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NYCB @ KennedyCtr, March 26-31, 2013

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Tiler Peck was one of the best Swanilda's I've ever seen. It wasn't merely because of her technical magic, but because of her dramatic skills.

She was wonderful in Allegro Brilliante this afternoon, very much in command, and with that million-watt smile of hers. I'd blink and open my eyes and she'd be in an entirely new position. She told the Washington Post that by the end of the ballet, "it feels like you could not possibly do one more step," but she looked liked she could have done the whole thing all over again.

I was pretty disappointed in Kowroski's Swan however, and I'm a big fan of hers. Her face showed no emotion until late in the ballet, and I guess the kind thing to say about her dancing is that it was lyrical. To me it looked little more than marked sometimes, and she just didn't etch those iconic images sharply. Keener eyes may have seen better things. I will say that she moved me by the ballet's end.

As for Fairchild's T&V, she clearly had her heart in it, but she just doesn't have the grandeur when it's called for. The orchestra was glorious all afternoon.

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I attended yesterday's matinee which included performances of Carousel, Glass Pieces, and Vienna Waltzes. I do not have much time at the moment to go into all of my impressions of a great afternoon of beautiful performances from the dancers, but I was hoping if some of you could elucidate a question I have about Vienna Waltzes: what is the point of Explosions-Polka? Is it meant to be a bit of comic relief? Or is there some history of the polka or Vienna that I am unaware about? Thanks!

I think "Vienna Waltzes" follows a specific progression. It starts with the pink and innocent "Tales of the Vienna Woods." Next comes "Voices of Spring," which at one artificial, self-conscious remove, like actors playing the innocents. (As late as the '70's there were musicals that played to packed houses in Vienna, with very popular actors in their 30's and 40's playing the parts of the male ingenues.) "Explosion Polka" is dandies and their demimonde ladies. Balanchine used humor here, but there's a social relationship underlying it. "Gold and Silver Waltz" is the jaded Merry Widow sort. "Rosenkavalier" is the transition to the Freudian Vienna, which was fracturing politically, artistically, and philosophically. It doesn't get much more neurotic or narcissistic than the woman who barely notices when her partner has turned imaginary, and the music, with the discordance under the big sweeping themes, reflects a fracturing world.

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