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About CTballetfan

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. Winter 2018

    Last evening I attended opening night of Romeo and Juliet. Since I am not as well versed as many of you on the technicalities of ballet, my review will be strictly my impressions and appreciation. For me, the performance had its ups and downs. The audience, including me, was most energized and excited by two elements: (1) the strong performances, swordplay, energy, and command of the stage by Joaquin de Luz as Tybalt and Daniel Ulbricht as Mercutio. Wow! Both command the stage and Ulbricht had the time of his life with all his jumps and spins. In the sword fights they fed off each other. It was sizzling! (2) a small troop of little boys from the SAB school, one of whom could not have been more than 5 or 6, who took center stage and whirled and jumped with bravado. They got what seemed to be the biggest applause and calls of Bravo of the evening. Now, what of the leads? I had seen Sterling Hyltin in the role in 2012, with Robert Fairchild as her Romeo. That performance was electric, moving, tragic, the connection between them palpable. Last night IMO Sterling did capture the essence of a young conflicted girl. Her dancing was, as always, effervescent, light, fluid, musical, but the choreography had her doing a lot of running back and forth on the stage, which made her seem to me more like the mad scene in Giselle. But the key to the ballet, at least as I read Shakespeare, is the tragic love story. It takes two for a love story and I, at least, did not feel the magic, chemistry, despair, and tragic loss of this pair. Harrison Coll seems very young and unseasoned. Although he has a lovely line and beautifully proportioned body for ballet, and he executed the steps competently, to me he lacks dramatic presence. He can't yet hold the stage on his own. Compare to De Luz, who in his bright yellow costume and surrounded by a stageful of other dancers, commands your eye even standing still as you view his evil glance and clanking swords. Coll seemed always to be racing around like a dervish(maybe that was intended). But I wanted to be more moved by the balcony scene and I wasn't. The pas de deux where he turns her first with one hand and then the other was okay, but the feeling between them was lacking. I almost felt that Hyltin was trying to inject on her own the connection that didn't develop between them. A shoutout to Maria Kowroski, who portrayed Juliet's mother with dignity and compassion without hardly dancing a step. Poor use of Ask la Cour as Juliet's father and Russell Jansen as Paris, who had little expression and not much to do. Finally I think the pacing could have been better. Love scenes and tragedy scenes deserve extra time for the audience to absorb and feel them. Maybe the orchestra was too fast paced--I don't know. The fast pace worked well for the sword fight scenes, where the performance came to life. Anyway, this was the only performance of the company I can see this winter season, so am grateful I was there, sitting right up front in row D center aisle seat where I could easily view all their expressions. I look forward to your comments on this performance and the performances of the other leads.
  2. Gomes and ABT

    I haven't posted for quite some time but have been following this thread and the terrible news about Gomes's resignation. He has been my favorite male dancer for so many years, gives his heart and soul to every performance. To say he will be missed is such an understatement. I just read Nanushka's assessment of who is left in the male principal ranks and it seems to me the situation is dire. Time to put a lot of effort into the promising male soloists like Thomas Forster, Blaine Hoven, and maybe one or two more. I do think Whiteside can turn in a great performance when he is moved to do so, but the other strong principal men are too short to partner any but the smaller women. Cory Stearns continues to unimpress me. Coincidentally I just sent ABT a check for my annual membership the day before the Gomes news broke. How will his loss affect subscription sales?
  3. 2017 Fall Season

    A note to Peter Martins: Please, please schedule more SL--how about trading some performances of Midsummer Night's Dream, R&J or the new choreography evenings--this year just so those of us who missed the debut performances of Tiler Peck and Megan Fairchild as O/O can see them. You will not lose money at the box office! I was fortunate to see Sara Mearns on opening night but dearly would have loved to see Tiler and Megan. I know my wish won't be granted but I can hope, can't I? When you think of all the unsold seats for some of the less popular mixed bill evenings, surely you can rethink your planning.....
  4. 2017 Fall Season

    Thank you, Vipa, for your report of today's performance. I am pleased that Bouder was able to transform herself into the role, esp. the adagio. Yes I totally agree with you about Ullbricht, whom I loved in the jester role Tuesday evening. I think you nailed his appeal and strengths. I also have not been enamored of Veyette in a princely role. I'm glad you think Gordon has "white tight potential." I thought so too on his performance Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to Megan Fairchild's interpretation, esp. after the piece in the Times the other day. And of course, Tiler Peck. I wish I could be there for both of those evenings. I hope those of you who attend will report back in full!
  5. 2017 Fall Season

    Yes I wondered whether the music was a little fast in places, although so thoroughly engaging. I noticed at the end of one of Ullbricht's solos, he kneels down and raises his arm on the last note, but this gesture was a second after the music stopped. And I too meant to give a shoutout to Brittany Pollack--her performance was exquisite.
  6. 2017 Fall Season

    Opening night of Swan Lake Sept. 19: I attended last night's performance, which IMO was wonderful. Packed and enthusiastic house. First, the music, always so enthralling, played so beautifully by the orchestra. Bravos to the conductor and to the oboist(?) who caught my attention with his soulful solo. Now to the dancers. I had not seen Sarah Mearns as O/O and she captured both roles. Can one be both statuesque with exquisite extensions and pliant with deep backbends and liquid motions? Yes she was. But it was the last act where she transformed into her tragic character. The audience was with her all the way. I had read an article where she talks about how she becomes the character. It was heart-catching. And catching her was Tyler Angle, sturdy and strong smooth and showing her off to advantage, the perfect foil to her fiery performance. A great partnership. His solos showed he still has the goods IMO. Btw, Mearns did what appeared to be 26 traveling fouett├ęs (I counted), 2or 3 of them doubles. If you count the doubles as 2 fouett├ęs (do you?) then she may have done 32. Other standout performances: What can can be said about the pyrotechnics of Daniel Ullbricht that have not been said before? He was on fire, high in the air defying gravity, all jumps and steps perfection. The audience gasped. And he played his jester role with glee. Joseph Gordon was a whirling, stage gobbling dynamo with fantastic energy in the pas de trois. Electrifying performance. And so tall--great roles should come his way. In the Russian dance Rebecca Krohn was fluid and mesmerizing. She still has lots of dance left, which I'm sure she will be teaching her new students. Sad to see her career coming to an end. The four small synchronized swans gave the best performance I have ever seen in this show-stopping number. They were all the same size and synchronized perfectly as one body. The SAB children were delightful and beautifully trained, and all looked thrilled to be part of the show. Bravo to them and their teachers, and to Peter Martins for orchestrating the whole production with all the groups and divertissements seamlessly. My reservations were ones I'm sure others have mentioned on seeing this production before: (1) the atrocious scenery; the less said, the better. (2) IMO there are too many white swan corps numbers; by the last act my eyes were glazing over. (3) the Elizabethan ruff, balloon pants and heavy dresses costumes; very distracting as they took up space in the background,and of course their costumes masked their bodies. This is ballet, folks! I have seen Sterling Hyltin as O/O, in her first year's performance (2007 or 2008) as a young colt, and would dearly love to see her this year in her mature performance, but will have to rely on your impressions. I am also sorry to miss the O/O debuts of Tiler Peck and Megan Fairchild, so will hope to read your comments. I must admit as I watched Mearns I sometimes envisioned how I thought Tiler would handle the role. I think it's a natural for her.
  7. ABT 2017 Met season

    To respond to the posting that Russians prefer Russian ballerinas, it may be a cultural affinity. I have always preferred American dancers. I relate to their openness, geniality in their dance, free and unpretentious way of executing the steps, their lyricism, and in the case of my favorites--Sarah Mearns, Tiler Peck, and Gillian Murphy--their attack, go for broke approach to the role. Not to say that some Russian dancers do not have these qualities, but the Russian way of training is different from, let's say, SAB.
  8. 2017 Fall Season

    It will be a loss but I too had a feeling it was coming. I feel like I won the lottery, though, because I have a subscription ticket to the October 15 matinee performance. Never did I dream, when I selected this program, that I would see him dance, much less at his farewell performance!
  9. Wish List/Predictions for the 2016 Season

    Oh I am so disappointed by this lineup of ballets for spring 2018. Were it not for the chance to see a few of the exciting young ballerinas who were newly promoted, I would skip the whole season. Let's hope one of them will be Juliet. Even though ABT's R&J is interminably long, I would sit through it for one of them. Glad I have a fistful of tickets for NYCB's three seasons.
  10. 2017 Fall Season

    Yes! Thanks for letting me know. I have not seen her in the role but I look forward to the passion she brings to every role she plays.
  11. 2017 Fall Season

    Oh this clip of Tiler Peck is so beautiful. Exquisite dancing. I wish I was seeing her debut in SL. I am seeing whoever is dancing opening night--I assume Mearns or Reichlen. No slouches either of them! Casting should be up sometime this coming week. Can't wait for NYCB's fall season to start!
  12. Your Desert Island Triple Bill

    My two cents: Jewels is all I need, but I would never tire of Glass Pieces. My third would be a toss up between Allegro Brillante and Theme and Variations. And if I could have my ideal cast it would be New York City Ballet with Tiler Peck or Megan Fairchild in Allegro Brillante or T and V. Dream on!
  13. Thanks so much, California, for these tantalizing clips. So much energy and joie de vivre! Wish I could have been there. Tiler Peck, always the best, and Lauren Lovette, so musical, fluid, and wonderful to watch. I'll have to remember to select at least one evening this season where she will be featured.
  14. Jennifer Homans' planned biography of Balanchine

    Thanks, Helene, for the referrals. Gottlieb's book is in paperback, so I will order it. Thank you for locating the Kirkus review. I recently read his memoir, Avid Reader, which I had hoped would be more about book publishing (where I spent my career) and less about gossip--a bit of a letdown for me. The other book you cite is out of print but a few public libraries in CT have it so I'll borrow it.
  15. I was just reading the newly released list of grants just awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and see that Homans has been awarded $50,400 in support of the biography she is writing of Balanchine. Anyone know anything about her project? I have her compendious book on the history of ballet. Another question: Are there any other respected biographies of Balanchine written in the last 20 years or so?