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Alexandra

Diamond Project I -- up or down?

  

  1. 1. Diamond Project I -- up or down?

    • Yes
      13
    • No
      16

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15 posts in this topic

Okay, this is one of those awful you love it/you hate it, there are no alternatives polls.

We're all in the Coliseum. The lion has the Diamond Project in its mouth and looks hungry. Nero looks around and, not wanting to make the decision himself, asks the crowd, "Thumbs down (he dies), thumbs up (he lives)."

We are the Crowd. How would you vote?

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Being a merciful sort, I say let the Diamond Project live! Some of the DP ballets from earlier years which came back this year looked pretty good -- Concerto in Five Movements, Viola Alone, Chiaroscuro. Maybe this year's crop will look better in revival. I would, however, feed Angelin Prejlocaj to the lions.

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Thumbs down, the lion feasts tonight!

I like the idea of the Diamond Project, but I'd send it over to the Choreographic Institute and then perhaps pass over the good ones.

I just can't spend any more money on this stuff.

But to echo Farrell Fan, some of the earlier works were good.

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NYCB has and can (and should!) produce new choreography outside of the Diamond Project. One problem with it, I think, is that from all indications it rushes choreographers and dancers -- too much too fast -- and as a result I don't think it shows new choreography off particularly well. Yes, some of the ballets are probably keepers (Red Angels and Ancient Airs & Dances, for example, have been in and out of the rep) but on the whole it doesn’t present an encouraging picture of new choreography, or much else.

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Oh, let it live! The dancers seem to relish it, and there is a certain ballet public that wants to see what's new. Plus NYCB must continue to develop its repertory. What are the alternatives after all? NYCB is, in my opinion, a contemporary ballet company. While remaining firmly rooted in its superb technical base and exraordinary Balanchine repertory, it must still try to move forward. I thought Peter Martins explained that very convincingly on the Live from Lincoln Center broadcast. (What an exciting evening! And what a stupendous company!) The Diamond Project is a courageous and visionary endeavor. Even if you don't agree with everything you see, it still deserves our support.

Rick

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I see that the Diamond Project is losing out in the voting - but what's the alternative? Endless revival peformances of Symphony in C?

Having a set time, place, and funding for new choreography is the best way to make sure new choreography gets a chance.

Granted, the Diamond Project has produced some stinkers - Kevin O'Day's pieces are unwatchable, in my opinion, and Damien Woetzel should keep his day job - but it has also produced some masterpieces.

And I would put Prejlocaj's "Stravaganza" on that list!

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I vote to keep it, but overall the way it's done.

BryMar1995-I don't get the impression that the "dancers relish it". They looked exhausted by the time Mahdaviani's ballet finally premiered, and I'm sure they'd rather not do 50 different ballets in one season. And, since the same dancers seem to be picked for just about every ballet, there are some dancers who are probably not too happy about sitting on the sidelines for the duration.

There are plenty of other ballets that could be revived other than Symphony in C-plenty Balanchine and Robbins ballets have been shelved for far too many seasons and would make wonderful additions to the active rep. I'd love to see Coppelia, West Side Story Suites and Union Jack again, among others.

I've never seen Woetzel's Diamond Project ballet, but his ballet for the SAB Workshop was not bad, and showed some flashes of talent. He's had a lot more choreographic experience since the Diamond Project, so I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.

Kate

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The funny thing is I think Stravaganza is in some ways what I don't want the company to do, while I don't think it's a bad work (but no masterpiece in my book.)

From the Preljocaj I've seen, (this and Le Parc come to mind) I think he's a good thinker, but not much of a choreographer with ballet dancers. A lot of the dancing in both is either thin or ponderous (he uses way too much unison) and his vocabulary makes no accomodation for the fact that he's not using modern dancers.

Preljocaj doesn't use pointe work, nor turn out, nor a high center of gravity, all hallmarks of ballet. If there are dancers out there trained to do works like this, and there are plenty, why is it being done on dancers on whom it's less congenial? And why do they have to do all the adapting? It's fine for people to say ballet dancers ought to be versatile; they ought to. But I get peeved when what they mean by that is "they should be modern dancers."

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But Leigh, referring to a comment on another thread, if it drives old people out of the theater, then it's okay :) Every repertory should have a good geriatric purgative. Get rid of those tiresome donors, not to mention anyone who was around in former times ;)

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We're probably stuck with the Diamond Project because they've raised so much money based upon it and how do you tell the donors that you're not doing it any more? They're going to brazen it out and claim its the next wave, but there is nonetheless something absurd about institutionalizing the avant garde or expecting the next wave to be sponsored and created in this fashion.

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I finally got around to watching the videocassette of the PBS special, which Mom kindly made for me while I was in Russia. Judging from what I saw on TV...it's THUMBS DOWN all the way! ('Red Angels' & 'Mercurial Maneouvers' saved the night but, still...)

Thank God for Jenifer Ringer. Thank God for Peter Boal. But what-the-heck was with that pudgy blonde in the first number...sorry, I have a problem with baby ballerini-cheerleader-with-'heehaw smile' types. Not the type who I envision at a Tsar's Ball. Ballet is derived from royalty - kings & tsars. Basic elegance is the hallmark of ballet & all that we love, isn't it? Excuse me. You have no idea how looking at that cheerleader affected me.

I'll take a second look at that video soon & perhaps I'll change my mind.

- Jeannie

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If the question were "new choreography at NYCB -- up or down?" my answer would be different. But there has been new choreography produced outside the confines of the DP -- e.g. in recent years, by Wheeldon, Martins, Tharp, and Feld. All established choreographers, admittedly. I think the idea of letting the Choreographic Institute feed into NYCB more directly would be a way to get new, less established choreographers' work performed. I was lucky enough to see one of the Institute's performances this fall and thought that the work was, on the whole, more interesting and exciting than the average DP work.

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It should stay - but it's time to invite Mark Morris NOT BORIS EIFMAN!!!

:mad:

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Kate, I meant that the dancers relish having new work created on them, especially for them. I know I did. The PBS special was a tough show to pull off, exhausting even, but I thought the company looked magnificent (with the exception of Wendy Whelan who, despite her strong dancing, looked thin to the point of being ill). A Diamond Project season would indeed be tiring, but perhaps no more that when Balanchine did his Ravel season, or any season when he was feeling prolific.

I agree with Patricia and Leigh, that there are some choreographers whose style just may not fit well with NYCB. Eifman's theater dance and Preljocaj's modernism may not be what the company was trained for - too much of a departure from neoclassic formalism (although interesting challenges for both developing and mature artists in the company). Morris might be excellent as a formalist, except the ballet he documented on A&E for Royal Winnipeg seemed so darned flippant that I got the impression that he doesn't care about ballet at all, disdains it even. But he loves the paycheck ballet companies can deliver. Van Manen could probably do the company justice if he has inspiraton for a work. I love Forsythe's work on the company.

Peter Martins combs the globe for choreographers to do this project. They are the best he can find. What does that leave us to suplement the Balanchine/Robbins repertory? Ashton or MacMillan at NYCB? Fokine's Chopanianna or Kirov productions of Swan Lake? Neurmeir or Cranko repertory in State Theater? Makes one think.

Rick

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A number of ex-NYCB dancers are presently choreographing for other companies. What about inviting one or two to create something for the Company?

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