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Everything posted by jsmu

  1. I think the problem here is that some people find their own opinions ever so much more valid than those of others. It is transparently obvious that promotions are subjective, as is all advancement in a performing art form; it is also clear that, as Toni Bentley said, 'intrigues, love affairs, manipulations, timing, and idiosyncrasies decide everyone's life and future.' I have been going to NYCB for decades, and I have no difficulty whatsoever finding patterns of inadequate dancers being cast in roles by Peter Martins on a regular basis. The 'sink or swim' tradition has faded as well.
  2. I don't doubt that Gottlieb thought that, and still does. Had Martins said any of those things, they would have been essentially equivalent to what he did in fact say, and equally self-serving. Remember, Balanchine often referred to his ballets as 'butterflies'--and never once evinced enough interest about his successor to name one clearly and publicly. I see a certain Russian fatalism (often mentioned in Solomon Volkov's book of conversations with Balanchine) here. We hardly know that Balanchine's hospital visitors ever discussed the succession at all; Farrell, at least, has said more than once that he did not like to discuss it. McBride was certainly the only person beside Verdy whom everyone in the company loved. I think Clifford, for example, was out of the question because he had many enemies in the company. However, I do not think that given the sexism of 1983 a woman would ever have been named as artistic director of NYCB at that time. Verdy did become the Opera director in 1977 (for three years) but that was France.
  3. Peter Martins' 'take' on many things is well known, including his pathological aversion to keeping any great Balanchine ballerinas on staff at NYCB. Violette Verdy, Merrill Ashley, Suzanne Farrell...There is no one commenting on Martins' assumption of the job, most particularly Martins, who does not have a highly personal involvement in the matter, so the swipe at Lawrence is unjustified.
  4. What else would you expect Martins to say? The Gottlieb anecdote is equally as impossible to prove as the Betty Cage quotations *except that* Gottlieb was not the bedrock of the NYCB for over thirty years. In addition, the Gottlieb anecdote is *vague* in its reference. Was Balanchine talking about partnering or was he talking about the directorship of NYCB? No one knows . I think it sounds far more like partnering.
  5. 'Abusive?' Hardly. Harshly correct. What Croce said about Watts was never less than the truth; she excoriated Watts for omitting, simplifying, and butchering steps and sometimes entire roles; for projecting her own neuroses and demons onstage in ballets as a sort of attempt to add 'drama;' and for doing all this shamelessly. In fact, Croce frequently praised Watts in print until after Balanchine's death, when things truly went south for good. I was present at many horrific Watts performances in the later Eighties and early Nineties; if anything, Croce was restrained in her characterization.
  6. I now understand why Cass, who was considered a frontrunner for principal status, was never promoted from soloist and left the company. I always wondered. I remember a marvelous "Tarantella" with her.
  7. This. And I think he's a little young for the (arguably) biggest AD job in the country.
  8. Yes, I was aware of what Corella is doing to the company, and how many full-length warhorses he's dragging out. Of course, the myopia of the presumption that a great ballerina and artist like Nichols has nothing to contribute to any ballet not by Balanchine is stunning, but so was Corella's own little purge (sorry, in corporatespeak that would be 'housecleaning' or 'downsizing,' perhaps) when he took over the company.
  9. Nichols was at PA Ballet and left after approximately one year. Given the fact that her spouse was also employed by the company, one wonders what Corella managed to do to alienate one of the most beloved and equable ex-ballerinas in the world?
  10. Ulbricht would be wonderful, but given the taste-free NYCB Board I fully expect MILLEPIED. There are endless possibilities among ex-NYCB ballerinas (Ringer, Nichols, ad infinitum.) Couldn't disagree more about the dismissal of Martins!
  11. Reviews of the first three performances, please? Helene? sandik? seattle_dancer?
  12. Agree completely, volcanohunter--the last thing we need is a set dwarfing jumps and lifts, as hard as dancers work. My instant reaction to the frame in this clip was 'NO.' The costumes seem to be lovely, especially those for Emeralds, and the different tiaras are interesting. Rausch looks ravishing here--wish I could see her in the role.
  13. Iliesiu was very good as the Tall Girl at Carolina Ballet--I imagine she will be even better now.
  14. Kowrowski is one of the very rare dancers to have performed ballerina roles in all three sections of Jewels.
  15. Lowery is nothing if not underwhelming in every role. Sorry Kikta wasn't better--she has talent. You would also have loved Ariana Lallone, former PNB dancer, and Kelly Myernick, former Houston Ballet dancer, as the Tall Girl--both devoured the stage in it, as Reichlen does.
  16. He has been one of my favorite dancers anywhere since I first saw him years ago. Incredible in 'Mopey,' debonair and slightly bad in 'Nine Sinatra Songs,' and unforgettably heedless, vulnerable, and ultimately completely destroyed in 'Prodigal Son.' Like Carrie Imler, he's a dancer worth traveling any distance to see.
  17. Thank you, Helene--planning to watch more than once. How was it? For those of us who were on the other side of the country, sigh, any and all details will be hugely appreciated...
  18. sandik, thanks so much for posting this link. What a perfect title. Badass Ballerina, indeed. 'they will come no more like her.'
  19. Saw the first weekend of performances.....and had a pleasure which may have been even more enriching, thought-provoking, and stimulating than that of watching PNB outdo itself in one of its best-ever triple bills. I was delighted to meet Helene, sandik, and seattle_dancer, and to get to talk with them all at length. I am tempted to go to all Q and A/public lectures of all ballet companies from now on, stand up, and say various BA member names in a questioning tone, after having had such marvelous conversations all weekend. I'm kidding (sort of) but this experience made the entire trip for me and I can't thank all three of my companions enough--the food for thought was a Lucullan banquet. La Source has always been a favorite ballet of mine and one I've seen far too rarely. All three casts were good in this production but Carrie Imler gave us, one last time, her irreplaceable grace, wit, finesse, ineffable sense of rubato, playfulness, pure joy in dancing, and exquisite technical achievement. A fellow balletgoer said to me that in her opinion Imler has never done anything wrong and I replied that that was no longer true--her retirement is the worst thing she could ever have done. /sardonic smile/ I understand that she has a child, and that everyone must move on, and we all wish her the easiest and happiest transition to her new life, but Imler's legions of fans will take a long, long time adjusting to ballet without her. She will be missed forever, I'll probably have to rave more about her later. I thought all the gentlemen distinguished themselves in the John Prinz danseur role; Jerome Tisserand was gallant in partnering Imler, Kyle Davis was effervescent in his variations, and Benjamin Griffiths was generally wonderful; he and Leta Biasucci dance together as if they have done so from childhood. Biasucci was also lovely as the ballerina, with a fresh and young quality which I've never exactly seen in this part; being a DIVA ballet par excellence, it's usually danced by established stars like Verdy, McBride, Ashley, NIchols, Pantastico, and Imler. Angelica Generosa ate up the soloist role, sparkling every instant she was onstage and dazzling us in her circle of petits tours/coupe jetes/whatever that other step is in there (saut de basque perhaps?) Opus 19/The Dreamer benefited from three excellent protagonists. James Moore on opening night outdid even the Prodigal Son and Mopey performances I still admire and remember in detail; he has a new elasticity, a stretch which lengthens every sustained position and turns him into Praxitelean sculpture at times. Moore's sense of gravity and his seriousness here is superb. Dylan Wald's elongated elegance is wonderful in the many poses and penche arabesques, etc, and Benjamin Griffiths attacked the role as if he was giving his last performance of it--as well as giving us remarkable poignancy in the isolation of the leading man. Griffiths was matched in emotional intensity by his partner Rachel Foster, who was fierce and memorable in the ballerina role created on McBride; Foster appeared to hold *nothing* back at any time. The corps was terrific in both the Balanchine and the Robbins ballets. Pictures. seattle_dancer posted the lovely pic of the cast with Wendy Whelan and mentioned the general serendipity which prevailed around Whelan's visit (which was mentioned by every cast member who talked about the production)....I think both casts danced with joy and unusual freedom, and appeared to relish this ballet as much as anything PNB has ever performed. I won't write three more paragraphs about Imler, though I could, but I gotta say that Imler being funny--conspiratorial, mock-heroic, sneaky, faux-naif, dry, outrageous--would all by itself be worth the price of admission. Before Imler, I would never have believed that a virtuoso technician could also be a panic. Elizabeth Murphy, with the magnificent partnering of Karel Cruz, made the horrendous lifts in the Whelan adagio pas de deux look easy--not only the bird lift but the very difficult final lift and transition to STANDING pose on Cruz's chest. There were gasps both nights. Pantastico ate her 'Gnome' solo (originally Sara Mearns' ) for breakfast and looked ready to do it all again instantly. Kyle Davis was elegant in his solo to one of the many Promenades. Baba Yega, for a man and three women, was great. But everyone was good in this ballet, in both casts, and the remarkable rear projections of Kandinsky were almost too good because they occasionally made me stop looking at the dancers. The esthetic range, variety, and depth of this triple bill was unparallelled and I hope for others in a similar vein to come.
  20. And to continue the hands-across-the-sea story, "Pictures" is "Dances at a Gathering" with a much better backdrop....and much funnier
  21. It is indeed crazy, especially considering that Nutz is the one and only guaranteed moneymaker in the ballet rep, isn't it? Josette, I think you will adore the Balanchine Nutcracker live. Flowers alone is worth the entire price of admission, to say nothing of Snow (never seen a Snow anywhere close in terms of beauty) and the first act generally, which has remarkably masterful handling of kids and interactions between kids and adults...
  22. Sorry. You are both 1000% wrong about Sugarplumgate, about Ringer, about weight, and probably about many other things. The 'follow up' was not only illogical and factitious, it was a personal attack of an even more offensive nature. Ringer was not fat; she was not even overweight, and from what she says in her very charming and readable autobiography the entire NYCB was ready to lynch Macaulay not only for his stupidity on the subject of physical appearance and weight but for his sheer obnoxiousness.
  23. Emma, I'm afraid that 'the wow factor' frequently--usually, in fact--is most accurately translated as scenery-chewing vulgarity, cheesiness, and overt pandering to the audience--all of which are the polar opposites of Laracey's artistry. She lets the role and the steps speak, and conveys the emotions which the work of art contains, not her own aggressive subtext 'message.' This quiet subtlety and beauty isn't enough for people who want something dreadful like Heather Watts.
  24. Absolutely. It's vomitous and unprofessional in the extreme, just like 'Sugarplumgate....' which he MADE WORSE with a subsequent even more hostile, defensive, and specious column.
  25. Well, Farrell was called exaggerated, awkward, distorted, and overdone rather often during her career, particularly during the Sixties, and perhaps in some ways she was. What I like about Kretzschmar is her energy and vibrancy, as opposed to the lobotomized, anesthetized performing so common with several current NYCB principals which is to me the true and utter distortion of Balanchine. This is epitomized for me by Lauren Lovette--a dancer with neither the personality nor the technique to give acceptable performances in leading roles. There are several others, of course.
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