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School of American Ballet: 2018 Annual Workshop

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We are excited to announce the School of American Ballet’s 2018 Annual Workshop Performances! This year's program will include four ballets featuring students in both the Children’s and Advanced Divisions. Please join us at one of three performances this June to see all of our students' hard work come to life on stage. It is an event not to be missed!

La Source

Music By Léo Delibes

Choreography by George Balanchine

In Creases

Music by Philip Glass

Choreography by Justin Peck

 

 Circus Polka

Music by Igor Stravinsky

Choreography by Jerome Robbins

 

Western Symphony

Music by Hershy Kay

Choreography by George Balanchine


Workshop Performances will take place on Saturday, June 2 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm and Monday, June 4 at 7:00pm.

Tickets will go on sale to the public at www.sab.org in mid-April.

 

In appreciation for their gift of $1,000 and above, Donors Circle members enjoy Advance Ticketing and Priority Seating

and will receive an early ticket form next week.

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No works by Martins.  Whoo hoo.  It is a new era.

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They did the fourth movement only in 2014.  Sounds like they are doing the ballet in its entirety this time.

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I'm eager to read any reviews of this year's workshop performances. 

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Posted (edited)

So I attended today's matinee and found it totally delightful. I am so glad to have begun attending the workshop (first time was just last year). It is a fun atmosphere in the audience, and the youth and energy of the dancers is rejuvenating. For me the standouts were a totally winning Naomi Corti (who did the solo role in "La Source"), the astounding Davide Riccardo (first section of "Western Symphony") and the elegant, funny LaJeromeny Brown (second section of "Western Symphony"). Corti impressed with her long limbs, sophistication, and musicality. Riccardo has a beautiful form, high jumps, very confident partner, and all the swagger you could ask for. He looks ready for prime time! LaJeromeny Brown took on his role with vigor and humor. It was hard to tell under that sequined cowboy outfit, but he appears to have an extremely pleasing, elegant line. All three danced with a maturity and stage presence beyond their years. I hope all three will be taken as apprentices. I also liked Lily Zurvitz (first section of "Western Symphony") and Ally Hellman (Rondo). The audience laughed when the imperious Hellman walked out with the much shorter KJ Takahashi, but they pulled it off with grace. I notice Takahashi is only 16. How much are boys likely to grow at that age? My guess would be that at the height he is now, he would not be taken by NYCB and might have trouble finding a job. But, maybe he still has some growing to look forward to?

Edited by cobweb

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Agree that Workshop is not to be overlooked - I've been watching a few years longer - the first place I saw Tiler Peck, for instance - and the vitality onstage made this old man feel younger.  Yes, Corti was a delight for the reasons cobweb gives, and a great introduction to the entire program, though I enjoyed Mia Domini, the pas de deux girl in the matinee even more.

The rondo of Western Symphony has been traditionally cast for laughs - the tallest girl with the shortest boy available - for many years, although not originally, when Tanaquil Leclercq had Jaques d'Amboise for a partner; he was taller than she.  (Not that there aren't plenty of laughs built into the choreography.) 

In the evening, La Source was led by the amazing Amarra Hong, who made her part seem to flow continuously, elegantly and smoothly  around the stage and often appearing lighter than air - there were moments when I thought she would sit up there above the stage before she gently came down.  (Lincoln Kirstein's phrase characterizing ballet dancing as the "aria of the aerial" came to mind.)  

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Posted (edited)

I went last night and must disagree with Jack about La Source in some respects. Ms Hong’s dull rendition and watering down of steps almost ruined it for me, not to mention that substantial portions of the ballet (a complete pdd - adagio and boy/girl variations) were omitted! Suki Shorer must have realized that presenting the full ballet could be a disaster, so the curtain went up with the first of the ensemble pieces, which was led by the fantastic beauty, Isabelle Anderson. I also admired the energy and ballon on the male lead, Cainan Weber. But the “Violette” ballerina character went AWOL in lack of charm and technique...but she finally truly smiled and flirted with the audience during the bows. Hurrah!

Why didn’t the program specify “Excerpts from La Source”? That makes me wonder if the original intention was to present both PDDs for the leads?

Peck’s In Creases, set to a twin-piano score by Philip Glass,  followed and was far more felicitous, particularly the men...especially one with curly-topped blonde hair...Gabriel Elftman-Hanson, an audience member from SAB told me. Well, all four of the men were wonderful (Elftman-Hanson, Victor Rosario, Jules Mabie and Benjamin Schwarz).

Robbins’ Circus Polka was the usual pleasant kiddie romp lasting all of five minutes. I’m sorry that SAB didn’t opt to present something more substantial by the choreographer or a work that was not in the recent festival, such as 2&3 Part Inventions, which was created for SAB.

The rather brief (two hrs, with one long intermission) evening ended on a high - Western Symphony, where I especially admired the ultra-long-limbed, cool charm of Mary Kate Edwards leading the Allegro, Mia Domini and Victor Rosario in the Adagio and, once again, Cainan Weber as the high-flying lead cowboy in the final Rondo. All in all, there’s a lot of potential, particularly among the men (in general; Anderson and Edwards were wonderful among the girls).

 

Edited by CharlieH

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One of the benefits of reading here is to see the programs through others' eyes and minds.  Maybe what impressed my friend and I as smoothness in Hong's performance was dull watering down to CharlieH.  But we missed parts of La Source, too, an adagio, two variations, and - we think - an ensemble.  These may well add up to the missing PDD CharlieH speaks of.  

And speaking of omissions, just for the record, Western Symphony had a "Scherzo" third movement at one time, though IIRC it's been only Villella's MCB that's performed it in recent years.  (Earlier in his career, Villella danced in it, I think.)  I'm not complaining about this, though.

As to Circus Polka's place on the program, it's hardly one of my favorites, and thinking about this school program as though it were a professional company's is not out of place, considering the level some of the dancing; still, it is a school showcase.  I'm sorry I don't remember 2 & 3 Part Inventions.  Would that have displayed the youngest students so well for their parents to see?   They did get a good hand or two.

     

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I wasn’t expecting the Scherzo (3rd mvt) of Western, as it has long been omitted by NYCB, unlike Miami City Ballet, for ex. However, after admiring several times The Suzanne Farrell Ballet’s rendition of La Source, in which every intended step was magnificently danced, I have been spoiled to expect the complete ballet. Jack, I’m absolutely certain of what’s missing at SAB - steps and nuance. Not just the Farrell troupe’s ballerinas, or Violette, but also recent NYCB interpreters who “got it,” like Jenifer Ringer. Sorry but I couldn’t believe what I was watching last night. SAB sure could have used Farrell’s coaching assistance!

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Just a gentle reminder that these are students. I wouldn't expect to see a Violette Verdy or Jennifer Ringer level of nuance in even the best or most promising of them. Indeed, I wouldn't expect that level from most of NYCB's corps, as good as they are.

Also, it's one performance. Lots can go wrong. 

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Yes...but this is one of the select pre-professional ballet academies on earth, just like the Vaganova. It’s not the Dolly Dinkle Academy. I’m sure that the kinks will be ironed out and they’ll all be fabulous at Monday’s final SAB gala...which I’ll miss as it coincides with ABT’s Harlequinade Premiere.

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1 hour ago, CharlieH said:

Yes...but this is one of the select pre-professional ballet academies on earth, just like the Vaganova. It’s not the Dolly Dinkle Academy. I’m sure that the kinks will be ironed out and they’ll all be fabulous at Monday’s final SAB gala...which I’ll miss as it coincides with ABT’s Harlequinade Premiere.

I've attended workshops for only three years and can attest that even with my limited experience they are called "workshops" for a reason. They are not professionals ... yet. And I've also seen Vaganova Graduation performances on youtube which were pretty ragged. 

Anyway I went to the evening one and thought that Western Symphony was the best offering on the program:

https://humbledandoverwhelmed.blogspot.com/2018/06/sab-workshop-ushers-in-new-stars-while.html

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I saw both performances and the most 'professional' looking students were the girls corps in  La Source and Western Symphony....they could step into any NYCB performance!

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, atm711 said:

I saw both performances and the most 'professional' looking students were the girls corps in  La Source and Western Symphony....they could step into any NYCB performance!

True! I found the casting of many  (not all) of the solo roles in the two Balanchines rather curious. In past years, casting changed in each of the three performances...”equal opportunity for all.”

I’m surprised that nobody has even mentioned the odd plaque-awarding ceremony for the school’s team doctor (Dr Hamilton). I’m sure he’s great but...err...a bit odd in light of recent news about other “team doctors” and the entire #metoo movement, including SAB’s own potential allegations earlier this year...the whole Peter Martins allegation thing...now proven wrong (?), at last report. The ceremony was longer than even a couple of the ballets shown in the workshop, tiny Circus Polka and 12-minute In Creases.

Edited by CharlieH

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Went to the evening.   I also found Western lively and enjoyed all the solo performers, especially the tall blonde boy. Great stage presence. 

La Source was not exciting.  The pas was a nail biter for me as an audience member.  Felt as though they could barely pull it off. 

In Creases was interesting and clearly challenging but stronger. 

Western Symphony was strong. 

I guess someone can help me but honestly, it felt some of the parts were just over the students' heads.  Why perform pieces that the students can't master? 

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The #metoo movement hasn't stopped the Oscars, Emmy's, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize from being awarded, or businesses from running, nor has it eliminated entire professions from being recognized, including team doctors.  Nor should it.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, balletforme said:

Went to the evening.

...La Source was not exciting.  The pas was a nail biter for me as an audience member.  Felt as though they could barely pull it off. 

....

I guess someone can help me but honestly, it felt some of the parts were just over the students' heads.  Why perform pieces that the students can't master? 

And what we saw was the EASIER of the two PDDs in the complete version of La Source, balletforme! The tougher one has the couple enter the stage with a spectacular carry-lift. I’m pretty sure that management omitted it on purpose, as well as the variations that usually follow it...at least for the Sat evening cast. I’d love to know if the tougher pdd was performed by the matinee cast (or will be performed by tonight’s cast), in addition to performing the pdd that was kept on Sat night.

Edited by CharlieH

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12 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

 I’d love to know if the tougher pdd was performed by the matinee cast 

No

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Per Justin Peck's InstaStories, four apprentices have been named.  Looks like three women and one man.  Of course, I don't know who any of them are.  They are all in Western Symphony costumes in the story.

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As for the rendition, I wasn't there to see the performance quality, but students and almost all dancers dance what is staged for them.

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if mem. serves when in the past SAB has performed LA SOURCE at its Workshop the first pas de deux was not included in the staging.

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6 hours ago, Jacqueline said:

Per Justin Peck's InstaStories, four apprentices have been named.  Looks like three women and one man.  Of course, I don't know who any of them are.  They are all in Western Symphony costumes in the story.

If there is any official word on who they are, I'd like to hear. 

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The boy looks like the final boy in Western Symphony -- Cainan Weber.

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Can anyone post a link to the Justin Peck instastory? Or related pic?

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