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I will be flying in from Texas to see both performances on February 10th.  I am very excited!

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I was at last's night performance of Divet, 4 t's & Chaconne. For me it was mostly good but a mixed bag.

I lover Divertimento # 15. A piece of  heaven that should be in the rep more. Megan Fairchild has become a ballerina that can hold the stage. Sterling Hyltin gobbles up space in her own lovely way, Lauren King sunnily owned her variation, Ashly Laracey was lovely, assured and musical (principal material IMO) and Abi Stafford still has great beats and is a quality dancer in terms of musicality. Veyette is an amazing partner. His light touch and one handed partnering are almost magic. Unfortunately in his solo work his tours and turns are there, but there is a real stiffness in his upper body. I'm not a person who wants or needs bid extensions from male dancers (in fact I'd rather not) but his stiffness distorts his line.

Loved 4 t's from the moment the curtain opened to Lydia Wellington to the last. Favorites were Huxley in Melancholic and Tiler Peck in Sanguinic. The woman has no fear.

Chaconne was the biggest disappointment. Maybe because I had such high expectations for Mearns. She and Adrian S-W had partnering struggles. No disasters but things that sitting there rooting or them to get through this or that. In the solos he really struggled with temps an things got kind of mushy. For Mearns, I don't know how to describe this accurately but, it seemed like wasn't responding to the music as much as she was making things as big as she could whenever she could. As if going for broke whenever you can is a virtue i itself.

I'll never get Erica Pereira. She is a good turner but she always seems to move in pieces, nothing holds together. Indian Woodward was lovely i the pas de cinq.

I'm interested in reading other opinions. IMO the Suzanne/Peter video of Chaconne really holds up. Last note - I wonder if anyone has given thought to casting it with shorter dancers. The chances of finding someone of Martins' size, who can move as quickly, cleanly and elegantly as he did, are small!

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I thought the worst part of the Chaconne performance was at one point Mearns became visibly frustrating after yet another partnering blooper and broke character and moved away from Adrian D-W. I thought I even heard her growl. 

I'm seeing some more performances this weekend so I'll reserve judgment on the Apollo/Mozartiana/Cortege casts.

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I'm going to both Balanchine programs this weekend. I can't wait. I wish I were seeing Maria Kowrowski do Mozartiana, but I've got the other cast (still, not shabby).  I'm really looking forward to seeing Tiler Peck in 4T.

Vipa, I've never "got" Erica Pereira either. She seems shaky technically, and smiles so much in performance that she seems immaturely young. I hope Adrian has completely recovered from his injury, whatever it was.

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I saw Mearns the first season she danced Chaconne and thought she was wonderful and certainly not big for the sake of big. (Embarrassed to say I can't remember her partner, but I decidedly remember speaking to two people who enjoyed the performance as much as I did.) Wonder what might be happening...

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Canbelto, I know the moment you are talking about in Chaconne w.  Mearns. It was during the dance of the blessed spirits section in the beginning.  I don't know what happened, but there was apparently some sort of partnering error, and she just walked away from Adrian. I didn't think it was a growl, but maybe a stomp on the floor.  There was definitely a strange noise when this happened.

Loved Divertimento.  Such a sunny and joyous ballet.  All of the ladies performed exceedingly well.  Laracey was radiant.  I thought the two soloist men were both preferable to Veyette.  Veyette is very sloppy in his solo work.  This wasn't just an off night.  It has become a regular thing with him.

4Ts' was stunningly performed by all. It was bracing in all the best ways.

On the first night, Chase did a good job with Apollo. He's improved quite a bit. However, he seems to be out of breath a lot of the time. The only other time I've noticed a similar problem on stage is when I've seen Ivan Vasiliev, except that Ivan was exerting himself to a much higher degree.  The 3 muses were good.  Sterling has made great improvements in her interpretation of Terp.

I'm so grateful to have Maria K back on stage.  She was luminous in the prayer section, and  did great work in the other sections of the ballet. Tyler Angle seems to be  out of shape.  His partnering is still wonderful, but he is struggling a bit with his solos and his landing.

Janzen seems to  have cleaned up his act. He has had a tendency to be a bit sloppy in the past when called upon to perform a difficult solo variation. However, he looked magnificent in the difficult solo variation in Cortege.  Mearns is brilliant in this ballet.   I miss the fire and spice of Georgina Paz in the folk section. Lowery was boring in comparison.

Very full houses on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, abatt said:

Canbelto, I know the moment you are talking about in Chaconne w.  Mearns. It was during the dance of the blessed spirits section in the beginning.  I don't know what happened, but there was apparently some sort of partnering error, and she just walked away from Adrian. I didn't think it was a growl, but maybe a stomp on the floor.  There was definitely a strange noise when this happened.

I thought she also looked visibly angry at him for the rest of the dance of the blessed spirits and it really broke that heavenly, ethereal spell.

As much as I love Mearns this isn't the first time I've seen her break character during a partnering mishap. I saw her in the Piano Concerto #2 and she and Ask La Cour took a nasty tumble on the floor in that section where she's gliding on one foot on pointe and he's pulling her backwards in an arc. When they finally got back up she gave him an angry stare that resembled this at 3:35:

 

Edited by canbelto

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Thank you for this, Vipa: 

Quote

For Mearns, I don't know how to describe this accurately but, it seemed like wasn't responding to the music as much as she was making things as big as she could whenever she could.

I have attended several performances by Mearns where she has ignored the music, and I couldn't put my finger on it because in her first year of dancing solo roles, I thought she was lovely and very musical. In fact, I was a big fan. But I haven't felt like that about her in a long time. I think she's doing exactly what you state, Vipa: going for the big dramatic moment, while disregarding the music. To me, the "music is always the boss," as I tell the dancers I coach for musical expression. Suzanne Farrell was a disciple of the music, and she knew how to interpret it dramatically - how to make "things as big as she could" - in such a way that it exposed the music, translating it for the audience. 

That inability, or, now I'm wondering, disregard for the music is why I've not been a Mearns fan in a while. After reading about her histrionics on stage (apparently it wasn't just once, according to another post in this thread), I'm even less inclined to want to buy tickets that feature her in roles. 

Edited by vagansmom

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vagansmom, Mearns is cast in a huge array of rep and I wouldn't avoid her in many roles where I think her style is appropriate. For instance her Diamonds is thrilling. I personally love her Cortegé Hongrois. And her Sanguinic in 4T's is amazing. Then there are roles where I think her style is OTT. For instance I think her Titania lacks the lightness and grace that is crucial for the role, and her La Valse is overly histrionic. 

Edited by canbelto

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2 hours ago, abatt said:

Canbelto, I know the moment you are talking about in Chaconne w.  Mearns. It was during the dance of the blessed spirits section in the beginning.  I don't know what happened, but there was apparently some sort of partnering error, and she just walked away from Adrian. I didn't think it was a growl, but maybe a stomp on the floor.  There was definitely a strange noise when this happened.

I heard that noise too. I wasn't quite sure what went amiss; from my vantage point it looked as if a foot got put down wrong coming out of lift or supported turn (I honestly don't remember the particulars of the choreography at that point) and I was really concerned for a moment that Mearns might have been inured and that she (or some one offstage?) had cried out in alarm. 

What I miss in Mearns' performance of Chaconne is the wit that Balanchine put into the ballerina's role. (There's some in in the male role as well, but it's not quite as prominent.) To me the pas de deux — especially the snooty sashays across the stage in the opening section — look like two aristocrats mocking the pretensions of their own class, which is rhetorically rather different from peasants mocking the ways of the nobility. (There's some of this in Mozartiana as well - e.g., the ballerina's right-on-the-beat little skirt flouncing flourishes in the theme and variations section.) It's hard to put that kind of wit across if you've got everything dialed up to 11. Reichlen lets a little bit of her Rubies Tall Girl peep out during the Chaconne ballerina's variations and it adds a bit of delicious bite to the role, or at least in the Hair's Back Up in a Bun part of it. 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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I used to be a huge Mearns fan, but I'm not sure how I feel about her right now.

Not related to dancing (and maybe not fair to her) but based off of her instagram posts and the way she reacts to partnering mishaps, she comes across as a bit of a diva to me, and that unfortunately impacts the way I view her dancing.  It also doesn't help that, as noted above, her dancing style can be over the top (whether the role calls for it or not).  I just feel kind of turned off by her lately, though I admit I LOVE her in Diamonds, and I quite enjoy her O/O.

 

Tiler Peck on the other hand, can do no wrong in my book.  I'm so thankful for every chance I have to see her dance.

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Mearns may also be feeling the stress of the transition in the company right now. They all must be somewhat...and all should be professional about it, so I understand the criticisms. But, as mentioned elsewhere, it is an odd time for the dancers...

Edited by Drew

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5 minutes ago, Drew said:

Mearns may also be feeling the stress of the transition in the company right now. They all must be somewhat...and all should be professional about it, so I understand the criticisms. But, as mentioned elsewhere, it is an odd time for the dancers...

If you're referring to her dancing, the Mearns I saw in Chaconne on Wednesday is pretty much the same Mearns I've been watching for quite a few seasons now — which is to say, absolutely riveting in the repertory that's most congenial to her style and less compelling in repertory that isn't. I certainly don't go out of my way to avoid her and find that she — like any good artist — gives me much to think about even (especially?) when things don't work out. (I find that I learn the most about a particular ballet when a dancer whose artistry I otherwise respect can't make it work. Mulling over what went wrong helps me think about the music, the choreography, and the production. It sounds silly, but sometimes the costume and lighting conspire to showcase a dancer's flaws rather than strengths. )  While I wouldn't rush off to the theater just to see Mearns in Chaconne, there were elements of her performance that I really liked.

I didn't pick up on any consternation directed at Danchig-Waring in particular, which is not to say it didn't happen of course, just that I didn't notice it. 

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26 minutes ago, Drew said:

Mearns may also be feeling the stress of the transition in the company right now. They all must be somewhat...and all should be professional about it, so I understand the criticisms. But, as mentioned elsewhere, it is an odd time for the dancers...

I've been fortunate to see many Friends open rehearsals over the years and Martins routinely coached principals in roles he created or performed. I always found it fascinating to see little details being worked out, especially in tricky passages. It's at least possible that the absence of that coaching is part of what people saw, although I'm dismayed at what sounds to me like a lack of professionalism on stage. Mistakes happen. Professionals learn to work past them and make it work regardless. 

Edited by California

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9 minutes ago, California said:

It's at least possible that the absence of that coaching is part of what people saw, although I'm dismayed at what sounds to me like a lack of professionalism on stage. 

I'm still a bit fuzzy on what apparently happened — and I realize that's perhaps due to the fact that it just happened so fast and people weren't sure what they saw and heard. But she actually walked away from her partner in an unchoreographed movement and either stomped her foot or growled? That sounds bizarre.

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As noted above, I attached a NY Times article from October 2017 re the nature of Mearns' dancing.  The issues we are speaking of were going on well before the Peter Martins debacle, so I don't think it has anything to do with the leadership transition at NYCB. Mearns once said in an itnerview that she never wants her audience to walk out of her show saying "that was nice".  This is part of her MO- she must tackle every role to the extreme or else she fears that her performance will be regarded as bland or "nice", to use her word.  

 

In another thread, we discussed a NY Times article in which a dancer alleged that Martins sexually harassed her because she asked Martins what she needed to do in order to get promoted. His reply was that she had to make him notice her.  The dancer took that as a sexual proposition. I bring it up here because Mearns' approach is exactly the type of approach that Martins always rewarded.  You notice Mearns, even if you don't always agree with what she's doing.  Risk taking and giving 1000 percent every second, although sometimes overkill, is exactly what Martins referred to when he urges a dancer to make him notice her.

 

 

Edited by abatt

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

I'm still a bit fuzzy on what apparently happened — and I realize that's perhaps due to the fact that it just happened so fast and people weren't sure what they saw and heard. But she actually walked away from her partner in an unchoreographed movement and either stomped her foot or growled? That sounds bizarre.

This is what I saw: from the very beginning the partnering seemed to be off between Adrian D-W and Mearns. In particular his elbows always seemed too close to her. But they were at the lip of the stage in what I gather wass supposed to be a partnered bourrée (one of Balanchine's favorite motifs -- the ballerina moving away from her male partner while still holding his hand). There was some awkwardness, then Mearns all of a sudden wriggled away from Adrian D-W and there was a noise which I thought was a growl but abatt said was a foot stomp? And Mearns bourréed away herself. 

I learned from David Hallberg's book that a female partner wriggling when you partner her is in ballet code a way to say "I am not happy. You are not giving me what I need." But since this was a live performance and I know that partnering in Balanchine is often a lot trickier than it looks I have no idea if anyone was at "fault" or it was just a lack of trust between Adrian D-W and Mearns. They don't dance together that often. 

Edited by canbelto

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I wish I could get an instant replay. The Mearns /Adrian mishap  happened so fast it was hard to discern exactly what happened, but it was certainly NOT part of the choreography.   I guess we'll have to see their next Chaconne together to compare and contrast. 

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52 minutes ago, abatt said:

In another thread, we discussed a NY Times article in which a dancer alleged that Martins sexually harassed her because she asked Martins what she needed to do in order to get promoted. His reply was that she had to make him notice her.  The dancer took that as a sexual proposition. I bring it up here because Mearns' approach is exactly the type of approach that Martins always rewarded.  You notice Mearns, even if you don't always agree with what she's doing.  Risk taking and giving 1000 percent every second, although sometimes overkill, is exactly what Martins referred to when he urges a dancer to make him notice her.

 

 

How is it known that this is what Martins meant? Did he say so directly somewhere? 

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I enjoyed both Wednesday and Thursday nights very much. The highlights were a fantastic Four T's, especially the astonishing, committed Anthony Huxley. Also Divertimento, why don't they do this sparkling, wonderful piece more often? (Ditto Ballo della Regina.) It was wonderful to see Ashley Laracey back, looking better than ever, 100% ballerinalike in her graciousness and regality. More please. Andrew Veyette was looking sluggish, unfortunately, but whatever he does, he has an air of command onstage, making you always remember why he's a principal. I too noted some mishap with Sara Mearns and Adrian Danchig-Waring, and heard something that I took to be an audience member gasping. Wasn't clear about what happened, though. Anyway, I am very, very relieved to see the company looking so wonderful, but IMHO they need to find strong leadership soon. The dancers need to know whose eyes they are dancing for, and it's not just the audience 

Edited by cobweb

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25 minutes ago, meliodori said:

How is it known that this is what Martins meant? Did he say so directly somewhere? 

Okay. I'll qualify.  This is my interpretation of Martin's words.  He spoke those very words about noticing dancers either in an TV or print interview a long time ago, but I can't place it exactly.  Do we really think he was using code for sexual assault by expressing that sentiment in a public interview?

 

I guess that sound could have been a gasp, but I thought that whatever sound it was came from the stage, not from audience. 

Edited by abatt

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On ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 9:16 AM, abatt said:

I thought Tiler Peck was miscast as Terp.  She is too short for that role.  Terp. looks much better on someone with long limbs.

I thought she was miscast too even though I've never seen her dance badly.  Dance gods, don't strike me dead, but I wasn't even 100% thrilled  by Fairchild as Apollo in that performance.   I saw Chase Finlay years before he was promoted and thought he was a more interesting dancer back then.

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duplicate post deleted

 

Edited by abatt

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Mearns posted the lovely image below of her and D-W in anticipation of the performance, so it seems like whatever went wrong wasn't because of a lack of rapport. She calls him a friend.

It seems odd that something went awry when she was simply bourreeing and holding his hand (and not depending on him for support in a turn, lift, promenade, etc.) Or do you in fact depend on the man for this move? Maybe something just went wrong with Mearns physically and she had to break free from his hand. 

If I remember correctly, didn't Ask La Cour mess up that section of Piano Concerto No. 2 twice? I seem to recall us discussing how things went south more than once when he was partnering Mearns in that section.

I agree with others that Mearns' intensity really works in Diamonds. I'd add Walpurgisnacht Ballet to the roles that really suit her go-for-broke approach. I sadly missed her in this due to that blizzard a couple years ago that caused NYCB to cancel performances, but I love her in the recent Paris recording of the work. 

Canbelto -- that look in the figure skating video made me LOL. My partner (in life, not ballet) accuses me of giving him a "death stare" when he does something irritating, so I certainly empathize with that skater. ;)

 

 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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