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NY Times Writings on ABT

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Honestly, it sounds like a polyglot program, and the graf and a half in the NYT matches that style. 

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On 6/29/2017 at 11:26 AM, Emma said:

It seems like it should be a snippet in the Times' Dance in NYC This Week column.  

It was, at least in the paper version I received

Edited by lacdescygnes

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The latest review from Macaulay is a perfect example of how, so often, I just don't see how he sees what he says he sees...

 

"And excessive side lighting [in Souvenir d'un lieu cher], by Brad Fields, makes it hard to identify the dancers."

Really? You couldn't tell Abrera from Lane or Gomes from Lendorf?

 

"James F. Ingalls’s lighting often leaves faces in shadow. The queen’s ludicrous white beehive wig casts a pall over the whole event. Several of Mr. Ratmansky’s ideas of Petipa’s most crucial details for Aurora look pedantic, underwhelming."

None of these things has changed from the full-length version –– but none was such a severe problem that it was worth mentioning in full-length reviews of that piece? And I understand that space is at a premium, especially in a review such as this. But please, a hint at least of what those "most crucial" example are!

 

"And while many more details are brilliantly considered and sensitively realized — several individual dances lack contrasts of light and shade."

This is so vague and generalized that it helps me understand nothing of what he saw. Again, yes, space is a concern. But better to say fewer things clearly than to say things like this, I think.

 

"Isabella Boylston and Joseph Gorak (Monday), marvelous stylists, are almost ideal..."

Wait...seriously? (Granted, this one is perhaps just a difference of taste but...wow. What a difference.)

 

Other parts are clearer to me. I can see this, for instance:

 

"Veronika Part, a handsome ballerina in her farewell week with the company, catches several if not all of its contrasting facets; its dazzling unpredictability makes this her freshest vehicle. She opens herself to the soulfulness of the opening Preghiera, then returns in for the closing Thème et Variations in a regal yet brighter manner.  /  The virtuoso playfulness she lacks is shown by Christine Shevchenko in the second cast, but she in turn lacks (as yet) authority and contemplative tranquillity. David Hallberg, partnering Ms. Shevchenko, smudges a few details of the scintillating solos; Blaine Hoven, with Ms. Part, is clear but bland."

 

(Though "handsome" makes me retch.)

 

Maybe it is mostly just a profound difference in our tastes, but I just wish he had more consistency in visually illuminating the performances he reviews.

 

 

 

 

Edited by nanushka

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35 minutes ago, nanushka said:

"Veronika Part, a handsome ballerina in her farewell week with the company, ...

 

 

(Though "handsome" makes me retch.)

 

 

I actually like the use of "handsome" here -- I don't think of it as a specifically male attribute, but more along the lines of clear and full.

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1 minute ago, sandik said:

 

I actually like the use of "handsome" here -- I don't think of it as a specifically male attribute, but more along the lines of clear and full.

 

I wasn't thinking male ... I was thinking more like ... hmm ... something you'd say about someone's aunt or maybe about Joan Sutherland or something.

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Hee Seo has long been a favorite of Macaulay and Boylston has become one. A negative review of either one of is unlikely. This is the first  somewhat negative thing he's ever said about Hallberg (another favorite) and it's pretty mild - smudges a few details of the scintillating solos

 

There are other dancers who he ignores, won't say a good thing about or gives the faintest praise. Sarah Lane is one of those. Over at NYCB Megan Fairchild, Daniel Ulbricht and Joaquin De Luz are others. De Luz gets criticism because his dancing is too glib!

 

We all have our favorite dancers, I understand that. My problem with Macaulay is two fold. One - he favors particular body types but doesn't seem to notice how much that impacts his judgement of a performance. For example, he loves men with long muscles, super arched feet and a flexible back. Those men get a lot of positives and rare negatives from him. Of course there are exceptions, but in general.

 

Two - Once he forms an opinion of a dancer, he doesn't bring fresh eyes to a performance. I saw Hee Seo have a really rough Sleeping Beauty with a disaster of a Rose Adagio, and what a ballet teacher of mine used to call "the blind staggers" in her variation. Macaulay didn't mention those things. He mentioned the classic purity of her line.

 

Obviously this is complicated and there is much to be discussed and dug into, but I feel better getting that off my chest!! Thank you all for being here.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, vipa said:

We all have our favorite dancers, I understand that. My problem with Macaulay is two fold. One - he favors particular body types but doesn't seem to notice how much that impacts his judgement of a performance. For example, he loves men with long muscles, super arched feet and a flexible back. Those men get a lot of positives and rare negatives from him. Of course there are exceptions, but in general.

 

Two - Once he forms an opinion of a dancer, he doesn't bring fresh eyes to a performance.

 

Yes, this is definitely a problem I have noticed. "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" Well, that's the critic's job, isn't it?

 

13 minutes ago, vipa said:

I saw Hee Seo have a really rough Sleeping Beauty with a disaster of a Rose Adagio, and what a ballet teacher of mine used to call "the blind staggers" in her variation. Macaulay didn't mention those things. He mentioned the classic purity of her line.

 

LOL. "The blind staggers"! 

 

16 minutes ago, vipa said:

Obviously this is complicated and there is much to be discussed and dug into, but I feel better getting that off my chest!! Thank you all for being here.

 

Amen, I'm with you.

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2 hours ago, nanushka said:

The latest review from Macaulay is a perfect example of how, so often, I just don't see how he sees what he says he sees...

 

"And excessive side lighting [in Souvenir d'un lieu cher], by Brad Fields, makes it hard to identify the dancers."

Really? You couldn't tell Abrera from Lane or Gomes from Lendorf?

 

"

I was seated in the balcony, and I agree with Macaulay's statement.  The lighting was a big problem in this ballet. Obviously, I'm so familiar with the individual dancers that I was able to identify them based on height, hair color and so on, regardless of the poor lighting.   Also happy that he noted Hee Seo's triumph in Nutcracker pdd, because she was excellent and deserved the praise.

Edited by abatt

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8 hours ago, abatt said:

I was seated in the balcony, and I agree with Macaulay's statement.  The lighting was a big problem in this ballet. Obviously, I'm so familiar with the individual dancers that I was able to identify them based on height, hair color and so on, regardless of the poor lighting.   Also happy that he noted Hee Seo's triumph in Nutcracker pdd, because she was excellent and deserved the praise.

 

I suppose it's true that he has to consider the experience of an audience much less familiar with the dancers than we are. I was seated maybe 25 feet from him, and the lighting didn't strike me as at all a problem.

 

Agreed about Hee Seo, though as vipa has noted it fit his consistent narrative about her. I've had very mixed reactions to her in the past, but I thought Wednesday's was a superb performance.

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Macauley does a sort of recap of the Met season.

 

I agree with the following:

 

".....the list of Ballet Theater’s best dancers grows only more numerous."

 

There's no article (yet anyway) of Part's farewell performance.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/07/arts/dance/the-divided-soul-of-american-ballet-theater.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fdance&action=click&contentCollection=dance&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

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From the July 15-16, 2017 edition of The Wall Street Journal:

 

"U.S. newspaper ad revenue fell from $65.8 billion in 2000 to $23.6 billion in 2013 (the last year for which data are available)."

 

Declining revenue = declining space = declining arts coverage = declining # of dance reviews

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1 hour ago, miliosr said:

From the July 15-16, 2017 edition of The Wall Street Journal:

 

"U.S. newspaper ad revenue fell from $65.8 billion in 2000 to $23.6 billion in 2013 (the last year for which data are available)."

 

WOW! :o

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On ‎7‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 7:45 AM, miliosr said:

From the July 15-16, 2017 edition of The Wall Street Journal:

 

"U.S. newspaper ad revenue fell from $65.8 billion in 2000 to $23.6 billion in 2013 (the last year for which data are available)."

 

Declining revenue = declining space = declining arts coverage = declining # of dance reviews

I don't see a better place to post this...we have long-lamented the disappearance of serious published criticism of dance and all the arts. I noticed an interesting plea in the program for Central City Opera this weekend and wonder if other performing arts companies might try something like this:

 

"The current landscape has limited the amount of coverage the local arts community is receiving and we need your help. Please share how much you enjoy Central City Opera by reaching out to the following editors. By hearing from you personally, they will understand the importance of the continued coverage of Central City Opera and other arts organizations throughout Colorado. Thank you."

They then list editors and e-mails for the Colorado Spring Gazette, Daily Camera (Boulder), and the Denver Post.

 

Can't hurt!

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