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jessa_sissonne

Nutcracker 2017

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3 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Watts was a very good Dewdrop. She was good in a lot of stuff, and some of that stuff was roles that one mightn't have expected to suit her talents, such as Midsummer's Divertissement pas de deux. (I certainly preferred her to Merrill Ashley in that role.) Like Kistler, she was allowed to dance for too long, and her final years tarnished how we tend to remember her.

You likely saw her more than I. I remember her as a very quirky dancer even in her early career; sometimes to the point of affectation.  Rather sensual too (which I liked). Certainly a dancer one could only picture as a ballerina at New York City Ballet--which is not true of Peck.  At Watts' best, her distinctiveness really worked for her--I thought she was fabulous in Martins' work. I know there are people who probably think Calcium Night Light is still his best ballet--it's certainly my most cherished Heather Watts memory. But to me, in any case, she seemed always at the far end of the spectrum from anything like Peck's clean effortlessness. I do remember Watts as one of the company's distinctive, interesting dancers; I do not remember her as one of its greats. But...well, others may have a fuller picture.

In any case, coaches are not supposed to create mimics, and maybe Watts is a great coach. However, I have seen for myself (unfortunately not often) what Farrell can do as a coach. I had, in fact, and decades ago, mostly  dropped the "bring Farrell" back mantra, because...well...it's Peter Martins' company and he is doing or has done great things with it. And if Farrell and he can't work together, then they can't work together. But I must admit, if Heather Watts is now coaching dancers at NYCB and, as on another thread, people are contemplating her possible return to the company should Martins depart...then I think I'm resuming the Farrell mantra. (The prominence of Watts in speculative conversation about the future of the company has genuinely caught me by surprise which has perhaps made me harsher than I ought to have been.)

Edited by Drew
missing word

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3 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Watts was a very good Dewdrop. She was good in a lot of stuff, and some of that stuff was roles that one mightn't have expected to suit her talents, such as Midsummer's Divertissement pas de deux.

I know I saw her Dewdrop and liked it enough, but she danced the best Midsummer Night's Dream Divertissement I've ever seen -- I think it was with Soto -- and she was stunning in the Hayden/McBride role in "Liebeslieder Walzer."  (I saw her with Bart Cook.)  She was also perfect in the role that Balanchine created for her in "Davidsbundlertanze."  Known as a leotard ballet dancer, her best roles were softer, yet dramatic, in my opinion, and I saw her in everything she danced in the '80's into the mid-'90's.

I don't think I've ever seen a dancer with a stronger core.  In that PBS broadcast of Martins works -- it included the Beethoven with Nichols/Luders, Valse Triste with McBride/Andersen, Barber Violin Concerto, and, Farrell in Sophisticated Lady -- she danced the central pas de deux of "Ecstatic Orange" with Jock Soto, and even in the extreme close-ups, she showed no work or struggle at all in any of the lifts and manipulations, and Soto wasn't muscling her in any way.  It was so quiet, and I was astonished every time I re-watched it.

Unfortunately, she, like Kistler, became a mediocre Martins dancer over time, and he fossilized her mannerisms in his leotard ballets, and then seemed to me to try to force most of his other dancers into that mold.

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35 minutes ago, Drew said:

But I must admit, if Heather Watts is now coaching dancers at NYCB

I could certainly be wrong, but I had the impression that Ms Watts was coaching Tiler Peck privately not as part of the NYCB organization.

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Damien Woetzel has been inviting Peck to Vail, where Heather Watts is highly involved.  Woetzel's mo is to bring people in, and, over time, give them opportunities to stretch themselves, whether that be in different types of ballet than they normally do or in other dance genres, often with collaborators from those genres.  Watts and Boal  Woetzel have referred to Peck as being like a daughter to them.

Edited by Helene
Fixed to say "Woetzel"

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49 minutes ago, Barbara said:

I could certainly be wrong, but I had the impression that Ms Watts was coaching Tiler Peck privately not as part of the NYCB organization.

Yes. That is what I had meant to say by ‘dancers at NYCB,’ rather than ‘at NYCB’, but rereading it, I see that the way I put it was not clear.

45 minutes ago, Helene said:

....Watts and Boal Woetzel have referred to Peck as being like a daughter to them.

Then it’s a relationship that goes beyond coaching.

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38 minutes ago, Helene said:

Damien Woetzel has been inviting Peck to Vail, where Heather Watts is highly involved.  Woetzel's mo is to bring people in, and, over time, give them opportunities to stretch themselves, whether that be in different types of ballet than they normally do or in other dance genres, often with collaborators from those genres.  Watts and Boal have referred to Peck as being like a daughter to them.

Did you mean Watts and Woetzel, rather than Watts and Boal? 

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

Damien Woetzel has been inviting Peck to Vail, where Heather Watts is highly involved.  Woetzel's mo is to bring people in, and, over time, give them opportunities to stretch themselves, whether that be in different types of ballet than they normally do or in other dance genres, often with collaborators from those genres.  Watts and Boal  Woetzel have referred to Peck as being like a daughter to them.

In an interview Unity Phelan, who also performs at Vale, spoke very highly of Heather Watts' coaching. She also mentioned she calls Watts when she need help with roles.

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

she danced the central pas de deux of "Ecstatic Orange" with Jock Soto, and even in the extreme close-ups, she showed no work or struggle at all in any of the lifts and manipulations, and Soto wasn't muscling her in any way. 

I never had to dance with her, so who knows — it could have been hell — but Watts always looked like she got out of her partners' way and let them do their job. She let herself be partnered in a way that, say, Merrill Ashley, simply wouldn't or couldn't. I think Watts may have understood and embraced the theatrics of partnering in a way that a dancer who defines herself by the strength of her technique might not.

Watts probably can't tell Peck how to do a more technically pristine fouetté, but she might be able to tell her how to make it part of a more theatrically compelling performance. 

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20 hours ago, Drew said:

I might wish Tiler Peck could go back in a time machine and coach Heather Watts...but the other way round? 

:D 

I never saw Heather Watts dance in real time, but Tiler Peck is not the kind of dancer who needs to be coached to fall off pointe.

I meant to write about her (Peck's) Dream divertissement last summer but never got around to it--a living. present day classic performance that should go down in the history books as one of the best. I won't say flawless bc I don't think that's the point of dance, but as far as getting at the spirit of that particular piece, I don't think anyone has ever done it better.

I've seen ballerinas do it as though the stage were a music box and they were the figure on top--the music lends itself to that interpretation, a mixture of tinkly and ethereal. It's pretty. M Fairchild does it this way and it's not bad, it's certainly not terrible, it's pleasant to watch and listen to.

But Tiler Peck's interpretation is on another level--she's incredible. I love that piece of music but I forgot to listen when I watched Peck, I could see each phrase manifesting itself before my eyes. She's like a writer delineating her argument, shaping each phrase so subtly and interleaving them so that the whole paragraph becomes a seamless construction. Every single movement she makes, large or small, is part of a coherent whole; she has a unifying principle to her whole dance, as every well-constructed piece of writing must have--but it never feels overly rehearsed. She speaks through her dance so naturally and without artifice that you don't realize she's leading you towards a conclusion until she gets there. Each phrase is perfectly constructed  --  Some dancers hit the high points of their phrases too hard and it's a bit jarring. Peck doesn't need to do that. She has no extraneous movements, like an expert writer has no extraneous words (and speaking of which I will stop rambling now)

Lets please don't tell her she needs to fall off pointe. :)   good lord. I think Heather Watts had her good points, mostly including very long legs and great lines, but she was a bit eclectic in her style, if recordings are any judge. Tiler Peck is definitely not eclectic. I'm sure Watts wont try to make Peck over in her image, but some coaches are more suitable as friends or in loco parentis than as coaches.

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I'm also interested in everyone's reviews of nutcracker, as I will add to others' comments here, if any NYCB PR people are reading: The prices are too f#%$#ing high. It's admirable that they have a performance for public school children, though. But 100+ for 4th ring is ridiculous.

Edited by jkr3855

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I trust Tiler Peck, as an intelligent artist, to know whether she's getting something valuable from her coaching by Watts.

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24 minutes ago, jkr3855 said:

[....]

I meant to write about her (Peck's) Dream divertissement last summer but never got around to it--a living. present day classic performance that should go down in the history books as one of the best. I won't say flawless bc I don't think that's the point of dance, but as far as getting at the spirit of that particular piece, I don't think anyone has ever done it better.

...

But Tiler Peck's interpretation is on another level--she's incredible. I love that piece of music but I forgot to listen when I watched Peck, I could see each phrase manifesting itself before my eyes. She's like a writer delineating her argument, shaping each phrase so subtly and interleaving them so that the whole paragraph becomes a seamless construction. Every single movement she makes, large or small, is part of a coherent whole; she has a unifying principle to her whole dance, as every well-constructed piece of writing must have--but it never feels overly rehearsed. She speaks through her dance so naturally and without artifice that you don't realize she's leading you towards a conclusion until she gets there. Each phrase is perfectly constructed  --  Some dancers hit the high points of their phrases too hard and it's a bit jarring. Peck doesn't need to do that. She has no extraneous movements, like an expert writer has no extraneous words (and speaking of which I will stop rambling now)

 

Beautifully described...Peck is a remarkable ballerina. 

Will be happy to hear more about Nutcracker too!

Edited by Drew

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Does anyone know for sure how long Watts has been coaching Peck? Maybe it's been ongoing for much longer than we know; therefore, maybe Watts's coaching has informed Peck's dancing in some of the very roles being praised here as not needing Watts's coaching.

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2 hours ago, vagansmom said:

Does anyone know for sure how long Watts has been coaching Peck? Maybe it's been ongoing for much longer than we know; therefore, maybe Watts's coaching has informed Peck's dancing in some of the very roles being praised here as not needing Watts's coaching.

From the Conversations on Dance Podcast, my impression was that Watts and Woetzel took Tiler Peck under their wing quite early on.

In another interview, Damian said he first noticed her in the corps of Opus Jazz, but I can’t remember the source of where he said this. 

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4 minutes ago, yukionna4869 said:

From the Conversations on Dance Podcast, my impression was that Watts and Woetzel took Tiler Peck under their wing quite early on.

In another interview, Damian said he first noticed her in the corps of Opus Jazz, but I can’t remember the source of where he said this. 

Vail posted a clip of Peck's 10 years at Vail. They have several dancers who return frequently, but this is unusual:

 

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6 hours ago, yukionna4869 said:

In another interview, Damian said he first noticed her in the corps of Opus Jazz, but I can’t remember the source of where he said this. 

 

I think this was in the Conversation on Dance episode with both Damian and Tiler. (Aired in early November)

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Any reports on Nut from the weekend so far? I was wondering if the joyful spirit has returned or is morale visibly low. I was thinking about going today at 5 to see Lovette, Huxley, and Phelan, but don’t want to spend $100 if the magic isn’t going to be there. 

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I was there today and the performance seemed very joyful, upbeat. I went into the performance with some trepidation but left with my spirits restored. Lovett was a radiant  SPF, and Phelan a beautiful Dewdrop. And it’s always a treat to see Huxley. 

Edited by Peg

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That is great to hear and thanks for the report, Peg. Maybe I will squeeze in a performance this week. 

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Anyone have thoughts on Sara Mearns Instagram post re Dewdrop? I’m wondering if it was a jab toward Peter for taking her out of the role. To be honest, I don’t think every ballerina is suited for every role and Sara is much more of a melodramatic dancer whereas Dewdrop has to be happy, Light, and sprightly. 

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5 minutes ago, Fleurfairy said:

Anyone have thoughts on Sara Mearns Instagram post re Dewdrop? I’m wondering if it was a jab toward Peter for taking her out of the role. To be honest, I don’t think every ballerina is suited for every role and Sara is much more of a melodramatic dancer whereas Dewdrop has to be happy, Light, and sprightly. 

i believe she might have asked to be taken out of the role due to frequent injury from performing it. I remember reading that somewhere - maybe her Instagram - last year.

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I didn't think there was any sort of jab at anyone -- just looking back at a piece of her career; great picture too.  Another great picture I enjoyed seeing when I went to check her instagram:

 

Edited by Drew

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45 minutes ago, meliodori said:

i believe she might have asked to be taken out of the role due to frequent injury from performing it. I remember reading that somewhere - maybe her Instagram - last year.

I remember the same Instagram post. Definitely seemed to be her decision.

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7 hours ago, Fleurfairy said:

Anyone have thoughts on Sara Mearns Instagram post re Dewdrop? I’m wondering if it was a jab toward Peter for taking her out of the role. To be honest, I don’t think every ballerina is suited for every role and Sara is much more of a melodramatic dancer whereas Dewdrop has to be happy, Light, and sprightly. 

She posted this just 12 hours ago.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BclLbjRhXsI/?taken-by=saramearns

 

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