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NYCB Spring 2016 Spring Season

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I would not say that NYCB has packed houses on a regular basis. For certain things, like Jewels and Nutcracker, definitely. However, there are also many performances where most of the third ring and all of the fourth ring are completely empty. Fortunately, it is much less costly for NYCB to operate a half full performance than for the Met Opera to do that.

I should add that the audience applauded heartily after each of the two premieres.

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Just got back from Thursday performance so thought Id do a recap--

first the good: Tiler Peck and Andy Veyette were fantastic in Tchai Pas de Deux. she is perfectly suited to this piece, she really outshines everyone else in the company who currently dances this. (IMO of course.) People were audibly gasping during the fish dives--Tiler got a lot of air in her jump and the partnering was perfectly timed so there was no bumpy catch, as there sometimes is when the ballerina really dives. Andy has been looking a little tired in some of his previous performances of this--not tonight. His jetes en manege covered so much ground and moreover they just seemed to embody a fresh and joyful spirit. Not easy the night after a gala.

But this: this was really perfect--more than lived up to all the hype. I;ve only seen Patricia McBride on video, but from that viewing, I prefer Tiler's interpretation. I really like the way she does that sequence of attitudes derriere (sorry, I can't describe it better, it probably has some other name)--some dancers lean over their supporting leg too far and it starts to look angular and ungainly.

Bournonville: enjoyable as far as it goes, not bad, but not great. They're still not quite getting the style, though. And the "acting"--like when the dancers stand at the backdrop and watch the others dance, and are supposed to be interacting with each other, all I could think was, they look like they're all waiting for the subway. Sara Mearns looked a bit off tonight, footwork was slow, she was behind the music occaisionally.

Indiana Woodward looked fantastic--I haven't seen enough Bournonville to know if she's doing it completely authentically, but her timing and her phrasing and her delineation of the steps will stand her in good stead for Balanchine rep. Definitely would like to see more of her. Lauren King stood out for nice port de bras. I'm not that impressed with Emily Gerrity, she lacks wit when wit is required of her and her phrasing is blah, bland. she doesn't seem to have a sense of what she's doing out there, or what she's trying to express with her technique.

Moves: "a ballet in silence" --yes, but with an ostinato of coughing, cell phones ringing, murmuring, chairs squeaking, etc. Unity Phelan was featured and I guess it was good, I don't know I was too distracted by the noise of the silence. Not really a fan of Robbins' Dance for Women, it looks dated to me.

Symphony in 3: Sterling Hyltin, Megan Lecrone and Erica Pereira-- a strange casting which worked out about as well as you'd expect. Sterling was great and carried the ballet, along with Taylor Stanley. I'd always thought of her as delicate and limited to a certain type of role but that's clearly not the case. Pereira--just no. The less said the better. Not dynamic, and that's really necessary for this ballet. just didn't belong out there in that role. I don't know if Peter Martins is not watching the ballets or is just unable to admit when he's made a mistake. I want to like Megan Lecrone since I love tall dancers, but she looked tentative and didn't always seem to understand the tenor of what she was dancing--when to loosen up, when to imbue her dancing with some kind of humor or irony. It was just a bit uneven. Basically, Sterling danced everyone else off the stage.

Oh my, that was a very long recap.

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Just got back from Thursday performance so thought Id do a recap--

Symphony in 3: Sterling Hyltin, Megan Lecrone and Erica Pereira-- a strange casting which worked out about as well as you'd expect. Sterling was great and carried the ballet, along with Taylor Stanley. I'd always thought of her as delicate and limited to a certain type of role but that's clearly not the case. Pereira--just no. The less said the better. Not dynamic, and that's really necessary for this ballet. just didn't belong out there in that role. I don't know if Peter Martins is not watching the ballets or is just unable to admit when he's made a mistake. I want to like Megan Lecrone since I love tall dancers, but she looked tentative and didn't always seem to understand the tenor of what she was dancing--when to loosen up, when to imbue her dancing with some kind of humor or irony. It was just a bit uneven. Basically, Sterling danced everyone else off the stage.

Oh my, that was a very long recap.

I have to disagree with you jkr a bit about Symph in 3. I saw Symph in 3 twice this spring before tonight; once with the first cast (essentially the same as tonight except for Erica) and a second cast where Tiler Prck did the lead woman. The first night i saw it I felt bad for Ana Sophia. I feel even worse now because I fear she may have reinjued herself after only a few days back (after being off at least 1 year due to injury). However,I thought Erica (who I'd seen in the second cast) was actually better than Ana. Ana looked very thin, tired and had virtually no jump the night I saw her. Erica, on the other hand, has loads of energy, is spunky and has a good jump. That makes a difference to me because the outstanding (but criminally underutilized) Danny Ulbricht is a fantastic jumper and both of their jumps signal the meaty part of the choreography is about to begin.Erica is also a good height match for Danny.. Sterling was stellar and Taylor Stanley excellent. I also really like Megan LeCrone in this and other Balanchine leotard ballets. She has an angular body type that really fits this type of choreography. Unlike you, I feel she understands exactly what she's dancing and if my recall is correct she provides the talking head interview for the NYCB video on Symph in 3. Joe Gordon was basically good but needs to go up a notch on everything: confidence, partnering and some technique (when he gets nervous he falls out of pirouettes). Still I thought it was a great performance and a great night.

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Forgot to say: Ashly Isaacs, Ana Sophia Scheller and Joshua Thew were out, last minute announcement no program slip.

Just came back to add that, but while I'm here... :happy:

I've never seen Ana Sophia Scheller dance this, so I can't comment on that... We'll have to agree to disagree on that point.

Like you, I thought Ulbricht looked good in this ensemble.

As far as Megan lecrone:

This is essentially a corps ballet, but the principal casting looked so uneven it was hard to read the ballet as a completed composition, with the 3 principal women on stage flanked by the corp--it was like looking at a three-legged table with two of the legs broken so everything on top of the table is sliding off. (yes, I know the corps is generally considered the support so they'd be the legs, but not in this metaphor, & not in this ballet I don't think.)

More specifically, tentative--as in throwing the leg up and behind her in those attitudes, or some of the other extreme positions-she didn't quite make it there. the contrast was especially stark when Sterling was doing the same step next to her. She looked unsure. Lacking humor or irony--as in, this ballet is full of non-classical positions and the ballerina has to figure out which ones take the weight of the phrase and need to be done with great intensity and which ones are lighter and not as serious. It seemed like she couldn't figure out which movements were more humorous--like a non-native speaker has trouble figuring out the jokes.

That's how I read it anyhow--I agree with you, I was expecting her to be great and was not expecting greatness from Sterling, just based on body type and general appearance--I thought Megan Lecrone would shine. Maybe that's why they chose her to do a talking head, bc she has the expected look for this ballet. But look doesn't necessarily translate into ability.

Just how I saw it and others will see it differently of course. :dunno: wow I have spent way too long on this now.

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I thought so, too. Mearns is often very frank about what she thinks of her own performances. She's mentioned before not being completely comfortable with that ballet. It's a tough one for the type of ballerina Mearns is. I remember Farrell in that role too. It was never her cup of tea either (which means, by the way she danced it!).

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Just returned from tonights performance all 3 ballets were very well danced. Abi slipped and fell forward catching herself with her 2 hands. She stayed on her feet. All in all the leads were great the entire company looked locked in and excited to be preforming.

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Ashley Isaacs was replaced by Maxwell in Ballo. IN fact, Isaacs was not even listed in the program for Ballo. Hope she is not injured again.

Mostly excellent performances tonight. Tiler Peck was outstanding in Ballo. Musicality, timing and technique were all perfection. The four soloists were excellent. This is a breakout season for both Laracey and King.

Not a fan of Kammermusik, but Adrian DW was excellent. He excels in these modern, neoclassical ballets.

So great to see Vienna Waltzes back. Chase replaced Ask in the Merry Widow section. He looked too boyish for the role. I also wish that Krohn were a better actress. No modulation of her expression. Huxley was breathtaking in Voices of Spring. He is now the company's leading male virtuoso. The final section of the ballet suits Mearns perfectly. Excellent attendance tonight (third ring pretty full, fourth ring empty, orchestra/1st/2nd rings full).

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IMG_2461.PNG

I am technologically challenged. Was trying to repost Adrian DW's Instagram post from this morning. We don't give these dancers enough credit in my opinion.

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IMG_2461.PNG

I am technologically challenged. Was trying to repost Adrian DW's Instagram post from this morning. We don't give these dancers enough credit in my opinion.

Attempting technology: https://www.instagram.com/p/BFG2M2Ogt-7/?taken-by=adrianclay

"Last night NYCB performed Balanchine's Vienna Waltzes. Many of the dancers, new to the ballet, finished learning the "Last Waltz" the day before the show: this is just a reality of our current rehearsal schedule- it's too full to afford anyone greater preparation than this. On top of that, a slew of injuries and illnesses took several dancers down in the hours leading up to the performance. They were dropping like flies! So, Soloist dancers went in to Corps de Ballet roles. Emergency rehearsals were called at half-hour. The show went on. Beautifully... I stand in awe of these incredible dancers: their grace and grit and fierce intelligence. Every day I am inspired by this weird, warm, and utterly dysfunctional family."

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I saw this post too and must say I am so impressed with these dancers! There was no indication (for me) that the company was dancing under emergency conditions. In fact I marveled at how they manage not to run into one another in the final waltz. Breathtaking and beautiful! I'm not always a fan of Megan F but I thought she just sparkled in her part with Huxley.

Agree, with Abatt about Tiler in Ballo and all the soloists were stunning. Adrian did stand out in Kammermusik, in fact to me he seemed the only one with the precise, clear movements that save steps like these from looking like a bunch of flailing arms.

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I saw tonight's program of American Rhapsody, Mothership, as well as Belles Lettres and Concerto DSCH. I found American Rhapsody completely uninspiring and worse, Fairchild and Peck were also uninspired in their dancing. DSCH was the greatest piece of the night and it inspired Sara Mearns to do some of the best dancing I've seen her do in ... well, awhile.

More thoughts here:

http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2016/05/spring-season-diaries-part-2-listless.html

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Totally agree w Canbelto's blog! In fact "pointless" is the adjective I also used to describe the Wheeldon ballet. But I agree w all the points made. Tyler Angle was magnificent - in particular, two of the lifts were shockingly strong: the one where he holds Sara very high above his head and turns, and the one where he lifts her from a low position. I like him in general, but his performances this Spring have been just that much better. Belle Lettres is a nice piece - love the music,costumes, steps - but you are so right there is not enough development in the piece.

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I wonder if Robbie's difficulties were a drag on TilePeck's dancing in that ballet. Some of her step sequences were difficult and well executed but her performance lacked punch. Something not very good happening w R Fairchild.

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Fairchild seems out of shape. Not in the sense that he's overweight, but more like he has no stamina and you can see the effort in almost everything he dances. His performances have become rather glum and formulaic too. The joyful all-American dancer isn't there anymore.

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Agree with your assessment. I think Wheeldon would have given him flashier choreography if Fairchild could have done it.

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I found Mothership very tedious on my second viewing last night. The Wheeldon is at least watchable, in part. A friend referenced Robbie's costume as the Jolly Green Giant. Perfection. It's nice that NYCB is trying to employ a former dancer as a costume designer, but Janie Taylor is clearly not qualified to do this work.

I thought Belles Lettres was a lovely work with some excellent lyrical passages. I thought it captured the feel of the music perfectly. It is a departure for Justin because it is overall more lyrical and less athletic than most of his other works.

DSCH was terrific. The prize of the night goes to Huxley, who was outstanding in both Belle Lettres and DSCH. Is anyone else praying for a Huxley debut next season in Prodigal?

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Odd that Fairchild doesn't seem to be his "all-American" best, given that he's just come off a year (or so) playing an "all-American" in AIP. But then performing in a musical eight shows a week doing the same thing over and over can do strange things to one's sense of performance. I know he wasn't doing some shows toward the end, but still the energy needed to do NYCB should be there. Perhaps his sense of spontaneous movement isn't there now. Doing one person's choreography again and again can be draining, especially when the movement isn't all that wonderful. For me, I didn't find the Wheeldon work in AIP to be all that inspiring. Perhaps for Fairchild to be doing more of the same in the new Wheeldon was a bit of a chore. Well, he better get used to it, as he'll be in London for another year in AIP. I can't help but wonder if musical theater isn't his "drug of choice" right now. And also wonder if he'll return to City Ballet once the London run is over. Or even return to ballet. The un-spoken truth is that in his absence from NYCB, other men have come forward to lead. Also unsaid, but also truthful is the fact that if he chooses to stay in musical theater, the competition out there could be brutal. Roles that fit a performers qualities aren't always to be had at any given time. There can be long dry spells. Staying relevant can be difficult.

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Of course Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH was the best piece on the program. Unfortunately, I think Sara is miscast as the lead woman. The choreography requires the man to swing his partner around from his neck a lot and Sara is too big to have that look easy and playful.

I totally agree - Sara is just wrong for the dsch lead. I felt bad for Tyler Angle who looked like he was hoisting a ton of bricks- I've never seen the swinging lifts look so effortful. With Wendy and Janie it looked like they were flying, no effort on Tyler's part. And the skimming steps in the slow movement had none of the sense of weightlessness when Wendy danced it. I was completely unmoved by the second movement, and it used to be one of my favorite magical ballet moments. They need to put Laracey in this role instead. After last night's tepid new choreography and dsch missing both a good lead ballerina and Ashley Bouder, I'm depressed about spring 2017, with 4 weeks of this stuff. I intend to stay away.

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Fairchild seems out of shape. Not in the sense that he's overweight, but more like he has no stamina and you can see the effort in almost everything he dances. His performances have become rather glum and formulaic too. The joyful all-American dancer isn't there anymore.

Fairchild probably is out of shape. He dances in AiP but that schedule is not as taxing in terms of dancing stamina as taking company class and rehearsal 6 or 7 days a week.

His sister talks about this in one of her podcasts. She really had to work to maintain her technique and get back into shape when her Broadway run finished. She also had to drop a couple of ballets when she first came back because she was not up to them yet.

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First time poster, and so many thoughts.

American Rhapsody, I LOVE Janie Taylor (beautiful, unique dancer) but she really struggles with fabric. Everywhere We Go and some of the LADP costumes were very successful in my opinion. When she tries to “build-out” with non-traditional fabrics there are problems. I noticed this with the costumes she made for Josh Beamish last summer. I would have hoped that Mark Happel would have stepped in and given her some guidance here.

I see a lot of talk about Ashley Laracey here. I agree, she is very underutilized and would have been a great fit in the DSCH role. I feel Ashley’s biggest roadblock is herself. I followed the “A Ballerina’s Life” Viber chat this fall and noticed Laracey’s comments presented a lot of self-doubt. When I saw her in the winter season I thought to myself ‘she needs to give herself a lot more credit!’ Perhaps this is why she is not frequently featured, Peter and the ballet masters may see a lack of confidence as well.

I suspected and it was confirmed this morning that Ashley Bouder’s daughter was delivered via c-section. In interviews she has been very adamant about returning to the stage for the Paris tour. I imagine she will now be forced to take a slower recovery. Any thoughts on how this will affect the casting for Paris? I am not familiar enough with the repertoire but I love hearing those of you who are better-informed present your predictions of who would be a good fit in certain roles.

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I was at the Sun. mat performance and had a wonderful time. I have to admit I teared up a couple of times just seeing how wonderful art could be. BTW I got half price tickets for this show at the atrium.

Ballo della Regina - Taken as a whole I have never seen this ballet performed better. The corps sparkled (Claire Von Ench always dances her heart out). Lauren King, Ashley Laracey, Alexa Maxwell and Erica Perreira were the excellent soloists. Perreira, who I usually find fault with, was secure, musical and radiant. Maxwell's presence, technique and authority make it hard to believe she is a corps member. A word about Lauren King (I noticed this in her corps days). She connects to people on stage like no one else. She offers her radiant smile and it's contagious - the other performers pick it up. Gonzalo Garcia, another dancer who I've faulted in the past, never danced better. His partnering was spot on, and he danced with a refinement that I hadn't seen from him before. Tiler Peck, IMO was amazing. She controls time and space. No matter how fast her lower body is moving, her upper body floats. There is a section of very fast turns that finish in arabesque and she managed to reach her line and freeze it faster than should be humanly possible.

Kammermusik 2 - I am a fan of this piece and I like it more with each viewing. I love the corps of men echoing the themes of the principals' movements and creating atmosphere. Abi Stafford and Rebecca Krohn danced with the clarity required of the piece. Adrian Danching-Waring and Amar Ramasar are alike in that they both give off a solid intelligence, confidence and fullness of movement. Well done by all.

Vienna Waltzes - I haven't seen this in many years and loved it. Some brief highlights - Megan Fairchild never looked better. Her partner, Anthony Huxley is ready for "white tights" roles. Chase Finley replaced Ask La Cour in the Gold and Silver Waltz. I was ready to be disappointed but he seized the role. I expect he got some excellent coaching. He was an understated but big presence just as the role demands. Sara Mearns was wonderful in the Suzanne role (yes, I am old enough to have seen Suzanne). A Mearns/Farrell comparison would take too many words.

What a wonderful company. I had a wonderful afternoon of art that brought tears to my eyes. What could be better?

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I totally agree - Sara is just wrong for the dsch lead. I felt bad for Tyler Angle who looked like he was hoisting a ton of bricks- I've never seen the swinging lifts look so effortful. With Wendy and Janie it looked like they were flying, no effort on Tyler's part. And the skimming steps in the slow movement had none of the sense of weightlessness when Wendy danced it. I was completely unmoved by the second movement, and it used to be one of my favorite magical ballet moments. They need to put Laracey in this role instead..

Well said, balinchinette. I thought Sara was totally miscast, she looked leaden and Tyler really had trouble hoisting her around (yes, like a ton of bricks). But I thought the demis - Huxley, Garcia and Brittany Pollack made up for the leads. They had the right energy and virtuosity.

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I was at the Sun. mat performance and had a wonderful time. I have to admit I teared up a couple of times just seeing how wonderful art could be. ...

Maxwell's presence, technique and authority make it hard to believe she is a corps member.

I don't tear up exactly but I am sometimes just overcome at the ballet with "just seeing how wonderful" it is.

I first had a chance to see Maxwell in a featured role last year -- in Common Ground -- I couldn't get over how fabulous she was. I'm hoping she has a featured role in one of the performances I see this spring.

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What a wonderful company. I had a wonderful afternoon of art that brought tears to my eyes. What could be better?

Totally agree. So much good dancing that it's hard to know where to start. Anthony Huxley, always brilliant in his technique, looked relaxed and showed a beautiful smile. Devin Alberda, in the corps of Kammermusik and three different sections of Vienna Waltzes, always shines through, with polished form and (what seems to me) a commitment to excellence. Many other wonderful performances. I wish they were doing Ballo again in the fall, it's a great vehicle for a principal couple and four demisoloists. I look forward to two more performances of this program, especially Huxley's debut in Ballo, and seeing Kowroski back in Vienna Waltzes.

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