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Birdsall

MCB's Jewels October 2017

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Last night I saw Miami City Ballet's Opening Night Jewels (and opening of their season)......I was hoping to see similarities to NYCB's Jewels since MCB is a sort of daughter of that company! And I feel I did see just that but with a slight Miami flavor.

 

Tricia Albertson showed off gorgeous flowing arms in Emeralds which highlighted the lush music of Faure wonderfully. I loved every movement she made. Her off balance balances were great showing off good Balanchine style too. Rainer Krenstetter partnered her wonderfully. Emily Bromberg also had nice arms and did the "clock" movements well (not sure if that is what they are called but it always reminds me of a clock.....maybe passage of time?)......Emeralds can be the most boring of the 3 Jewels ballets, but it was not boring at all. I was mesmerized. It was a perfect welding of the music and movements that kept my attention, and I noticed that the corps was fast when speeding past each other like NYCB.

 

Renan Cerdeiro partnered Bromberg, and both were great together. I never saw them paired and I thought it was a good pairing. Nathalia Arja, Shimon Ito, and Ashley Knox were all great in the trio......this Emeralds was actually fun and exciting.

 

Katia Carranza (returning to the company this season) and Renato Penteado danced the couple in Rubies, and Penteado is always a wonderful dancer. Carranza was also very good, and they both had great charisma together. To me they brought a slight extra Latin pizzazz to Rubies that worked well since it is so jazzy and playful. Maybe it wasn't Latin, rather just slight spiciness.

 

Jordan-Elizabeth Long came on like a femme fatale as the Tall Girl in Rubies, and I personally loved it. Her high attitudes were amazing, especially with those long legs. After one high attitude it did look like she almost fell out of it, but she recovered instantaneously. There was a slight wobble at one of the penchees as she left the stage (after the guys rotate her legs), but after that stretch I don't blame her. It must be so tiring. Those are minor quibbles. I loved her as the Tall Girl. She reminded me of Tess Reichlen, who I saw in the role at NYCB, but with a more femme fatale personality.

 

So, after an exciting Emeralds and a fun Rubies, I was waiting for Diamonds with Simone Messmer and Jovani Furlan. Expectations were high. Although I liked what I saw I felt Diamonds was the weakest link, since the whole company seemed less energetic in Diamonds. Maybe it was an artistic choice (trying to play up the regal Russian style). I am not sure. But when I saw several Jewels at NYCB I was wowed by the speed and excitement that company brought to Diamonds. Nothing Messmer or Furlan did was wrong or bad. In fact, they were pretty good. In the past I have not quite understood why Lourdes Lopez seems to cast Messmer as if she were the company's Lopatkina. I have considered her mannered in the past (acting like a Russian prima ballerina without the goods to back it up), but tonight she seemed to act more like herself (like a regular person) and not as if she were trying to be something she is not, so I actually liked her a LOT better than I used to. I did wish for more speed in the chaine turns during the coda. Mearns at NYCB does the chaine turns at an incredible speed. However, Messmer was both regal and down-to-earth (if that makes sense). It was the right amount of woman as opposed to swan, right amount of regal movement without seeming pretentious. I liked her performance but it didn't knock my socks off. But I look forward to seeing her again now. I used not want to. I think she is getting better. I hear that Furlan was promoted to Principal, and he did look very princely and partnered very well. The audience loved him. The company needs a tall, strong partner. I do think he and Messmer look good together. He had a couple of sloppy landings that should have ended in fifth, but even the best male dancers can mess that up. Overall, I have always been impressed with his dancing.

 

Anyway, I was glad I drove down to Miami to see this. I had to brave horrendous traffic and an accident that slowed things down. My partner and I drove to Jupiter to meet movers to move my parents' belongings up to Gainesville, and I saw that I could catch Jewels. In high school and college it was nothing to drive from Jupiter to Miami, but times have changed. The drive is HORRENDOUS! So won't be going tonight (I am back in Jupiter). I usually catch MCB during their West Palm Beach shows (20 minutes from my parents' house which is about to sell). Last night was sort of a "Goodbye" to MCB as my "sort of" official local company b/c I used to see all their shows. I probably won't anymore unless it is one I don't want to miss. I will also probably fly to West Palm or Miami for a show instead of driving from now on, since I will no longer have a home base and so I will book a hotel and fly and use uber to get around.

 

The only really bad thing about MCB's Jewels are the backdrops. I didn't mind that the LED lights were simply green against a black backdrop during Emeralds. In fact, it sort of looked nice. They were red in Rubies but then turned into a tawdry dance hall or night club or whatever. Frankly, I don't know what it was supposed to be, but, in my opinion, it looked dumb. Then, in Diamonds it started as just white LED lights but then in the middle suddenly there was a chandelier made out of the LED lights, and I thought that was not very elegant looking. Little did I know it would get worse and become a wreath of chandeliers made out of the LED lights. It looked comical in fact. If Diamonds were a comedy it would be great. Thankfully, I care more about the dancing than the sets so it did not ruin the ballet at all. However, if I were a huge donor to MCB I would be lobbying big time for new backdrops for Jewels. Lopez is not afraid to bring in new productions (she did an underwater Midsummer and is bringing in a brand new production of Nutcracker), so next time she presents Jewels she should present it in a brand new production. I think I would have preferred a solid black backdrop for all three ballets rather than the LED lights.

 

 

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Sounds like an excellent performance. I feel that when it is done right Emeralds is anything but boring, and it sounds like this performance had the needed qualities.

 

I would live to see Miami City Ballet in Jewels ... or anything. 

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I saw Miami City Ballet perform Jewels on Friday and then on Saturday. I agree with Birdsall that Emeralds was particularly excellent on Friday night, and that Tricia Albertson was very notable in her solo. I also just love Shimon Ito whenever I see him dance — he had such smooth landing in his jumps on Friday. I was sitting very close to the stage (far to the side) and you couldn't hear a thing when landed. He's very graceful all around.

 

Furlan and Messmer did well in Diamonds on Friday, and congratulations on Furlan for his promotion. But the cast of Diamonds on Saturday night, with Cerdeiro and Carranza, was the phenomenal one. Their pas de deux was excellent, and Cerdeiro was just perfect in the third movement solos. His double tours were a thing of beauty - no fumbling, no correction, just 720 degrees of awesome. The turns in second over the violin bariolage were also great. But more than that, he just radiated charisma throughout the ballet. Carranza didn't seem quite like a Balanchine dancer to me. Her quick movements weren't articulated enough for that, but she still put in a lovely performance in Diamonds, and did better in Rubies the night before.  

 

I'm looking forward to seeing the company again in December for Nutcracker and then again in January. It's nice to see them looking this good, even with the departure of the Delgados. 

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I saw two performances in Broward. Mind me...I did so right after watching the regal, svelte, quasi military -formed ladies of the Mariinsky in "Bayadere", so yes...my appreciation of the Miamian "Diamonds" this time has been certainly molded after subjectivity with the Russian troupe as a backdrop of memories. Out of the two performances what I remember the most is how much more appreciation I have now for "Rubies", after seeing it wonderfully danced by veteran Tricia Albertson, who seems to be reinvigorating herself as she gets older instead of slowing down, partnered by a fantastic Kleber Rebello, one of my ever favorite dancers of all times-(as seen live, I mean).  My last "Jewels" I had seen was at the Mariinsky in SP, and although their "Diamonds" was, of course, impressive, their "Rubies" was not particularly brilliant.  Well...it was quite the opposite here with MCB. 

I really had never cared too much for "Emeralds".  No matter where do I see it-(I've seen it live by NYCB, MCB and MB)-I always find it soporiferous.  It never fails to puts me to sleep, and this time wasn't the exception.

As I say...I found "Diamonds" this time less regal or "Petipaesque" than my last one seen in SP.  MCB is a company of VERY short dancers-(Jordan Elizabeth Long and Callie Manning are the two very exceptions, and that's mainly the reason for which they always land parts sans partners). That said...I appreciate their efforts at this Balanchinean's tribute to his memories of the Imperial Ballet's classical white acts, but this is a part that I definitely prefer seeing the Russians do.  One little detail I observed during "Diamonds" is that, given that the company uses the original Karinska's designs, the white tutus for the corps are those droppy numbers that sort of shorten even more the small frame of the Miamian girls. 

From the two couples I saw in "Diamonds", I liked Katia Karranza partnered by Renan Cerdeiro much more than Lauren Fadeley/Chase Swatosh.  On a side note...Fadeley, as the "Tall Girl" the first night, looked heavy.

 

 

 

 

 

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I am in West Palm Beach and caught two performances of MCB's Jewels. As noted above I saw their Opening Night Jewels about a month ago in Miami, so I will call that the first cast (and that same cast was West Palm's first cast, although I couldn't make that performance on this past Friday).

Last night's Emeralds was decent but somehow not as exciting as the first cast (in Miami). I usually like Jennifer Lauren a lot, but last night I felt like she did not have that little reckless abandon that you can sometimes find in Balanchine dancers due to the forward momentum of their off balance balances. I thought Tricia Albertson was more exciting back in October in the same role. Simone Messmer was a decent seconda donna.....Chase Swatosh and Jovani Furlan partnered them respectively well. The trio was Samantha Hope Galler, Harrison Monaco, and Nicole Stalker, and I enjoyed all of them.

Rubies showcased Tricia Albertson and Kleber Rebello, two of MCB's best dancers, in my opinion. They danced the couple in Rubies, and I loved them. They brought the most excitement of the evening last night. I was disappointed in Lauren Fadeley's Tall Girl. She was the All-American Big Smiling Girl in this role. I much preferred Jordan-Elizabeth Long in that same role. She was more of a femme fatale and her high attitudes were amazing. I feel that Fadeley's high attitudes were forced. I just think that this is not the role for her, and I enjoyed her much more in Diamonds in today's matinee. More on that below.

Katia Carranza and Renan Cerdeiro were great in Diamonds, although I thought he was excellent and she was very decent.

Basically, this 2nd cast that I saw last night seemed decent but not a top notch cast except Albertson and Rebello and Cerdeiro......I feel those three were the most exciting.

Today's matinee felt much more exciting and "on" than last night's performance. i think MCB does Emeralds and Rubies about as good as NYCB, but their Diamonds is not quite there yet.

In Emeralds today I saw Ashley Knox and Reyneris Reyes as the main couple. Reyes looks in better form than in the recent past, and he partnered Ashley Knox as if she were light as a feather, and she was a very pleasant surprise for me. I thought she had lovely arms and an overall elegance and "perfume" to her dancing. I haven't noticed her that much in the past (I don't think she gets many lead roles at MCB), but I would like to see her again. Jordan-Elizabeth Long and Ariel Rose were the second couple, and I enjoyed both of them. I wondered why I had never heard of Ariel Rose. He is in the corps de ballet, but he got a lead role today, b/c he might be one of the only male dancers who can partner the very tall Long. Both were great. Ellen Grocki, Damian Zamorano, and Leanna Rinaldi were also good as the trio.

I always love Nathalia Arja. Her exuberance is contagious, and she always gives her all from what I have seen. She and Alexander Peters were the couple in Rubies. I think Arja might have the easiest high extensions in the entire company. She was really fun to watch. Peters was a good partner, but he looks very small. I think Arja is already small, and they looked the same height when she wasn't on pointe. That might limit his future casting. Christie Sciturro was a great Tall Girl! She also played it like a femme fatale sort of like Long did in the first cast. Her high attitudes were beautiful!

After seeing Fadeley in Rubies last night I had my doubts about her dancing Diamonds, but she proved me wrong. I think she did a great job, and out of the 3 casts I saw she did the chaine turns after her variation the fastest which is more like how NYCB dancers do it. She also turned off the All American Girl Smile and was able to convey elegance. So I think her Rubies was a case of miscasting. She was much, much better in Diamonds. Chase Swatosh partnered her well.

Overall, I enjoyed MCB's Jewels. They are a great Balanchine company. I think Diamonds might stretch them a bit thin (it is a much smaller company than NYCB), but they did an admirable job even so. I would gladly see them do Jewels again in a few years (possibly).......they shouldn't wait so long to do it again!

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"I was disappointed in Lauren Fadeley's Tall Girl. She was the All-American Big Smiling Girl in this role. I much preferred Jordan-Elizabeth Long in that same role. She was more of a femme fatale "  That's a distinction that we saw here in Seattle as well -- we've had several dancers approach this part like a cheerleader, but I like to see the connections with Choleric and the Siren in Prodigal, where they use their height as power.

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