Jump to content
abatt

NYCB Spring 2016 Spring Season

Recommended Posts

Saw Isaacs and Findlay in Tchai PDD---thought she had a hard time keeping up with the fast pace. this is a wonderfully playful pdd and there was no sign of that in the performance. Hopefully they will have lots more performances to polish it.......Well, my favorite Balanchine "Sym in 2 mm" was a revelation---especially after the performance I saw last week of Miami Ballet (and regardless of the rave by Macauley---I still can't figure that one out)

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, I think Isaacs needs some time to work out the kinks in her performance of Tschai pdd. As discussed above, there were problems with Finlay's partnering in certain areas during the pdd. Also, in the coda, in the section where she does the fouettes, she played it very safe. She did not do continuous single fouettes. Instead, after each fouette she simply did a spin instead of a fouette. Perhaps someone with better knowledge of the terminology could elaborate better. Anyway, it is definitely a work in progress.. Loved Emily Gerrity in Moves. I want to see her in some neoclassical ballets. Sara Adams, Indiana Woodward and Huxley were especially wonderful in Bournonville.

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, I think Isaacs needs some time to work out the kinks in her performance of Tschai pdd. As discussed above, there were problems with Finlay's partnering in certain areas during the pdd. Also, in the coda, in the section where she does the fouettes, she played it very safe. She did not do continuous single fouettes. Instead, after each fouette she simply did a spin instead of a fouette. Perhaps someone with better knowledge of the terminology could elaborate better. Anyway, it is definitely a work in progress.

Didi Isaacs do what McBride does here in the version recorded for Dance in America?

Share this post


Link to post

Yes. Isaacs did what McBride did in that recording. You don't see that version much on stage at NYCB these days, based on my experience.

Share this post


Link to post

I wouldn't characterize McBride's version as simple or safe. Personally, I find it more interesting than a straight sequence of fouettés.

Share this post


Link to post

I've become used to people trying double fouettes (Bouder), so that the McBride variation looks less technically demanding in compairson. I think Isaacs is capable of doing so much more technically, and I was surprised that she chose to do the coda in this manner.

Share this post


Link to post

I wouldn't characterize McBride's version as simple or safe. Personally, I find it more interesting than a straight sequence of fouettés.

I completely agree -- McBride's version is so beautiful, musical, and interesting. Haven't seen Isaacs but am happy she received the opportunity -- she's such a strong and exciting dancer.

Share this post


Link to post

I completely agree -- McBride's version is so beautiful, musical, and interesting. Haven't seen Isaacs but am happy she received the opportunity -- she's such a strong and exciting dancer.

McBride is stunning in that clip. I love the abandon at the end. Aint nothing wrong with that performance.

Share this post


Link to post

I wouldn't characterize McBride's version as simple or safe. Personally, I find it more interesting than a straight sequence of fouettés.

I see a dancer now and then do that version at NYCB. I like it, it's a bit different. Choosing to do that had nothing to do with my personal reservations about Ashley Isaac's performance. She looked insecure doing that turn sequence (McBride looked like she owned it) and the performance as a whole was definitely a work in progress. If what had preceded that turn sequence had been polished, nuanced and technically secure the turn sequence would have been something to note but a non-issue. The partnering problems and her port-de-bra stiffness are of far great importance IMO. Personally I love seeing first timers. It makes viewing what may come very exciting.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw the Friday-Sunday performances, but haven't had time to post. For now, just a few observations on the Tchai Pas:

Friday with Peck and Veyette: the big problem was the fact that Peck accounted for about 90% of the energy on that stage. I don't see NYCB enough to know what's normal, but he seemed glum throughout, with a palpable sense of relief when each section was completed. He also seems to hunch his shoulders to pull himself up in jumps. But she is such a joy in this -- confident, alive, sparkling. I love the little extras she throws in, like the rippling arm during the final fouettes, starting high and brought low.

Saturday with Isaac and Finlay: I don't disagree with anything said about their cautiousness - to be expected in a debut (and his return, apparently, from a long absence due to injury). The most telling moments for me were the two fishdives at the end - super-cautious, almost afraid of them. The orchestra seemed to be using the same tempo they used on Friday night with Peck - but isn't this the company that says the dancers follow the music, not the reverse that you see elsewhere, where dancers set the tempo?

Share this post


Link to post

A belated posting on the weekend performances:

Symphony in 3 Movements: I saw both performances, Friday night and Saturday matinee. This is one of my favorite Balanchine ballets which is not available in any complete recording (except at the NYPL dance library). I'm intrigued with the history of this piece, starting with Stravinsky's view in the mid 40s that this reflected his sadness over the devastation to Europe during WWII as he was living in southern California. Balanchine clearly picked up on that, with the images of the front, airplanes, helicopters, etc., making this an unusual programmatic work compared to his other leotard ballets. And that music! Just glorious!

Stand-outs: Sterling Hyltin and Daniel Ulbricht: both were so invested in the energy and shapes of this work. Confident, in command, they made the sometimes idiosyncratic choreography their own. Their partners, Taylor Stanley and Ana Sophia Scheller, were close seconds.

Biggest disappointment: Megan LeCrone. I know she has a lot of fans on this board, but...I was near the front on Friday night and her pasted-on grin was appalling. Her variations alone were limp and uncommitted. In this ballet, as with many others, Balanchine interwove non-ballet moves with classical steps and positions -- jogging, arm pumping, odd shapes, etc. LeCrone almost seemed embarrassed to be doing them. Saturday afternoon, the grin was dialed back, but the movements were just as limp and uncommitted. She needs to OWN that choreography and I just didn't see it. Joseph Gordon had the thankless task of partnering her, but couldn't compensate for her flaccid performance, to my mind. Sorry!

Moves: Interesting to me that this work was created in 1959 for Robbins' own company, but not premiered at NYCB until May 2, 1984, almost exactly one year after Balanchine's death. There must be a story there. I wonder if Balanchine didn't care for it, as it rejects his "see the music" theme. Or perhaps Martins and Robbins felt the need to show new choreography that NYC audience hadn't seen after Balanchine's death. I've seen this several times over the years. I'm intrigued with hints of moves he used in other works - the ensemble of men with arms to the side, palms up, reminded me of sections of Glass Pieces, which he made in 1983, e.g. The dancers seem to enjoy doing it, but I'm about done with it.

Bournonville Divertissements: I'm glad they revived this last year, as it was Stanley Williams' lovely tribute to his heritage, an important piece of dance history. But after seeing several performances, I think I'm done with this one, too.

Share this post


Link to post

The mixed bill on Sunday afternoon was spectacular - anybody who claims ballet died with Balanchine needs to see this.

Estancia: I saw this in spring 2010 at that big festival, most notable for Call Me Ben (which seems to have launched Robert Fairchild's Broadway career and then disappeared from the rep). I remember thinking this was one of the few pieces I'd like to see again - sort of a South American Rodeo. Tiler Peck makes anything sparkle and the PdDs with Tyler Angle were the highlight; the bits with the horses were cute. Interesting history with the Ginastera score that Kirstein commissioned, but Balanchine never used for whatever reason.

Pictures at an Exhibition: I hadn't seen this before and I'm glad I had the chance. More evidence of Ratmansky's genius and exploration of his Russian heritage. And such a treat to hear the glorious piano score live on stage. I gather there was criticism of the ever-changing set and costumes, but they seemed appropriate for that music and at least the costumes didn't interfere with the movement.

Everywhere we go: I hadn't seen this one before either. I've now seen three of Peck's works (Rodeo, this one, and Year of the Rabbit this spring at PNB) and I think I now need to see everything he has done and will do. His genius in moving large groups around in surprising and interesting ways is unmatched. Four new ones next year? Will he burn out or will we start seeing the same thing again and again? Who knows, but his work is so exciting to see, I suspect he'll be impressive for a long time to come.

Share this post


Link to post

Was at Jewels last night and planning to post all day... why does work have to get in the way of ballet mania??

Much to enjoy about the performance. Starting with Emeralds and especially the debut as the demisoloists, Meagan Mann and Sara Adams. I have been watching Mann with great enjoyment over the past few seasons; she exudes serenity and beauty, with the most radiant smile and musical dancing. Adams was lovely as always. Sara Mearns brought her inner drama to the "walking solo," while Abi Stafford and Jared Angle both looked a little tired and lacking in snap. Seeing Taylor Stanley (in the pas de trois) and Adrian Danchig-Waring (partnering Mearns) on the same stage is a marvel of committed and stretched-out form.

On to Rubies. IMHO this is not a good role for Megan LeCrone. She doesn't have the extroverted personality for the role and doesn't connect well with the audience. I like her better in "dark angel" type roles. Didn't etch the choreography the way Reichlen does. Sterling Hyltin and Andrew Veyette were the principal couple. Good to see Veyette looking more spry, back like his usual self, as compared to when I saw him last week. But overall I preferred Megan Fairchild and Gonzalo Garcia in this role, fun energetic and affectionate. I saw them twice last week, and the second time was even better than the first.

Diamonds. Four demisoloists were Laine Habony, Unity Phelan, Ashley Hod, and Alexa Maxwell. I believe this must have been debuts for them. All terrific. I especially enjoyed seeing Habony, who hasn't been featured as much as the others. Like Meagan Mann, she brings a lovely rich smile, sense of maturity, and beautiful musicality. I look forward to seeing more of her. Reichlen and Janzen brought a more deeper approach to the piece than I've seen from them before.

Finally, I have a new "corps favorite": Aaron Sanz. Male demisoloist in Diamonds. Just brimming with beautiful presentation, and a commanding sense of pride and deference if that makes any sense.

Share this post


Link to post

I first noticed Aaron Sanz and the goofy suitor (I've forgotten his name) in Harlequinade. He was a characature but had an odd sort of elegance and delicacy. I was so impressed that a young dancer make a silly role like that interesting and touching, and have been watching him ever since.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw two casts of Jewels and a mixed bill. Highlights: Reichlen will forever be the best Tall Girl, but she was equally wonderful in Diamonds. Indiana Woodward and Anthony Huxley continue to be the most fastidious about practicing the Bournonville style. Sterling Hyltin is amazing in Symphony in 3 Movements.

More thoughts here:

http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2016/04/spring-season-diaries-part-one-shiny.html

Share this post


Link to post

I am very confused about NYCB/The Balanchine Trust's media strategy. While it's one of the best I've seen, it could still be significantly better.

First, I don't know whether any of you follow Devin Alberda's instagram account, but it's filled with gorgeous photos of the dancers in class and backstage. Apparently something went down (compensation negotiation failures perhaps?) and his backstage photography privileges have been suspended. I personally thought this was great marketing that NYCB should have taken advantage of.

Second, I don't understand why The Balanchine Trust is so aggressive against YouTube videos featuring Balanchine choreography. I much prefer to see a performance on YouTube and get a sense of whether or not I'd enjoy it before purchasing tickets. Therefore, I am much more likely to purchase tickets for ballets I've seen at least clips of, and these clips make me more excited to see the performance live.

Just ranting -- thanks for listening.

Share this post


Link to post

I am very confused about NYCB/The Balanchine Trust's media strategy. While it's one of the best I've seen, it could still be significantly better.

First, I don't know whether any of you follow Devin Alberda's instagram account, but it's filled with gorgeous photos of the dancers in class and backstage. Apparently something went down (compensation negotiation failures perhaps?) and his backstage photography privileges have been suspended. I personally thought this was great marketing that NYCB should have taken advantage of.

Second, I don't understand why The Balanchine Trust is so aggressive against YouTube videos featuring Balanchine choreography. I much prefer to see a performance on YouTube and get a sense of whether or not I'd enjoy it before purchasing tickets. Therefore, I am much more likely to purchase tickets for ballets I've seen at least clips of, and these clips make me more excited to see the performance live.

Just ranting -- thanks for listening.

I wanted to post about Devin's photographs but didn't know where to put it. I totally agree with you!! His photographs were stunning, and I am so sad everything is gone. To be honest, I stumbled on his photographs a while ago on IG, and I didn't even know who he was at the time, but I just found his work so beautiful, I had to follow him. His photographs honestly sparked my interest in NYCB and in getting to know the dancers better. He captured the essence and beauty of ballet incredibly well. I live in Miami, but through his account, I felt like I too was part of the audience and could experience the magic, even so far away. I do find it very nice and touching that many other dancers in the company have been posting some of his photos on their own accounts as support.

It is very unfortunate he is not allowed to post any more photos. I don't know what went down, but I think social media is the way to go nowadays for basically every business and that includes companies. I LOVED it when Miami City Ballet did a whole Snapchat story with behind the scenes videos of their Midsummer's performances. On top of that, they post tons of videos and photos from the wings and rehearsals on their own IG account. They are making ballet very accessible, especially to the younger generations, and it's wonderful. That's what helps fill the seats.

Similarly, I agree on the YouTube videos. It is not because I have seen a performance on YouTube that I am less likely to go see it live, if that's what they worry about. On the contrary, if I love it, I'm much more likely to go buy a ticket to see it.

Share this post


Link to post

Agreed. Alberda's photos are free publicity. Moreover, as an art director, I'd say they're better than the stuff I've seen in any of NYCB's marketing campaigns. I'm just confused why a dance company that is otherwise so publicity-savvy never asked him to work for them in that capacity.

Cheers to Lincoln Center for playing a better game: they began using him as their resident Instagram photographer several weeks ago: https://www.instagram.com/lincolncenter/

Share this post


Link to post

I think the Balanchine Trust is so leary of youtube videos because they don't want anyone or any compmay to copy the choreography and perform it without permission (or coaching from someone in the Trust). Since youtube is international, it wouldn't be at all easy to monitor every little company all over the world, so though I regret not being able to see things, I think they are right.

Share this post


Link to post

I think the Balanchine Trust is so leary of youtube videos because they don't want anyone or any compmay to copy the choreography and perform it without permission (or coaching from someone in the Trust). Since youtube is international, it wouldn't be at all easy to monitor every little company all over the world, so though I regret not being able to see things, I think they are right.

My thought exactly.

.

Share this post


Link to post

I think the Balanchine Trust is so leary of youtube videos because they don't want anyone or any compmay to copy the choreography and perform it without permission (or coaching from someone in the Trust). Since youtube is international, it wouldn't be at all easy to monitor every little company all over the world, so though I regret not being able to see things, I think they are right.

That doesn't explain them shutting down Devin Alberda's instagram account.

This isn't hearsay--although it is of course only his side of the story.

From the one remaining photo in his account posted 19hrs ago:

"As some of you may know, @nycballet has always been resistant to my photographic project. This year has been the most difficult so far and unfortunately the company has recently suspended my photography privileges backstage indefinitely.

I will continue to post photographs from the studio and pray that my privileges will be reinstated."

Share this post


Link to post

That doesn't explain them shutting down Devin Alberda's instagram account.

This isn't hearsay--although it is of course only his side of the story.

From the one remaining photo in his account posted 19hrs ago:

"As some of you may know, @nycballet has always been resistant to my photographic project. This year has been the most difficult so far and unfortunately the company has recently suspended my photography privileges backstage indefinitely.

I will continue to post photographs from the studio and pray that my privileges will be reinstated."

All the comments people are leaving on this photo (I did as well) are very heartwarming and coming as much from NYCB patrons to simple fans all over the world. Maybe the NYCB team (and/or the Trust, if they are the reason behind this) will see the support and all the good marketing and free publicity he's brought to the company.

Share this post


Link to post

I think the Balanchine Trust is so leary of youtube videos because they don't want anyone or any compmay to copy the choreography and perform it without permission (or coaching from someone in the Trust). Since youtube is international, it wouldn't be at all easy to monitor every little company all over the world, so though I regret not being able to see things, I think they are right.

That's reasonable -- I hadn't considered the international element. I just assumed that the Trust would be aware of any and all American versions. Nevertheless, I also don't understand the problem with an underfunded college student group staging Balanchine without the Trust's permission (we're not all Harvard/Columbia), but I digress.

Share this post


Link to post

I think the Balanchine Trust is so leary of youtube videos because they don't want anyone or any compmay to copy the choreography and perform it without permission (or coaching from someone in the Trust). Since youtube is international, it wouldn't be at all easy to monitor every little company all over the world, so though I regret not being able to see things, I think they are right.

I'm not sure about this. If fear of works being staged without permission were the explanation, then the Trust would not have given permission to release so much work on DVD. Not just the Dance in America series from the late 70s (when Balanchine was alive) but more recent releases, such as Jewels by POB, Midsummer Night's Dream by PNB, and The Nutcracker. And the Trust would not have posted the tapes of coaching sessions, which they did recently. (I don't know how VAI was able to release so much from the 50s, other than permission back then to Canadian Broadcasting which outweighed any efforts the Trust might want to make to restrict distribution.)

It still seems to me like an old-fashioned bias that, if people can't see things on YouTube/DVDs, they will be more likely to buy tickets to live performances. And as we've discussed before on this site, it would be great if most people really had that option, but they don't, either due to geography or economics or both. For YouTube postings of DVDs, I can understand that they'd prefer you buy the DVD (or get your local library to buy it).

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×