Posted 30 May 2002 - 08:33 PM
Edited for spelling errors.
Posted 31 May 2002 - 03:31 AM
All I can say about what I saw of last night is "oh, dear!" The Diamond Project is turning out to be the "Lump-of-Coal Project".
From the beginning of "Jeu des Cartes" (Peter really needs to play more poker) to the beginning of "Mercurial Manoeuvres" was revealed a little desert of real choreographic content. I had seen some of these works before, but cumulatively, they were a depressing lot, and struck me especially with the lack of choreographic invention - had you scattered the names of the choreographers randomly about the program you wouldn't have been able to tell, the vocabulary of all was so alike. (It will be awhile before I give pas de chat collé in class again)
Wheeldon, on the other hand, provided the backlash needed. With a fine sense of musicality, he has supplied a ballet with style, wit, classic vocabulary which is varied and supple, and structure! Could this be the Next Hot Thing, this neoclassicism?
Posted 31 May 2002 - 04:41 AM
Posted 31 May 2002 - 05:10 AM
Posted 31 May 2002 - 06:01 AM
Having seen the program twice now (once live on Wed night sans Jeu de Cartes), it's what I feared. The first NYCB showing on PBS in three year giving those who cannot see NYCB live a not so great glimpse at the company. At least the dancing was great. As a regular NYCB goer, I did enjoy the chance to see the range of choreography from the DP in one shot. I found the televised program fascinating for the commentary in between the ballets. And, well, to have Red Angels saved on tape for posterity made it all worthwhile.
Regarding individual performances-- Janie Taylor in JdC showed a joy I am not used to seeing in her. I actually really enjoyed seeing her in this part and seeing that she could have fun on stage.
MVPs for the night: Jock Soto and Benjamin Millepied
(Riggins also danced three times, two of which were in the corps)
Watching the Kistler/Soto Them Twos pas de deux from a far away vantage point and then, last night, close up, made me wonder-- and perhaps this is should be a separate thread-- The piece, regardless of how much we like it, would seem much more appropriate in a smaller venue. I got so much more out of it on TV then I have seeing it from the rings of the NYST. That said, it seems, too often, in choreographing and casting, that the artists forget that the piece is being seens by hundreds who are not in the orchestra or 1st ring. I wonder if anyone ever checks on the ballets from the 3rd or 4th ring...
for now, that's my commentary.
Posted 31 May 2002 - 06:21 AM
Posted 31 May 2002 - 06:46 AM
I liked the Corbert piece and Red Angels.
Beyond that, I was amused at the Martins/Quinn we're flexible with the dancers and then the violinst for Red Angles (whose name I can't recall) saying that you can't change the music for a dancer!
Overall, I thought it cemented my opinion that the Diamond Project is not one of my favorite events.
I felt bad for the corps members, they hardly got any face time and don't get me started on the camera angles, ugh!
Posted 31 May 2002 - 08:35 AM
Posted 31 May 2002 - 09:19 AM
Some of the ballets that were presented -- Ancient Airs and Dances, Mercurial Manoeuvres, and Red Angels -- have been among the very few that I've liked in the past. Despite being a jazz fan, I've detested Them Twos. I don't like score or the choreography. Neverthless, I agree the Kistler/Soto pdd was much more successful on television than at the NYST. I had the same thought as Amanda and find it interesting. Is it this piece, in particular, or is it a bigger issue about ballet, how it relays intimacy to the audience and how it holds -- or doesn't hold -- the stage.
I'd also agree that many of the pieces look similar, and it is one reason I really hate to see a full night of Diamond project ballets. (I think it is much more appealling to set them in a regular repertory evening.) But why is it that they look so much alike?
The most obvious reasons are lack of costumes and set and the fact that they usually employ fewer dancers, But it seems to be more than that, and because I'm not an expert in choregraphy I can't really put my finger on it.
Posted 31 May 2002 - 09:35 AM
Aside from enjoying the dancing, I liked bits and pieces of many of the works, but was left wondering why choreographers can't/won't use a 'choreographic editor', much like authors make use of? It often appears that few have the ability to edit and tighten their work. How and when to use repetition, cutting the extraneous, etc. are all skills that most of the choreographers appeared to lack. Several of these works could really shine with some editing.
Posted 31 May 2002 - 09:40 AM
Posted 31 May 2002 - 12:18 PM
Posted 31 May 2002 - 01:58 PM
Posted 31 May 2002 - 05:33 PM
Some of the excerpts after the first intermission came off rather well, I thought, notably Red Angels and Ancient Airs and Dances. The latter is a very good ballet which should be seen in its entirety. Starting off Them Twos with the "Horror" section made no sense, but the dancers looked good as they did throughout the night. Chiaroscuro looked okay but looks better in the theater. The snippet from Viola Alone was fine and a snippet is all I can take from La Stravaganza, by Angelin Preljocaj. As I said on the booing-at-the-ballet thread, I felt like booing it in 1997 but didn't, and now I'm sorry, because they're bringing it back.
Before the second intermission last night, it's true that everything was looking very much alike -- but some of that was because we were seeing excerpts. I've seen all these works in their entirety, and they don't look as much alike as they did on the broadcast. Even an evening of excerpts from the Tchaikovsky repertory would start looking alike after a while.
Mercurial Maneouvres is not my favorite Wheeldon ballet, but it deserves to be seen under better conditions and not at the end of such a long night -- one hour too long, IMO. Incidentally, a friend of mine says that was Lindy Mandradjieff, not Ashley Bouder, who fell down. I couldn't tell.
I love Andrea Quinn's conducting, and she talks just like Julie Andrews. Maurice Kaplow and guest conductor Robert Sadin were fine. But it's too bad NYCB couldn't have found find a spot on the show for their venerable principal condoctor, Hugo Fiorato.
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