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abatt

2017 Spring Season

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Thanks abatt.  I'm so pleased to hear that Mearns is doing better.   I just saw the reassignments that you mentioned, but at least I'll get to see her in Pictures tomorrow.  Does anyone have any news on Ramasar? 

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Lexi Maxwell just posted on FB that Amar came through surgery well and sends a "one armed hug to all".  She added a photo of Amar in a sling and his big smile

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I've heard of back injuries, foot injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries and neck injuries in dancers.  I don't think I've ever heard of a broken arm injury in a dancer.  How the heck did that happen.  Please tell me that it wasn't caused during practice for The Times are Racing, when Amar has to do numerous one arm handstands.  Best wishes to Amar for a speedy recovery.

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NYCB's website (not the casting page) has some program changes for the upcoming week.

 

Herman Scherman pas de deux is dropped, After the Rain replaces it. 

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So how was last night's world premiere of the newest Peck ballet, DECATHALON...err...DECALOGUE? 

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Warning, I'm about to go on a cranky rant: I haven't seen Peck's new work (in fact, I've been actively avoiding all of his work).  I will admit that I have not seen all of his stuff (still have not seen The Times are Racing,Year of the Rabbit or Rodeo) so maybe they would change my opinion for the better, but I do not find Peck's work appealing at all.  I've been trying to figure out what it is about his stuff that gives me a visceral reaction (and not a good one) and I think it has to do with his music choices.  No disrespect intended to Sufjan Stevens, but I don't want to listen to his music while watching classical dance.  And Peck keeps going back to him, over and over, like the two of them are some sort of a Balanchine/Stravinsky combination or something.  Maybe I'm not the intended demographic and I'm just not "young" enough to get it.   And meanwhile, Lauren Lovette actually choreographed a beautiful first work for NYCB (to a beautiful Schumann piece).  To me, she should be getting more opportunities (assuming she wants them).  Enough with the Peck/Stevens.

 

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I also enjoyed Lauren Lovette's piece very much! I too am a fan of beautiful melodic music. More from Ms. Lovette, please!

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2 hours ago, Kaysta said:

Enough with the Peck/Stevens.

 

 

Frankly, I'm thrilled that he's not using Arvo Pärt or extracts from seven different Baroque violin sonatas interspersed with musique concrète.

 

In defense of Peck, I'll note that his musical tastes appear to be pretty broad ranging: in addition to Stevens (Year of the Rabbit, Everywhere We Go), he's made dances to works by Philip Glass (Increases), Bohuslav Martinů (Paz de La Jolla, Heastscape, The Dreamers), Benjamin Britten (Chutes and Ladders), Lukas Foss (Capricious Maneuvers), Bryce Dessner, (Murder Ballades, The Most Incredible Thing), César Franck (Belles-Lettres), George Antheil (Debonair), Esa-Pekka Salonen (Helix), Aaron Copland (Rodeo), Steve Reich (New Blood), Francis Poulenc (Entre chien et loup), and Dan Deacon (The Times Are Racing). 

 

Martins didn't do Peck any favors by putting Increases, New Blood, and Everywhere We Go on the same Here / Now program - they're all too much of a muchness to demonstrate Peck's range. He'd have done better by throwing Rodeo, Paz de La Jolla, or Belles-Lettres into the mix. 

 

I really liked Stevens' score for Everywhere We Go, even if it did prompt Peck to choreograph what looked like four separate grand finales. I liked the Deacon too, although the house needs to back the volume down a notch. (Not because it's too loud per se, but because it distorts the music with an annoying tizz at peak.)

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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I hate the score for Everywhere We Go.  To me, there was absolutely no subtlety in it, it's just loud and obnoxious.  But I get that is my personal opinion, and we all have different tastes in music, and obviously there are many folks who do like it.  Overall, going through the list you have posted, it seems he leans towards more contemporary composers. I guess I'm less into the newer stuff and tend to prefer my music with more of a classical bent (though I'll admit I enjoyed Desetnikyov's music for Ratmansky's Odessa).

 

It will be interesting to see what everyone thinks about the Decalogue.

Edited by Kaysta

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1 hour ago, Kaysta said:

I hate the score for Everywhere We Go.  To me, there was absolutely no subtlety in it, it's just loud and obnoxious.  But I get that is my personal opinion, and we all have different tastes in music, and obviously there are many folks who do like it. 

 

Actually, I don't think that many people like Stevens' score for Everywhere We Go. I've heard my share of grumbling in the lobby and, if I recall correctly, the critics weren't that enthusiastic either. 

 

I may be an outlier: I got a ticket to Here / Now Program 4* mostly for the music, although I will admit that Spectral Evidence is a particularly guilty pleasure that I enjoy beyond all reason. I like Neverwhere too, although it wouldn't be anything special without the costumes.

 

*Neverwhere (Muhly/Millepied)
*Mothership (Bates/Blanc)
*Spectral Evidence (Cage/Preljocaj)
*The Times Are Racing (Peck/Deacon)

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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It looks as if nobody from BA attended last night's premiere of DECALOGUE. Maybe Ballet Allerters of NY will attend subsequent performances? Hopefully we'll also have a review from Alastair/NYTimes on Monday.

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It would be hard to imagine that anyone who views askance the artistic collaboration between Sufjan Stevens and Justin Peck will find much to enjoy in The Decalogue. On first hearing the music sounded soporific. One almost feels sorry for the choreographer that he had to come up with a ballet set to this material. There was some interesting movement towards the end of the piece but otherwise the choreography seemed uninspired and unoriginal. To add to this there were two falls during the premiere, one by a likable member of the corps (Kristen Segin) and another by a principal I think very highly of (Rebecca Krohn). Yet wild horses couldn’t prevent me from going to see program No. 8 of the Here/Now Festival again. All of the other works in it—Chiaroscuro, Slice to Sharp, and Stabat Mater—are new to me also, and as a matter of principle I regard my first reaction to artworks as provisional. Unless one just does not like the dancers in the current roster of NYCB, the casting for this program is furthermore simply incredible! Amazingly, it does not even include Tiler Peck, who had a remarkable week and whose work in general—not surprisingly—continues to enrapture me.

Edited by Royal Blue

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1 hour ago, Royal Blue said:

....as a matter of principle I regard my first reaction to artworks as provisional. 

 

An admirable principle!

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I saw Decalogue this afternoon, and I thought it was a very strong and worthwhile work.  I also liked the music.  The ballet is in the neoclassical tradition, and I thought that to an extent it quoted or referenced the  Four T's and other Balanchine leotard ballets, as well as Polyphonia.  It held my attention for the duration, and I look forward to seeing it again.  The "falls" were intentional.  This is a dense and difficult ballet, and it really should not have been at the end of the program.  However, I suspect Martins knew that most people attending this program were there to see Decalogue, and would have walked out on the rest of the program.  The other offerings on this program were very weak and unimpressive, in my opinion. 

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I beg forgiveness from Kristen Segin and Rebecca Krohn if during the premiere of The Decalogue they fell down intentionally.

 

To Drew: “You could not step twice into the same river.” Perhaps we should view a work of art as being, in a way, like a river? It seems best to me to be and remain as open-minded as possible about any artwork. None of us sees, thinks, feels or understands--and can therefore judge--perfectly.

Edited by Royal Blue

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12 hours ago, abatt said:

I saw Decalogue this afternoon, and I thought it was a very strong and worthwhile work.  I also liked the music.  The ballet is in the neoclassical tradition, and I thought that to an extent it quoted or referenced the  Four T's and other Balanchine leotard ballets, as well as Polyphonia.  It held my attention for the duration, and I look forward to seeing it again.  The "falls" were intentional.  This is a dense and difficult ballet, and it really should not have been at the end of the program.  However, I suspect Martins knew that most people attending this program were there to see Decalogue, and would have walked out on the rest of the program.  The other offerings on this program were very weak and unimpressive, in my opinion. 

 

Thank you, abatt! I would love to see this but the Kennedy Center has yet to decide if it will be presenting DECALOGUE or TIMES ARE RACING (or some other Peck ballet from "this season," whatever that may be)  during next month's NYCB run:

 

http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/BRBSD

 

Before I invest in a ticket/transport/hotel for one night in NY, in order to see DECALOGUE at its final performance next week, it would be great to know if I'll be able to see it in DC for "free"....just the price of the ticket that I already have.

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6 hours ago, Natalia said:

 

Thank you, abatt! I would love to see this but the Kennedy Center has yet to decide if it will be presenting DECALOGUE or TIMES ARE RACING (or some other Peck ballet from "this season," whatever that may be)  during next month's NYCB run:

 

http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/BRBSD

 

Before I invest in a ticket/transport/hotel for one night in NY, in order to see DECALOGUE at its final performance next week, it would be great to know if I'll be able to see it in DC for "free"....just the price of the ticket that I already have.

 

Perhaps they want to see what the injury situation is before deciding...??

 

I'm sort of hoping for Decalogue, but at least, please, a Peck ballet I haven't seen before...

 

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I'm so bummed out that After the Rain has replaced the Forsythe piece. I'm assuming rehearsal time but I find Maria K an odd choice for After the Rain.

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On 5/14/2017 at 11:44 AM, Natalia said:

Some early thoughts/reviews from Reddit.com:

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Sufjan/comments/6aw0i8/the_decalogue_a_review/

 

Not too positive, so far.

 

Also, here's 1:11 seconds of  "flash footage" of the ballet, posted on NYCB's Twitter account.

 

https://mobile.twitter.com/nycballet

 

 

2 hours ago, canbelto said:

The casting sheet for this week has been updated with various casting changes (and ballet changes):

http://www.nycballet.com/NYCB/media/NYCBMediaLibrary/PDFs/Press/Casting/NYCB_Casting_May-16-21-2017_lobby051517.pdf

 

 

I saw Justin's Decalogue at its premiere. It is more classical than some of his other works and Stevens' score for piano also sounded classical. I didn't particularly like the piece, possibly because it didn't have the energy and contemporary feel that most of his pieces do. The costumes are extremely simple and were designed by Justin: varying shades of  gray strappy leotards with white tights. There was some lovely partnering with Sara and Jared that was the highlight of the piece for me.  I'd also like to add this evening was quite long, running close to 3 hours. Also all the pieces had a rather somber feel. Surprisingly, I liked Martins' Stabat Mater the best of all the pieces on the program.

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Thanks, Zobeide. Sounds like my favorite kind of Peck work...simple & classical (neoclassical), like InCREASES. I hope that the Kennedy Center decides to show DECALOGUE.

 

Drew, we know that the KC is showing Peck's RO-DEO on the other program. 

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9 hours ago, vipa said:

I'm so bummed out that After the Rain has replaced the Forsythe piece. I'm assuming rehearsal time but I find Maria K an odd choice for After the Rain.

 

After the Rain was originally choreographed for Wendy and Jack.  In my opinion, next to Wendy, Maria is the best current principal who can present this beautiful PDD in the most artistic way.  I can't think of another dancer dancing this role (and I have seen other dancers doing it).   I saw her dancing it two times this season and her movements is so genuine and heartfelt.  The breaths of the port de bra is articulately effortless that I can't help myself but to be hypnotized by her movement.  Felicia just my opinion.  So fortunate to be able to see this in person again, especially after the New Beginnings' YouTube page got so much attention.

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On 5/13/2017 at 4:21 PM, Natalia said:

It looks as if nobody from BA attended last night's premiere of DECALOGUE. Maybe Ballet Allerters of NY will attend subsequent performances? Hopefully we'll also have a review from Alastair/NYTimes on Monday.

 

Didn't make it, but I have to note, without having read it, that Macaulay's review seems (from the headline) suspiciously timed given the recent controversy regarding NYCB's choice of choreographers.

He'd (Macaulay) established himself as having a stake in Peck's being the next Wonder Boy (SuperBoy? Batgirl? whatever) at NYCB, through his excessively vigorous championing of that cause, and I think he'll now continue to argue that case, regardless any other considerations.

ie, how very convenient that Peck turned out to be heir of Balanchine, since some people recently were not too happy with the line of progression being drawn this way.

 

for the record I don't like every piece of music Peck has chosen, but I do like his use of Martinu, and I think he has talent. I'll probly see it at some point but I'll take the opinions of Decalogue stated here over anything in the NYT. so I'm interested to hear that some, at least, did not see much in it. Things can look different by the light of a new day, of course.

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On 4/29/2017 at 6:41 AM, Olga said:
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...

 

On 4/28/2017 at 0:01 PM, DC Export said:

... 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?

 

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....

 

a few points

1)I'm around Justin Peck's age, so I think it's a bit silly to cast this as a generational divide problem

2) It's not an either-or question: either NYCB is a museum or the HereNow festival is the way to present new choreography. This is the way the question is always presented in NYCB marketing materials, and in the press as well. Don't buy into that. Does anyone actually believe ballet is dead? What does that mean anyway, it's just words.

3) I don't want to see only Balanchine--in fact, I don't need to see Balanchine performed exactly the way he was performed five decades ago. I've seen some archived tapes of, say, concerto barocco in which the female dancers looked a bit like Vogue models of the same era--their stance, their expression, some other indefinable quality of the time. That's not necessary, we don't need to keep that. All that--conventions of the time period, anything excess--that should go. And obviously, any conventions of our own time period should go as well--this is what makes work shallow and dated, IMO. I don't know if Peck is able to transcend his era. I don't know if he's the kind of choreographer who can see what is excess and what is necessary to the work, sometimes I think he is, sometimes I think he isn't...

Edited by jkr3855

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