abatt

2017 Spring Season

193 posts in this topic

Edited because the post above was insanely long  :)

 

...I do know that others should at least have a chance to prove themselves, and the HereNow programming seems very narrow to me. I'm not saying it was the worst idea at NYCB since those terrible Valentino costumes, I'm just saying, it was a trifle misguided.

 

Balanchine's foray into Broadway is a favorite topic for some and used to justify all kinds of career side-trajectories, but I'm not sure many understand what he was actually doing and learning there.

Peck is American, born in America, trained in America, he doesn't need to venture into Broadway to get a sense of American dance or culture or sensibility--in any case, I hardly think the freshest ideas and new strains of thought in dance are to be found on Broadway, at this point in time. It was different in the 50s and 60s.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, jkr3855 said:

 

a few points

1)I'm around Justin Peck's age, so I think it's a bit silly to cast this as a generational divide problem

2) It's not an either-or question: either NYCB is a museum or the HereNow festival is the way to present new choreography. This is the way the question is always presented in NYCB marketing materials, and in the press as well. Don't buy into that. Does anyone actually believe ballet is dead? What does that mean anyway, it's just words.

3) I don't want to see only Balanchine--in fact, I don't need to see Balanchine performed exactly the way he was performed five decades ago. I've seen some archived tapes of, say, concerto barocco in which the female dancers looked a bit like Vogue models of the same era--their stance, their expression, some other indefinable quality of the time. That's not necessary, we don't need to keep that. All that--conventions of the time period, anything excess--that should go. And obviously, any conventions of our own time period should go as well--this is what makes work shallow and dated, IMO. I don't know if Peck is able to transcend his era. I don't know if he's the kind of choreographer who can see what is excess and what is necessary to the work, sometimes I think he is, sometimes I think he isn't...

I am ancient compared to you jkr3855 but I don't want to see only Balanchine or Balanchine preformed exactly the way it was done decades ago (I doubt he'd want that either). However, I hate the separation at NYCB of Balanchine and new works. Why do we have to choose between All Balanchine and Here & Now? I'd much prefer a mixed program. That way Balanchine fans like me could get to see new works, and folks interested in the newest choreographers could get a taste of Balanchine. 

Share this post


Link to post

The Kennedy Center has just divulged the name of the "new Peck" ballet to be presented in its 2nd program: TIMES ARE RACING (a.k.a. "Sneakers"). So now I'll be seeing DECALOGUE in NY this Saturday night. 

 

Final list of ballets to be presented in DC next month:

http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/BRBSD

 

Share this post


Link to post

Should a spectator who views a ballet for the first time be concerned whether it was created in 1994, 1998, 2006 or 2017? Or if it was choreographed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Peter Martins, Jorma Elo or Justin Peck? 

 

Like other contemporary ballets Chiaroscuro contains sequences which seem strange or peculiar. Set to attractive Baroque music, it is nonetheless an appealing, riveting work. Seeing Ashley Laracey and Brittany Pollack (both looking positively gorgeous) in this piece alone was worth the price of admission to program No. 8 of the Festival. These two were well-complemented by Lauren King and the three men in the cast, particularly Andrew Veyette, who had an effective part. This is the sort of ballet with a vague narrative that intrigues you.  

 

Conversely, the Baroque music chosen for Slice to Sharp is less engaging, despite being mostly by Vivaldi. Elo’s reaction on first listening to the latter’s composition, as described in the program note, is worth noting: “he felt ‘It was extreme playing on the edge of madness’ “. This explains somewhat what transpires onstage; but I find neither the baroque melodies nor the accompanying “modern movement” in this ballet especially beautiful. Watching the four(!) principal women—Ashley Bouder, Maria Kowroski, Rebecca Krohn and Teresa Reichlen—cast here dancing, however, has its own rewards. 

 

Artists should never consider any subject—no matter how difficult or controversial—as off-limits for treatment in their work. Things are not so simple in practice, however—particularly one would suppose for choreographers. That Martins’ Stabat Mater served as a tribute to a much-loved ballet teacher who had recently passed away is certainly laudable. Yet is it proper or easy to create a ballet in any way connected to the crucifixion of Christ and Mary’s suffering? A convincing, powerful effort would manage to be at the same time undeniably beautiful (the main function of ballet) and absolutely shattering. Stabat Mater is only the former. Would it be palatable fare to NYCB audiences if it were somehow also the latter? Inevitably, one wonders how the words being sung are reflected in the movement displayed onstage while watching this.

 

Pergolesi’s justly famous opus may not be the most solemn musical treatment of the Catholic hymn, but it is wonderful and moving. (A couple or so sections are mildly jaunty enough to afford the dancers an opportunity to smile.) While it is a score best heard outside the confines of Koch Theater, the fact remains that it is the best music of the program and one of the chief reasons—along with the lighting, the background setting, the colorful costumes and (yes!) the choreography—why the ballet is so beautiful. Lauren Lovette, Ashly Isaacs and naturally Sterling Hyltin (who soared upwards toward the sky when lifted by Jared Angle) appeared and danced like angels. (To have seen Isaacs, incidentally, in both The Times Are Racing and Stabat Mater during the same week was fascinating.) Chase Finlay and Joseph Gordon completed what turned out to be a winsome cast.

 

It is highly improbable to put Sara Mearns and Rebecca Krohn on the stage, have them execute various common balletic steps and motions and not come up with anything beautiful. So, of course, there is beauty to be found in The Decalogue! But what makes this particular work so original, so different from numerous others? Presumably, it is linked to the Ten Commandments; but how so other than the number of dancers it utilizes? More importantly, after hearing the score a second time on Sunday afternoon I find it merely acceptable; and for a ballet to be truly inspiring and touching its music must be arresting! Everywhere We Go and its composition have been much criticized in this forum, but as of now, I find nothing as compelling, as alluring in the new work as the segments assigned to Maria Kowroski (exquisitely also danced by Krohn) in the earlier one. 

Share this post


Link to post

I beg forgiveness from Kristen Segin and Rebecca Krohn even if during the premiere of The Decalogue they fell down unintentionally.

 

Segin has generally a tendency to smile too much when dancing. Otherwise, she is one of the loveliest members of the female corps: her presence in The Decalogue is a boon. 

 

Last evening, in the pas de deux with Gonzalo Garcia from Slice to Sharp and throughout The Decalogue, Rebecca Krohn was magnificent! Original or not, Justin Peck’s new work is indeed quite beautiful; and its music is becoming attractive to my ears. Not only does it use ten dancers, but it is divided into ten sections. In the 8th—a pas de deux with Jared Angle—Krohn was especially wondrous.

 

Geminiani’s adaptation of Corelli’s famous Concerto Grosso is not just attractive: it is splendid—which is in part what made these performances of Chiaroscuro so marvelous. 

 

No matter what Stravinsky thought, Vivaldi did compose excellent music; so, of course, a portion of the music used in Slice to Sharp is pleasing. But the best here is probably that used in the pas de deux mentioned above.

 

Notwithstanding the strikingly tepid response from the crowd, the cast in Stabat Mater gave another excellent performance of this work. Something notable in this run was how ethereal, how spiritual Lauren Lovette and Ashly Isaacs seemed when their respective countenance was serious. For reasons not worth relating, from a musical standpoint last night’s performance was superior. A greater portion of the score than I realized is in a livelier mode, which paradoxically makes it easier to use in a work of dance.

Share this post


Link to post

Megan Fairchild graduated from college today. Congrats Megan!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Thoroughly enjoyed Here/Now #8 last night, particularly THE DECALOGUE. So happy to see Justin Peck's return to his pure neoclassical base. All 10 dancers were amazing but Rebecca Krohn was especially fluid, musical, and luscious! Those who stuck around the first three ballets - particularly the plodding STABAT MATER, despite fine dancing - were greatly rewarded in the end.  

Share this post


Link to post

Posted (edited)

Saw the last performance of the Here/Now festival.

 

While the dancing was fantastic, I could barely stay awake during the first two pieces (though I did enjoy seeing Tess Reichlen in Red Angels).  Normally I love Hyltin and Stanley, but I just couldn't get into Varied Trios.  These 2 pieces were just blah... to me.

 

Barber Violin Concerto was a bit better (in fact it's the first Martins work I enjoyed) thanks to the amazing dancing of Mearns and especially Alexa Maxwell (who filled in for Fairchild).

 

The second half was much better, as I enjoyed all 3 pieces.  Maria K and Ask Lacour were even better today in After the Rain then they were a few weeks ago.  Kowroski's body is insane.  This PDD really highlights her absolutely stunning long legs, and the positions and lines that she makes are just breathtaking.  I hope she keeps dancing for awhile so I can see more of her because it really is a privilege to watch her dance.

 

Tiler Peck and Chase Findlay were the leads in Polaris.  I enjoyed this much more than I expected to.  I loved the way Thatcher moved the ensemble around... he has a talent at choreographing groups of dancers across the stage. And Tiler was her usual evervescent self.

 

The best was saved for last, which was Concerto DSCH.  Garcia and De Luz were the stars of the show.  I also loved Mearns and Angle (and wow is the second movement pas just lovely choreography).  The background corps dancers were full of energy and danced with great electricity.  I was a little let down with  Bouder.  I hate saying that as she is one of my favorite dancers but I thought she kind of went in and out with her energy levels and she was out danced by her two partners.  In fact, I thought several of the corps dancers had more energy as well.  I know the dancers have been through the ringer with this Here/Now festival, (and Concerto DSCH looks like a very hard ballet to dance) so I'm sure that likely played a role.  But in my opinion, she has seemed a little off to me in the 3 or so performances I've seen her in this spring.  I still love her though, and can't wait to see her in the fall.

 

I wont be seeing Midsummer's this year, so that's a wrap on the NYCB spring season for me.  I didn't hate the Here/Now festival.  In fact it exposed me to some works I wouldn't have necessarily sought out myself.  But I am looking forward to NYCB reverting back to a nice mix of Balanchine and the newer stuff next year.

Edited by Kaysta

Share this post


Link to post

I was at the Sun. matinee show and had a great time except for the Martin's Barber Violin Concerto. I've seen it several times and for me, it's at its most entertaining the first time it's seen and upon each repeat viewing it loses more and more.

 

I enjoyed all the other ballets. Red Angels gave the dancers a chance to show a variety of musical qualities. Teresa Reichlin and Preston Chamblee showed a wonderful precision in their movement, combined with a plastique.

 

Sterling Hyltin & Taylor Stanley were quite wonderful in Varied Trio. I found the section with a variety of lifts particularly fun. I really liked the Lou Harrison score.
 

Polaris was also quite enjoyable. Tiler Peck riveting in movement and stillness. Choreographically I love the way Miles Thatcher moved groups around - the unison dancing was well choreographed and well danced.

 

After the Rain is a touching pas de duex. It is inventive and has very human movements that just touch the heart. 

 

Concerto DSCH is pure fun. Ashley Bouder always makes me smile and she really delivered with her speed and musicality. I found Sarah Mearns performance a bit muted in both this ballet and in the Barber piece but it was still enjoyable.

 

I attended with a broadway choreographer. She had as much fun as I did!

 

What a great company!

Share this post


Link to post

A new casting sheet is up for Midsummer Night's Dream. It looks like Savannah Lowery is out, resulting in reshuffling of the casting for Hippolyta. Ashley Hod gets a debut in the role, and Emily Kikta picks up a second performance, in addition to her debut. 

Share this post


Link to post

On paper it might seem a tad dull. Program No. 9 of the Festival, however, which was made up of Red Angels, Varied Trio (in four), Barber Violin Concerto, followed after intermission by Polaris, After the Rain pas de deux, and Concerto DSCH was a genuine feast for the eyes and ears. 

 

Color dazzles me; so, the use of red in the first ballet—particularly in the final tableau, with its obvious resemblance to Agon—was entrancing. Dove’s choreography may not be extraordinary, but with Angels such as Rebecca Krohn and Teresa Reichlen in the cast this was highly enjoyable.

 

With its use of light blue contrasting sharply with the previous production, Varied Trio—notwithstanding its nondescript title; and echoes of at least two Balanchine ballets—was radiant and thoroughly delightful. Not being familiar with the music of this composer, I was surprised by how lovely the Lou Harrison score (partly utilizing peculiar percussive instrumentation) for this work is—particularly the third movement. Sterling Hyltin’s use of the arms and hands in this ballet was striking; and the ending was adorable.

 

Assuming at least a decent performance, it is no longer possible for this listener to hear Barber’s Violin Concerto without being stirred: it is one of the finest of all concertos. Its first two movements are breathtaking, the second being especially poignant. Martins’ decision to choreograph Barber Violin Concerto for just two couples, one from the world of classical dance and one from the world of modern dance, which effectively change partners in the latter two movements is intrinsically intriguing. Howsoever one regards the humor and friskiness of the short last segment of this ballet, its two first parts—always taking account of the haunting music—are impressive. Sara Mearns was superb in the role of the female classical dancer; and seemingly danced with every fiber of her being, as she typically does. With his body type, Jared Angle is uniquely suited for the role of the male modern dancer and partnered her with great finesse in the evocative second section. Color again plays a significant role here, with the white of the costumes blending beautifully with the dark blue of the backdrop.

 

A mixture of black and white and gray characterizes the palette of Polaris, which appropriately (since this ballet is about the stars in the heavens) makes it plausible for the empathetic viewer to feel they are looking into space. Listening several times beforehand to William Walton’s Allegramente from Piano Quartet in d minor made it easier to concentrate on and enjoy Myles Thatcher’s choreography. In addition to all the balletic motions she performs so beautifully, what struck me here were Tiler Peck’s contemplative gazes. When facing the audience, she seemed to be peering at—the cosmos.

 

For several years, Maria Kowroski has been the de facto senior ballerina of NYCB. (All three women who could have laid claim to the appellation were plagued with injuries during their final years with the company.) This contributed greater poignancy to all the recent performances of the pas de deux from After the Rain, performances which were among the highlights of the season. Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel is a repetitious, but powerful and spiritual composition to which Wheeldon created apt and irresistible choreography. The beauty of Kowroski’s long limbs and extensions, as well as her noble demeanor were evident throughout this run. Ask la Cour partnered her superbly.

 

A dazzling array of color suffuses Concerto DSCH—its production, its music, its choreography. Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.2 in F major is as haunting a composition as is Barber’s Violin Concerto: in its mere 22 minutes or so it combines brilliantly an infectious vigor and liveliness with a profound, gentle yet aching melancholy. Ratmansky matches his compatriot’s brilliance with some of his own and provides every conceivable ballet lover with something to relish in this work. In the outer movements, in addition to all the sparkling activity for the corps there is bravura galore not just for the main couple, but for three other soloists, two males and a female. Gonzalo Garcia and the amazing Joaquin De Luz shone in this season’s performances of the ballet. Although she has been experiencing a slight problem with her turns during the spring, on Sunday afternoon, Ashley Bouder—in a part which takes advantage of all her dynamic qualities—was fantastic!

 

What is probably the most thrilling moment of the ballet, however, is the lift involving the main couple—in this run, Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle—that occurs during the musical climax of the first movement. Mearns’ poise and Tyler Angle’s strength in this sequence took the breath away. And yet, the heart and soul of both the music and the ballet lie in the sublime, pensive few minutes inserted between the livelier segments. Three other couples, in addition to the main one, share the stage and immeasurably enhance the beauty of this section—the section for which this work by Ratmansky will likely be long remembered.

 

Share this post


Link to post

But what if when Titania opened her eyes the first being she laid eyes on was a prince who had lost himself in this humongous universe? Just kidding, of course!

 

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as Balanchine’s ballet based on the play, are both truly great. This week’s NYCB performances at Koch Theater, therefore, invite plenteous comment. For now I will simply say that with a cast that includes Ashley Laracey as Hermia, Brittany Pollack as Helena and Ashly Isaacs as Hippolyta, I would happily have attended tonight’s performance if I had the appropriate ticket. 

 

Although I did have a ticket for the matinee, after the utterly sublime, ennobling performance of the Divertissement last evening by Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle (the wonderful Sleeping Beauty pair from this past winter) there was no way—much as I respect all of NYCB’s artists—I could bring myself to go to the theater.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw two performances so far (Wednesday with Mearns and Veyette, and Friday with Miller and Ulbricht). I enjoy it as the final week of the spring season, kind of a pendant to Nutcracker - season-appropriate, featuring lots of irresistible children, and vehicles for many fine dancers. I will miss it next year! Coppelia (which will occupy much of that last week) is one of my least favorite pieces. The two performances I saw were both excellent. Mearns is beauty personified as Titania. She is warm, lush, humorous, glamorous, and goes at everything with both confidence and abandon. Miller looked better than when I've seen her before, she's gaining some poise and maturity, but to me she lacks depth and is not especially interesting. Veyette got through the choreography just fine, not as tired looking as he often has been recently. Ulbricht really dazzled, of course, and didn't overact. I was really sorry Anthony Huxley was out, especially since they are not doing this next year; I loved his Oberon, especially the scherzo. Megan Fairchild and Jared Angle did a wonderful divertissement; Fairchild has become a dancer I enjoy far more than I used to. And of course Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle were sublime. Emily Kikta was secure and very grand as Hippolyta. Look forward to the final performance tomorrow!

Edited by cobweb

Share this post


Link to post

Per Alistair MacCaulay's instagram, this afternoon was Antonio Carmena's farewell to the company:

 

 

Also Antonio's own instagram:

 

 

Edited by canbelto

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, I surmised as much when Carmena got flowers and the dancers all applauded him. Just wish he had gotten a solo curtain call! I have enjoyed him in many, many performances over the past years. I will miss him! 

I was astounded by how fresh and wonderful Maria Kowroski looked. Honestly, when she went on maternity leave and then took so long to come back, I doubted I'd ever see her again. And I certainly never thought to see her like this! I couldn't detect any diminishment of anything. Those legs! And so charming and funny with Bottom. Top-notch Maria Kowroski. Thanks!!

Her maidens include so many promising dancers. Newcomer Christina Clark is lovely and graceful. And I really, really wish to see more of Isabella LaFreniere. She has a presence and a beaming smile that could fill up the whole stage.  

I saw Sean Suozzi do Puck twice this season. Two very heroic and committed performances. I know that, like Carmena, he is a long-time soloist (not quite as long-term, I guess) and hasn't been getting new roles, but IMHO he deserves them. I was wondering how he'd be as Oberon. 

Harrison Coll brought a wonderful pathos to Bottom. When the rustics reunited, I was brought to joyful tears, and the audience also applauded - not a moment that usually gets applause. 

Emily Kikta (Hippolyta) dances on a grand scale. She's another one I'd like to see more of. 

It was a strange season, starting with a blast of brilliant Balanchine, then I dipped a little into Ratmansky, followed by a solid month of no performances at all. Then MSND. Bring back the Balanchine!

Share this post


Link to post

I remember what an exciting impression Carmens made on me when he first joined the company, and I continued to enjoy his performances over the years though seeing him much less once I departed New York. Hope he has a great future--whether as a chef or anything else....

Share this post


Link to post

Oh, I'm sorry to see Carmena go! He looked particularly good in Russian Seasons during this year's Here / Now festival: like a dancer at his peak, not on his way out. If it's time to leave, so be it -- but he certainly looked like he had many more seasons to go.

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.