it otherwise looks to be a promising partnership.

Not a debut, but David Prottas was a standout among Bottom's companions (the one with the glasses -- Quince in Shakespeare's play?). I'm trying to remember -- has he ever been cast as Dr. Coppelius? If not, the company should start grooming him for the role pronto, and maybe for Drosselmeyer too.

Speaking of standouts and elegance: I thought Olivia Boisson looked particularly aristocratic in Titania's retinue. Some of the other women got a bit swoopy -- Whee! All this chiffon! -- but her lines were always firmly elegant and her carriage beyond reproach. She was a standout in the Melancholic section of 4T's too -- she released her big, silky battements right on the music and without the least disruption to her torso. I hope we get to see more of her.

Troy Schumacher is my favorite among the current crop of Pucks. He doesn't have Ulbricht's level of bravura technique (who does?), but he's got more than enough for the role, and I find his unfussy and mischievous but sweet-tempered characterization delightful.

Looking at the ballet in its newly made costumes was kind of like looking at the Sistine Chapel after they cleaned the frescoes. I like both better without the accumulated grime, but your mileage may vary. The change was particularly notable in the children's costumes: for the first time you could really see that they were all dressed differently -- very charming.

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I went last night also.

The cables failed to lift Puck - did anyone realize this? in the end, he was supposed to levitate and 'sing', but the cables drooped around him instead. Troy Schumacher just played it up as if nothing was wrong, as well as the other butterflies surrounding him. happy.png

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Kudos to Kathleen O'Connell for her beautifully expressed description of a Midsummer performance. Many of the posters here write as gracefully as the dancers dance, and Kathleen is one of them. Wish I could be there.

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I went last night also.

The cables failed to lift Puck - did anyone realize this? in the end, he was supposed to levitate and 'sing', but the cables drooped around him instead. Troy Schumacher just played it up as if nothing was wrong, as well as the other butterflies surrounding him. happy.png

I did. I thought Schumacher handled it well -- if you didn't know he was supposed to soar up into the air, you wouldn't have noticed anything was amiss at all. But I missed seeing him do it all the same!

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Speaking of standouts and elegance: I thought Olivia Boisson looked particularly aristocratic in Titania's retinue. Some of the other women got a bit swoopy -- Whee! All this chiffon! -- but her lines were always firmly elegant and her carriage beyond reproach. She was a standout in the Melancholic section of 4T's too -- she released her big, silky battements right on the music and without the least disruption to her torso. I hope we get to see more of her.

Troy Schumacher is my favorite among the current crop of Pucks. He doesn't have Ulbricht's level of bravura technique (who does?), but he's got more than enough for the role, and I find his unfussy and mischievous but sweet-tempered characterization delightful.

Kathleen, it's funny you single out Olivia Boisson in 4T's, because I also noticed her -- several times! I couldn't quite figure out what made her stand out. Thanks for the analysis.

I also love Schumacher as Puck and similar roles (like the Jester in Swan Lake). He has a relaxed charm and connects beautifully to the audience. I find Ulbricht too stiff.

I couldn't quite figure out why Puck didn't levitate the other night, but I had the impression the butterflies were trying to quickly hook him up and couldn't quite get it done in time.

The new costumes are brilliant -- and I mean that literally. The colors, and Oberon's allover golden glow, seem to radiate all the way up to the fourth ring. The article in last week's New York Times was accompanied by some lovely photos that show the care and detail that went into the construction.

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Did anyone see Gina Pazcoguin as Hippolyta? I've always been a fan of Gina's but never thought of her as being cast in this.

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I believe her debut is tonight. I'll report back. She has been so woefully underused that I've wondered if she was injured. Why did they promote her to soloist if they were going to use her so little?

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She danced tonight; I thought she had an authoritative presence in the role.

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Georgina Pazcoguin leapt onto the stage with commanding authority as Hippolyta last night. Shrouded in fog, a brilliant, billowing orange cape, a huge helmet, and holding a large golden bow, the not-tall Pazcoguin nonetheless dominated the scene with her strong presence. Her grand jetes were large and her fouettes had a marvelously springy quality. I don't know why she isn't used more! She seems relegated to "hot tamale" roles, when she seems capable of so much more.

I saw three Oberons: veyette, Carmena, and de Luz. Advantage: de Luz! Razor-sharp and full of sweeping amplitude.

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Georgina Pazcoguin leapt onto the stage with commanding authority as Hippolyta last night. Shrouded in fog, a brilliant, billowing orange cape, a huge helmet, and holding a large golden bow, the not-tall Pazcoguin nonetheless dominated the scene with her strong presence. Her grand jetes were large and her fouettes had a marvelously springy quality. I don't know why she isn't used more! She seems relegated to "hot tamale" roles, when she seems capable of so much more.

Thank you Cobweb for that report. I'm happy to hear Gina P. did well. I too wish she was used in more. Maybe this is the start.

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Happiness is watching Maria K. dance Titania.

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I was at the last performance of the season. I thought Reichlen has grown so much in the role. When I first saw her do it she was beautiful but too cool and remote. Now she's sexier and funnier. Another standout was Troy Schumacher as Puck. Absolutely amazing, charismatic performance. I usually worship at the throne of Ashley Bouder but I found her a bit miscast in the second act divertissement. She has a habit of turning her head towards the audience too much when she dances -- this is wonderful for the bravura pieces, but when it's a romantic reverie like the second act pas de deux it looks like mugging. Overall, great show.

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Hope for more roles for Gina - she's been put aside a lot.

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