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Everything posted by Hal

  1. Spotted Allegra Kent on the promenade. Also, there is a gentelman who is always at the ballet but I don't know who he is. He always wears a leather jacket and baret. He used to sit next to Jerome Robbins in row c of the orchestra on the left site. He was there in a SUIT with his baret of course. Anyone know who he is?
  2. The issue of dance choreography ownership was recently brought up in the Protas vs the Graham Company debacle. While I don't want to get into the running (or running down) of the company by Protas, the bottom line was that she did leave her dances to him. The court rulling that her works were in essence works for hire and were owned by the company is an outrage. (I believe I got this right - any lawyers out there feel free to correct me). [Disclaimer - Protos was a colleger fraternity brother of mine, but I have only seen him once or twice in the past 41 years.] Fortunately Balanchine I believe had clear ownership of his ballets - probably contractually with the company and so the Balanchine Trust (for most of his works) now can control them and see that they are properly performed. (Even if many critics of NYCB might feel otherwise....) So as far as the Glass case goes I am 100% behind Glass.
  3. :shrug: Well if I had the physique of Peter Boal or Damien, the skimpy outfit in Prodigal might be fun, but as it is, I had better go as one of the goonies. The only problem is that I would need to find a partner and those back to back kneeling walking bits would be hell on my poor arthritic knees. A scary one would be the Rothbart costume from the Balanchine one acter. That huge black cape that he employs as outstretched wings. Love it. Up close it would scare the crap out of the little kiddies.
  4. Calcium Light Night is probably my favorite Martins ballet. It was his first and I think best work. Maybe Balenchine had a hand in it. I was hoping to see it this past spring season and it was listed for one of our evenings but got cancelled. I was very disapointed. I also love Ecstatic Orange. Barber Violin is also another well done work. I just looked at the rep for the coming season and it breaks down as follows: Balanchin 19 works Robbins 9 Martins 7 (includes 1 new work) Wheeldon 5 (includes 1 new work) Stroman 1 Eifman 1 What does everyone think of that mix?
  5. Leigh: I don't think that calling it classical ballet and then providing minimal dancing but lots of "acting" qualifies it for unique treatment. I think it is possible to evaluate different form of classical ballet, its done here everyday. Even some classical ballet vs more modern renditions. And if this performance was labelled as "Spectical" rather than "Ballet" it could then be evaluated in different terms. "See the magnificent Costumes", "See the fantastic Sets!" "Hear the wonderful Music" "Includes some dance". And although I am not a fan of full length story ballets, they can have tons of exquisite dancing. They do at NYCB and ABT. I never leave feeling I didn't get to see much dancing.
  6. That was the point. Even for nothing this was barely worth it. I am glad that you agree with me that the choreography was awful (or non-existant to this NYCB fan). I was hoping I wasn't missing something. Thanks for your response.
  7. :shrug: I attended the Saturday Night 7/31 performance of Universal Ballets Romeo & Juliet on some free tickets for the "press" so I feel compelled to write this review. Some disclaimers: 1) I don't like story ballets in general. 2) I have never seen another full version of Romeo & Juliet. The closest I've come is Lavery's version for NYCB. 3) I have never seen the Univeral Ballet before. The company seems to be dominated by Soviet era folks and Vinagrodov formerly of the Kirov seems to be in charge as AD. From the program it looks like he has brought a lot of folks from Russia with him, particularly as teachers. The ballet was choreographed by Levrovsky and Radlov in 1940 and staged by Vinogradov. The program notes that he added some dancing. Hard to believe. To quote the program: "...R&J is the first time he has created new choreography for the company. Incorporating over 40 years of creative experience and lifts...." Well lots start with the positives: great set, great costumes. The lighting was bit dark but ok. The choreography barely existed. A lot of walking around and huge group scenes with various sword and other fights. None of it very convincing. There was nearly no real dancing in the first two acts. And minimal dancing in the 3rd. The lifts were there and some were quite fantastic. The ballerina barely touched the ground in any dances until her solo in the 3rd act. And that was not riviting. I have no idea whether this ballerina was any good. She didn't do enough to show much other than a lot of emoting.... which I don't particularly prefer to begin with. The Romeo role was even more disapointing. I was expecting lots of huge leaps and some super bravado dancing from the men. Never happened. Nada. Zlich. Zero. One thing that cracked me up was the scene in the 2nd act where there is a little stage set up for a play within the play. The little stage acted like a sounding board, and every jump sounded like a thud and drumbeat. And it was at the very back of the stage with dozens of dancers spread on the ground in front of it. It was just so stupid it was hard to believe. And this at NYState Theater with its know muffling of sounds from the stage. The lead dancers look like they have some talent ... but that is just a wild guess as there was not enough dancing for any of them to be sure. It felt like an opera without any singing. I got my moneys worth, but just barely. I am very curious if any others have seen this and have other opinions. Mine might be clouded by my disdain for these kinds of work to begin with.
  8. SJP created quite a scene. We arrived around when she did and it was like the red carpet at the Oscars. Hundreds of people jammed up against baracades and dozens of press photographers popping pictures with her twirtling around so that everyone could get a shot. She must have been out ther posing for 15 minutes. I imagine photos of her are in todays tabloids. And that was the whole point. As have been said before, she is a real fan and supporter of NYCB and former SAB student. And there is no question in my mind that her support and appearance were good for ballet and good for NYCB. That being said this was a GALA. The beautiful people were there. It was an event. And this is good. As for the performance, mostly very well danced. Harlequinade: the kids were terrific as always. Duo Concertant: Every time I see Borree I think I like her more. She and Boal were wonderful. This was one of the highlights of the evening. Brahms-Schoenberg: Another highlight. Never saw Whelan doing this before and she just was fantastic. She seemed to have all the daring that can make this ballet so special. Usually sit in the front of the orchestra and her boniness is very evident. But in the usually more angular roles she does it is an asset not a problem. But from the front of the 4th ring, she looked fabulous. I didn't expect to like her as much in this kind of role. And Woetzel was a bit less outstanding than he can be. But in this kind of role that just makes him fantastic. Liebeslieder: Saw it last week and it was a snooze IMHO. Last night without the first part, I disliked it a lot less and may begin to see what others love about it. But I am far from being a fan of this ballet. Concerto Barocco: Maria Kowroski. In love with her. I start swooning whenever she is on stage. Obviously a highlight. Seeing her walk in the street would be a higlight. What more can I say. :rolleyes: The Man I Love: This was beautifully danced by both Ansaneli and Martins. In the theater, Marsalis was far less distracting as you had the option of NOT concentrating on him. Did notice that he seemed to be emphasising the wrong sections, but one doesn't expect much from horns at NYCB does one? :shrug: Vienna Waltzes: Well danced by Kyra, but I felt cheated because they did not have he full corps out there. I was anxious to see the swirling gowns from the 4th ring. But there seemed to be a lot fewer of them than there should have been. The program lists 20 couples but there were probably only 10! I always loved that section. It's amazingly beautiful. All those swirling gowns reflected in the backdrop mirror! I was anxious to see it from above for a change. Oh well, can't win them all. Overall great fun. The program did seem to be more a schedule of convenience for what is already on the spring program around now rather than any real exposition of the full range of Balanchine. But maybe that is as much as can be expected in a season that doesn't have a bad program in it! Can't wait to go again tonight!
  9. I'd start DanceTV, a dance only cable channel. Would have a variety of programs including doing things like performances from all over the world, education programs for lay people, dance technique for students and professionals, interviews, exercises (ala NYCBallet workout). You get the idea. DanceTV would be for profit (dream on) but the DanceTV Foundation would fund performances, choreographers, schools, etc. Would provide it as a free service for cable companies and would give them some advertising time on it. Would try to make a profit or at least break even through commercials. Natural advertisers would be dance suppliers (clothing, shoes, etc.) as well as upscale things like epensive cars, jewelry, perfume, etc. Just think about it - dancer on TV 24/7! How about the Balanching festival. All Balanchine for an entire month 24/7. Maybe for his 125th Birthday!
  10. I still don't get it. I never liked Liebs and last night performance hasn't changed my mind. I find it boring. :sleeping: Not crazy about the music or the singers for that matter. I have to admit I was drugged last night (from a dental operation earlier in the day) but I was just thrilled with the rest of the program. Maybe I was between pills. On the other hand the rest of last night program had me smilling and cheering for a magnifiscent performance. The corps was even wonderful. Kyra Nichols didn't seem to be showing her age. And Walpugishnacht is just so wonderful. I love the flowing hair and the way the choreography displays the music. And there is nothing better than Symphony in C! Ringer was charming in the first movement and Martins seemed to enjoy himself. Kowroski was to die for in the second movement. Every time I see her I love her more. Her develope (if that is the right term - where she unfolds her leg) makes me want to swoon it is so beautiful. And then when you thought you were in heaven here comes little Ashley Bouder to assure you that you really are in heaven. She was all brightness, light and energy and paired wonderfully with Millipied. She had this wonderful smile - she seemed to be having even more fun than we were. Her big grin reminded me of Darci when she first came up. There wasn't a role she danced when she didn't have this wonderful big grin to just captivate everyone. I (and others I spoke with) would have preferred a repeat of Symphony in C to Liebs.........
  11. I have 2 Gala tickets that I was inadvertantly sent. I posted details at http://balletalert.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=16689
  12. I recall seeing it with Farrell and Mr. B. As I recall it got mixed or poor reviews. I think that Marga and Mel got it right. I think it was much too personal a performance to imagine anyone else in those roles. The backstage drama that everyone knew about infussed it with something special. Done by others - I don't think it will be very effective. But then again, it might be interesting to see someone elses take on it - and imagining them imagining Farrell and Mr. B.
  13. :shrug: Why are you only considering actresses who can dance? How about dancers who could act? I am not sure how much dancing is required, but Merrill Ashley and Kyra Nichols come to mind. Both have done terrific Carabossa's and Kyra was wonderful as the mean mother in Double Feature. If Barishnikov can act why not some older ballerinas?
  14. I'm with Farrell Fan on Martin's Calcium Light Night, one of the few Martin's ballets I would go out of my way to see. I still remember Heather Watts and Daniel Duel doing it in its first season. Other ballets I am especially looking forward to are Glass Pieces, Union Jack (hopefully Kowroski in Farrells role), 4T's, Agon, and the Cage for starters. I wish I could afford to go every night! I don't see a single program that I would not like to attend. In addition to our 2 subscrtiptions I am looking forward to a couple of additional performances - but which ones? :shrug: So many good ones to choose from.
  15. From the number of different dancers above, who would be left in the Corps? I have a much tougher question. Who would you replace to make room for any of these dancers? Considering there are only so many roles and positions for Principals and Soloists, for every one you would elevate, who would you retire or replace? :shrug: Makes being and AD much tougher now doesn't it? But then again, I agree that Evans is way under used. And if I had to remove someone to make room for him (although he is already a principal) it would possibly be Martins, not that they are anything alike..... just body counting.
  16. :shrug: I think the whole question of minority acceptance in ballet is very very complex. First, ballet in this country is "high culture" and tends to be attended by upper middle class and above audiences. Consequently those same people tend to send their children to ballet school as youngsters. Even if they do not attend performances, many upper middle class parents consider ballet to be a good thing - especially for girls. So you start out with a very self selected group. Second, there are a large number of minority heavy companies. I would guess that the proportion of professional ballet dancers in the countries top companies that are black are greater than the general population (12%). Of course you have to include the primarily minority companies of Alvin Ailey and DTH. So while the 12% number is unlikely to be the case in any single company other than Ailey and DTH I would not be surprised if it is so on average of all of the companies. On the other hand, I have noticed a large proportion of Asian dancers while there are relatively few american hispanics. It think it is all very cultural. And one person who has done a great deal to promote ballet to the general population of NY is Eliot Feld. His school has certainly reached into all of the communities in the city. It is just a wonderful thing. And, while he had to cancel this past season at the Joyce for his Company, the school is still going strong. I once noticed that there seemed to be mostly black male dancers and mostly white female dancers in the company. At an intermisison a few years ago I asked him if that was the case in the school as well, he said he never noticed it in either case. Isn't that the right answer. He made me feel racist for even noticing it! :angry:
  17. Well I guess I am the first reviewer for this extravaganza. I got there promptly at 11am, ducked out for a quick bite around 2pm and stayed until 8pm when we finally left. 9 Hours of Balenchine. Couldn't last the full 12. To start at the beginning, Suki Schorer ran a Master Class for the Advanced Womens Class from SAB. This was one of the most intersting aspects of the day. Not having been a dancer, it was wonderful to see what went on behind those classroom doors. Fascinating. And the 9 SAB girls pretty much all had terrific foot work. And Suki looked great and was very informative and charming as she put the girls threw their paces and kept the audience informed of what she was doing. Next the Education Department had a group of students perform exerpts from a number of ballets. One of the kids acted as the moderator. She had this squeeky over the top delivery. She was a hoot - but I don't think she meant to be. The performances were excellent. I love watching the SAB students. They always seem so good to my untrained eye. The exerpts included short pieces from Apollo, Slaughter, Who Cares, Agon, The Nut, Midsummer Nights Dream, and Tarentella. This had the feel of a traveling show they do in school auditoriums. The costumes were real. Some kudos: Daniel Appplebaum in Slaughter, Mallory Welsh and Giovanni Villalobos in Embraceable You, Jennifer Manzi in Agon, Courtney Muscroft and Lateef Williams in the Donkey pas de deux from Dream, and Jan Burhard and Michael Breeden who were spectacular in Tarentella. Then Merrill Brockway was interviewed by Barbara Horgan about Mr. B's films. To be honest I dont remember what she said. Lynne Garafola showed some slides and talked about Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Missed some of that as we ran out for a qucik bite. We also missed most of Gotleib and Horgan talking about Mr. B up close. Then came some video of various coaching sessions. It was interesting to see the different things that the coaches emphasized. The video coaches included Markova, Tallchief, Franklin, Bolender, and Alonso. Then came the second super highlight.... Violette Verdy coaching Maria Kowroski in the Firebird. Maria was wearing this ridiculous fringed schmata around her waist that obscured her fantastic line. Nothing should evey hide or distract from her legs. Fortuantely at the end Maria got in costum and did the exerpt that Verdy was coaching her in so all was not lost. A Film program is planned for September and Joanna Ney showed a ten minute exerpt from the work in progress of the film she preparing for September for the Film Society of Lincoln Center. All of the films featured Vera Zorina. The feeling I got was that B was very proud of these films as well as his broadway work. I can't believe he wouldn't have loved Double Feature.... but that is another thread. Elizabeth Kendall, Charles Joseph and Jonathan Sheffer discussed Stravinsky and Balanchine. Interesting how while Balanchine was much younger than Stravinsky, Stravinsky treated him as very much of an equal. Because Balanchine was so well trained musially that he and Stravinsky had this affinity that led to their collaboration. If Balenchine needed some portion of a work extended, Stravinsky would never rewrite or add anything, he would just have other parts of the score repeated in those sections. Alicia Graf and Kip Sturm of Dance Theater of Harlem did the pdd from Agon. These are world class dancers. Alicia especially struct me with her proper angular attack. Then Edward Villella introduced Tarantella danced once again by Jan Burkhard and Michael Breeden of SAB. Keep an eye out for these young dancers. Then a panel led by Isaiah Sheffer with Edward Bigelow, Lourdes Lopez, Violette Verdy and Edward Villella talking about NYCB. Lopez, Verdy and Villella are all excellend speakers and though there was not very much time some interesting items were brought out. Lopez spoke of Mr. B's complete generosity with his ballets. When company members wanted to perform at recitals or whatever he always granted them permission and never charged for it. They also said the Balanchine fees are 1/5 to 1/3 the fees charged by other choreographers. It is still that way as the Trust has maintained that stance. He also very freely encouraged other companies to use his ballets. Villella also spoke of his generosity with providing them to Miami City Ballet. The mentioned the many other companies that he encouraged to use his ballets such as Pennsylvania and Boston. More coaching archives with Allegra Kent, Melissa Hayden, Arthur Mitchel, Suzanne Farrell and Helgi Tomasson. Then the next fantastic feature of the program. Meilissa Hayden was supposed to coach Ansanelli and Askegard in Stars and Stripes. Hayden and Ansanelli couldn't appear so we were "stuck" with watching Merril Ashley coach Ashley Bouder and Asegard!!!! What a delight. It is interesting to see the nuances that the coaches emphasize. She went through a section of the ballet and then they changed into cosutmes and did a complete run through of the exerpt. The more I see Bouder the more I like her. She is already a company star IMHO. The next came the only real stinker on the program. David Hays was to talk about Designing for Balanchine. They should have pulled the hook. He was poorly prepaired, disjointed, incoherent, a wast of time on the program. He had one mildly amusing anecodote about Lincoln Kirsten thinking that a ladder that was on stage was part of the set. Other than that a wast of what was probably 10 minutes but seemed interminable. Then came a panel lead by Kisselgoff with Edward Bigelow, Marin Duberman and Nancy Reynolds to talk about Lincoln Kirsten. Duberman was awful. He never met Kirsten and is doing research on a book but he only seems to know anything about LK's life until he was 17. Not very illuminating on his relationship with Mr. B. Reynolds and Bigelow were more interesting, even if I can't recall what they had to say at the moment. Memories of Balanchine were readings from books about him. First up was Allegra Kent reading from her autobiography. Then two actresses read from the autobiographis of Tamara Geva and Alexandra Danilova. The Geva book sound like it would be very interesting about the earliest years of B's carreer. Then Villella read from his biography. Solomon Volkov read some comments that Balanchine had made about Tchaikovsky. Virginia Brooks, who is filming the Nutcracker Project, a record of the selection of students for the NYCB annual Nutcracker performances. She also had Jennie Somogyi on stage (with crutches - she has a torn tendon) who was shown on film as she was selected as Maria in 1986 and 1987. Then Morgan Fairchild did an exerpt from the Sugar Plum Fairy. Morgan has just been promoted to Soloist. We then left, quite exhausted from this most wonderful day. There were 3 more hours to go and a line waiting to get in. We felt that we had no complaints and felt good about letting others in. And it was free! Ok, they passed the hat.... but it was voluntary. So kudus to Symphony Space. The had terrific first 9 hours. Hopefully someone will report on the final 3. Oh, a final thing that stuck in my mind. Ballet must be very good for you. ALL of the older ballet dancers looked just great. Maybe it was that those who appeared have stuck to working in it and have kept in shape. But they all just looked great.
  18. I dont see how skin and bones makes someone look heavy. Seems a contradiction to me. And from the above I assume you hate Calcium Light Night, if you have ever seen it. It was done for Heather Watts in her very skinny period by Martins. It is coming back in the spring and I am anxious to see who does it. It is a perfect ballet for Whelan. It is Martins first ballet I believe (and one of his best IMHO).
  19. Does the name Baryshnikov ring a bell?
  20. Hal

    Patricia McBride

    I was never a great fan of McBride. She always seemed like a delicate china doll to me. Not that I found any fault with her dancing, it was a chemistry thing that didn't appeal to me. Until she did her funny Costermonger in Union Jack. She suddenly seemed very human and I bacame a fan after that. Weird, how those things work. Sometimes you see a dancer do something that just turns you on to them.
  21. I know that it is not very PC, but I generally dislike heavier ballerinas. Of course none are really fat, but I do not enjoy the more rotund of the genre. Best example is Monque Muniere, obviously a great dancer, and adored by many, but I never found her body type appealing and never really took to her. On the other hand there is Wendy Whelen, whom often appears too thin, but I prefer that by a long shot. This from a used to be thin, overweight guy. It's actually the roundedness, rubinesqueness that I don't appreciate. Some broad shoulder dancers such as Darci Kistler and Karen Von Aroldingen are/were favorites. I also am not fond of shorter dancers for the most part. I like them tall, skinny and elegant. Farrell, Kowroski are ideals. I know it is the stereotypical NYCB dancer that is/was not always the case, but that is my general preference. So while Bouder and Ansenelli are wonderful little dancers, their smallness detracts from their appeal to me. :shrug: I like incredible long legs to stretch from hither to yon and back. Of course with their wonderful performances this winter I am more than happy to pay my money to see them dance.
  22. I didn't see her earlier performance, but Thursday Bouder was fantastic. She had great balance, incredible speed, a lovely line, just a fantastic bravura performance for such a young dancer. I was very impressed as was every one I knew around me. She seems to have it all. She is obviously not Maria Kowroski as far as leg extensions goes, but who is? Maria did a lovely lilac fairy I thought. And Merrill Ashley returned as Carabossa. I cheered her entrance..... what memories of her dancing - still miss her speed. I thought Woetzel danced very well, did not notice any hesitancy or lack of interest as seems to have been the case earlier. Hendrickson seemed to literally fly in his variations as the Bluebird and Carrie Lee Riggins was a delightful Florine. The rest of the cast seemed fine. I don't much like story ballets. And when they start the boat ride I want to scream - more dancing less scenery. But the costumes are really unbelievable, the music is Tschaikovsky, and there is plenty of dancing in the second act. And it was exciting to see Bouder take on and conquer this role. So all in all not a bad way to end the winter season. The bad news is that we have 2 months to wait for the spring season to start. And from the spring programs I wish I could afford to go every night!
  23. I have tried to respond to Watermills post below: I don't think the target I was looking for was as neanderthal as the one you describe. I was thinking of all of those soccer dads whose daughters are also taking ballet but have no appreciation for it. Showing them how athletic ballet dancers are might get them to think about ballet a bit differently. And that would be a good think IMHO. So? Gage and Tolner is closing after 125 years in Brooklyn. And track and field dates to the original Olympics in ancient Greece. Whatever the athleticism is in service to is not material. The point is that ballet dancers are superb athletes and should be recognized as such by the general public. Doesn't everything seem to be going downhill these days? :shrug: I don't have the technical knowlege to argue this point but there seems to me to be lots of better dancers these days. Just my humble opinion. What world do you live in? More people attended ballet than football? Puleese! In an average weekend in the Fall, more people go to football games in that one weekend then went to all of the ballet performances throughout the world in a decade. Remember there are hundreds of college stadiums that seat as many as 100,000 people and are sold out. Considering a ballet venue of say 3000 (NYS Theater only seats 2800+) it would take a full month of sold out performances to equal a single huge college stadium. And then there are all of those hundreds of sold out high school games in just Texas, to say nothing of the sold out 60-100,000 seat stadiums for the pros. I couldn't agree with you more on this one. The question I think that is important is how? Getting ballet accepted as a more macho endeavor could possibly help with this. Look, I believe that the general public basically thinks that ballet dancers are "fags" (gay, homosexual) And while I deplore the fact that this is off putting to many people, I believe it is a problem in getting ballet to be more accepted to more people. And whether the stereotype is real or not is besides the point. So many young men will be reluctant to study ballet, or even go to see ballet as long as this is true. My idea is only one way that might help redefine that attitude about ballet. Thanks, but then I couldn't expect more from someone named Watermill (never much liked the Robbins Ballet).
  24. In reading the posts on the NEA issue, it occurred to me that male ballet dancers are really superb athletes. The networks always seem to be having fun competitions between athletes in different sports. How about getting a ballet dancer included? Better yet, how about having a ballet company challange the local sports teams to a competition. It could probably be a great fund raiser for the ballet company. I am sure that there are some athletes who would be willing to do it. The challange could be fun stuff that didn't require any particular sport facility, but just tested athleticisim. Running, jumping, weight lifting, all come to mind. It would be great to have the local sports heroes compete with the ballet dancers. My guess is that it would significantly raise the inerest in ballet even if they lost. They would certainly put in a strong showing and most male ballet dancers certainly don't look like wimps as I believe many might suspect. So what do you all think? Is this workable? How do you think the ballet dancers would do in such an event? Would Damian Woetzel outperform Derek Jeter? Would Philip Neal outperform Alan Houston? Would James Fayette outperform Kerry Collins? Inquiring minds want to know. :shrug:
  25. Be careful. I can never look at that variation again without thinking about the trocks version. Recently saw a fantastic version at NYCB but kept thinking of the trocks throughout it and had a big grin on my face at the recollection. My wife did too! You and your daughter and anyone else you can take will love it. They are not humorous, they are outright FUNNY. Laughing out loud funny. Don't miss them. And they do even have some pretty amazing technique considering that many of them are huge men on pointe.
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