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Albany Girl says hello!

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Good Afternoon, Members,

My name is Karen and I am a serious ballet and classical music enthusiast from the Capital District in Albany, NY. I became interested in ballet 33 years ago, when I saw NYCB dance at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (aka SPAC) for the first time. On that night I saw a Midsummer Night's Dream and became hooked. As a child I was fascinated with ballet (from books), but did not have the exposure I was able to gain once I became an adult. I've mainly seen NYCB, owing to its annual summer residency at SPAC, but I've also seen ABT and Corella Ballet perform, as well as a couple of regional companies. Unfortunately, I have not taken advantage of Jacob's Pillow as I would like, but I intend to take in one performance this season. I will also attend ABT's weekend at Bard. I am lucky and grateful that my husband Joe enjoys ballet as much as I do!

I am not a dancer but I do love to dance and have taken adult ballet classes sporadically with Albany Berkshire Ballet and the EBA Center. I find taking ballet classes a lot like taking Yoga. It's very meditative but physical and one can block all out and just focus on movement and one's body. I often have fun at home putting on a ballet DVD, donning my pink slippers and dancing around the living room in my own way!

This year at SPAC was terrific and I took in four performances. The highlight was seeing Symphony in C (TWICE!) which is arguably my favorite Balanchine ballet. I think it is just stunning. A perfect marriage of music and choreography, in my opinion. I also saw Concerto Barocco and Firebird, two other favorites, Kammermusik #2, as well as Martin's Romeo & Juliet, the Waltz Project, Jeu de Cartes, Robbin's In the Night, which I dearly love, and Ratmansky's Russian Seasons. I also had the pleasure of meeting Daniel Ulbricht, NYCB principal, who is a very nice person. Onstage he has enormous presence. If anyone would like to discuss these ballets with me or your SPAC experience, that would be great.

I have learned a great deal about ballet and its history from my ever-growing library of books and DVDs and from YouTube. YouTube was key in providing me with a starting point for learning about Soviet Ballet, for example. I look forward to Tim Scholl's book on Soviet ballet, whenever it gets published. I enjoy Ballet Review, for which I have a subscription, and Dance View, to which I will soon subscribe. I don't believe I'll ever stop reading, seeing, thinking, learning or loving ballet. I would also like to write about ballet and performances someday.

Some of my favorite dancers include Margot, Misha, Katia Maximova, her husband Volodya, Pavlova, Plisetskaya, Makarova, Suzanne Farrell, Patricia McBride, Merrill Ashley, Allegra Kent, Maria Tallchief (her Firebird!), Tanaquil LeClercq, Jock Soto, Jacques D'Amboise, Fred & Ginger, of course (who doesn't?), Gene Kelly, and currently in no particular order, The Angel (as I call Mr. Corella), Herman Cornejo, Xiomara Reyes, Misty Copeland, Gillian Murphy, Tiler Peck, Janie Taylor, Kathryn Morgan, Erica Pereira, Craig Hall and many others.

Well, that's all for now and I look forward to hearing from you!

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Forgot to say a couple of things: First, add Wendy Whelan to that list of favs, please! And second, I have a wonderful Golden Retriever named Fergus, who is a wonderful boyo, and five cats.

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Daniel Ulbricht performs in ballets and galas here in Florida b/c he is originally from St. Petersburg, FL, I believe. I have seen him a couple of times in Tarantella and Piazzolla Tango (an unbelievable moment when he somersaults through the air and lands on his feet if I remember correctly). He is amazing!

I am also intrigued by Soviet ballets like you. I absolutely love Legend of Love and also Shurale. I like Lavrovsky's Romeo and Juliet too.

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Welcome, Albany Girl. I love the combination of dancers -- past and present -- on your list of favorites, and look forward to hearing your voice here. Hope you'll get the time to browse through some of our older threads, a fantastic introduction to Ballet Alert.

P.S. Like you, I enjoy Ballet Review and Dance View and read them regularly. Have you had a chance to follow DanceViewTimes, DV's on-line sister publication?


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