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2018 Spring Season

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I love reading all of your reviews, and since I finally made it back to the ballet after a long winter somewhere rural and cold, I thought I'd share my thoughts.

I'd never seen any of the ballets on last night's program and bought a ticket solely for the opportunity to see Tiler Peck dance Tschai Pas. She more than exceeded my already high expectations—she and De Luz danced the pas de deux beautifully and were so incredible in their variations. Perfection. 

I also am grateful for the opportunity to see Maria K at her finest twice in a week: first in Concerto Barocco and second in Apollo.  In fact, Maria K was so compelling in Apollo I forgot to pay attention to Apollo... Well Chase Finlay certainly had more energy in Apollo than in Agon two nights ago, but that really shouldn't have been hard. 

This was my second time seeing Agon—the first time I saw it I loved it; it was witty and edgy and the music and the dance acted as one. On Tuesday, it fell flat. There was no tension in the pas de deux. Reichlein appeared to bring some edge to her role, and she is so strong and has such control of her limbs, but Finlay brought nothing to the role. He's handsome. But he's edgeless. And his technique does not compensate for his lack of vibrancy.

On the flip side, I fell asleep the first time I saw 4Ts. On Tuesday, it was an entirely new ballet. Everyone danced with energy; the music was beautifully played. It was simply gorgeous. And Balanchine's brilliance sparkled. My only quibble is that Megan LeCrone, who entered strong as Choleric, lost her energy in the Coda(?) while dancing between Sara Mearns and Miriam Miller. Miller, on the other hand, kept up with Mearns—I was impressed.

I'd write more about Symph in 3 but I was in a post-Tschai Pas daze. I loved it and it was so fun to watch. I just can't say much more than that! 

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And for some corps dancer shout outs: Ashely Hod looked particularly lovely in Concerto Barocco. She moved her long arms with such grace. And Emma Von Enck handled her belt mishap with perfection. She was dancing in that sequence with such lovely energy, but then I noticed some strings around her waist. And then her belt fell. And it was so funny, but as you can see in the video, she handled it perfectly. Had I not already been watching her I doubt I'd have noticed.

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Posted (edited)

Forgot to mention that I loved Miriam Miller in the third theme of 4T's.  More please.

Looking at the casting for the next few weeks makes me realize the abundance of talent in the company.  Very much looking forward to seeing important debuts for Phelan, Gerrity and others.

A few bold face names are missing from upcoming casting:  Harrison Ball, Ashly Isaacs and Georgina Paz.  Are they all on the injured list?

correction: I see Georgina is doing West Side Story next week.  Glad to see her back on stage.

Edited by abatt

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Posted (edited)

Last night gave me a headache because I loved it so much and got too overwhelmed with happiness and excitement.

This was the second time I've seen Apollo live (the first was last season with Adrian D-W, Tiler, Indiana Woodward, and Ashly Isaacs) and I enjoyed it much more this time -- maybe due to the cast, or maybe just my more seasoned eyes. Echoing others above, Maria K was the highlight for me too. She seemed to me to be dancing just a hair's breadth ahead of the music -- something I've read about Balanchine preferring but had never noticed in person before. I've watched the recording of Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins doing the Apollo pdd more times than I care to admit, and Maria last night showed glimmers of a similar musicality to Suzanne's. There were moments where it took my breath away. Chase was admirable, but I was so close in the orchestra that his exertion was noticeable. However, overall I found him convincingly "godlike." Sara and Tess were like forces of nature.

I liked Le Tombeau de Couperin, but admittedly couldn't focus well on the choreography because one dancer kept drawing my attention -- an uncredited Eliza Blutt, I later learned. Despite a small bobble on the final lift, her crisp, high jumps, stretched arabesques, and overall perfumed, slightly mysterious aura throughout the entire performance kept drawing my eye, even when I momentarily lost her amongst the shifting corps. I look forward to seeing more of her!

Of course, THAT Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux was the highlight of the evening. As soon as Tiler and Joaquin made their first entrance, the energy in the audience heightened. Tiler and Joaquin dialed up the adrenaline to eleven -- even by their already impossible standards! -- casually tossing off multiple fouettes in her case and blasting through show-stopping jump after show-stopping jump in his. And then the fish dives! They were the most daring that I have ever seen, live or in recording, and the daredevil "Are we really getting away with this? Let's go for it!" thrill was evident on their faces. I will fondly remember this performance for awhile. 😍 I hope they perform it together this fall before he retires -- I'd trade my hypothetical first-born child for a seat to that performance if it came to that. 😅

Symphony in Three Movements, unfortunately, is just not my cup of tea. Maybe it's more cohesive seen from a higher perspective, but I have seen it from the orchestra twice now and it's too busy for me. Like others, I have not especially enjoyed Savannah Lowery recently but she did get through this ballet fine. Sterling continues to become clearer, sharper and more musical, and Erica Pereira has been more pleasing lately too.

All in all, it was a wonderful night at the ballet. Thank goodness our beloved NYCB is back.

 

Edited by mille-feuille

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Emma:  "And for some corps dancer shout outs: Ashely Hod looked particularly lovely in Concerto Barocco."


Ashley Hod is one of my very favorites.   I'm hoping to see her more often and in soloist and principal roles.
If you ever see Ashley Hod cast for Dewdrop, don't miss her.  She not only has gorgeous lines, but her jumps
are big and spring with such lightness and sparkle.  She has danced this role in Nutcracker at least a couple of
times now, also Sugar Plum.  In Barocco, I'd have loved to see her paired with Laracey in the leads..... 

I can dream....

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Posted (edited)

I was there on opening night, and I completely agree about the magnificence and beauty of Maria Kowroski in Concerto Barocco. I am charmed by her address to the audience and dazzled by the completeness of her authority onstage. She and Janzen looked wonderful together, secure and touching. I look forward to seeing much more of her this season, and more of this pairing. On the other hand, disagreeing with some others here, I did not care for Miriam Miller in the third theme of Agon. I find both her and Ashley Hod uninteresting - lacking in some extra quality, a sense of depth and richness. Corps ladies who I find more interesting and that I'd like to see getting more opportunities are LaFreniere, Kikta, and E. von Enck. ETA: ... and of course, Lydia Wellington. 

Edited by cobweb

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Posted (edited)

I also loved Kowroski in Concerto Barocco, and look forward to seeing her in Apollo later this week. But what I am most looking forward to is her Agon pdd with Tyler Angle. Reichlin & Finlay just didn't do it for me. Yes, Reichlin creates some amazing, extreme shapes but she & Finlay were just so bland, there was no sexual tension at all. 

Kowroski, in addition to the beauty of her form and unbelievably secure presentation of all those killer moves has absolutely sizzled in the past with Ramasar and then D-W. Hopefully it will be the same with Angle. 

ETA: Count me into the Miller fan club. i think she shows loads of potential and I could barely take my eyes off of her in the last movement of 4Ts.  

Edited by nysusan

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Among other choice roles, each of the three distinguished tall blonde principals of the company—Maria Kowroski, Sara Mearns and Teresa Reichlen—has performed the respective female lead in Diamonds, Symphony in C and Prodigal Son. Each has been featured in one of the three ballets comprising the first of two all-Balanchine programs of the spring: Kowroski in Concerto Barocco; Reichlen in Agon; Mearns in The Four Temperaments (the first two are scheduled to switch roles for the next two presentations of this program, and the last is to be replaced by Emilie Gerrity). Seeing all three perform together in the seminal Apollo during the second all-Balanchine program was nothing short of incredibly marvelous!

Nevertheless, Apollo is such an amazing work and the other six ballerinas cast during the 2017-18 Season are so talented that watching the ballet recently has been a grand experience. The precise way the women were split into three groups (for a total—ironically—of nine muses) was impeccable! Three other "muses" that deserve to be seen in future performances are Ashley Laracey, Brittany Pollack and Unity Phelan.

Favorable impressions by a particular dancer on a viewer at the ballet are achieved through a unique amalgam which includes both artistry and the physical characteristics of a person. As the comments above attest, Kowroski has displayed plentiful artistry this week. The striking individual quality and beauty of her extensions, seen abundantly in both Concerto Barocco and Apollo, however, are partly attributable to the exact shape and proportionality of her long limbs. If there ever was a ballerina who should be described as being slender as opposed to thin it is Kowroski. (Since Abi Stafford has a different body type, incidentally, the pairing in Concerto was asymmetrical.)

A performance of Agon with Reichlen and Laracey in the cast—despite any detracting partnering issues involving the former—cannot be dull. From the moment casting was announced, the upcoming performance of Concerto with these two has been one of the most anticipated items on the calendar.

Balanchine’s singular, wondrous choreography for the female corps in The Four Temperaments is a main reason why this ballet—a leading gateway for new dancers into the company, and the collective mind and heart of the audience—is not wearying after numerous viewings. Furthermore, Mearns performs her role in this with an ease and authority which negate the thought that there ever existed a time during which she had to learn it.

On Wednesday evening, Sterling Hyltin seemingly picked up where she left off during the winter and gave another polished, commanding performance in Symphony in Three Movements.

To the accolades about that evening's Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux I will only add my continuing personal wonderment regarding Tiler Peck's dominion over the dimensions of time and space during a ballet's duration, her tremendous musicality and her infallible artistic instincts.

 

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To whoever designed tonight’s program at NYCB —thank you. It may be hard to go wrong with all Balanchine, but this program, in particular, offered every imaginable delight from the most cerebral to the giddiest...It has already been reviewed (at least another evening’s performance) above...As discussed, the program was bookended by two ballets that speak to each other in countless ways—Apollo, Balanchine’s earliest preserved work to Stravinsky and Symphony in Three Movements, one of his latest and most sizzling—and had, in the middle, Tombeau de Couperin and Tchaikovsky pas de deux (w. Bouder and De Luz). It was especially wonderful to see the former with some memories of Gounod Symphony as staged by Farrell still in my memory, as Tombeau’s kaleidoscopic ensemble game of London Bridge recalls moments from the wonderful ensembles of the Gounod. Or so it seemed to me. 

The performances I saw were excellent almost without exception, and any number of dancers could be singled out for praise. Perhaps I will try to write about more of them later, but to restrict myself to one for now — and since it’s her last season with the company—  I’ll just mention the power, exuberance, and musical energy of Savannah Lowery in Symphony in Three Movements. But it was a terrific evening across the board ... (And shout out to nysusan whom it’s always a pleasure to see when I come to New York...and others I had an opportunity to meet or re-meet.)

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I alternate between Kelly green with envy and total joy reading about these programs.

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I too am enjoying the all-Balanchine programs... and taking in as many performances as I can, given that my interest in the rest of the season is more selective. On Thursday night, Kowroski, Stafford, Janzen, and corps delivered another beautiful performance of Concerto Barocco. Stafford charming and engaging, Kowroski majestic, and Janzen an attentive, noble, self-effacing partner. The slide-to-arabesque penche sequence was like a sudden and astounding flowering. In Agon, Reichlen seems to be working hard to bring the needed intensity and sizzle, but she and Finlay don't have a ton of chemistry, and they don't seem to have the choreography in their bones in the same intuitive way that, say, Kowroski and Ramasar do. Hoping (expecting!) for a lot better from Kowroski and Tyler Angle at today's matinee. The Four Temperaments - wow, just what a great, great piece. I'm really missing Emilie Gerrity in the third theme - I find her way, way more grand than Miriam Miller, and way more musical. Miller looks like she's doing the steps, while Gerrity makes it seem organic. But again - what a great, great piece. 

As Drew said above, last night's program was a delight. It was an all-star cast of Apollo, featuring three of the company's august female principals, Kowroski, Mearns, and Reichlen, along with Chase Finlay. And I agree with Drew about Savannah Lowery; I don't get all the criticism of her. She's not light or delicate in any way; her strength rather is in power, blazing force, musicality, and a confidence in stagecraft that seems to come from her many years of experience.  And as always, I loved Taylor Stanley in Symphony in 3. I can never get enough of his electric presence. 

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Posted (edited)

Laracey’s debut in Concerto Barocco this afternoon seemed to me everything her admirers —including myself —might have hoped for ... and more. Just a beautiful performance. 

The program as a whole - Concerto Barocco, Agon, and Four Temperaments - was a bracing reminder to me of what I miss by living so far away from this company and how much I would like to be able to absorb and enjoy these ballets (and many others the company dances) regularly in live performance. But I will translate that into a reminder of how lucky I am to be able to see them at all! 

Among the other dancers I saw this afternoon  I’ll mention Kowroski in Agon, who managed to look utterly poised and yet still conveyed the ballet’s sense of risk and Huxley’s Melancholic in Four Temperaments which seemed to me richer, more subtle, more fluid than when I saw him dance the role roughly a year ago in D.C. Another beautiful performance.

 

Edited by Drew
Typos/grammar

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1 hour ago, Drew said:

Laracey’s debut in Concerto Barocco this afternoon seemed to me everything her admirers —including myself —might have hoped for ... and more. Just a beautiful performance. 

The program as a whole - Concerto Barocco, Agon, and Four Temperaments - was a bracing reminder to me of what I miss by living so far away from this company and how much I would like to be able to absorb and enjoy  these ballets (and many others the company dances) regularly in live performance. But I will translate that into a reminder of how lucky I am to be able to see them at all! 

Among the other dancers I saw this afternoon  I’ll mention Kowroski in Agon, who managed to look utterly poised yet still convey the ballet’s sense of risk iand Huxley’s Melancholic in Four Temperaments which seemed to me richer, more subtle, more fluid than when I saw him dance the role roughly a year ago in D.C. Another beautiful performance.

 

I second everything Drew said. Laracey seems to grow more beautiful with each performance. I think she is principal material. 

I have to say a word about my seat before mentioning any other dancers. I decided very last minute to go, and at about noon looked online for a seat. Rows A & B in the fourth ring were for sale. I bought a ticket right in the center of row A. I happen to love that seat. I arrived and was alone, literally. Row A was empty except for me & Row B was empty. Row C onwards were not fully lit. No tickets had been on sale. After Concerto Barocco, a woman came over and said she'd been in a partial view seat, she sat down at the end of row B. After Agon a couple came over (I don't know from where) pointed to a couple of seats, 2 seats down from me and said "Is anyone sitting here?"  I just said "Welcome to my row." I mean the whole row was empty! This is crazy, is it not? If NYCB is going to open up part of the 4th ring, they should have a way of announcing it AND sell them at a discount. They could have filled those rows.

BUT it was a lovely show and gave me much hope for NYCB's future. Ashley Hod was in all three ballets, including Gaillard in Agon with Unity Phelan. Quite good I thought. Emilie Gerrity did Sanguinic in 4 t's with Catazaro. The part can be treacherous, but she did it with joyful exuberance. 

Reichlin in Barocco & Kowroski in Agon were the only women from the principal ranks. The others were soloists and corps. To me that says a lot about the company.

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Just seconding Drew and Vipa: Laracey was absolutely lovely, lovely, lovely as the second ballerina in Concerto Barocco this afternoon! I simply cannot say enough good things about her dancing today. It more than lived up to the promise of her lyrical, luminous Winter season performance in Divertimento No. 15. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Ashley Laracey was the very essence of radiance and poetry. Her special beauty strikes me at such a deep level that it's hard to put into words. An absolutely lovely performance. And Barocco overall is just the perfect embodiment of music. So moving. 

I had complained about Emilie Gerrity no longer doing the third theme of 4T's, but now I see why... she debuted in Sanguinic. Pretty exciting, I thought. Grand and committed. Her promotion to soloist took me by surprise, but I've become a fan. 

Further thought about Savannah Lowery, comparing her with Megan LeCrone in the second pas de trois of Agon. Saw Lowery on Thursday, and LeCrone today. Both did well overall. But Lowery is more exciting. A small detail that made a big impact is when the the woman and two men enter, explode with energy around the stage, then come to a halt stage right, and the woman takes the hand of one man, then puts her hand down on the other guy's hand - hope I'm describing this moment so it can be recognized - Lowery gave that second hand lowering just the right timing and gesture to dramatically punctuate the music, giving me a thrilling jolt. LeCrone fudged it so it wasn't a moment you'd even notice. 

Anthony Huxley was thrilling in Melancholic, and Russell Janzen gave an intelligent rendition of Phlegmatic. It was as if you could see Phlegmatic thinking and translating his thought into his gestures. The backup ladies of Phlegmatic have been exciting as well. More of Emily Kikta and her long legs, please. 

I wasn't planning to go on Wednesday... but just called the box office. Have to see Laracey again. 

Edited by cobweb
wrong date

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2 hours ago, cobweb said:

 

 A small detail that made a big impact is when the the woman and two men enter, explode with energy around the stage, then come to a halt stage right, and the woman takes the hand of one man, then puts her hand down on the other guy's hand - hope I'm describing this moment so it can be recognized - Lowery gave that second hand lowering just the right timing and gesture to dramatically punctuate the music, giving me a thrilling jolt. LeCrone fudged it so it wasn't a moment you'd even notice. 

 

I noticed that too

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As my visit to NY was coming to its end, I had been thinking of Saturday night’s performance as a light desert to the Balanchine main course that was the purpose of the trip. But it turned out something more, and I left the theater beside myself with excitement at the spectacular dancing in Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in which Hyltin, T. Peck, and Mearns outdid themselves — which scarcely seems possible in the case of the last two especially. And they did it alongside some terrific performances from the rest of the cast: Stafford, Kretzschmar, Stanley, Sanz, T. Angle, Catazaro, (replacing Veyette) and Gordon. (Gordon’s dancing in Agon at the matinee along with his dancing tonight in the Ratmansky was another highlight of my visit. He makes Ratmansky’s twists and turns look like the most natural thing in the world...and the same for Balanchine’s modernist baroque. This is in part, I think, because of the way he dances with his whole body.)

 This is my second time seeing Pictures at an Exhibition and though, for my taste, it flags a bit in one of the ensembles towards the end—I believe I am thinking of the section called Catacombs—tonight’s performance absolutely convinced me it is a major work.  Plus my jaw was on the floor watching Hyltin, Mearns, and Peck...The Walker Dance Odyssey and Justin Peck Year of the Rabbit, which respectively opened and closed the program, also showcased some excellent performances. I notice that Dance Odyssey channels Swan Lake when one of the male soloists goes looking for his partner (T. Peck) among the ensemble and again at the close when a lyrical, long skirted Laracey exits at the end of a pas de deux with her back to the audience, bouree-ing sideways into the wings, not quite rippling her arms, while her partner looks longingly after her. Let’s just say I’m now more than ready to see the magical Laracey dance Odette for real.

I saw more performances worthy of note over the last two days than those I have mentioned. If the dancers of New York City Ballet had been deliberately trying to show the world that they can rise above any institutional uncertainty, then I hardly think they could have made the point more effectively than by the way they danced these performances. Bravo to all of them.

Edited by Drew

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What a magnificent week this has been for NYCB and its dancers, especially the three ballerinas in Apollo: Maria Kowroski, Sara Mearns and Teresa Reichlen! 

The sublime harmony, correspondence and beauty in the looks and movements of Reichlen and Ashley Laracey, combined with Balanchine’s glorious choreography for the corps and Bach’s inspired music made Saturday afternoon’s performance of Concerto Barocco … celestial!

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Mikhail Baryshnikov is coaching Other Dances:

 

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15 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Mikhail Baryshnikov is coaching Other Dances:

 

Who will walk through the doors next? Suzanne Farrell? 🤞

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Wow, I didn't think Baryshnikov did any coaching - at any company.

Concerto Barocco is one of my favorite ballets and is my favorite by Balanchine. I have loved it since I was a young ballet student. It's the perfect marriage of choreography and music and if I could go back in time and perform one ballet, I think this would be it. So, it was thrilling to watch Laracey's debut - spritely, confident and full of attack. I liked her better than Reichlen actually, who needed a better partner than la Cour; he struggled with the consecutive lifts on the diagonal, barely getting her above his chest at the end. My only critique of Laracey would be that I wish she had more forward reach with her arm and upper body during the backwards-sliding arabesques during the opening sequence. 

I thought Angle did a fine job in his debut in Agon and the prickly plunging arabesque was done well despite some arm straining. But, he always looks out of shape to me. Kowroski is strong as steel; my goodness was she gorgeous. Coll and Gordon were the other standouts. 

Four Temperaments was all about Huxley. His Melancholic was expansive, lush, with gorgeous backbends. It was nice to finally see Miller after reading so much about her; she's lovely and her potential is clear. Simultaneously, having her on stage with Lowery was an interesting contrast. After reading so much about Lowery on this site I can understand why some folks do not care for her; she's a different sort of ballet dancer. But, in this piece I thought her strength, boldness, and uniqueness was well suited. 

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I agree with everyone about Saturday's matinee being a wonderful performance.   The dancing was all first rate from corps to principal roles.

Concerto Barocco is one of my favorites, and it was danced superbly by principals and corps.  Tess was perfection dancing with precision and musicality to this gorgeous piece of music.  And it was no surprise that Ashley Laracey really held her own.

Maria Kowroski was born to dance Agon.  She was positively breathtaking.  Balanchine would have had a field day choreographing for her.  She was partnered by T. Angle who looked a little weightier than usual, especially next to the other male dancers.   That being said, the performance was terrific. 

The 4 T's ended the program and was also danced to perfection, by a mixture of principal and corps dancers. 

I've still got Bach's Double Violin Concerto going through my head.....

 

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On 4/26/2018 at 8:04 AM, mille-feuille said:

Last night gave me a headache because I loved it so much and got too overwhelmed with happiness and excitement. 

May we all have such wonderful audience problems!

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Was anyone there today to see Sara M. and Tyler A. in their Tchai Pas debuts (well, NY debut for him)?  By the look of the curtain call on Sara's Instastories, the applause was thunderous!

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55 minutes ago, Jacqueline said:

Was anyone there today to see Sara M. and Tyler A. in their Tchai Pas debuts (well, NY debut for him)?  By the look of the curtain call on Sara's Instastories, the applause was thunderous!

Fabulous! Tremendous energy, speed and verve. Of course they are always great together and complement each other well. Mearns was electric and dazzling. Despite needing to lose a few pounds, Tyler hit every jump easily and was fluid and made his solos look easy. He's still got it, in my opinion. The highlight was the end--two glorious fish dives that left the audience gasping. I was sitting in row B of the orchestra and Sarah's face was luminous, while dancing and in multiple curtain calls. The audience did not want to stop clapping. And she looked so incredibly happy with their performance. Btw, the rest of the program was terrific too. Will post on this later.

 

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