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2017 Spring Season

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I will be in NY from Texas celebrating my birthday the week of May 15.  I don't often get to see NYCB, but this program just did not appeal to me.  Maybe I am just old fashioned, closed-minded, whatever, but I will be spending my money on Broadway since there is no Balanchine.

 

 

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vipa   

Personally I admire Peter Martins as a leader in many ways but, for me, programing is annoying. I don't want to spend ticket money on all new/newish ballets but I am curious to see new works. Instead of all Balanchine or even all Robbins I'd prefer one new work on a Balanchine program. When I see a lot of new/newish works on one program the works fail to differentiate themselves in my mind, probably because great works are hard to come by. I realize the problem of having a new work on a program with 3 masterpieces, but still I'd be more likely to buy a ticket for a program in which I was sure that 2 or 3 pieces were ones I could count on and 1 or 2 pieces were a new adventure.

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vipa   
4 minutes ago, Jacqueline said:

I will be in NY from Texas celebrating my birthday the week of May 15.  I don't often get to see NYCB, but this program just did not appeal to me.  Maybe I am just old fashioned, closed-minded, whatever, but I will be spending my money on Broadway since there is no Balanchine.

 

 

Can't say that I blame you!

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Emma   
1 hour ago, vipa said:

Personally I admire Peter Martins as a leader in many ways but, for me, programing is annoying. I don't want to spend ticket money on all new/newish ballets but I am curious to see new works. Instead of all Balanchine or even all Robbins I'd prefer one new work on a Balanchine program. When I see a lot of new/newish works on one program the works fail to differentiate themselves in my mind, probably because great works are hard to come by. I realize the problem of having a new work on a program with 3 masterpieces, but still I'd be more likely to buy a ticket for a program in which I was sure that 2 or 3 pieces were ones I could count on and 1 or 2 pieces were a new adventure.

 

I agree.  I generally like the Classic NYCB programs that have this mix.  I remember seeing Walpurgisnacht, 4Ts and Everywhere We Go on the same program.  It was great!

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Drew   
48 minutes ago, vipa said:

Personally I admire Peter Martins as a leader in many ways but, for me, programing is annoying. I don't want to spend ticket money on all new/newish ballets but I am curious to see new works. Instead of all Balanchine or even all Robbins I'd prefer one new work on a Balanchine program. ...

 

When trying to plan trips to see ballet this spring and summer--and with a finite budget--I must admit I felt something close to a thrill of relief when I realized I could see major Balanchine alongside Ratmansky and Peck premiers by going to see the company on tour in D.C.

 

There is something sort of daring and wonderfully committed about having this four week festival -- No half measures for NYCB! I guess I'm wishing the company success, but maybe not so much success that they try the experiment again anytime soon :wink: .

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cobweb   

The de-emphasis of Balanchine, this season and next year, has me a little depressed. I have gotten so much pure joy from the Balanchine programming over the past couple of years, and if they were doing, let's say, a monthlong "Balanchine festival" I would be in a state of bilss, throw any other plans out the window, and purchase tickets accordingly. I have also had good success bringing friends to NYCB, people who otherwise never attend ballet. They typically find Balanchine a revelation, more sophisticated and easy to appreciate than they knew ballet could be. Whereas the newer pieces, even the more successful ones such as some Ratmansky and Wheeldon, get a much blander reaction, at best. Balanchine's humanistic spirit; his generous, sympathetic understanding of a vast range of styles and experiences; and his consummate skill at translating the music into dance, are just peerless. I know I'm preaching to the choir here. What are they thinking. I can't believe this even makes financial sense for them, surely Balanchine sells more, and more easily (ie. without heavy duty ad campaigns like the current one). Wouldn't it be easier to introduce the audience to new works by interspersing them on a program anchored with Balanchine. Is it really serving novice choreographers by putting so much pressure on their initial works. All right, enough for now. I have an actual job to do!

Edited by cobweb

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jkr3855   

^^^I have also been studiously avoiding a work deadline this week :)

 

 

15 hours ago, vipa said:

Can't say that I blame you!

same
 I just don't see pretending that any of these guys has a talent on the magnitude of Balanchine's. for me Wheeldon has always lacked substance; Peck maybe, but I think he's better served on a program with Balanchine.

Haven't really seen enough Ratmansky to judge-- of the three, though, I think he's perhaps the only one that can genuinely pull off an evening of solo programming

 

I would love it if we had another home town NYC talent like Balanchine who could reinvigorate American ballet and beyond. Not quite sure yet that's Peck, though. There's too much advertising there. Too much the boy wonder still. Time will tell

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Drew   

As best I can remember, ABT has recently done a successful all Ratmansky mixed bill -- two, if one counts the Shostakovich trilogy.  I'm defining 'success' as 'substantive and varied ballets that held my interest and I would be interested in seeing again' not as 'is as good as Balanchine' and not as 'everyone agrees all the ballets are masterpieces.' 

 

Companies do need to take risks now and then, even if they are....risky. The one thing that should never be put at risk is the long term health of the vast Balanchine repertory as far as that can be sustained over time. (That's a truism on this thread. I hope it's a truism everywhere.) These four weeks on their own won't do that .... 

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abatt   

In recent years Martins seems to be trying to cram as much new work into the schedule as possible, regardless of quality.  As Leigh Witchel astutely observed in a review about a year ago, NYCB has become like a sausage factory with respect to pumping out lots of garbage choreography from whoever they can sign up.  I also thought it was very interesting that Martins gives many of his sausage producers   a time limit for their works for the fall gala.  (This explains the proliferation of 10 minute works at these galas.) This is indicative to me that Martins is perhaps more interested in showing off another fashion designer at the gala than the substance of the work being staged.  Notably, neither Wheeldon nor Ratmanksy -established world class choreographers - participate in the circus otherwise known as the Fall  Fashion Gala.   Their new works (premieres) are always presented on separate programs from the Casts-Of-Thousands new works thrown on the stage at the Fashion Galas.

 

But I guess one person's sausage is another person's caviar...

Edited by abatt

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maps   
2 hours ago, Drew said:

As best I can remember, ABT has recently done a successful all Ratmansky mixed bill -- two, if one counts the Shostakovich trilogy.  I'm defining 'success' as 'substantive and varied ballets that held my interest and I would be interested in seeing again' not as 'is as good as Balanchine' and not as 'everyone agrees all the ballets are masterpieces.' 

 

Companies do need to take risks now and then, even if they are....risky. The one thing that should never be put at risk is the long term health of the vast Balanchine repertory as far as that can be sustained over time. (That's a truism on this thread. I hope it's a truism everywhere.) These four weeks on their own won't do that .... 

Companies also should sell tickets.  The Ballet Dance Across America at the KC was undersold and a fill in was a Peck piece.   Tickets also became cheap.   A few years ago at the KC NYCB did 2 programs:  1. Serenade, Agon, Symphony in C; 2. Symphonic Dances, Pictures at an Exhibition, This Bitter Earth, Everywhere We Go.    Splitting the Balanchine on this Kennedy Center 2017 trip should improve sales.    

 

 

 

Edited by maps

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20 hours ago, Emma said:

 

I agree.  I generally like the Classic NYCB programs that have this mix.  I remember seeing Walpurgisnacht, 4Ts and Everywhere We Go on the same program.  It was great!

Emma, I saw that same program.  I think it was in 2014 when I came to see a friend's daughter in the SAB Workshop.  I agree...that was a great mix.

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Drew   
3 hours ago, maps said:

Companies also should sell tickets. [ ...]  Splitting the Balanchine on this Kennedy Center 2017 trip should improve sales.    

 

It's certainly what sold tickets to me.

Edited by Drew

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Natalia   
11 hours ago, maps said:

Companies also should sell tickets.  The Ballet Dance Across America at the KC was undersold and a fill in was a Peck piece.   Tickets also became cheap.   A few years ago at the KC NYCB did 2 programs:  1. Serenade, Agon, Symphony in C; 2. Symphonic Dances, Pictures at an Exhibition, This Bitter Earth, Everywhere We Go.    Splitting the Balanchine on this Kennedy Center 2017 trip should improve sales.    

 

 

 

 

Exactly; that was "DANCE Across America" at the Kennedy Center last week. False advertising but smart DC balletomanes weren't duped, were they? NYCB's run in mid-June should be the saving grace of a mostly-dreary 2016/17 ballet season in our nation's capital.

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14 hours ago, Drew said:

As best I can remember, ABT has recently done a successful all Ratmansky mixed bill -- two, if one counts the Shostakovich trilogy.  I'm defining 'success' as 'substantive and varied ballets that held my interest and I would be interested in seeing again' not as 'is as good as Balanchine' and not as 'everyone agrees all the ballets are masterpieces.' 

 

NYCB's Here / Now festival has an all Ratmansky program, featuring Russian Seasons and Namouna. Both are among my favorite ballets -- not just my favorite Ratmansky ballets, but my favorite ballets period. Especially wacky, witty Namouna, which I love dearly despite a couple of glaring structural flaws. (So I put my money where my mouth is and bought tickets two performances of that particular Here / Now bill...) 

 

ABT's got enough quality Ratmansky to program a solid -- and watchable -- triple bill.  

 

I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I find all-Balanchine programs that consist entirely of his leotard ballets fatiguing. They are all great ballets; cramming three or four of them into an evening does not make for a great program. I find that the eye -- and the mind -- need more variety.

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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kbarber   
2 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I find all-Balanchine programs that consist entirely of his leotard ballets fatiguing. They are all great ballets; cramming three or four of them into an evening does not make for a great program. I find that the eye -- and the mind -- need more variety.

 

Well, I agree with you, for one.

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I find this conversation particularly relevant after reading the NYT profile of Ratmansky, Wheeldon, and Peck, Ratmansky mentioned the impact of the shadowy criticism at the end of "Apollo's Angels": Ballet is dead. There is naturally a fundamental difference in the way the public sees a company post-founder: is it a living museum for the founder's creation? Or an incubator to support the creation of works that build on his foundation? Can it be both?

 

The see-saw is undoubtedly tilting to one side with the Here/Now Festival, and I agree with many of you in saying that it's just too much. NYCB needs these bursts of energy to enrich the repertory, but Here/Now is a bit of an over-correction. They’ve packed the schedule so it’s impossible for regular ticket-holders to get the opportunity to appreciate the nuances of the works being presented with multiple viewings.

 

That said, I don't think anyone can doubt the strength of NYCB and Balanchine has been variety. Balanchine worked on Broadway, in Hollywood, he created Stars and Stripes (campy and frivolous) a month before Agon (harsh rawness). He liked variety and the company should continue to honor that part of his legacy. If we stop with the masters, then ballet is dead. Let’s just watch Peter and Suzanne on youtube and call it a day.

 

If I had one wish for the leadership in the company, it would be to restore and revive shelved Balanchine works while those he created them on are still with us. The Balanchine Foundation may be the official caretaker of his work, but NYCB is where it takes life. They need to expand that legacy with the wealth of talent SAB has fostered and create programs that go beyond the signature works. I want to see Tzigane in the State/Koch Theater where it belongs.

 

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sandik   
11 minutes ago, DC Export said:

That said, I don't think anyone can doubt the strength of NYCB and Balanchine has been variety. Balanchine worked on Broadway, in Hollywood, he created Stars and Stripes (campy and frivolous) a month before Agon (harsh rawness). He liked variety and the company should continue to honor that part of his legacy. If we stop with the masters, then ballet is dead. Let’s just watch Peter and Suzanne on youtube and call it a day.

 

Dipping into this conversation -- I think that programming is a very underappreciated artform.  I've been thinking about Diaghilev recently, and his influence on dance in general.  The development of the triple bill has had a phenomenal affect on our world in the theater.

 

 

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abatt   

I agree that creating a balanced program is an art, and that 3 or 4 leotard ballets on an All Balanchine program is equally bad programming as some of some of these Here Now programs, even if the Balanchine leotard works are masterpieces.  Wasn't it Balanchine who said that an evening of ballet should be like a fine dinner, with an appetizer, a main entree of a more challenging work and a dessert ballet as the  closer? 

 

Re the above conversation, Namouna is also a favorite of mine, and I'm looking forward to seeing it next week..

 

Edited by abatt

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sandik   
1 hour ago, abatt said:

Wasn't it Balanchine who said that an evening of ballet should be like a fine dinner, with an appetizer, a main entree of a more challenging work and a dessert ballet as the  closer? 

 

Oh, yes.

 

If Ballet Alert had a nickel for every food analogy that teachers, choreographers, and performers used, it would never had to run another fundraiser!

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nanushka   
3 hours ago, abatt said:

Wasn't it Balanchine who said that an evening of ballet should be like a fine dinner, with an appetizer, a main entree of a more challenging work and a dessert ballet as the  closer? 

 

The recent Allegro B / 4 T's / Symph in C program was a perfect example of that -- and with the dessert itself being, in a somewhat different sense, another app/entree/dessert arc in miniature!

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abatt   

More casting updates/changes posted today. Georgina Paz is removed from all of her assignments for the rest of this week and some  of next week's assignments.

Edited by abatt

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nanushka   
8 hours ago, DC Export said:

If I had one wish for the leadership in the company, it would be to restore and revive shelved Balanchine works while those he created them on are still with us. The Balanchine Foundation may be the official caretaker of his work, but NYCB is where it takes life. They need to expand that legacy with the wealth of talent SAB has fostered and create programs that go beyond the signature works. I want to see Tzigane in the State/Koch Theater where it belongs.

 

What else would be on people's wish lists for such a project?

 

I would love to see Gounod Symphony. I hope it's not lost again with the imminent end of Suzanne Farrell Ballet.

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abatt   

About 15 years ago NYCB brought back Ballade, with Wendy Whelan and Robert Tewsley (remember him?!). It has never returned again since.  I'd like to see that.  Also, I've never seen Tzigane live-only on video.  Not a spectacular ballet, but definitely worth a look.

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canbelto   
35 minutes ago, abatt said:

About 15 years ago NYCB brought back Ballade, with Wendy Whelan and Robert Tewsley (remember him?!). It has never returned again since.  I'd like to see that.  Also, I've never seen Tzigane live-only on video.  Not a spectacular ballet, but definitely worth a look.

 

Suzanne Farrell owns the rights to Tzigane and it's unlikely she'll allow NYCB to perform either that or Meditation and Don Quixote (two other ballets that belong to her). 

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Olga   
Balanchine was not afraid to experiment or even to program untried choreographers, dancers who had not choreographed before. He even had Martins choreographing. Balanchine may be the greatest of all choreographers and we are humbled and grateful for his legacy, buy I do believe that includes new programming, new choreography. And some of the ballets in this festival are quite good, even brilliant and add to NYCB's rep. I have also noticed that Peck has a very enthusiastic and YOUNG following. I think you are missing something if you stay away from this festival.  I see very little comment in this thread about the actual ballets being performed. 
 
As DC Export has suggested, these issues are not unique to NYCB. There are people complaining about the lack of Ashton at the Royal Ballet. There is controversy about the direction of both POB and RDB. The Mariinsky and Bolshoi are going to some length to show and foster new choreography.
 
That said, I too would like to see more, and broader, Balanchine programming. And I am looking forward to next Spring's Robbins festival -- a great choreographer for whom Balanchine made room.
 
 
 
 

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