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Macaulay on Forsythe (Boston Ballet Tour)


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#1 atm711

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 10:23 AM

Really loved Macauley's review of Program 1----ah yes, "The Emperor Has No Clothes"....Bravo--you said it all.....fortunately I am seeing Program #2.



#2 its the mom

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:28 AM

Macauley's review was nothing but a display of his personal vendetta against Forsythe. In fact, one of the dancers told me that Mr. Forsythe messaged the company and told them as much. And in talking with Mr. Ekman on opening night, he knew Macauley would hate it. After all, the piece is directed at and poking fun at dance critics and would-be dance critics.

What would you want them to bring? Sleeping Beauty? Cinderella? A full Balanchine evening? Don't New Yorkers get tired of that? Isn't it refreshing to see something different? Not many U.S. companies dance Forsythe and Kylian as well as Boston does. And for the Elo haters, Plan to B was actually nominated for a National Dance Award in London last summer. I spoke to several nycb dancers who said, "thank you, Boston, for bringing something different and exciting."

#3 atm711

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:40 AM

Don't patronize us for not agreeing with you---I would sooner take Liam Scarlett and Justin Peck over Forsythe....I recently saw his "In the Middle": recently and it is

NOTHING without Sylvie Guillem......



#4 its the mom

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 12:01 PM

Not patronizing at all. I was just stating that the review was clearly not a review, but an attack on Mr. Forsythe, or at least I and ithers frlt that way. Just difference of opinions. Not everyone is going to like the same thing. But why would they bring a full-length during abt's met season? And bringing a full Balanchine program - well that's what is performed here all the time. They don't dance Justin Peck's choreo. I would imagine at some point they might do Scarlett. These are the choreographers they dance. I would think it would be a good thing to see something different. I see different companies when they come to Boston and Philadelphia. I don't expect them to bring what those ballet companies dance. I recently saw In the Middle, too. I was sorely disappointed. It was clearly under-rehearsed and not done on the correct stage. When it's done well, it's, in my opinion, amazing.

#5 pherank

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 01:58 PM

Macauley's review was nothing but a display of his personal vendetta against Forsythe. In fact, one of the dancers told me that Mr. Forsythe messaged the company and told them as much. And in talking with Mr. Ekman on opening night, he knew Macauley would hate it. After all, the piece is directed at and poking fun at dance critics and would-be dance critics.

What would you want them to bring? Sleeping Beauty? Cinderella? A full Balanchine evening? Don't New Yorkers get tired of that? Isn't it refreshing to see something different? Not many U.S. companies dance Forsythe and Kylian as well as Boston does. And for the Elo haters, Plan to B was actually nominated for a National Dance Award in London last summer. I spoke to several nycb dancers who said, "thank you, Boston, for bringing something different and exciting."

 

Yes, the Macaulay article is essentially a diatribe against 'the likes' of William Forsythe. I don't recall Macaulay ever mentioning particular dancers/performances - it's all about his dislike for these types of ballets/choreographies.

But anyway, your questions are valid and of interest - what sort of repertoire should BB bring to NYC to show the company at its best? That's the essential problem for any creative director, but sometimes directors just decide they want to do _____ and not worry about what the audience has to say about it. There are many cases of directors going against the more obvious tastes of a particular regional audience. NYC is always a tough tour audience, but so is London, Moscow, etc. BB probably would have done better with Program 1 in St. Louis, MO, or at least wouldn't have to hear that their program was loathsome.  ;)

 

I question their decision to go to NY for their "tour" - why not the rest of the country where BB is rarely seen?



#6 kfw

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 02:49 PM

Yes, the Macaulay article is essentially a diatribe against 'the likes' of William Forsythe. I don't recall Macaulay ever mentioning particular dancers/performances - it's all about his dislike for these types of ballets/choreographies.

 

pherank, I'm curious, why do you think it was a diatribe against him and not just his work? I applaud Macaulay for having the courage to call the work loathsome if that's what he thinks it is. 



#7 pherank

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 03:05 PM

 

Yes, the Macaulay article is essentially a diatribe against 'the likes' of William Forsythe. I don't recall Macaulay ever mentioning particular dancers/performances - it's all about his dislike for these types of ballets/choreographies.

 

pherank, I'm curious, why do you think it was a diatribe against him and not just his work? I applaud Macaulay for having the courage to call the work loathsome if that's what he thinks it is. 

 

 

Sorry if I made it sound that way, KFW, but I don't think the 'review' was just about Forsythe the person, but definitely against his work, and those who would choreograph in a similar manner. (Whether Macaulay and Forsythe have a history of bad blood I can't personally say - "Macauley's review was nothing but a display of his personal vendetta against Forsythe. In fact, one of the dancers told me that Mr. Forsythe messaged the company and told them as much").

 

Macaulay always says what he thinks, that's been my impression. I'm not sure if that's being courageous exactly. But if NYC audiences tend to dislike Forsythe then he's just echoing the common sentiment. "It is a shock to be reminded by this Boston program that there are places where the Forsythe climate still prevails" - Seriously? But this thread isn't a good place to discuss Forsythe's place in ballet history.

 

I would like to hear what the NY audience thinks would be the best repetoire for BB to present in NY - what would be truly effective given the all the competion this summer.



#8 Drew

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 03:13 PM

As I was typing Pherank posted, but to answer Pherank's earlier question above: A NY tour gives a company cachet in a way a tour to other U.S. cities does not. Of course, there's more cachet if they can quote a positive NYTimes review (cough). 

 

I think this was always going to be a tough sell especially at end of NYCB's season and at same time as ABT with Bolshoi looming. It makes perfect sense to me that they would try to bring ballets that were different from those commonly seen/admired in NY--and those of the "big" visiting companies like the Bolshoi--and thus not in direct competition, but there was no way to do it without risk of it just bombing in NY whether w. fans or critics.  (The Maillot Romeo and Juliet with PNB didn't exactly garner raves, and PNB's director Peter Boal has a deserved and deep well of good will in NY.)  I do think they might have opened with the more "critic friendly" program that had Nijinsky and Balanchine on it, but hindsight is 20/20 and who is to say they would not then have gotten a coals-to-Newcastle review?

 

(It actually puzzles me that any ballet audience -- even one dubious about Forsythe -- would not be curious to see more of his work, given his worldwode accolades and influence. Of course if you find it "loathsome," I wouldn't expect you to buy a ticket. But Forsythe...pretty major.) 



#9 Helene

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 04:11 PM

Whatever one thinks about why Macaulay thinks what he does about Forsythe, critic Marina Harss tweeted yesterday,

 

Is 90's Forsythe beginning to look stale? Second Detail, performed tonight by Boston Ballet, would suggest so.

 

 

I'm waiting to read her full review when it comes out, but "stale" is the word I was searching for by couldn't put my finger on when I saw National Ballet of Canada, on whom it was choreographed, perform it in Vancouver a few years ago.  I love "in the middle" -- and I saw Carla Korbes and Maria Chapman do a fantastic job with it -- and "Artifact II" -- I've seen a range of performances in that, but "The Second Detail," not at all, nor did I like the one NYCB did for the American Music Festival in the 80's.

 

Harss writes incisively about a wide range of dance, and she's never seemed to me to be wedded to genre.  It's possible that this piece is weak.  All great choreographers have made them.



#10 pherank

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 04:31 PM

Good comments, Drew, but I find myself questioning more and more the notion that going to NYC can provide dance companies with some kind of 'big break', or a nice pat on the head for the regional companies. That idea may be as stale as 90's Forsythe (to paraphrase Harss).  ;)

It's hard to see how BB is benefiting from this little tour, either monetarily or through good press/vibes, whatever. Time for a new approach - this is afterall the new media age. [I write as a I sit watching POB's Dances at a Gathering streaming online...]



#11 kbarber

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 04:45 PM

I just saw the second detail in Toronto in May and I didn't think it looked stale at all. I was flabbergasted by the negativity of Macaulay's review.

#12 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 05:10 PM

Apollinaire Scherr's review for the FT was decidedly more positive about Forsythe's Second Detail than Macauley's was:

 


The night could not have begun better. Made for the National Ballet of Canada in 1991, The Second Detail is William Forsythe at his most translucently neoclassical. The rigorous, sunny ensemble piece is about classical steps, which it stretches to the limit. 

 

 

I gather she wasn't as taken by Ekman's Cacti as Marina Harss Lauren Gallagher* was, however.

 

I happen to enjoy a shot of 90's Forsythe from time to time, myself. I keep hoping NYCB will revive Behind the China Dogs (1988?), but I'm beginning to suspect they never will ...

 

*Whoops! I'd assumed Harss had written the Dance Tabs review without actually looking at the byline. 



#13 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 06:09 PM

 

 

I would like to hear what the NY audience thinks would be the best repetoire for BB to present in NY - what would be truly effective given the all the competion this summer.

 

 

I'm selfish: I'd like visiting companies to bring stuff that we don't get to see much of in New York, even if it turns out to be junk. 



#14 mira

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 04:34 AM

kbarber - agree.   flabbergasted.  Was there nothing postitive in the tremendous effort of Boston Ballet's team of artists and artistic staff that was worth mentioning?   unlikely. 



#15 its the mom

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 05:37 AM

I went back and looked over reviews of The Second Detail, both in Boston and in London.  For the most part, all the reviews seemed very positive, some even ranking The Second Detail up there with In the Middle.  One reviewer in London said she hoped Boston would return with another Forsythe piece.




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