Posted 05 June 2002 - 06:50 AM
I apologize, BW, I'm not trying to be mysterious, they all did a very nice job, but I just feel like I know too many people involved in the performance (and it's kids) to comment on it analytically. That said, after I saw Flynn in Ballo I had guessed she was going to get the Wien award.
Posted 05 June 2002 - 07:45 AM
Posted 05 June 2002 - 08:17 AM
Mae Wien Awards for 2002:
Tyler Angle, Allen Pfieffer, Jessica Flynn and Anna Pazcoguin.
Posted 05 June 2002 - 09:03 AM
I appreciate everyone's comments and I did read the piece in the NYT today. I just was hoping for a bit of flavor - I'm glad I have my other sources.;) Once again, congratulations to all the dancers at the Workshop Performances. Sorry we missed it this year.
Posted 05 June 2002 - 05:25 PM
I felt the Men's technique was definitely cleaner than the ladies, but being the mother of a male dancer, I have a better understanding of men's technique.
I really enjoyed the evening and my son left very inspired. It was quite amazing to see 9 very talented young men dance Les Gentilhommes. Benjamin Griffiths, Tyler Angle, Adrian Danchig-Warnig, Andrew Kaminski, Austin Laurent, Neil Marshall, Vincent Paridiso, Arron Scott, and Christian Tworzyanski did a wonderful job.
I enjoyed Copland Portrait more than those who reviewed Saturday shows. It was a bit episodic, but I enjoyed it for the most part. Damian Woetzel had some wonderful choreography for the guys and they seemed to really enjoy it. Giovanni Villalobos was a pleasure to watch. He really looked like he loved performing and therefore, I loved watching him.
Ballo and Brahms-Schoenberg were nice, but I felt Les Gentilhommes stole the show. But that is my bias showing. Give me a stage full of Danseurs and I am a happy gal!
OK, I went....now someone else needs to add their 2 cents worth.
Posted 05 June 2002 - 05:53 PM
Posted 06 June 2002 - 02:54 AM
I was especially impressed (though not surprised) by the Ballo. Ashley is known to be a stickler for detail, and her students have responded magnificently to her tutelage. Ana Sophia Scheller whizzed through the technically demanding part with cool aplomb, and her partner, Allen Peiffer, was not simply tall (always a virtue!) but proved he could deploy those long limbs with speed and elegance.
I have nothing to add to other remarks on Gentilhommes and Brahms-Schoenberg, but I do have some thoughts on the Woetzel dance. Set to a group of short and unfamiliar piano pieces by Aaron Copland, it's obviously designed to show off the youthful energy of its cast. The first section, a densely modernist Passacaglia, consists mostly of a lot of grappling, as the men (dressed in black street clothes, like a posse of downtown performance artists) manipulate the women (in hot-colored leotards) through a lot of awkward postures. The sprightlier sections (with titles like "Down a Country Lane, "Jazzy," and "Midday Thoughts") give the dancers lots of flashy and playful moments, more than a little reminiscent of Jerome Robbins.
The 8 dancers bring a lot of energy, conviction, and style to the piece. Giovanni Villalobos was especially impressive with his grasp of the power of simplicity, but his colleagues all danced with great panache: Jessica Flynn, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Alan Peiffer, Elysia Lichtine, Austin Laurent, Melissa Capellan, and Sterling Hyltin. These are dancers any choreographer would be pleased to see in his studio!
Posted 06 June 2002 - 06:25 AM
I particularly liked the way the Student Dancers responded to Woetzel's short little etudes (two to three minutes each) and to each other while dancing. In contrast to the structured classicism of the other workshop offerings, Damien's piece allowed these kids freely to display their personalities as dancers -- what is unique about each of them. And I loved that and loved seeing them. Like Melissa Barak's ballet last year for Charlene Cohen, et al. (sorry both principals left the school), in Damien's piece it was thus almost impossible to "tell the dancers from the dance." It was therefore the only thing I saw last weekend that differed from a class recital and that had merit on its own account. It was fresh work.
The trouble with the Woetzel, on the other hand, is that after dancing this, the kids are just ready for the Diamond Project. But Damien's pieces were more beautiful and moving and interesting, if those are to be the criteria, than any of the Diamond Project ballet I saw this year.
I'll be a bit of grinch. I thought this year's workshop the weakest, the most like a High School Play, that I've ever attended. All you parents out there, I don't mean this as a criticism of your kids. They were great. It's just that it is a High School Recital after all and we must not make too much of it. Nikolaj Hubbe's Bournonville pieces the past two workshop years had the virtue of providing an interesting vehicle which couldn't really be criticised much, for it was an unfamiliar idiom and, anyway, we wanted to see a bit of Napoli or Konservatoriet. Stars and Stripes two years ago was just the sort of thing to get us out of our seats and to use all that youthful enthusiasm. But Gentileshommes is shallow and much too long. And the Balanchine pieces seemed perfunctory.
Too much importance is probably being attached to the workshop by the general New York scene as opposed to the parents and the School. If we don't confuse these with professional performances they are wonderful. The problem is that they tend to get confused. I particularly question the school's decision the past two years to bring Apprentices who have been dancing with the company for almost a year back for certain pieces for their Monday Night Gala audience. I actually preferred the Saturday afternoon cast.
Posted 06 June 2002 - 06:35 AM
I also thought the dancing overall at this performance was rather slack, especially Gentilhommes. But in Ballo, too, every single musical accent was smudged in the ballerina solos -- and I don't think this piece is appropriate for students. They can get through it, but they can't really dance it, and there's a difference.
I saw a lot of Robbins in Woetzel's ballet, from actual steps to the idea and atmosphere, and although I liked parts of it, it was (like Gentilhommes) just a string of steps, in the same way a pop music album is a string of songs, but that's far short of a symphony.
I did like the two bits of Brahms-Schoenberg, especially the Rondo.
Posted 06 June 2002 - 06:42 AM
You liked the "studentish" carefulness, that you felt they did look like they could pass for a professional troup - but are you saying that, even so, the students had splayed hands, etc.?
Sorry, I guess I'm confused...or maybe it was a mixture?
Posted 06 June 2002 - 07:54 AM
Yes, I saw splayed hands -- which one might accept if that was the official company style -- but more to the point, no consistency in how hands were held as well as other similar details.
Posted 06 June 2002 - 08:07 AM
Posted 06 June 2002 - 09:19 AM
I wonder if a School Style is considered necessary over there or whether lacking it hasn't become some kind of doctrine? For all Suki Schorer's "Balanchine Technique," she is only one teacher and others teache quite differently, even Kay, and the same thing is true with the men, Jock Soto's classes are very different from Peter Boal's. And there are so many kids who come in to that school only for a year or two or three of finishing on their way to the company.
If there is an Academic or Company style evident over the past few seasons -- with Sean Lavery playing an important role in the Company and with dancers such as Ashley Bouder, Adam Henrickson and Abi Stafford making their mark there, it may be as much "Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet" as it is Suki Schorer.
Posted 06 June 2002 - 09:41 AM
Just as an aside, would you all say that NYCB has a cohesive company style anymore? I mean, one does think of SAB as being the school from which they draw their dancers, at least in part, so is there a carry over?
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