Jump to content
pherank

Program 5: Celebrating Jerome Robbins

Recommended Posts

Insect girls looking for a cage:

29402182_149587059203355_641006808888403

I think this would have been the 3/22/18 performance.

Novice: Yuan Yuan Tan
2nd Intruder: Luke Ingham
Queen: Jennifer Stahl

Share this post


Link to post

I attended the Opening Night for Program 5. 

Opus19/The Dreamer with Sarah van Patten and Carlo DiLanno went over my head a little, I appreciate the movements, but I couldn't completely understand the dance. I feel like I might have to see this again to grasp the nuances. This is also the first time I have seen Sarah dance after her maternity leave, and it's almost like nothing has changed.

The Cage is definitely different from the other offerings in the program, and I enjoyed how the music complements the movements so well. Always a treat to see Sofiane dance, though I could detect a hint of Myrtha there (incidentally I saw a performance of Giselle several years ago with her and Masha in it). 

Other Dances was a delight. I could feel the joy of dancing from Frances, though Angelo seems little bit more reserved in this piece - feels like he needed to "let go".

Fancy Free was entertaining, and I have to say the 3 men (Weeks, Fremantle, Hernandez) were the highlight of the piece. The acting was spot on, and I almost forgot that I was at a ballet! Fremantle stood out the most to me in terms of bravura, and I was impressed with how versatile Weeks is, since the last I saw him was Lensky in Onegin and he looked mildly uncomfortable in the role.

All in all, an enjoyable night, and I regret not subscribing this season!

 

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, mrstrong_ballet said:

I attended the Opening Night for Program 5. 

Opus19/The Dreamer with Sarah van Patten and Carlo DiLanno went over my head a little, I appreciate the movements, but I couldn't completely understand the dance. I feel like I might have to see this again to grasp the nuances. This is also the first time I have seen Sarah dance after her maternity leave, and it's almost like nothing has changed.

The Cage is definitely different from the other offerings in the program, and I enjoyed how the music complements the movements so well. Always a treat to see Sofiane dance, though I could detect a hint of Myrtha there (incidentally I saw a performance of Giselle several years ago with her and Masha in it). 

Other Dances was a delight. I could feel the joy of dancing from Frances, though Angelo seems little bit more reserved in this piece - feels like he needed to "let go".

Fancy Free was entertaining, and I have to say the 3 men (Weeks, Fremantle, Hernandez) were the highlight of the piece. The acting was spot on, and I almost forgot that I was at a ballet! Fremantle stood out the most to me in terms of bravura, and I was impressed with how versatile Weeks is, since the last I saw him was Lensky in Onegin and he looked mildly uncomfortable in the role.

All in all, an enjoyable night, and I regret not subscribing this season!

Thanks for the report, mrstrong_ballet - it's good to hear other voices. Van Patten is as focused and strong as ever - I think many women would like to know her secret.  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
8 hours ago, mrstrong_ballet said:

The Cage is definitely different from the other offerings in the program, and I enjoyed how the music complements the movements so well. Always a treat to see Sofiane dance, though I could detect a hint of Myrtha there (incidentally I saw a performance of Giselle several years ago with her and Masha in it).

 

It seems hard to believe, but Sylve was never able to dance in The Cage at NYCB - she rehearsed for it years ago, but the opportunity never came. I'm not surprised that her initial take on "the queen" would be Myrtha-like. It takes time to settle into a role and make something unique out of it.

Share this post


Link to post

Saturday evening at the Opera House (now called the SF Performing Arts Center?!?)  The audience was subdued and many seats were empty, perhaps because of the earlier march for our lives.  

Opus 19/the Dreamer not the most interesting of Robbins ballets.  I am more familiar with the more famous second violin concerto of Prokofiev, so it was a good opportunity to hear the less famous first concerto very well played by Boxianzi Ling, who took an onstage bow at the end.  This concerto is very dreamy without much obvious structure, so it's understandable that Robbins used it to suggest his dreams.  The choreography expressed dreaminess but like the concerto and most dreams, seemed to wander on for longer that interest could be sustained.  Not a ballet I would look forward to seeing again.

Sofiane and Masha were every bit as good in The Cage as I had hoped.  Not having seen the NYCB version, my only reference point is the Bolshoi in Cinema presentation last year. The moods could not be more different.  The Bolshoi women were menacing, violent and unsettling.  Not SFB. It was almost like sorority sisters inducting a new member into their dating rituals with the only difference being their dates don't survive.  Kotchetkova was utterly adorable as the Novice, contorting her newly hatched limbs into unbelievable shapes. The waltz section was sweet and gentle.  Later, the Queen encouraged the Novice to practice her "dating" technique in a manner that recalled Sleeping Beauty's parents giving her permission to dance with the four suitors. No kidding, it was very strange in a good way!  I didn't see a Myrtha in this particular performance. Sylve's aplomb and plastique are still so extraordinary.  When she's on stage it's nearly impossible to look away. 

Other Dances featured Sasha de Sola and Wei Wang, the latter just promoted to principal dancer.  They were very well coached by Isabel Guerin but seemed overly conscious of getting in all the wonderful details she taught them.  It was not organic, in other words.  One difficulty is that people who did not grow up dancing mazurkas are at a disadvantage.  There's a certain lean of the body, a certain military snappiness in the footwork, that Russians seem to do naturally but was missing here.  De Sola thankfully has a very flexible back and not a bad epaulement for an American dancer.  The overall impression was lovely. She got a little carried away with her hands but who wouldn't after Makarova?  Wei Wang's performance was technically secure with nice landings and details but a bit stolid and reserved.  From where I was sitting I missed the humorous elements - might have been there, I just didn't see them.

Fancy Free was fine.  I seem to remember more swagger and a loose limbed kind of dancing that did not happen here.  I'm very nostalgic about the boundless optimism and innocence of the 1940s (that may or may not have actually existed) expressed by Bernstein's music and at times by the dancers. The guys did get into some of the goofy stuff but maybe the flavor of the times is just too remote for them to get fully into character.  Nice dancing, though, and an enjoyable evening overall.  Worth the trip, as they say.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Quinten said:

Saturday evening at the Opera House (now called the SF Performing Arts Center?!?)  The audience was subdued and many seats were empty, perhaps because of the earlier march for our lives.  

Opus 19/the Dreamer not the most interesting of Robbins ballets.  I am more familiar with the more famous second violin concerto of Prokofiev, so it was a good opportunity to hear the less famous first concerto very well played by Boxianzi Ling, who took an onstage bow at the end.  This concerto is very dreamy without much obvious structure, so it's understandable that Robbins used it to suggest his dreams.  The choreography expressed dreaminess but like the concerto and most dreams, seemed to wander on for longer that interest could be sustained.  Not a ballet I would look forward to seeing again.

Sofiane and Masha were every bit as good in The Cage as I had hoped.  Not having seen the NYCB version, my only reference point is the Bolshoi in Cinema presentation last year. The moods could not be more different.  The Bolshoi women were menacing, violent and unsettling.  Not SFB. It was almost like sorority sisters inducting a new member into their dating rituals with the only difference being their dates don't survive.  Kotchetkova was utterly adorable as the Novice, contorting her newly hatched limbs into unbelievable shapes. The waltz section was sweet and gentle.  Later, the Queen encouraged the Novice to practice her "dating" technique in a manner that recalled Sleeping Beauty's parents giving her permission to dance with the four suitors. No kidding, it was very strange in a good way!  I didn't see a Myrtha in this particular performance. Sylve's aplomb and plastique are still so extraordinary.  When she's on stage it's nearly impossible to look away. 

Other Dances featured Sasha de Sola and Wei Wang, the latter just promoted to principal dancer.  They were very well coached by Isabel Guerin but seemed overly conscious of getting in all the wonderful details she taught them.  It was not organic, in other words.  One difficulty is that people who did not grow up dancing mazurkas are at a disadvantage.  There's a certain lean of the body, a certain military snappiness in the footwork, that Russians seem to do naturally but was missing here.  De Sola thankfully has a very flexible back and not a bad epaulement for an American dancer.  The overall impression was lovely. She got a little carried away with her hands but who wouldn't after Makarova?  Wei Wang's performance was technically secure with nice landings and details but a bit stolid and reserved.  From where I was sitting I missed the humorous elements - might have been there, I just didn't see them.

Fancy Free was fine.  I seem to remember more swagger and a loose limbed kind of dancing that did not happen here.  I'm very nostalgic about the boundless optimism and innocence of the 1940s (that may or may not have actually existed) expressed by Bernstein's music and at times by the dancers. The guys did get into some of the goofy stuff but maybe the flavor of the times is just too remote for them to get fully into character.  Nice dancing, though, and an enjoyable evening overall.  Worth the trip, as they say.

Great report, Quinten - thanks for making the effort, and the trip.  ;)

I'm forgetting - who was it that coached The Cage at SFB?

 

Share this post


Link to post
11 minutes ago, pherank said:

Who was it that coached The Cage at SFB?

Jean-Pierre Froelich, who also happens to be married to Isabelle Guerin.  

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, Quinten said:

Jean-Pierre Froelich, who also happens to be married to Isabelle Guerin.  

That's right! A man coaching the women is interesting in itself.

I noticed that Guerin was immediately off to another part of the country to set another ballet - ah, the life of a repetiteur. If one loves to travel, and stay in motels/hotels, it might be OK.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

And here's a photo of Lauren Strongin as the Novice

Sasha De Sola celebrating Wei Wang

 

Edited by pherank

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

There is a Pointes of View Lecture now available about the Robbins Program:

Jerome Robbins with Lonnie Weeks and Esteban Hernandez
March 27, 2018

https://www.sfballet.org/explore/podcasts

This is a particularly good interview once it gets going and the dancers are reminiscing about working with Robbins répétiteur Jean-Pierre Frohlich. Lots of interesting insights into how the dancers learned their roles.
[Fancy Free] "It was more like working on a play, than a ballet."

 

Edited by pherank

Share this post


Link to post

The company forums are for news and member reviews.

Professional reviews and articles live in the Links forum.  If you have comments about a specific review, please post a link and your comments in the "Writings on Ballet" forum.  Links with comments about the Robbins program have been moved there.

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Helene said:

The company forums are for news and member reviews.

Professional reviews and articles live in the Links forum.  If you have comments about a specific review, please post a link and your comments in the "Writings on Ballet" forum.  Links with comments about the Robbins program have been moved there.

ooops -- sorry!  thanks for the redirect.

 

Share this post


Link to post

Just found this video of Baryshnikov in the second sailor solo in Fancy Free.  I now realize that the vague dissatisfaction i felt with SFB's production described in my review above probably arose out of my memories of Baryshnikov in the role.  But then, who could match this?

 

Share this post


Link to post

I love that solo, and he does such a wonderful job with it here.  Particularly in the opening section, where he manages to make it all into one long breath phrase.  And then at the end, after all the complexity that comes between, he goes back to that simple phrasing.  What a wonderful performance.

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×