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Macaulay on Whipped Cream by Ratmansky

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1 hour ago, vipa said:

I don't know whether to go see this at the Met in NY or not. At first I was excited that Sarah Lane got a principal role and was going on that basis, plus the fact that I really like the Bright Stream. I'm not a fan of "story ballets" unless there is a lot of dancing. The Golden Cockerel was a total disappointment. The Bright Stream has a lot of dancing for a lot of people. Whipped Cream seems to be about sets & costumes. The actual dancing is barely being mentioned except for Hallberg and how great it is to have him back. I just don't know. 

 

I would think Macaulay would have savaged the choreography if it was, in fact, complete fluff, but he certainly didn't do that in his review:

"Especially in Mr. Ratmansky’s dances, abundant marvels of style keep turning the light story into poetry. Although Ballet Theater has presented many new Ratmansky productions since 2009, this one goes furthest in making the company look more brilliantly refined than ever.
Though there are exciting steps here, all of them come in intricate, dense phrases. The upper body continually complements the lower body; torsos tip, twist and fold; wrists circle and flourish; angles of the head and eyes are a constant pleasure. Not all Strauss’s dances have easy dance meters, but Mr. Ratmansky invests some of the trickiest sequences with a rhythmic structure that feels inevitable."

 

It's always aggravating to hear that a libretto is poorly organized, or overly simplistic. But in this case, it sounds like the Ryden visuals are adding a significant layer of their own. Maybe that's enough?

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Does Macaulay ever savage Ratmansky's choreography? I don't mean that as a rhetorical question. It just seems to me that Macaulay is a particularly enthusiastic admirer of Ratmansky's work, even when the ballet-going masses don't seem to agree. If a person is usually in sync with Macaulay's assessments of Ratmansky's ballets, then his review is a good endorsement. But if someone has come away indifferent to a Ratmansky ballet Macaulay had raved about, this review might not be a green light to buy, much less to travel.

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9 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

Does Macaulay ever savage Ratmansky's choreography? I don't mean that as a rhetorical question. It just seems to me that Macaulay is a particularly enthusiastic admirer of Ratmansky's work, even when the ballet-going masses don't seem to agree. If a person is usually in sync with Macaulay's assessments of Ratmansky's ballets, then his review is a good endorsement. But if someone has come away indifferent to a Ratmansky ballet Macaulay had raved about, this review might not be a green light to buy, much less to travel.

 

Agreed - Macaulay appreciates Ratmansky's ballets more often than not. But he could do worse.

Is it a surprise that Macaulay did not fly to San Francisco to see the new Arthur Pita premiere? Instead, he went to LA to see more Ratmansky. I'm sure he's not disappointed with his choice, though.  ;)

Perhaps forum members will tell us more about what they thought of the choreography...

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Ratmansky is the resident choreographer at ABT, while Arthur Pita is a young freelancer -- it's no surprise that the chief critic of the NYT would choose to see Ratmansky's newest ballet.

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These days I'm happy to see any actual reviews of ballet, or any other art form. However the Macaulay review convinced me not to spend money on a ticket to see Whipped Cream at the Met this season! It doesn't seem like my kind of thing. I do agree that Macaulay favors Ratmansky above other choreographers. Macaulay is also clear about his taste in dancers. Some he'll barely say a kind word about and others he is gaga over. That is a critic's privilege, yet in terms of his criticism of dancers I wish he'd acknowledge, or be aware of, how much (IMO) his taste is influenced by body type. Megan Fairchild, Daniel Ulbricht, Sarah Lane, and many others are a no. David Halberg, Hee Seo, Sara Mearns are a yes. Don't get me wrong, I love some of the same dancers Macaulay does, but when a critic over and over criticizes a dancer for the lack of amplitude of her arabesque or movement it seems silly to me. Obviously dancers are limited by their bodies and Macaulay doesn't seem to see that.

 

I've seen Halberg be less than stellar in Balanchine ballets but Macaulay mentions his beautiful feet. On the other hand I've heard Macaulay give less than flattering reviews to Daniel Ulbricht - IMO an outstanding dancer in this generation. I guess that's the way criticism works. 

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