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SPAC--second week


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#1 rkoretzky

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 07:37 AM

We're into the second week of the NYCB SPAC residency, and we've had a retirement, a premiere, a circus and the movies.

Kathleen Tracey's final performance was glowing. She was a radiant princess--and I think it was the perfect vehicle for her exit, now that I have seen it. In a marvelous surprise for her, her father and one of the brothers were on stage as flag-bearers in the final tableau. Her sister was watching from the wings. She was presented with an enormous bouquet of pink roses. Maria Korowski was also presented with a bouquet, which she placed in Kathleen's arms with a reverance to her. It was so touching and a truly special moment for us, because we seldom witness a retirement here. I had a conversation with Kathleen yesterday. She was touched by the event as well, and since she is a quiet person, she really didn't want more hoopla than there was. It was perfect. The rest of the performance was pretty wonderful too and the orchestra sounded fantastic with that difficult score.

Morphoses, the new Wheeldon piece and a Saratoga premiere, was done to music expertly performed by the Flux quartet. I just wish I liked the music! I didn't. I found the choreography interesting, if not compelling. I'll take another look tonight.

Last night was an all-Robbins bill, featuring the usual adorable sprites bringing the house down in Circus Polka. It was a hot humid night and the Interplay cast suffered for it--after two impeccable performances last week, this one was sloppy. It did noticably cool down by the end of the first intermission, and Peter Boal and Wendy Whelan, and an outstanding ensemble gave a mysterious and stirring Opus 19, the dreamer. Peter Boal must be mentioned, because he is another of those NYCB treasures, who has elevated the level of male dancing and partnering so wonderfully. In Opus 19, the ballerina is really the partner however, because the piece is all about the male, and oh how elegant and secure he is in every movement.

I'm Old Fashioned was fine--once you've seen the gimmicks, you've seen 'em, and I don't care if I don't see it again for a while. but is certainly was fun, Fred.

I've had a lovely time with two charming gentlemen who are posters here: Farrell Fan and Bobsey. I'll tell more later, right now I have to get to work at SPAC.

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 07:54 AM

Thanks again! A question -- are the "adorable sprites" locals or imports?

I hope Farrell Fan and Bobsey will ring in shortly. It's so much fun to read these :)

#3 bobbi

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 02:57 PM

Yes, I too enjoy news from Saratoga. PLEASE post about Friday night's Tarantella. I'm a big fan of Ashley Bouder and want to know how she does. Also please give a full report on next week's casting of Ashley Bouder and Antonio Carmeno in the third movement of Symphony in C. Your reports are terrific and much appreciated. Farrell Fan, let's hear from you too!!

#4 dancingfan

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 08:31 AM

PLEASE keep the reviews from SPAC coming!!! It is so nice to be able to read the posts, especially since I can't be there to see the performances. :) Anyone have any thoughts about the debuts in "Raymonda Variations"? I would love to hear what everyone who has seen the perfomances thinks. Thanks!

#5 Ari

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 11:21 AM

Hi, dancingfan, and welcome to Ballet Alert! There are many posters here who follow NYCB. In addition to this thread, you can check out the NYCB thread under American Ballet Companies for in-depth discussion of company matters, and the Links thread under News and Events for reviews and articles appearing on other websites.

#6 bobsey

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Posted 20 July 2002 - 01:11 PM

My five days in Saratoga were just the thing on these muggy July days. There is no better venue for ballet. And it was especially good for me with the friendship and excellent technical and artistic advice from rkoretsky and Farrell Fan who always led me in the right direction on some fine points I might have missed.
Ancient Airs, Morphoses and Firebird started the week off. Alexandra Ansonelli looked so good in both the first two, to me she was outstanding. But some people I met in the hotel said they had come all the way from New York just to see Wendy Whelan in Morphoses and were completely thrilled at her performance. I paid close attention to her on the second time of Morphoses on Thursday and I see what they meant. I tend to be leery of ballets with dancers mostly just tangling their limbs in all sorts of contortionist positions, but I found there was more to it than just that in Morphoses. Jock Soto partnered her, while Damian Woetzel squired Ansonelli.
Wednesday opened with Circus Polka, Robbins' proof that he wasn't
always an old sour puss. It has a whole stage full of little girls romping around in formations under the direction of Robert LaFosse. It bought down the house, as it well should, and always does.
I've seen I'm Old Fashioned four times. It's cute and clever, dancing to Astaire's steps, but should be retired after so many showings. It also closed the evening on Friday.
The long-awaited Tarantella with Ashley Bouder and Daniel Ulbricht was a real winner on Friday. It's not easy to fine appropriate roles for Ulbricht, but this was just right for him, and both of them made the most of it. Lots and lots of action.
Janie Taylor, with Millepied, Woetzel and Hubbe danced in almost frantic fashion throughout Jeu de Cartes. I thought it was better this time than in New York. The costumes look awfully good.

#7 Farrell Fan

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 04:09 PM

Once upon a time, NYCB dancers could be seen unwinding at the Adelphi Hotel Bar after performances at SPAC. The Adelphi Bar is still the place to be at "America's Summer Place," but I didn't see any dancers there last week. Perhaps it's simply that I don't recognize as many dancers as I once did. Similarly, my friends Janice and John De Marco, owners of the Lyrical Ballad Book Store, report that not many dancers make their way there anymore, although I did sight Jared Angle on the premises last year. Maria Calegari and Bart Cook used to be loyal customers, and Lincoln Kirstein, an annual visitor, would invariably have a case of books shipped to his home. He called the place "the best bookstore in the United States. For the NYCB season, the De Marcos have a ballet window which places Suzanne Farrell's "Holding on to the Air," cheek by jowl with Peter Martins's "Far from Denmark."

There are variously decorated horse sculptures on the streets of Saratoga this summer, much in the way of the cows that thronged New York a few years back. And at the Arts Center, there's an exhibition of Paul Kolnik's NYCB photographs. But by far the best sight of the week for me was getting to meet rkoretzky and bobsey of Ballet Alert. This despite the fact that rkoretzky is a Yankees fan, bobsey a Red Sox fan, and I more or less root for the Mets.

The Tarantella of Ashley Bouder and Daniel Ulbricht was adorable and exciting. Morphoses seems to have developed into an audience favorite. Opus 19/The Dreamer showed Peter Boal at his best, and there's nothing better. The Monumentum/Movements of Maria Kowroski was a triumph. Glenn Keenan made the most of her opportunity in Raymonda, and after Variation VI, I was amused when Alina Dronova, unlike the other dancers, came running out for a curtain call.

The Saturday night Gala was both strange and lengthy. The program was: Bach Concerto V (pause), Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (pause), Hallelujah Junction (intermission), Vespro (intermission), and Vienna Waltzes. I'd always thought the idea behind a gala program was to get the ballet out of the way as quickly as possible, so the fat cats could proceed to their dining and dancing. As it was, the tuxedoed gents and their ladies who'd been sitting in front of me never made it back after the first intermission. Many such defections opened the sight lines for those audience members interested in the doings onstage. Peter Martins's Bach piece is deft and painless. Hallelujah Junction and Vespro, each viewed for a second time, looked good. The program went on so long that the first fusillade of fireworks took place while the Vienna Waltzes cast was taking durtain calls. A different kind of fireworks had been provided earlier in the evening by Damian Woetzel and Jennie Somogyi in the Tschai PdD. There were many young ballet students in the audience, a welcome counterpoint to the ranks of the formally attired. The kids squealed their delight at Damian in particular. This old codger hadn't heard anything like it since the early days of Frank Sinatra.

After the show, I got to meet Mae G. Banner, whose reviews of NYCB in The Saratogian newspaper have been models of clarity and taste for many years. I told her about Ballet Alert.

#8 liebs

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 04:49 PM

Farrell Fan, I think most of the NYCB corps is now too young to drink - maybe that's why they don't frequent the bar.

#9 Manhattnik

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 05:24 PM

Last summer, Lyrical Ballad had a slew of Serge Lifar books. Now if only I knew French.

#10 Alexandra

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 07:01 PM

Thanks, bobsey and FF, for these reports -- they really give a flavor of the season, and the place, and they were both lovely to read. :)

#11 BW

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 02:17 AM

Yes, thank you indeed! Having now been there once, I can easily picture it - and I know what you mean about the enthusiastic responses of the young ballet dancers - I got a kick out of them myself. :)


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