Balanchine Celebration Program #3
Posted 21 September 2000 - 10:37 PM
I guess I'd better write something about it, if only to get the bad taste of Edward II out of my mouth. Ugh.
Posted 22 September 2000 - 07:22 AM
SERENADE -- My second time seeing this ballet (first was the Washington Ballet a few years back). I thought it was beautifully danced, although not quite sublime. Serenade and Leaves are Fading are two ballets that (to me anyway) need to achieve an otherworldly, mystical quality for the dancing to be able to match the music. I liked that the costumes were ice blue rather than a pastel light blue -- more pure.
BUGAKU -- If I went the rest of my life without seeing Bugaku again, I wouldn't feel deprived. I didn't hate it, but it didn't move me. I thought Lucia Lacarra and Stephen Legate were very good. I thought of their portrayals as sort of like the wedding of Gamzatti and Solor if there hadn't been a Nikiya in the way -- not true love, but an advantageous and successful match on both sides.
SYMPHONY IN C -- I couldn't help but wish that Suzanne Farrell had gotten ahold of this corps. They weren't BAD, but they were just doing steps. Among the principals, Yuan Yuan Tan was absolutely exquisite in the second variation, and I also liked Tina LeBlanc's clean, energetic technique in the third. The quick footwork seemed a bit much for Julie Diana, who replaced Katita Waldo last night.
Posted 22 September 2000 - 09:09 AM
Posted 22 September 2000 - 09:56 AM
Serenade--Last night, finally, the dancing was light in the sense of being airborne, not insubstantial. Dede Barfield in the central female role, and Meredith Rainey as the man in the Elegy were especially fine, I thought.
Audience opinion seemed divided, from what I heard at intermission. Several people down from New York were quite happy with it, but two diehard NYCB fans (from New Jersey) dismissed the dancing as "regional." I asked what they meant and the answer was a firm "amateurish." (I didn't think it was amateurish.)
I will always be grateful to SFB for making me like "Bugaku." Lacarra was wonderful in it, not only for her extraordinary flexibility and delicacy, but because, young as she is (only 23) she's already a ballerina. She glows. She doesn't have a beautiful line, and she's not a strong technician, but despite this, she's totally in control of a role, knows exactly what she's doing, and does it on her own terms. For her, "Bugaku" was Balanchine's Petit ballet, but she made it work. Of the three casts, I preferred Yuan Yuan Tan and Cyril Pierre (Stephen Legate in the man's part was a bit too tender for a Japanese warrior) for their cold, courtly ceremonial detachment, but Lacarra's solo was the "dance of joy" described by Balanchine in his "Great Books of the Ballet" (written by Francis Mason, but on Balanchine ballets, after conversations with Balanchine).
"Symphony in C" was also better -- more energy and faster, for one thing, but the corps is still ragged. One woman's version of arms en couronne has been "stick 'em up" arms--straight in the air--three nights running. i've seen companies with very different heights and weights in the corps still give uniform performances, unified by style. It matters a great deal how you "put them up," as the Danes say: who is next to whom. There is a great deal of mismatching here.
But some of the soloists were quite good. In the third movement, LeBlanc, who had an off-night Tuesday, was back on form, dancing with a wobbly, though appealing (and high-jumping) Gonzalo Garcia. I liked Yuan Yuan Tan and Cyril Pierre (I hope it was Pierre; that's who's listed in the program, but he was so different from the man in "Bugaku" that I wouldn't have known him) in the second movement very much. They're reserved, but beautifully musical. Vanessa Zahorian has been terrific every night in the fourth movement. Very clean dancing, with snap to it; beautiful turns, clear jumps, what more could you want?
The weakness every night, aside from the corps, has been the first movement. I liked Julie Diana more than Katita Waldo (who's too quirky for that role, in my book) but the role needs a stronger dancer.
Posted 24 September 2000 - 11:22 AM
I don't know about Kent's history as a stager and coach; if someone else does, I hope you'll respond. It's hard to answer from watching a single ballet, and not knowing exactly what her input was.
Farrell wasn't supported (in the sense of people constantly writing that she was an excellent coach, or, in some cases, practically demanding that she should be the one staging Balanchine) for several years after she started. There was interest after she set "Scotch" in Russia, but merely interest. It wasn't until her week-long run in Washington with the Washington Ballet that you could tell that yes, she can do this at a very high level. Before that, there was a lot of speculation, but many naysayers -- ballerinas can't coach, they only know their own roles; how much is she really doing? Is it her assistant and she's just getting the glory? Et cetera. At that Washington season, people were grilling the dancers, saying, "Who's doing what? Is this really Farrell?" etc. So it seems now that everyone jumped on her bandwagon, but it wasn't instant.
I've never read anything about Kent that indicated she was interested in doing the same kind of thing that Farrell is trying to do -- teach and stage, manage a small company. That's very different from merely coaching (not that "merely coaching" is in any way fair; "merely coaching" very well is as rare, I think, as choreographing very well).
Posted 24 September 2000 - 08:44 PM
Posted 25 September 2000 - 06:18 AM
Posted 25 September 2000 - 07:25 AM
Posted 25 September 2000 - 09:31 AM
I did not like Penn Ballet in Seranade. The beginning was beautiful but I was not "into" the ballet as I usually am when I see other companies perform it. The company did not seem to be emotionally envolved in the choreography which makes the audience not get into it. The corps also seemed to not be together which is not a good thing for Seranade. I also did not find the guys in this ballet that great. They did not catch my eye.
I LOVED Bugaku. Not because of the music, because I thought it was headachey music (until the pas de deux), but because of the costumes and the prima dancer from San Fran. Talk about a flexible body. My goodness!
Symphony in C. I thought that this ballet was the highlight of the performance and I believe the audience agreed with me. The girls were just beautiful the 3rd and 4th movement as well as the finale were done beautifully. I wasn't sure just how well San Fran could pull off Balanchine but because Symphony in C is more classical than most of his ballets, they did a really good job.
Sorry this is short but I must go. I might write more later.
[This message has been edited by Hollyberry (edited September 25, 2000).]
Posted 02 October 2000 - 08:19 PM
Posted 19 October 2000 - 03:39 PM
Posted 19 October 2000 - 08:10 PM
The paperback version, at least, is in print, as it's on sale at the Kennedy Center Gift Shop.
Posted 19 October 2000 - 08:44 PM
Posted 21 October 2000 - 03:07 AM
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