Notes on Wednesday May 15
Posted 17 May 2002 - 09:40 PM
Serenade was given a very tight performance that night, the cast was the same as opening night (Ringer, Taylor, Tracey, Lyon, Fayette) and they've all honed their performances. Taylor's wildness suits the Russian Girl part, and Tracey is learning to find the Dark in the Dark Angel (on opening night, she danced well, but was a positively sunny Dark Angel).
Vienna Waltzes had a wonderful, vivid cast, all women who can hold the stage. Meunier made a great deal out of the first waltz in gowns and heeled slippers but the gown made her look blocky (the puff sleeves need to be set lower on her shoulders and the waist of her dress needs to be lowered) Yes, it's picky, and no I don't care. You don't send someone in a principal role out on stage in a costume that doesn't flatter them.
Ansanelli and Boal did Voices of Spring. The fact that Ansanelli has to fight for turnout is possibly going to dog her entire career. It's something that's evident if you look for it, but easy to overlook in her performance. Well, she might turn out to be this generation's great turned-in ballerina; there is always one. She is quite special onstage, and pairs well with Boal (and also with Hubbe in Violin Concerto) A very fine performance from Boal as well.
Kathleen Tracey really did explode in the Explosions Polka for the first time in a long while. It's a part most people do self-consciously; she roared onstage like she was having the time of her life.
Alexopoulos played a dusky, regal widow while Askegard surprised me in the "Danilo" role - he didn't play it European at all. His swagger and cocksure attitude was pure Rhett Butler. The pairing was quite unexpected.
I've never enjoyed the Rosenkavalier section as much as I did on this viewing. Kistler performed wonderfully; you could see every thought that flickered through as she waltzed with her partner who was either imaginary or corporeal. Was Philip Neal actually there, or was she only imagining him for us? Or was she thinking of someone else entirely. Kistler's sense of fantasy makes me love her in that role. But it was not specifically Kistler's performance - for the first time at that viewing I felt like I "got" the section a bit better than I had. There's a wonderful sense of history in the return of each of the characters, we move through an entire century of social dances and couples and Balanchine sweeps and revolves his dancing space.
Posted 18 May 2002 - 04:45 AM
Regarding Ansanelli's lack of turn out, I always think of what a good friend and mentor once told me discussing this (I can only paraphrase) --
Viz: That there was a great (Soviet?) ballerina who had no turn out and no line and who was told: "You must never let them see you standing still!"
Posted 18 May 2002 - 05:20 AM
On the lack of turnout, I think this is related to genre and employ again. Once, demicaractere dancers weren't expected to have turnout, line or perfect placement. Michael, I've heard the line you quoted, but heard it attributed as Vestris to his pupil Perrot. It's usually been interpreted that this was said because Perrot was ugly -- as in, not a pretty face. But I think that's an error. It's because he had no lines and (possibly) poor turnout. If you stand still a lot, people will notice that. If you're a winged zephyr or a whiplash turner, no one will care.
More NYCB reviews, please! I'm very cheered to hear all the good reports of "Vienna Waltzes." I was afraid that, like "Union Jack," might not survive its Balanchine era cast.
Posted 18 May 2002 - 11:04 PM
Posted 19 May 2002 - 07:36 AM
(perhaps then, the unsightliness by early 19th c. terms was a combined lack of both facial and physical comliness.)
Posted 19 May 2002 - 07:47 AM
Posted 19 May 2002 - 08:03 AM
Posted 19 May 2002 - 08:13 AM
B, I think there were genres and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres that vanished long ago. Part of the smoothing out (in the same way there were once over 400 Types -- the Woman in the Ball Dress, the Woman in the Apron, etc. that are now just Ingenue, Juvenile Male Lead, Villain, Maid) that's been happening in ballet and, to a lesser extent (guessing here) theater.
Back to Ansanelli -- I thought Leigh's comment about her dancing McBride's repertory was interesting. I don't believe that McBride was noted for her turnout, either. (I honestly don't remember, as the period when I saw McBride the most was my first few years of ballet going when I wouldn't have thought to check.)
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