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Unfortunately I haven't been able to see this production due to work commitments, I hope to see it this coming Saturday evening, but I am waiting on my work schedule to be finalized. My sister might have to see it in my place.

My mother did attend on Saturday Sept 28 matinee and confirmed a standing O and the mystery of the train's appearance at the end of the new production.

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Kiyon Gaines said in the Saturday evening Q&A that Tharp worked a lot with him on his acting and react.ing in those scenes.

I wish I had been able to see Rachel Foster in the role that Laura Tisserand danced for one performance first weekend. I can imagine her in it. She!ms cast for Thurs-Sat this coming weekend.

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I have recently moved a couple of hours north of Seattle to an island where the ferry schedule forces me to spend the night in Seattle when I go to the ballet. As a consequence, I will be restricting myself to three 2nd weekend performances from now on. I know that sounds like a lot, but I've been so spoiled over the years -- going when I wanted, however often as I wanted -- that I feel limited blushing.gif.

Anyway, the move has kept me from this board for a while; but I'm back, and I'm greatly looking forward to this weekend's PNB performances. In particular, the casting for 9 Songs in one of Helene's postings really caught my eye. What an interesting set of couples.....some combos I have never seen, and maybe never even hoped to see. But alas, my new restriction means that already I've missed this cast (which I would have seen for sure in my old life!) The good news is that life on this island is as close to paradise as it gets!!!!! yahoo.gif








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I just returned from 3 performances of "AIR Tywla" in 3 days. I have just 3 words for these 3 days..................

Carrie, Leta, and Leslie......................(well, and Tywla of course).

P.S. Good to see you Courtney!.....I now know you're here wink1.gifsmile.png

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I'll add 2 more words: Angelica & Kaori

I can't argue with that!!

Angelica was superb in that role, but to my eyes Leta was even more so.

Frankly, I almost added Kaori to my list, but I ran out of numbers wink1.gif. Her performance in "That's Life" was as stunning as anything I have ever seen -- well, to be totally real about it, it was the combination of Kaori and Seth, working together like some perfect machine, that made it so stunning. (I saw Rachel and Jerome this afternoon, but as good as they were, they were no match for Kaori and Seth in that number.....less time to rehearse together I suspect).

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I'm sorry, but I've got lots of stuff to say. I'm going to divide this into three posts, so it's not so incredibly long, but if it starts to get tedious, just skip ahead.

In some ways I wish that we’d gotten Brief Fling in a different program that this one – I think it’s getting a bit overlooked with all the attention that’s rightfully going to the new work. I’d love another look at it, and hope it comes back soon. (I suppose that with no set pieces and a recorded score it’s a candidate for touring even if it doesn’t make it back here.)

It’s very much a dance of its time, both in terms of Tharp’s career arc and the state of dance. She draws a clear distinction between genres, and although the leading couple gets the most classical material, I think her heart was a bit more with the ‘modern’ quartet. In a way, the lead couple reminded me of the woman in white in Deuce Coupe, patiently working her way through the classical dictionary while everything is bouncing off the walls around her. The blue couple in Fling enters to the last of the snare drum tattoo, takes their places in a serious and important manner and then dances to an orchestrated version of Country Gardens, the kind of piano tune you learned from the EZ Pieces book. It works its way up to complexity, but it’s still pretty plain, and the material they do matches that simplicity.

The transition from the opening sections, with music by Percy Grainger, to the second half with a score by Michael Colombier is pretty brisk – the lights shift, the sound changes and we’re off to the races. Everyone is a bit more edgy here – the winsome sweetheart that Leta Biasucci plays to begin with comes out shadowboxing now, and her three partners become her gang. At one point she clambers up a mountain made of all three, and raises her arm in triumph at the top – she’s the Queen of the Hill. Eventually Tharp mixes everyone’s themes, and we get close to the truly hybridized styles she uses today.

Kaori Nakamura as the blue lead is very strong throughout this work, but her partnership with Sasha Radetsky is quite new, and I think suffers a bit because of that. Sure, they had a couple of bobbles, but that’s less important than the general sense of connection – they’re working on it, but it’s not anywhere near as complex as her work with any of her usual partners. I’m glad to get a good look at him, though, and he’s certainly worth looking at – very nice turns and a good sense of line, even when things get wacky. Tharp apparently wanted him to get a chance at this role, and so asked Boal if he could come guest during the opening weekend. Jerome Tisserand and Leslie Rausch got a turn at this duet as well – they both looked lovely, but she seemed to have thought through all the accents, so that there was perhaps more gradation in her attack. The big payoff for the opening weekend casts, though, was the green quartet. Biasucci dances with Kiyon Gaines, Jonathan Porretta and Ezra Thomson, and they all blaze through the choreography. Porretta gets the lions share of the solo work, and makes the most of it – he totally commits to the multiple initiations and sequential torso that is fundamental to Tharp’s style. Gaines and Thomson aren’t quite as mercurial, but they are absolutely on in the partnering sequences, making the coordination and timing both edgy and effortless – I’m still not sure how it works. All four are taking big risks, and they’re really paying off.

Isaac Mizrahi’s costumes have some snarky elements – in the green quartet it seems that the three men are sharing one outfit (Gaines gets the mini-kilt while Porretta gets the shirt, and Thomson is left with the undershorts. He also gets the sporran and the tam o’shanter, so I suppose it’s a fair deal.) The women from the red quartet that opens the piece have those retro buckles closing their red tartan tunics – worn with bright red tights, they looked like they were ready for the first day of school. And the ensemble women, with their plaid shirts tied up around their waists and their hair in ponytails, looked like bobbysoxers.

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Next part:

Nine Sinatra Songs is still a well-oiled machine, a great introduction to Tharp’s style for dancers and audience. When it was first premiered, it was on a tour with her Bad Smells, a complicated and abrasive work to a guitar score by Glenn Branca. I still remember big chunks of it very clearly – the movement vocabulary bordered on abusive, while the structural elements were very detached – you watched someone drag their partner by the hair, and counted the number of times they changed hand-holds – very disturbing stuff. And next to it was this suite of dances to music by Frank Sinatra – a choice that many of us were convinced was meant ironically. This was long before the current interest in mid-20th century culture – Sinatra made most of us roll our eyes. But that music, and the dances she crafted to it, opened doors to a different part of the dance audience.

I’m fonder of the eccentric duets in this work than I am in the more straightforwardly romantic pairs. Softly As I Leave You, Strangers in the Night and All the Way feel like they’re cut from the same cloth – there’s less to distinguish between them, in movement and in structure, than the others sections of the work.

First weekend casts were mostly static, but we did get a few changes in Sinatra – Joshua Grant danced with both Leslie Rausch and Kylee Kitchens in Softly as I Leave You. The duet ends with a clinch – right before it is a very long and complex partnering sequence with several lifts, turns, twists and other manipulations. With Rausch, it looks like one long event, and with Kitchens it seems divided into a number of smaller phrases. Lindsi Dec and Bakthurel Bold gave a very clean reading of Strangers in the Night, as did Laura Tisserand and William Lin-Yee. All of them used their length to create clear stage pictures, especially in the backstroke moment towards the beginning of the duet. It was very nice to see Sarah Ricard Orza back again after maternity leave – as her partner, Karel Cruz was Mr. Suave in All the Way. Elizabeth Murphy also had a nice sense of flow dancing the same material with Charles McCall.

I’ve loved Carrie Imler’s long-suffering matron in Somethin’ Stupid since she first danced this part with Porretta, and they are still having a blast with those characters. This was the first time I saw Brittany Reid in the part, but she had a very clear idea about who she is, and as her partner, Ryan Cardea seemed to be channeling Groucho Marx – it was a brilliant choice.

In One For My Baby, I’m always looking to see who is more drunk, he or she. Maria Chapman and James Moore seem to be equally impaired, holding each other up with the automatic skills of a long-term couple. You can almost hear her giggle. Leah Merchant and Ezra Thomson, who were both making debuts in this section, seemed to have made other choices – he didn’t look quite as looped as she did. When she clambered over his back, towards the beginning of the duet, putting each hand and foot in exactly the wrong place, he was perturbed but not disoriented. He just wanted to stand her upright and get her home in one piece.

Margaret Mullin and Ben Griffiths were so shiny in Forget Domani that I wanted to check their bios for any competition ballroom experience, but Kiyon Gaines was particularly sparkly along with Carli Samuelson. The moment where they both shake their heads in an extra accent during a complex travelling sequence was so perky I thought I heard bells. Gaines had a phenomenal weekend with this program, dancing long, complex stuff in the two other works, but the impression he made here, in what others might feel is a throwaway duet, was truly effervescent.

Seth Orza was born to dance the male role in That’s Life – he managed to look both sentimental and brutish, a combination you just don’t get that often. Nakamura was his partner, and she really relished this version of an Apache – she just kept challenging him every time, no matter how controlling his responses were. The sequence where he pulls her up from the floor to standing, gripping her arm in a kind of hand over hand pattern, made me wonder if I should call the domestic violence hotline – it was flat-out scary. Rachel Foster and Jerome Tisserand had a good outing in the Saturday night performance, but it wasn’t as dramatic as Orza and Nakamura.

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And last part (aren't you grateful?):

There were several out-of-town dance critics in the audience during the first weekend, and Waiting at the Station was what they came to see. Tharp is a big draw, and since she doesn’t seem to want her own ensemble, people have to go to where she’s working if they want a look at what she’s up to.

There are a million things going on in this new work, but the message I came away with after several viewings is how fully integrated her style is now with classical dancing. In Brief Fling, she was still working in a corner of the dance world but for several years, she has been the lingua franca. The dancers in Station worked their tails off, and would probably all agree it’s some of the most challenging stuff they’ve done, but they don’t present it as a specialty. The multiple initiations, the shifting weight, the complex structural patterning, the easy flow that sits on top of the maniacal phrasing – it’s just how she works, so it’s how they’re dancing.

I don’t really know if Tharp has been consciously working toward a narrative dance style all this time, or if it’s just developed organically, but at several points in Waiting I thought of other movement story tellers like deMille or Robbins or even Massine. It’s not a story ballet in the traditional sense, but all the work she’s put into jukebox musicals in the last few years is reflected here. It doesn’t seem to be a total success in that department – several people who didn’t read the program or hadn’t heard anything about the work before they saw it have mentioned they were confused at key places in the narrative. It helps if you’ve heard a little bit about the story before the curtain goes up. It helps if you’ve read the program. It helps if you know something about the 1930s, about Greek mythology, and about New Orleans jazz funerals. But even without those clues it’s clear there are lovers who squabble and make up, mentors who try to pass on their skills, friends who enjoy each others’ company even while they’re waiting for something to happen.

Tharp is frequently the smartest person in the room (and usually knows it) – this was really obvious in her lecture-demonstration the Wednesday before opening night. She ran the dancers through excerpts from Brief Fling and Waiting at the Station, pointing out where we should look and what we should think like the best tour guide ever. If she ever decides to leave choreography she could easily run a late-night chat show – she owned the room. It didn’t make any difference if she was the one asking the questions or the one being asked – she was in control of the high wire act, and in many ways that sense of risk and reward shows up in the dances as well.

Waiting revolves around an older man, danced by James Moore, who seems to be aware that his time is almost up. He wants to finish business – pass on his skills to his son and sort out a pair of fractious couples. He’s pursued by a trio of Fates, and he’s got to elude them until he’s finished up his tasks. All of this happens at a train station, so he’s surrounded by a group of people keeping themselves occupied while they wait. In the best tradition of musical theater, he doesn’t have much luck with any of his goals until he actually seems to die, and comes back from the dead to tidy up. When he’s finished with the work, the train arrives, and he can hop on board.

Laid out like that, it’s a fairly odd scenario for a dance work, but because dancing lies at the heart of all the relationships, it functions pretty well. Moore dances with his son (Price Suddarth), dances with his friends at the station – he even dances with (well, around, actually) the Fates as they pursue him. And the rest of the community shows us who they are through their movement as well. Some of the dramatic moments are almost too literal – Moore turns the hands of a clock back as he attempts to buy himself more time, he hands his son a fedora like his own when he feels that lessons have been learned. Carrie Imler and Laura (Gilbreath) Tisserand are peeved when their partners (Kiyon Gaines and Jonathan Porretta) flirt with their opposite numbers – luckily they stop before they get to an actual catfight but it’s clear they’re on their way. All of these and more lead up to the train at the end, a variation of the deus ex machina, except that in this case the conflicts are resolved before the machine arrives to take our hero away.

Everyone dances up a storm in this. As the father, Moore gets plenty of work, including a couple of lovely solos that show off his turning skills. Apparently when Tharp made Afternoon Ball he understudied the role that Charlie Hodges danced. It was a tour de force part, and Tharp was so impressed with Moore’s drive that she cast him in the central role here. It’s tough to show a father and son in the context of a ballet company where everyone is between the ages of 18 and whatever, but even without the filial context, the teacher/student relationship was clear enough. Imler and Tisserand, along with Gaines and Porretta, made sense out of their squabbling dynamic – the women both disdainful of each other, and irritated at their wandering partners until Moore’s character makes peace between them in a brief moment where he whispers in their ears.

(All weekend people were asking what it was that he “said” to them at that moment – Peter Boal hinted that he knew but wouldn’t say. In one of his very articulate pre-show lectures, Doug Fullington gave what I thought was the best reply – “he whispers what they need to hear.”)

Chelsea Adomaitis, Elle Macy and Sarah Pasch were the three Fates -- in gold spangled romper suits they made me think of the Rockettes. Tharp apparently referred to them as her “golden girls” during rehearsals, and was very impressed with their strength and power. During the Wednesday lecture she compared them to Rose Marie Wright, who was the first dancer she hired back in the 1960s – a huge compliment.

The ensemble gets a lot to do here, both in extended dance sequences and specific stage business. Tharp made a great deal of the material on Andrew Bartee and Jahna Frantziskonis when she was here last year (during the run up to In the Upper Room) and they get several featured moments as a kind of quid pro quo. They’re matched on the opposite side with Angelica Generosa and Steven Loch.

Allen Toussaint’s score included some of his best-know work (I’m still humming along with Mother-in-Law). Tharp has done some of her most innovative work to early American jazz music – it sits at the heart of her personal style, and it was a treat to see her chatting with him during the Wednesday lecture. I’m sure that Allen Dameron did a great job with the piano part during the second weekend, but I’m truly grateful I got to hear Toussaint perform.

For the dance geeks in the audience, there were a couple moments that really popped. When the Fates finally caught up with Moore, they circled around him and waltzed him upstage right, which reminded me of Giselle second act, where the Wilis capture Hilarion. And then a bit later, they pick him up and carry him away upstage as he’s standing up, facing the audience, in a kind of reverse version of the final sequence in Serenade.

The program is full of amazing dancing, and Moore really does have a powerhouse role in Waiting, but overall I think Porretta and Gaines made the biggest impression on me. They were in all three works, and both of them danced more fluently and more powerfully than I ever remember seeing them – they were both phenomenal.

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Jeez, I love reading your reviews! (Definitiely not too long for me.) Lots of insight, history, and details. I love to learn, and I learn from you. Thanks.

Some of your comments really struck home with me, and have inspired me to say more.....

Speaking of Moore (sic).....earlier I made a joke about 3 days and 3 names, and indeed my original 3 names had the biggest impact on me, but I purposely limited myself to the women. My "joke" probably wasn't worth leaving out the superb job James did with that role. I kept thinking of him in "State of Darkness", and of how he has now made 2 roles into icons within this company. Who couldn't love his character as he jumps the train and tips his hat to us as he welcomes his fate with as much charm as he displayed earlier with the signature "moves" he demostrates to his son (not to mention the almost good-natured way he attempts to avoid the fates). Bravo Jim! I would go on to agree with your mention of Poretta, Thomson, and Gains.....but I won't.

Eventually Tharp mixes everyones themes, and we get close to the truly hybridized styles she uses today.

Exactly! I wouldn't have known how to say it, but your sentence here captures exactly my strongest reaction to seeing "Brief Fling". It was if the blue couple style (so classic as to be a charature) is simply overrun by the organic power of the modern side of Tharp's vision. It is clear that the old can't ignore the new. The old must respond, and respond it does creating that wonderful blend, or hybridization as you call it, that is, I think, what we all love over the broad sweep of Tharp's work.

Honestly, this was my favorite of the 3 works. I had never seen it before. I found it to have a deep resonance with me. I have always loved Tharp's work from my first exposure ("Push Comes to Shove" when ABT toured to San Francisco sometime in the 70s) to my current favorite work of hers "In the Upper Room" (which I saw for the 1st time here at PNB). So for me, "Brief Fling" was like looking at the foundation of all of that.....as if we can see Tharp's mind at work saying to us: "OK, here's what I mean. Here's where I'm going.....like it or not". Strangely perhaps, "Brief Fling" reminds me of "Agon" in a lot of ways. Although I truly grew to greatly enjoy "Waiting at the Station" over the 3 performances I saw, none the less of the 2 works, it would be "Brief Fling" that I would select if I were in a time warp and had to see a piece 50 times in a row.

With Rausch, it looks like one long event, and with Kitchens it seems divided into a number of smaller phrases.

Once again you put into words my exact reaction. I enjoyed both couples, but Rausch just flowed as if her movement and the music were one. She has so many talents, but surely her musicality is one of her foremost. With Kitchens, you almost "see" her thinking each phrase (but none the less Kithchens has such lyrical, limber movement that she is a pleasure to watch).

The sequence where he pulls her up from the floor to standing, gripping her arm in a kind of hand over hand pattern, made me wonder if I should call the domestic violence hotline it was flat-out scary.

BINGO! That sequence sent chills up my spine. I fully agree with your word "scary"....which is exactly what gave it such dramatic power. Even the 2nd time they do that sequence freaked me out. And yet Orza and Nakamura taking it to that level seemed completely appropriate to me given the tension and near-violence they evoked so brilliantly thru-out the piece. The night I saw them, the audience had a strong reaction to that sequence; interestingly, the next day when Foster and Tisserand did it, there was no reaction -- even tho they did it well, the intense drama you speak of was missing.

....Greek mythology....

I'm curious why you say this. I presume your reference has to do with the common greek practice of gods/fates appearing to have the final say in our human-bound lives. But maybe you have something else in mind.

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....Greek mythology....

I'm curious why you say this. I presume your reference has to do with the common greek practice of gods/fates appearing to have the final say in our human-bound lives. But maybe you have something else in mind.

As I remember it, the Greek fates were a trio -- one spun out the rope, one measured the length of a life, and one cut it off at the end. Tharp's trio didn't seem that differentiated, but there were three of them, so I made a jump. (although I don't recall any images of the fates wearing berets!)

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I am finally getting around to writing my review. I've been working some crazy hours and had to give up my ticket on opening weekend to my sister, so I wasn't able to hear Allen Toussaint, but business before pleasure. Friday night I arrived home from traffic at 7:10pm, raced down the hill in my jeans and scruffy shirt to arrive at the sales desk at 7:22pm, and got a 2nd row orchestra left seat for $22.00 thanks to my family's season ticket account! It helps to get a great seat when you're just one person. The show started at 7:30pm but due to traffic they started about 10 minutes late. Whew!

Brief Fling: The recipe has all the ingredients that I like: Percy Grainger, Scottish drumming, plaid, Isaac Mizrahi and Lesley Rausch. I expected to be pleased. But it just didn't gel for me. I think Lesley Rausch and Jerome Tisserand "sold" the steps, but the choreography wasn't particularly interesting. I did wonder what Lindsi Dec might have done in the role. I agree with the other BA comments that the modern dancing (particularly by Angelica Generosa) was fascinating. Ms Generosa and Leta Biasucci (in the Green Plaid role on other nights) are my favourite PNB soubrettes, so they are always welcome. Both are natural stage animals, they both have natural charm where others look like they are forcing smiles. I'm really hoping they are promoted to soloists soon. After 4 days, I really don't recall much of the other dancing, which speaks to its forgettable nature. But as the dancing finished, I kept thinking "That's it? I would have rather seen a full piece based on the modern quad group in green plaid". I think I was so disappointed because I really enjoy pipes music and thought this would have more meat to it. The fascination with the contrast was more important than the creation of a fully formed dance. I wouldn't pay to see it a second time.

Waiting at the Station: I enjoyed this piece and felt it represented the fully mature Twyla Tharp at her best. While Alan Dameron's piano playing served the dance, I wondered if Allen Toissant gave it more flavor. Like the other BA reviewers I was constantly reminded of Jerome Robbins. This piece brought to mind "Fancy Free" and "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue". There was a story, but it wasn't fully formed, and yet it was very musical in both the traditional ballet sense and the Broadway sense. The dancers looked very polished, as if they were part of the other Twyla Tharp work "Movin' Out" and performing the 100th show. James Moore was a gentle drifter, and I suspect other dancers might make different characterizations of the role. But Ms Tharp definitely took advantage of his fleet feet with some interesting steps. I wasn't sure how the Three Fates would work (perhaps it would seem too obvious, or too forced?) but actually they came across as flirty sirens who finally tempt James Moore to the train. I didn't see the Carrie Imler / Kiyon Gaines jealousy as starkly as some of the press reviews or reports here on BA. But the dancing was outstanding and I certainly felt Carrie Imler deserved all of the praise from the NYT.

The only dancer that I felt seemed a let down was Rachel Foster. Is she nursing an injury? She looked stiff in both Brief Fling and Waiting at the Station. She just doesn't have the jazzy movement that Carrie Imler pulls off. And it doesn't help when you have to dance right next to Ms Imler throughout the Twyla Tharp piece! I think she can be lyrical in some roles (I enjoyed her Giselle), but the jazz hybrid of Twyla Tharp doesn't suit her.

Nine Sinatra Songs: The first time PNB put this on I was a little bored. I sat up in the balcony and the interplay between dancers wasn't very clear. But tonight sitting in the second row, every emotion was 40 feet away from me. I agree that mid-Century interest (and appreciation of Frank Sinatra) has risen in the past few years. But I grew up on Nat King Cole (my dad had all his albums) so vocal craftsmen are right up my alley.

"Softly As I Leave You" was danced smoothly by Kylee Kitchens and Joshua Grant. This piece really showed Kylee at her lyrical best. With her shiny hair done up in a french twist, her long legs stretching out, and her arms held in beautiful frame, she was glamorous and smooth. Joshua Grant partnered her, but I think he still lacks some elegance in his upper body. With his height and husky frame, I have high hopes that he will develop into an elegant lead for the tall ladies, along the lines of Stanko Milov.

"Strangers in the Night" was danced against type by Lindsi Dec and Batkhurel Bold. Usually Lindsi is a tall girl soubrette with a 2000 kilowatt smile, and Batkhurel Bold a silent, quiet partner. This dance called for glamour and sex appeal. I didn't think going against type really worked for this one, although there were no mistakes.

"One For My Baby" was exceptionally well danced by Leah Merchant and Ezra Thomson. This dance is tasty cocktail. You have to get the ingredients right to make the drink work. In this case, the characterizations were of a tipsy Ms Merchant flirting, stumbling and cheerfully dancing through the song. Mr Thomson was the slightly more sober date, who is trying to be responsible, and drunkenly trying to be a gentleman and keep his girl from an accident on the dance floor. It received long applause, but deserved far more bravos.

"My Way" was ably danced, but I don't remember anything memorable about it.

"Somethin' Stupid" was popular with the audience. Carrie Imler showed us her comedic skills without going over the top, and Jonathan Porretta was in on the nerd joke as her shorter, slighter partner. The physical differences between Ms Imler (PNB's normal size girl) and Mr Poretta (PNB's shorter soloist) were fun to watch. I hope they had as much fun as the audience did.

"All the Way" showed Sarah Ricard Orza back from maternity leave partnered by Karel Cruz. This isn't the best choreography of the piece, and Ms Ricard Orza's figure looked fine, but not spaghetti thin (I'm sure that will return in a few months time).

"Forget Domani" was a trifle (but a tasty one) danced by Carli Samuelson and Kiyon Gaines. (sidenote that I really like the Oscar de la Renta costumes, I think it helps that the late 70's nad early '80's evening gowns are back in style, so these don't look as "dated" as a few years ago when PNB had this in their rep).

"That's Life" got all the bravos and deservedly so. Kaori Nakamura channeled a petite italian tomato. She was vim and vinegar, and the Apache style of dancing really suits her. I think the height difference with Seth Orza helps with the choreography, so it looks like she's crawling all over the stage. Hot Hot Hot!!! Every fight looks "real", and her Ava Gardner hairstyle really helped give an idea of what the song was all about. Seth Orza is entering his 30's and this role really worked for him, as Frank Sinatra sang it to represent someone who's lived a little, or a lot. Oh and he had great lines (especially the upper body) I hope PNB puts a clip up on youtube because this was *the* performance of the night, IMHO.

So one work I didn't like much, one I enjoyed the same way I enjoy a Broadway musical ensemble, and one work that I enjoyed much more than the first time. Considering how cold I felt after watching "In the Upper Room", I think I got a lot out of an AIR Twyla evening, especially for $22.00!

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Post Note: I attended the post performance discussion, hosted by Peter Boal and featuring Angelica Generosa and Stephen Loch. I was really tired, but I do remember that Twyla Tharp choreographed "At The Station" in just 6 days. She was at PNB for 40 days (prior to "In the Upper Room") so the cast spent the remaining time doing run-throughs. This is why the performance looked ultra-polished. Also, the final solo for James Moore as the lead "father" character was taken from one of Twyla Tharp's early solos she made for herself appx 40 years ago. Mr Boal said he felt that Ms Tharp was passing on a legacy through this role (although it wasn't stated that Ms Tharp specifically said this). He continued that Ms Tharp really had her heart in this piece and the story element was particularly important to her. The Three Fates originated when PNB visited NYC in January. During one class while in NYC Ms Tharp noticed the three tall girls jumping together (which is unusual for tall girls - not all are jumpers). She was inspired by these "big girls" (her words, but the dancers don't like the term's implications) and their movements. While Ms Tharp was at PNB, the dancers were very busy learning other works. So Mr Boal would give her 2-7 dancers, depending on who was available.

This worked out very well for the dancers who are not normally the leads, or are used sparingly in traditional story ballets. It also explains why PNB's usual opening night principals are not featured in "Waiting at the Station". I haven't watched the Twyla Tharp simulcast so some of this info may be redundant.

I've noticed that Twyla Tharp casts Kiyon Gaines in a role in just about every single piece at PNB. I think she sees something special that many in the audience also see. I'm really looking forward to the 2nd rep in November. Hopefully my work schedules relaxes a bit so it's not so stressful to get to the ballet.

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Ms Generosa and Leta Biasucci (in the Green Plaid role on other nights) are my favourite PNB soubrettes, so they are always welcome. Both are natural stage animals, they both have natural charm where others look like they are forcing smiles. I'm really hoping they are promoted to soloists soon.

Your lips to the gods ears.

You mentioned Rachel Foster -- I don't think she got as much rehearsal as some of the other casts, which might explain your response.

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This piece brought to mind "Fancy Free" and "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue".

Like you, I often thought of Jerome Robbins while watch "Brief Fling", but it was of "The Concert" I kept thinking (especially as I watched Carrie Imler doing very similar roles in the 2 pieces).

The only dancer that I felt seemed a let down was Rachel Foster........I think she can be lyrical in some roles (I enjoyed her Giselle), but the jazz hybrid of Twyla Tharp doesn't suit her.

For whatever reasons, you and I often seem to disagree (which is perfectly fine of course). I can't disagree more about Rachel. She might not have been at her best during this run (altho I didn't notice any lack), but I see Rachel as a superb jazzy dancer. To my eyes she "gets" Tharp movement far better than most. For me her forte is the more contemporary movement such as she does so superbly in "Vespers" or her remarkable performance a few years ago in "State of Darkness".

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