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abatt

2017 Spring Season

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I was there Sunday afternoon.  (I got a TDF ticket at the last minute, so I don’t think this sold too well.)

 

I’m not the best equipped to review NYCB, as I sadly only see this company a few times a year, but I’ll post some thoughts.

 

I didn’t find Jeu de Cartes very interesting or appealing.  Was it inspired by Balanchine’s Rubies?  I don’t know.  I love Rubies, but here the turned-in tendu ala seconde with the jazzy hip and lunges with outstreatched arms and flexed wrists just got so repetitive; it almost felt dance competition cheesy. Erica Pereira danced with a ton of energy, speed, and precision.  Sebastian Villarini-Velez was on the same level.  I was unimpressed with Harrison Col who just seemed to muddle through with some really sloppy pirouettes and seemingly unstretched feet.  The audience seemed to love this one, however.

 

After the Rain was beautiful.  I love the music and how the choreography mirrors the simplicity and the emotions.  La Cour and Kowroski are so well-matched physically.  I thought they were perfect.

 

For Clara was also beautiful.  Andrew Veyvette looked a little clunky and unprepared, but otherwise the performances were great and the choreography interesting, musical, and powerful.  The way Lovette used canons (surprising and illuminating) really contrasted with Martin’s predictable canons in Jeu de Cartes.  I hope to see this or more works by Lovette going forward.  What an asset to the company she is!

 

The music for ten in seven was distractingly cheesy for me.  It sounded like elevator music jazz.  I’m certainly no jazz aficionado, but I could not believe the music was commissioned.  (I’m sort of amazed by some NYCB’s musical commissions, and not in a good way.  I thought the Sufjan Stevens score for the first Peck/Stevens collaboration was pretty ghastly, and I like Stevens' pop/folk records a lot.  Are there no proven composers they can commission?  Are they trying to be trendy?  I don’t get it.)  The choreography wasn’t much better.  I cringed when one dancer climbed on the scaffolding to nudge the keyboard player, milking some cheeky dancer/ musician interaction for laughs.  Blech.  (To be fair, I always hate it when audiences laugh at the ballet when dancers do something pedestrian.  One of my pet-peeves, I suppose.)


Odessa was the reward at the end of the program and well worth the wait.  I’m an admitted Ratmansky fan-girl, but I am constantly and consistently amazed with how he can make seemingly undancey music seem danceable.  I especially loved Fairchild and Ulbricht in this piece, as I haven’t seen either in anything this serious or dramatic.  Both are such fine dancers; I was in awe.  Bouder looked sloppy in moments, yet I wonder whether this was actually choreographed.  Her sections were the weakest amongst the principals, yet her character seemed the most out-of-sorts/ disconnected, so there may have been some intention in her slumpiness.  The highlight of this piece for me was definitely the corps!  I love how Ratmansky choreographs for groups, as well as the performances he gets from all the dancers involved.  In this piece I felt the corps had a definite greek chorus kind of function.  In that regard, and in the portrayal of heartache and difficult relationships, this piece actually reminded me a bit of On The Dniepier, the first thing Ratmansky choreographed for ABT, although the narrative in Odessa is much less definitive.  

I felt the immediate need to see Odessa again.  I hope NYPL films it, at least.  The costumes and the lighting worked great for me.  The audience received it well, but it was hard to tell, as so many people seem intent on leaving during the applause, usually older people.  I wonder if they really have somewhere to get to fast or if they just want to beat the bathroom line.  :dry:

Edited by DeCoster

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Of the ones I know:

Females:

Sara Mearns

Gretchen Smith

Gina Pazcoguin

Alston McGill

Claire van Enck

 

Of the men:

Amar Ramasar

Zachary Catazaro

Anthony Huxley

Preston Chamblee

Silas Farley

 

That's already 11. Yikes.

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You may know that Ten in Seven is composed by corps member Emily Kitka's father, who is a music professor.  Emily Kikta, who has a lead role in Ten in Seven, is good friends with corps member and choreographer Peter Walker.  Those connections explain how this music ended up being used by Walker.  I agree with you.  It sounded like generic jazzy elevator music. It was inoffensive but unimpressive.  .

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It's concerning how quickly the injuries seem to be happening -- I just saw Amar and Sara dance beautifully last week and now they're both out.

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attn kbarber:  Robbie F isn't scheduled to perform AAIP in London on Mondays or Wed mat.  Now that might change next week since he's missing today's Tuesday performance, but you might want to check with the theatre boxoffice first... good luck!

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I'm rather wondering who will be left standing by the time the company is on tour. I would hate if it got to the point that the D.C. programs had to be changed.

 

Completely agree that whatever one thought of the Here/Now Festival to begin with, 17 dancers out with injuries ... not a good result.

 

 

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3 hours ago, abatt said:

You may know that Ten in Seven is composed by corps member Emily Kitka's father, who is a music professor.  Emily Kikta, who has a lead role in Ten in Seven, is good friends with corps member and choreographer Peter Walker.  Those connections explain how this music ended up being used by Walker.  I agree with you.  It sounded like generic jazzy elevator music. It was inoffensive but unimpressive.  .

 

You know what both the choreography and the music in Ten in Seven reminded me of?  Center Stage the movie.  Now I get why serious balletomanes might find Ten in Seven cliche and bland, but as someone who was first introduced to ballet through Center Stage, I found it amusing.  I was waiting for Jody Sawyer and Cooper Neilson to pop out from behind the curtain. :D

Edited by Kaysta

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Not sure what's up but...I just received a snail-mail flier from the Kennedy Centre on the NYCB appearances in June. They no longer seem to be presenting Peck's DECALOGUE...just "one of Peck's newest ballets." Yet, the flier specifically states that Ratmansky's ODESSA will be performed.

 

All year long, DC audiences have been promised the new Ratmansky & Peck ballets "from the Spring 2017 NY season..." So will DC get the sneakers instead? (TIMES ARE RACING"...NY Export: Opus Jazz II)  Maybe it will be easier on the dancers?

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19 hours ago, Natalia said:

Not sure what's up but...I just received a snail-mail flier from the Kennedy Centre on the NYCB appearances in June. They no longer seem to be presenting Peck's DECALOGUE...just "one of Peck's newest ballets." Yet, the flier specifically states that Ratmansky's ODESSA will be performed.

 

All year long, DC audiences have been promised the new Ratmansky & Peck ballets "from the Spring 2017 NY season..." So will DC get the sneakers instead? (TIMES ARE RACING"...NY Export: Opus Jazz II)  Maybe it will be easier on the dancers?

 

 

Website is a little cryptic:

June 8 & 9 at 7:30 p.m. | June 10 at 1:30 p.m.
A new work by Justin Peck D.C. PREMIERE
To be announced, one of Justin Peck’s newest ballets created this season will begin the program.  
 

I wouldn't mind Times are Racing-- I find the concept of unisex roles to be intriguing. Would like to see it in practice-- especially since the opportunity to see the company is so rare for me.

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On 5/9/2017 at 4:58 PM, DeCoster said:

Andrew Veyvette looked a little clunky and unprepared

 

What's the deal with Andrew Veyette? I've happened to see him quite a bit over the past few seasons, and in every instance his dancing has seemed underpowered and rather uninspired. His performance in Allegro Brillante this season was probably the real low point; as stated in comments earlier in this thread, it almost looked like he was marking the steps. 

 

I'm not as frequent a NYCB-goer as many on here, but I've gotten the sense that some of the principal men are exceptional partners, but kind of underwhelming when dancing on their own. Veyette would be the most extreme example of this, based on the performances I've seen. However, I seem to recall very positive reports of his dancing toward the end of last season (I think in Stars and Stripes?).

Edited by fondoffouettes

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When Veyette is on, he is a joy to watch. The most memorable time I saw him was a few years back when ABT brought him in as a guest for Theme and Variations. (Why ABT thought none of their own guys was up to the job is another mystery.) Sprightly and absolutely commanding, along with partnering as a major art form. I've seen him like that in Stars and Stripes and many, many other performances. Too often recently he looks tired stiff wooden. Why I don't know. They rely on him so heavily - overworked?

Edited by cobweb

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I have to be honest, I have not been impressed with him at all lately.  He appears to have a lot of stiffness in his back in all of the performances I've seen him dance this year.

 

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3 hours ago, cobweb said:

When Veyette is on, he is a joy to watch. The most memorable time I saw him was a few years back when ABT brought him in as a guest for Theme and Variations. (Why ABT thought none of their own guys was up to the job is another mystery.) Sprightly and absolutely commanding, along with partnering as a major art form. I've seen him like that in Stars and Stripes and many many other performances. Too often recently he looks tired stiff wooden. Why I don't know. They rely on him so heavily - overworked?

I agree cobweb. Aside from the ABT T&V guesting I've seen him do that ballet with NYCB twice, both times wonderfully. I've also seen him be fantastic as Oberon and in Tchai pas and Stars & Stripes. I haven't seen him dance in over a year. Could be that he is getting older (I don't know how old he is) and past his prime. With De Luz being 40 it's time to step it up in the male dept. for the white tights ballets!

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I was there one horrible evening when Andy was dancing Donizetti Variations. He was clearly struggling and after one hard landing he stumbled offstage and did not return. Ashley danced the coda alone. He didn;t even come out for a curtain call. He was injured and taken out of the premiere Rodeo the day after -- Justin Peck took his place. He did come back from the injury but I've noticed that he's not quite the same dancer -- everything is more effortful. Nevertheless he remains a wonderful partner and obviously has the trust of Ashley Bouder and many other NYCB ballerinas. 

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All of the dancers in last night's program were just fabulous and a joy to watch.  The program was Wheeldon's Carousel; Binet's The Blue of Distance; Martins' The Infernal Machine; Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition; and Peck's Year of the Rabbit.

 

All of these ballets had the same thing in common:  in addition to using some of the standard ballet canon, all the ballets had the dancers on the floor and/or using gymnastics moves.  In Peck's piece, there were even yoga's one-legged chaturangas (gorgeously executed by the way).  In Carousel, dancers were used as pieces of furniture.  Dancers were often used as props.

 

Tastes change of course.  Story ballets were the norm in pre-Balanchine days.  Tudor's angst ballets were the "in" thing in the last mid-century.  Is the future of ballet the mix of genres?  I have to say I missed dancers soaring through the air last night.

 

Looking forward to any comments.

 

 

Edited by bobbi

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Veyette replaced Catazaro last night in The Blue of Distance.There was an audible groan when the announcement was made that Craig Hall was replacing Ramasar in Infernal Machine.

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They are probably still trying to figure out how to fill in the casting for this week and next, given all the injuries.  At this rate, Peter Martins might have to put on his tights again.

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What a shame Anthony Huxley is not back!! It also looks like Georgina Pazcoguin is still out. I enjoyed her Hippolyta a few years back. Emily Kikta's debut as Hippolyta is the one exciting piece of new casting. Will also miss Silas Farley's Theseus. Get well, everyone!

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1 hour ago, balletforme said:

Here and Now. . . is proving to be Hurt and Injured.  They are dropping like flies. 

 

Indeed. I also think the casting for Here/Now has been odd. Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar were dancing every night, sometimes twice a night. Not a surprise both got injured.

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15 minutes ago, canbelto said:

 

Indeed. I also think the casting for Here/Now has been odd. Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar were dancing every night, sometimes twice a night. Not a surprise both got injured.

 

Is it official that Mearns and Ramasar are injured?  Are the injuries serious? 

 

I saw Mearns at a rehearsal of Pictures at an Exhibition on Wednesday and she was dancing up a storm.

 

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Mearns is okay now. Her back injury has subsided. She danced on Wed night in Pictures.  However, they have lightened her load by reassigning the lead roles in Rodeo this week.  It was supposed to be Mearns and Ramasar, and now it is Pollack and Justin Peck.

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56 minutes ago, abatt said:

Mearns is okay now. Her back injury has subsided. She danced on Wed night in Pictures.  However, they have lightened her load by reassigning the lead roles in Rodeo this week.  It was supposed to be Mearns and Ramasar, and now it is Pollack and Justin Peck.

 

Hurrah! (And not just to Mearns is back...but to lightening her load.)

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