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Washington, DC - Spring 2018

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Casting is up for the week at the Kennedy Center. Heavy use of the new sensation Roman Mejia and an exciting new cast of Fancy Free that could get me interested in seeing it again. I hope for many reports of these performances!

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Posted (edited)

Any advice on Tsch PDD casts?   Ramasar [not appearing], Ulbricht, Adrian DW, Hyltin,  don't have Tsch PDD in their rep?  

Edited by maps

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19 minutes ago, maps said:

Any advice on Tsch PDD casts?   Ramasar [not appearing], Ulbricht, Adrian DW, Hyltin,  don't have Tsch PDD in their rep?  

This is one of Tiler Peck's best roles; it showcases everything that's wonderful about her dancing. If you can only catch one performance, it would be hard to recommend against hers.

That being said, Bouder is no slouch in the role and I, for one, would really like to see what Reichlen makes of it. 

I haven't seen any of the men dance the part, but they're not the dancers I ordinarily look to for Wham! Pow! pyrotechnics. I think we can trust Peck and Angle to nail the fish dives, though.

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2 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

This is one of Tiler Peck's best roles; it showcases everything that's wonderful about her dancing. If you can only catch one performance, it would be hard to recommend against hers.

That being said, Bouder is no slouch in the role and I, for one, would really like to see what Reichlen makes of it. 

I haven't seen any of the men dance the part, but they're not the dancers I ordinarily look to for Wham! Pow! pyrotechnics. I think we can trust Peck and Angle to nail the fish dives, though.

Agree completely. All three women would be very tempting options, and all three men are potentially not ideal.

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OK - I just looked at the entire casting sheet. Here's another way to think about it: if I had to choose between seeing Tiler Peck in Tschai Pas vs Symphony in Three Movements, I'd choose Tschai Pas. 

If you go with the Pech / Tschai Pas evening, you'll get to see Sterling Hyltin and Adrian Danching- Waring in the Symphony in Three Movements pas de deux, which is well worth a trip to the theater, plus Ashley Laracey's lovely, lovely performance in Divertimento No. 15, plus a look at Joaquin De Luz in what will likely be his last Kennedy Center performances. Plus Claire Kretzschmar's and Joseph Gordon's debut in Pulchinella Variations.

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Totally agree with the assessment of the Tshai pas casting. Since all of the ladies are very likely to be excellent, and none of the men is a bravura dancer, I would go with the man who is the absolutely the best partner of the three - Tyler Angle.  

And definitely, the opportunity to see Ashley Laracey in Divertimento No. 15 should not be missed. 

I may be talking myself into a trip to DC...

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Conrad Ludlow was the original man in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, partnering Violette Verdy, although I don't think it was conceived on them, but Adams and maybe d'Amboise.

Ludlow was known as a great partner, but not a great technician.  I would have loved to have seen him in it, though.

 

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Just got back from opening night at the Kennedy Center. Overall it was a great evening, progressively getting to the best parts of the program.

Divertimento 15: I loved this piece, such charming choreography that complimented the music so well. The Mozart really brings out how incredible that Kennedy Center Orchestra is-- violin to dream on! Of those cast in the principal roles, Ashley Laracey (grace, poise, and such a strong ability to use her line to draw out the music), Lauren King (technical wonder with such a light-hearted demeanor), and Ashley Bouder (all the normal Ashley Bouder qualities: cheeky and sharp) were tops. This is the first time I had seen Abi Stafford so I really don't have much to say about her quite yet, Erica Pereira continues to fall short for me... I'll say more on that later. Of the men, only Daniel Applebaum stood out in a noticeably positive way-- I really feel that he's underutilized. Chase Finlay fell short (others have enumerated dissatisfaction in the past so I don't feel the need to repeat) and Andrew Scordato just needs a little more time to marinate. On another note: my husband felt that costumes need an uplift, the colors just don't pop the way they need to. (I will confess that I could do without the Prince Charming getup.)

Zakouski: Megan Fairchild was replaced with Indiana Woodward. Things looked a little shaky for her and DeLuz on partnering, in rushing her in to debut a day early I doubt they had much time to rehearse. I also am not convinced that they're a good match for one another, even though I know they've danced together before. DeLuz was tremendous as always, his technical sharpness and calm showyness were perfect here. My companions for the evening really enjoyed the choreography, to me it is very "Peter Martins does Tarantella." (High marks for music selection though, each piece is a joy to listen to and pairs well with the others.)

Pulcinella Variations: Since Fairchild  was out of Zakouski, Woodward was out in Pulcinella-- replaced by Lydia Wellington. Per usual for Justin Peck, the community sense in the group numbers is wonderful. I wish there had been a little more humor snuck in to lighten up the more serious pas. Mears, J. Angle, Tiler Peck, and Huxley were wonderful. I especially noticed Claire Kretzschmar's sunny maturity in her line (wish we saw more of her in principal roles outside of the Peck rep), and Emilie Gerrity. (I know she's a favorite of a few of you-- I see why now.)  Costumes and set were just lovely for this ballet, completely transporting to a new whimsy world. I really think this is a good example of how costuming can make us see classical works in a fresh way... I'm not suggesting that the company through the Karinska collection in the trash... but certain ballets could use even just an ounce of this kind of brightness.

Tschai Pas: How has Tyler Angle never danced this role? Today was his debut and, all things considering, he did well. You can tell that the partnering is not yet in his bones, but his solo bits were lovely and he did a good job in securing his partner in those daring moves throughout. Tiler Peck truly considers the Kennedy Center to be a home-away-from-home since she's often down here with Damien Woetzel and was here longterm for previews of the never-made-it-to-Broadway "Little Dancer." You can tell she feels incredibly comfortable on the KC Stage-- kills it every time and the audience goes wild. Sometimes I think the choreography here is a little showy on the "tricks," and I prefer a little more subtlety: my favorite parts are when the male dancer takes his hands off the ballerina so she can show off and hold her balances, almost as if she was performing an illusion. Ok, last plug on costumes: The ballerina costume's flowiness is fabulous (even if the peach color is a little dated), but the Little Lord Fauntleroy shirt needs to go!

Symphony in Three Movements: I saw this piece last month in NYC and wasn't completely in love with it, but this performance made it jump considerably higher on my Balanchine's Best List. Most of the cast was identical to the one I saw: Erica Peirera as the jumping girl, Daniel Ulbrict as her partner, Megan LeCrone with Sean Souzzi (saw Joe Gordon in NYC), but the pas pair was new for me.  Sterling Hyltin and Adrian Danchig-Waring were simply incredible. So much of that pas is smaller movements in the hands-- it felt like they took up the entire stage with their detached devotion to the pas. Danchig-Waring was so Phlematic and calm, keeping that natural tension high. On the other hand... Erica Pereira and Megan LeCrone just don't do it for me. I feel when I'm watching Pereira that she doesn't have the mature fluidity to make an impact. Her stage aura is diminutive-- her jumps aren't impactful and it feels like she is taking up the least possible room both space-wise and in terms of her ability to command space for the audience's attention. Megan LeCrone is someone who I have always wanted to see more from, but I have continually been disappointed. While Pereira falls short in her physical capability, LeCrone seemingly only suffers from lack of confidence. She did have a tiny fall at the beginning of her pas, but quickly recovered-- but I know from seeing her in this role last month that her flaws tonight weren't because of the fall. Instead of buying into her own abrasiveness, she dumbs her body and movements down-- never fully using what you can clearly see is in here. Her jogs were "cute" instead of serious, and she just lacks a sharpness. If she went for broke and just attacked, I have no doubt she'd be an entirely new dancer. I hope to see that one day!

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11 minutes ago, DC Export said:

Symphony in Three Movements: . . .On the other hand... Erica Pereira and Megan LeCrone just don't do it for me. I feel when I'm watching Pereira that she doesn't have the mature fluidity to make an impact. Her stage aura is diminutive-- her jumps aren't impactful and it feels like she is taking up the least possible room both space-wise and in terms of her ability to command space for the audience's attention. Megan LeCrone is someone who I have always wanted to see more from, but I have continually been disappointed. While Pereira falls short in her physical capability, LeCrone seemingly only suffers from lack of confidence. She did have a tiny fall at the beginning of her pas, but quickly recovered-- but I know from seeing her in this role last month that her flaws tonight weren't because of the fall. Instead of buying into her own abrasiveness, she dumbs her body and movements down-- never fully using what you can clearly see is in here. Her jogs were "cute" instead of serious, and she just lacks a sharpness. If she went for broke and just attacked, I have no doubt she'd be an entirely new dancer. I hope to see that one day!

Your disappointment in LeCrone reminded me of a similar comment I made about her in spring 2016 in Symphony in 3 Movements:

"Biggest disappointment: Megan LeCrone. I know she has a lot of fans on this board, but...I was near the front on Friday night and her pasted-on grin was appalling. Her variations alone were limp and uncommitted. In this ballet, as with many others, Balanchine interwove non-ballet moves with classical steps and positions -- jogging, arm pumping, odd shapes, etc. LeCrone almost seemed embarrassed to be doing them. Saturday afternoon, the grin was dialed back, but the movements were just as limp and uncommitted. She needs to OWN that choreography and I just didn't see it. Joseph Gordon had the thankless task of partnering her, but couldn't compensate for her flaccid performance, to my mind. Sorry!"

Sounds like she has never figured out how to make this ballet work, after all this time.

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It's almost as if we saw the same performance! I really wish she would commit herself to being more invested in this ballet, and from what I've heard from fellow BAers: almost every ballet.

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2 minutes ago, its the mom said:
Fun to see Jon Stafford in coaching mode.

Oh, looking forward to watching this, thanks so much for posting.

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I stumbled upon this randomly as it was airing on Facebook -- what a joyous surprise! Tess looked great. I didn't initially peg her as a natural for Tschai Pas but now I'm intrigued to see the polished version if she dances it in New York.

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3 hours ago, its the mom said:

Fun to see Jon Stafford in coaching mode.

Thanks, it's the mom, I enjoyed this so much. Would love to see them perform this in person. And Jon Stamford is such a gentle coach. 

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5 hours ago, its the mom said:

Fun to see Jon Stafford in coaching mode.

Thank you for posting this! I would have missed it otherwise.

I see Reichlen does the version with the little steps in between the fouéttes, which I find very pretty and utterly charming. If I recall correctly, Peck does all fouéttes with some port-de-bras thrown in for extra thrills — and that version is thrilling (at least when Peck does it) but I think I prefer the version Reichlen does (which is also the version McBride does in the video).

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14 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I see Reichlen does the version with the little steps in between the fouéttes, which I find very pretty and utterly charming. If I recall correctly, Peck does all fouéttes with some port-de-bras thrown in for extra thrills — and that version is thrilling (at least when Peck does it) but I think I prefer the version Reichlen does (which is also the version McBride does in the video).

Definitely. It’s essential — it’s in the music. It’s a perfect Balanchine moment.

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Thanks so much for posting the wonderful rehearsal footage, it's the mom.  It was exactly what I needed to help me relax after a difficult day.

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There are some cast changes to this week. Lauren Lovette's debut in Spring of The Four Seasons is not happening. Sterling Hyltin replaces her. Anthony Huxley goes on in his debut in spring. Lovette has to have the lowest workload of all the female principals. For whatever reason, it seems as if she dances once in a blue moon.

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2 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Lovette has to have the lowest workload of all the female principals. For whatever reason, it seems as if she dances once in a blue moon.

I honestly forgot she was a principal.

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45 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I honestly forgot she was a principal.

I forget too. Sometimes I wonder what's happening with her. She hasn't talked about an injury. She was able to dance a complete Juliet in the Winter. But for whatever reason ever since she got promoted to principal she barely dances.

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I'm having a really tough time imagining how someone of Huxley's stature is going to partner Sterling Hyltin in the Four Seasons Spring section.  All reports on the performance will be appreciated.

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I believe they did Mozartiana together a few years back.. I only remember Huxley’s beauty. Yes to reports!

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Yes, Huxley was in that Mozartiana cast with Hyltin, but Huxley was doing the solo gigue part, and he never had to partner Hyltin.

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No, I think he did the main role. I distinctly remember him in the t&v. Maybe his partner wasn’t Hyltin but I just can’t imagine who else it could have been. Does anyone else remember this?

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8 hours ago, abatt said:

I'm having a really tough time imagining how someone of Huxley's stature is going to partner Sterling Hyltin in the Four Seasons Spring section.  All reports on the performance will be appreciated.

Huxley looked quite awkward partnering Tiler Peck this winter in Baiser. She was taller when on pointe, and she even appeared to possibly have a thicker waist and torso. (It may have just been an illusion, though, based on the fact that the difference in size one expects between a ballerina and her partner wasn't there.) The juxtaposition made both of them look rather odd, whereas I think they both look quite good on their own.

How do Hyltin and Peck compare, physically? I don't have a clear enough sense of that.

Edited by nanushka

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