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2017 Fall Season

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16 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

 

I run hot and cold on story ballets myself. I like the ones that tell a good story well — Bournonville's La Sylphide, for instance, or Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream, or Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardée.  I'm less enthusiastic about the ones with nonsense plots that seem mostly to be vehicles for bravura effects, lavishly costumed pageantry, and exotic locales — although I certainly wouldn't begrudge anyone their enjoyment of them. (As someone who relishes every silly minute of Spectral Evidence, I can hardly throw stones ...)

 

Mime isn't strictly necessary, but when it's done well (and when you've learned even a little bit of the language) it can be absolutely beautiful. A few years ago, The Dutch National Ballet produced a lovely mime "explainer" to accompany its new production of Sleeping Beauty and it was a real eye opener for me, at least. Alas, it doesn't appear to be available online (it's on the DVD).  PNB has a nice subtitled excerpt from Giselle. And this is just plain fun.

 

What I've finally wrapped my head around is the fact that an evening-length story ballet needs the changes in texture that mime, divertissements, and pageantry all offer. 

 

Thank you for sharing Kathleen!  I appreciate your insight and the comedy video is so cute.   Now that I think about it, I do like a lot of story ballets -- La Fille Mal Gardée was adorable, I had so much fun at Onegin, and La Sylphide grew on me the second time I saw it (as did Sleeping Beauty but I first saw the Ratmansky, then the Martins).  I've been trying to get to Midsummer's but the timing hasn't worked out yet.   And I'm a cliché but my favorite ballet is the Balanchine Nutcracker...but IMO this is very light on story and heavy on Tchaikovsky and dancing.  I think I have to reevaluate my stance!  It must be the Giselles, Don Qs, and Corsaires I grew up with that color my view.  

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31 minutes ago, Emma said:

 

Thank you for sharing Kathleen!  I appreciate your insight and the comedy video is so cute.   Now that I think about it, I do like a lot of story ballets -- La Fille Mal Gardée was adorable, I had so much fun at Onegin, and La Sylphide grew on me the second time I saw it (as did Sleeping Beauty but I first saw the Ratmansky, then the Martins).  I've been trying to get to Midsummer's but the timing hasn't worked out yet.   And I'm a cliché but my favorite ballet is the Balanchine Nutcracker...but IMO this is very light on story and heavy on Tchaikovsky and dancing.  I think I have to reevaluate my stance!  It must be the Giselles, Don Qs, and Corsaires I grew up with that color my view.  

 

Oh, it took me at least a decade to figure out how to watch a story ballet! In my early ballet-going years what I thought I wanted was all dancing all the time; since I'd cut my dance teeth on leotard Balanchine and Merce Cunningham, I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to clutter up a dance stage with all that other stuff. It took me a while to understand what the form's various conventions were and why they were important. 

 

By the way, I think one of the sweetest examples of mime is when the little Nutcracker Prince recounts his battle with the Mouse King to the Sugarplum Fairy and her court. A good Sugarplum makes sure we see that it's the most thrilling battlefield report she's ever received.

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19 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Mime isn't strictly necessary, but when it's done well (and when you've learned even a little bit of the language) it can be absolutely beautiful. A few years ago, The Dutch National Ballet produced a lovely mime "explainer" to accompany its new production of Sleeping Beauty and it was a real eye opener for me, at least. Alas, it doesn't appear to be available online (it's on the DVD).  PNB has a nice subtitled excerpt from Giselle. And this is just plain fun.

 

What I've finally wrapped my head around is the fact that an evening-length story ballet needs the changes in texture that mime, divertissements, and pageantry all offer. 

I've sometimes wondered why we haven't seen a production of one of the classics with supertitles that could explain the mime sequences in detail.  Hardcore balletomanes would object of course, but I think novice audiences would find the addition an ehancement.  You wouldn't have to explain to your friends ever again that Odette told Sigfried the story of the curse that she's under. :helpsmilie:

Edited by lmspear
Spell check changed mime to mine.

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The synopsis in the playbill tells the entire story.  No need for supertitles.  More informative would be some instruction on the meaning of certain gestures used in mime.  Certain gestures are clear enough even for the first timer, but many mime gestures do require explanation to be understood by the casual ballet fan.  I learned more about mime gestures a number of years ago at a pre performance lecture at ABT.  

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58 minutes ago, lmspear said:

I've sometimes wondered why we haven't seen a production of one of the classics with supertitles that could explain the mime sequences in detail.  Hardcore balletomanes would object of course, but I think novice audiences would find the addition an ehancement.  You wouldn't have to explain to your friends ever again that Odette told Sigfried the story of the curse that she's under. :helpsmilie:

 

A few years ago I took a cousin to what I think was his first ballet, the POB's Giselle. After the first act I apologized to him for not explaining the mime in advance, but he'd figured out most of it on his own. Later I heard from his horrified Wagnerite parents that he came home and declared that he preferred ballet to opera because, for one thing, he didn't have to spend the entire evening reading titles. He found the stage action self-explanatory. (Smart boy.)

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Wish I could make it down to NYC for her performance! I'll have to live vicariously through one of you all. 

 

I wonder what Andrew Veyette thought when he read that....

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It's great to read this piece. Her dancing has been on another level since On the Town and her split from Veyette. (The quality of his dancing, on the other hand, has waned.). More power to her!

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A French boyfriend, a fabulous apartment with stunning river views, and a STEM degree. This is like hitting the trifecta of 21st century glamour :wink:

 

In all seriousness, I'm (selfishly) most grateful for Fairchild's blossoming post-Broadway artistry, but I'm glad she's found joy in her personal life too. 

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12 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

 

A French boyfriend, a fabulous apartment with stunning river views, and a STEM degree. This is like hitting the trifecta of 21st century glamour :wink:

 

🙌🏻 Preach! 

 

No, I agree that it's quite refreshing to see her in such a happy, confident place. Being a longtime TMer myself, I can attest to the benefits it provides, especially that sense of inner calmness when anxiety is your go-to.

 

And isn't it funny how veering off the straight path to try something new on the side, however daunting, often ends up enhancing your life in unimaginable ways? Kudos to Megan! 

 

Can't wait to read everyone's takes on her and Tiler's debuts. 

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1 hour ago, 83firefly said:

And isn't it funny how veering off the straight path to try something new on the side, however daunting, often ends up enhancing your life in unimaginable ways? Kudos to Megan! 

 

Yes! You make a wonderful point.

 

I'm happy for her too!

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2 hours ago, canbelto said:

Has anyone seen Sterling or Ashley?

Wondering that myself. I'm going to see Ashley tomorrow afternoon. 

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I saw Ashley in dress rehearsal Tues but it was clear she wasn't 100%. She later posted on Instagram that she was battling a stomach flu.

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Will try to report more later after seeing last night and today matinee. What stands out most is how much I will miss Rebecca Krohn, who did the Russian dance today. I hope she is retiring because she wants a change. In terms of her dancing she is beautiful, committed and unaffected. And at the top of her game. I feel unready to see her leave. 

Also Robert Fairchild was and will be much missed. Catazaro is not ready to fill those shoes. Surely they should have given the opportunity to Amar Ramasar, a natural for Siegfried with his innate nobility. 

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On Thursday evening, Ashley Bouder was a cunning, seductive Odile. More importantly, she was impassioned and affecting as Odette. There were some mistakes; but there always practically are in this demanding dual role. What matters is that Bouder gave a committed, richly detailed, very moving performance. I wouldn’t underestimate an artist of her caliber in any part.

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I saw Zachary Catazaro's debut, with Sterling Hyltin. There were no major problems, but I was underwhelmed. Catazaro generally looks assured and danced well, and having his hair cut shorter makes him look more serious and adult. However, I find him lacking some quality of grandness or confidence - hard to define. I didn't feel Hyltin conveyed emotional depth. And they seem a mismatched pair, with him dancing on a large scale and her so thin and nervous-looking. 

At this same performance, Unity Phelan was lovely in the pas de trois. Emily Kikta brought tremendous panache to the Hungarian Dance, and somehow seems more grown up than when I last saw her. So great to see Adrian Danchig-Waring back!! He and Emilie Gerrity were very grand in the Russian Dance. Very glad to see Anthony Huxley back as well (subbing in the pas de quatre for injured Harrison Ball), although he seemed to struggle at times to keep up with the music, and may not be back at his previous level. Abi Stafford in the pas de quatre was delightful. I love her piquant charm and the splay of her fingers. Finally, Kennard Henson, who caught my eye as an apprentice last year, stands out for his elegant bearing. 

Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle in yesterday's matinee were as grand as you would expect. I loved it, although my partner felt the interpretation was "too Wagnerian." Joseph Gordon was Benno - he looked fantastic in his solos in the pas de trois. He has a very immediate, appealing, wide-open stage presence. Lauren King, Ashly Isaacs, and Indiana Woodward were all wonderful in the pas de quatre, with Woodward being especially scintillating. Lydia Wellington was beautiful and seductive in the Spanish Dance. However, I fear I will be disappointed in the Spanish Dance men forever, as no one can live up to the snap Taylor Stanley brought to the role. 

My partner, a professional musician, was critical of the playing in both performances. The percussion was murky rather than snappy in the Hungarian Dance, and the violin solos were unfortunate. (However, he hastens to add the NYCB orchestra is much better than ABT's.)

I won't be seeing Teresa Reichlen this time. Would love to hear any reports. 

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Does anyone currently dance the female lead in La Valse besides Sterling Hyltin? I notice on the current casting she's listed two nights in a row. Just curious. I've watched the Paris video a few times and feel like I might prefer to see someone else. Have never seen it live before, going later in the season.

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20 hours ago, cobweb said:

I saw Zachary Catazaro's debut, with Sterling Hyltin. ... So great to see Adrian Danchig-Waring back!! He and Emilie Gerrity were very grand in the Russian Dance. ...

I'm  perplexed that he and Ramasar neither don't have Siegfried in their rep.  Any insights?   

Edited by maps

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36 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Does anyone currently dance the female lead in La Valse besides Sterling Hyltin? I notice on the current casting she's listed two nights in a row. Just curious. I've watched the Paris video a few times and feel like I might prefer to see someone else. Have never seen it live before, going later in the season.

 

Sara Mearns also does it, I suspect she'll do the next week's La Valses as Sterling as dancing Duo Concertant in those programs.

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I was at the Bouder/Veyette matinee today. Ulbricht was in for Ball as the Jester. I wish Ball well but was delighted to see Ulbricht. He's been doing this role for 15 years and may be sick to death of it, but you'd never know it. He was wonderful technically and as a character. I always find him a very warm performer and super appealing.

 

I hadn't seen Bouder in this before and was nervous about her Odette. I needn't have been. She has transformed herself IMO when it comes to adagio movement. There was none of the quirky, staccato phrasing I was dreading. Not that I mind it (I love her Square Dance), but there was a time when that was her approach to all roles. I found her Odette quite musical, and full.

 

Black Swan was great (1 glitch in the variation when she seemed to want to to a triple attitude turn but baled out). Fouette turns great (I'm not turn counter. To me it's bars of music to be filled with turns and the exact number of turns can legitimately vary). She started with single, single, double with swan arms, moved to single, single, double with turn arms, then a few singles and a nice finish.

 

I think she as beautiful and tragic in the 4th act.

 

Veyette was fine dancing and partnering. I just don't find him a very warm or princely presence. Other men (DeLuz, and Cornejo come to mind) own the stage when the walk on, and you feel their royalty.

 

I didn't think much of Aaron Sanz in the pas de trois. His priority seemed to be showing his high arabesque. Not what I look for in a male dancer.

 

The Divertissement pas de quatre was on the whole good. Joseph Gorden seemed a bit rushed and nervous, but he has white tight potential. The women's variations are difficult and in a way thankless. There is one challenge after another with no pay off. Brittany Pollack and Megan LeCrone handled themselves admirably. Erica Perrera less so IMO.

 

On the whole I find the choreography a bit lacking in musicality. There is perhaps a resistance to go with the obvious phrasing but sometimes the obvious has the most emotional payoff.

 

I'd love to hear other reactions to this and other shows.

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8 hours ago, canbelto said:

 

Sara Mearns also does it, I suspect she'll do the next week's La Valses as Sterling as dancing Duo Concertant in those programs.

 

Thanks. Sterling seems to play her as a sort of debutante figure, which is totally a legit read on the role, and I suspect is the characterization Farrell initiated. But I suspect Tanny played her differently. I feel like Mearns could go either way. I thought she might be another who danced it. I'll be curious to see.

Edited by nanushka

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Thank you, Vipa, for your report of today's performance. I am pleased that Bouder was able to transform herself into the role, esp. the adagio. Yes I totally agree with you about Ullbricht, whom I loved in the jester role Tuesday evening. I think you nailed his appeal and strengths. I also have not been enamored of Veyette in a princely role. I'm glad you think Gordon has "white tight potential." I thought so too on his performance Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to Megan Fairchild's interpretation, esp. after the piece in the Times the other day. And of course, Tiler Peck. I wish I could be there for both of those evenings. I hope those of you who attend will report back in full!

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19 minutes ago, vipa said:

(I'm not turn counter. To me it's bars of music to be filled with turns and the exact number of turns can legitimately vary)

 

COMPLETELY agree. That's what matters to me too. That and musicality. I never count, just watch.

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