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canbelto

2017 Fall Season

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It was a season that left me dissatisfied, wanting a lot more Balanchine. I saw: four Swan Lakes (Hyltin, Mearns, Fairchild, and Peck), the Rebecca Krohn farewell, and all four performances of the all-Balanchine program. Highlights were the Krohn-Ramasar Stravinsky Violin Concerto, the Bouder-Stanley Square Dance, Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle in Cortege Hongrois, the Hyltin-Fairchild Duo Concertant, and Tiler Peck in Swan Lake. 

I feel so sad about Robbie Fairchild. If, as has been suggested on this board, this is the best solution he can find to his personal problems, it seems doubly unfortunate. 

A few assorted notes. Seeing all four performances of the all-Balanchine program gave me the chance to focus more on the new corps and apprentice members. In training my binoculars, suddenly a corps member who had escaped my notice came into focus: Ghaleb Kayali. As Ramasar's sidekick in La Valse, and then in the corps of Square Dance and Cortege Hongrois, the name suddenly gained a face for me, and surely, with his plushness, elegance, and attention to detail, he deserves more opportunity. Among the younger ones, Kennard Henson, Christopher Grant, and Alec Knight have all impressed. 

Also Teresa Reichlen looked much more assured in Cortege Hongrois today. The first slap registered well, the second not so much. She is beautiful - I always enjoy her - but if she could gain more assertiveness, or even aggression, in her attack, she could be really great. 

Ashley Bouder and Taylor Stanley were ablaze again today in Square Dance. This is the piece, and these the very performers, who first sparked my love for NYCB and Balanchine, back in 2011. They were terrific then and they're even better now. 

 

Edited by cobweb
ETA: Forgot to add that Georgina Pazcoguin was astounding in Cortege Hongrois and IMHO is shamefully underused.

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I went to Robbie's farewell performance today. It was a beautiful send-off. Most of the NYCB principals came out. I thought he and Sterling were absolutely lovely in their final dance together.

I write about the farewell performance, and also the program of new works:

http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2017/10/nycb-fall-season-hello-new-works.html

 

And here's a video of the curtain calls I took:

 

Edited by canbelto

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Thank you so much, canbelto, for your impressions and for the video. I watched every second of it. I was at Saturday’s matinee and agree that Robbie and Sterling were incredibly graceful, eloquent, poignant in Duo Concertant. Robbie is a gifted dancer who has always emulated Gene Kelly but I’m so sad to see him leave NYCB at this stage of his career.  The complexity of the reasons for his departure at this point in time make it all the more sad for those of us who love him as a classical ballet dancer and felt his dancing ability was underused in An American in Paris. 

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6 minutes ago, Peg said:

The complexity of the reasons for his departure at this point in time make it all the more sad for those of us who love him as a classical ballet dancer and felt his dancing ability was underused in An American in Paris. 

 

Dear Peg forgive my ignorance - I don't follow American ballet but do know Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck. Saw RF with Leanne Cope

in American in Paris in London earlier this year. Before that I had first seen RF on video with Tiler in the "Heaven's Ballet" scene of the

one-off semi-staged performance of Carousel at Carnegie Hall (?) some years ago and was VERY impressed. My question is : why is

Robert leaving the NYCB - is he going to pursue a career in musical theatre like Leanne Cope ?  Many thanks !

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13 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

 

Dear Peg forgive my ignorance - I don't follow American ballet but do know Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck. Saw RF with Leanne Cope

in American in Paris in London earlier this year. Before that I had first seen RF on video with Tiler in the "Heaven's Ballet" scene of the

one-off semi-staged performance of Carousel at Carnegie Hall (?) some years ago and was VERY impressed. My question is : why is

Robert leaving the NYCB - is he going to pursue a career in musical theatre like Leanne Cope ?  Many thanks !

 

More information on the reasons for Fairchild's departure can be found here.

 

There are also, perhaps, some personal reasons having to do with the breakup of his marriage to fellow NYCB principal Tiler Peck, but I don't know that we have any information on that from official sources, so any further details would likely be speculative.

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33 minutes ago, DC Export said:

Am I right in noting that the only female principal missing is Tiler Peck?

yes, I believe you are correct.  No surprise there.

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I think Robbie Fairchild realizes that his prospects for ensuring financial success throughout his whole life, not just his ballet dance career, lie with his seizing the here-and-now opportunities that are occurring on the heels of his Broadway success. He is multi-talented, becoming more and more well-known outside the ballet circle, and likely will have a variety of choices once he can no longer dance. It looks like golden opportunities to me, though I will miss his leading-man easy charm and ballet technique. I've longed for a new Gene Kelly: Fairchild may very well fill those shoes. 

 

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I too went to the weekend performances at NYCB and have to agree with virtually all of the earlier reports.

 

Duo Concertant - Both Hyltin and Fairchild danced with extraordinary gusto, particularly Fairchild, during his solo moments in the 4th movement. Like a racehorse bolting to the finish line, as if yelling, "Whoopdeedoo! Can't wait to get outta here!"

 

Square Dance - I saw the Bouder/Stanley duo in this ballet a few years ago at the Kennedy Center. Bouder even greater than before and Stanley much more assured. The languid solo now fits him like a glove. The corps de ballet was fleet and precise in its uniformity.

 

La Valse - This never has been my favorite Balanchine. Nice to get to see Amar Ramasar who, I realize, is coming off an injury. Ramasar is a great presence in whatever he does. I'm in the minority here about Sara Mearns who, to me, is wrong for the role of a dying waif. Sorry to have missed her leading Cortege earlier in the run. I respect her artistry in the right vehicles.

 

Cortege Hongrois - Not the grandest Balanchine - not even the best of the choreographer's three NYCB essays on Petipa's Raymonda. This was concocted for Melissa Hayden's farewell gala, so perhaps that's why it is somewhat over-the-top...finale after finale after finale! Gee, would it ever end? Balanchine went nuts mixing the music for characters other than the originals in provenance. So Raymonda and Jean dance their big adagio to music intended for Abderakhman, Raymonda, and the four best friends of Raymonda. OK - this was all for Hayden's farewell. I get it. Fun and harmless schmaltz. I absolutely loved Tess Reichlen in the lead. Lauren King also impressive in the first solo although she's one of the veterans among soloists; will she ever make Principal?  [Question for the NYCB-Balanchine experts:  Wasn't the famous male pas de quatre part of this version when it premiered in '73? By the time that Nichols/Luders led the ballet in the mid-80s, the male pas de 4 had been eschewed. Why was it dropped? I missed it!]

 

Also attended the night of five new and/or short ballets: 

 

First the not-so-new, Martins' Chairman Dances: What the heck was that? I didn't see the point of an endless stream of hootchie gals. The lead, Megan LeCrone, was lovely but I'd like to see her in something more substantial.

 

Then the four new ballets, treated as a group:  These ranged from structured and delightful (Peck's Pulcinella Variations) to unstructured, boring running back and forth, with a rest for lying down and spooning among partners of all sexes (Schumacher's The Wind also Blows). Lovette's Not Our Fate was better than The Wind but it seemed to want to make its political point too loudly and, thus, I found it gimmicky. Yet, I admired individual dancers in the work, especially our "MVP" Taylor Stanley.  I give my top prize among the four newbies to Gianna Reisen's Composer's Holiday, which had all of the elements right: music (Lucas Foss chamber work for violin/piano), costumes (hearkening to Degas' "Little Dancer" floppy tutu for the ladies), lighting (so easy on the eye - mostly bright figures against black background), star dancers (Emma Von Enck and Roman Mejia shoot to the top of my "corps to follow" list!) and...the movements and group compositions - so original and appropriate to the theme.  AND the theme was clear - the Emma Von Enck character is dead at the start, lifted by corps men, and we see the happy, unknowing path that she took to get there...being whisked to the wings at the end, unexpectedly. Powerful, beautiful stuff. Reisen's is the work that I most want to see, over and over. May she have the grandest success!

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I so agree, about Lauren King - she was a standout!

Edited by Barbara

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On ‎10‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 1:10 PM, nanushka said:

I forgot to note, also, that Lauren King looked great in the first variation of "Cortège Hongrois" — nice presence and clarity of execution. Will look forward to seeing more of her.

 

Hi, nanushka. I also admired King in her Cortege solo. You mention about looking forward to seeing more of her. So is she fairly new on the NYCB roster? Some tell me she is new; other say that she is a veteran. Whichever the case, she looks wonderful.

 

If NYCB would ever tour Russia, she would be a big favorite, as would be Reichlen. Remember how the delicate Allegra Kent was such a hit in early tours to the USSR.

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16 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

 

Hi, nanushka. I also admired King in her Cortege solo. You mention about looking forward to seeing more of her. So is she fairly new on the NYCB roster? Some tell me she is new; other say that she is a veteran. Whichever the case, she looks wonderful.

 

If NYCB would ever tour Russia, she would be a big favorite, as would be Reichlen. Remember how the delicate Allegra Kent was such a hit in early tours to the USSR.

 

Lauren King is a veteran who was in the corps for many years before becoming a soloist around 2013. 

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34 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

You mention about looking forward to seeing more of her. So is she fairly new on the NYCB roster?

 

It's more that I'm new to her — I haven't been enough of a NYCB regular until recently to be as familiar with the corps/soloist roster as I am with ABT's. So I'm still in the process of putting together names, faces and onstage impressions.

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1 hour ago, CharlieH said:

I too went to the weekend performances at NYCB and have to agree with virtually all of the earlier reports.

 

Duo Concertant - Both Hyltin and Fairchild danced with extraordinary gusto, particularly Fairchild, during his solo moments in the 4th movement. Like a racehorse bolting to the finish line, as if yelling, "Whoopdeedoo! Can't wait to get outta here!"

 

 

 

I thought both Hyltin and Fairchild were transcendent on Sunday in Duo. However, I  thought Robbie's enthusiasm was because he was determined to make his final dance memorable, not because he couldn't wait to leave NYCB. 

 

 

 

Edited by abatt

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2 hours ago, vagansmom said:

He is multi-talented, becoming more and more well-known outside the ballet circle,

 

Imho Robert Fairchild will hit big time in musical theatre. When I went to see American in Paris in London at first I did

not bother to look at the cast sheet, thinking "it can't be anyone noteworthy for someone who follows Russian classical

ballet". But,  both the male and female leads could sing, act and dance extremely well, and the Pdd in the final scene was

serious stuff ..... who can these be ??  Ergo : Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope !

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2 hours ago, abatt said:

I thought both Hyltin and Fairchild were transcendent on Sunday in Duo. However, I  thought Robbie's enthusiasm was because he was determined to make his final dance memorable, not because he couldn't wait to leave NYCB. 

 

 

 

 

Of course, that too...and probably that primarily. He is a very generous artist (i.e., charismatic)!

Edited by CharlieH

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Although they are mentored and coached by elder colleagues and are professionals, artists in ballet are mostly young people occasionally (at least) required, while they are growing and learning about the world, to interpret roles in works dealing with profound and intricate issues. Valid criticism of their efforts is, to be sure, legitimate and even imperative. Still, members of the audience should be considerate and mindful of the sheer reality that these young artists are actually at the same time experiencing life also--something that in turn impacts their art. To wit, it is essential to recollect not only that art enhances life, but that life enhances art. However problematic it may be to acknowledge, for example, neither equivalent performances as last weekend’s of Duo Concertant nor the ballet itself would have seemed as poignant under ordinary circumstances.

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17 minutes ago, Royal Blue said:

Although they are mentored and coached by elder colleagues and are professionals, artists in ballet are mostly young people occasionally (at least) required, while they are growing and learning about the world, to interpret roles in works dealing with profound and intricate issues. Valid criticism of their efforts is, to be sure, legitimate and even imperative. Still, members of the audience should be considerate and mindful of the sheer reality that these young artists are actually at the same time experiencing life also--something that in turn impacts their art. To wit, it is essential to recollect not only that art enhances life, but that life enhances art. However problematic it may be to acknowledge, for example, neither equivalent performances as last weekend’s of Duo Concertant nor the ballet itself would have seemed as poignant under ordinary circumstances.

 

Huh? Hyltin and Fairchild have danced Duo Concertant many times over the years. It's actually one of their specialties. The performance last Sunday was one of two very experienced dancers who knew exactly what to do with this ballet. 

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12 minutes ago, canbelto said:

 

Huh? Hyltin and Fairchild have danced Duo Concertant many times over the years. It's actually one of their specialties. The performance last Sunday was one of two very experienced dancers who knew exactly what to do with this ballet. 

 

Yeah, I'm equally mystified. Perhaps Royal Blue could clarify what in the above discussion he or she is responding to? (Or if this is a new and separate point.)

 

And what precisely are the "profound and intricate issues" in Duo Concertant that RF & SH either did or did not successfully deal with in their interpretation?

 

Edited by nanushka

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18 hours ago, canbelto said:

 

Huh? Hyltin and Fairchild have danced Duo Concertant many times over the years. It's actually one of their specialties. The performance last Sunday was one of two very experienced dancers who knew exactly what to do with this ballet. 

 

Nothing in my original statement denies or contradicts anything that you wrote. In the last sentence, I highlighted the word “as” for a reason. Nevertheless, the reflection that Sterling Hyltin and Robert Fairchild will never be dancing Duo Concertant together again at NYCB made me, and perhaps a few others in the audience, appreciate their performances last weekend as well as Balanchine’s ballet more.

 

 

18 hours ago, nanushka said:

 

Yeah, I'm equally mystified. Perhaps Royal Blue could clarify what in the above discussion he or she is responding to? (Or if this is a new and separate point.)

 

 

 

I am male, and I was trying to make "a new and separate point."

 

 

18 hours ago, nanushka said:

 

 

And what precisely are the "profound and intricate issues" in Duo Concertant that RF & SH either did or did not successfully deal with in their interpretation?

 

 

 

My original comment primarily refers to the art form in general. There are some ballets which deal with “profound and intricate issues,” no? Something that occurs in real life to a person—whether a dancer or a balletgoer—may lead to greater appreciation or understanding of a particular ballet. When we consider such works, Duo Concertant does not readily come to mind. Its melancholy ending in tandem with a farewell performance, however, made me cogitate on the larger point.

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Hi Everyone,

 

I've been really enjoying this thread and your discussion of swan Lake convinced me to sign up. I'm not usually this negative, but here's a bit I wrote about the NYCB costume gala...

 

I saw the NYCB costume gala program (not on the gala night). I thought Justin Peck's Pulcinella was very well crafted. It's great to see him tackling Stravinsky, classicism and tutu ballets. In my opinion, the costume gala is always a gamble. One example is Liam Scarlett's duet where the woman is so dwarfed by her costume that the real drama onstage is her fight with her gown. Why cover a ballerina's feet? The yards of ruffles defeated poor Gretchen Smith, while Tiler Peck, even though she's shorter, was able to wrestle the gown to a draw. I'm torn between hoping the costumes for Pulcinella go the way of Kurt Seligmann's costumes for The Four Temperaments (Google it if you've never seen them) and thinking that they might just grow on me. At least in Pulcinella you can see the bodies.

 

I've enjoyed Troy Schumacher's choreography in the past. Someone here said there's a sense of community in the structure of his pieces. I agree. For me, Where the Wind Blows (is that the title?)  suffers from the community concept. It leads to a lack of visual and spatial structure. The ballet has too many dancers who are too frequently arranged onstage in seemingly random patterns. I remember one beautiful passage where the dancers lined up lying on the floor like rows and rows of train tracks, reminiscent of Paul Taylor's Esplanade. Aside from that brief section I was usually annoyed that there wasn't any direction about where to look. I distracted myself by trying to count the number of different costumes, as they added to the  visual disorder. Some dancers wore dresses, others wore long slacks, others bare legged tunics, others (still with me?) shorts with tights. Color block, stripes, solids, both matte and shimmery fabrics were used. It looked like an entire fall collection rather than the costumes for one ballet. The corps de ballet dancers, as always, were so skilled. I wish someone would help Mr Schumacher with his choices.  I teach dance composition, there are assignments that can help him structure the stage space better. He also needs to give the costume designers better instructions. If everyone wore the same thing it could help.

 

Lauren Lovette's Not Our Fate was a relief after that. Black and white costumes; all the men in black pants and white Ts, all the women in fitted black jackets with white skirts. The dancers flew across the stage in swoopy movement full of suspensions and  unexpected stops on a dime. The relationships between them were clear, and the partnering for Taylor Stanley and Preston Chamblee's duets truly moving. I hope it stays in the repertory for a bit, it is worth future viewings. Lovette has guts and skill as a choreographer. The NY Times article about same sex partnering and gender neutral casting was well deserved. It's more than a gimmick. It looks modern and revolutionary, as if ballet is finally coming into this century. I thought Lovette's description of the process really astute. She was looking for a movement quality, Taylor had it so she cast him. She said, "So I put two men together. Suddenly, they could just be themselves."  Doesn't the best art reveal an unexplored truth? 

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