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Posts posted by KarenAG

  1. On 7/30/2021 at 5:49 PM, BalanchineFan said:

    Thank you to @FPF  @nysusan @KarenAG and everyone who wrote about the SPAC performances. I almost feel like I was there. I can't wait for the NYCB Fall Season!

    Oh, you are so very welcome, BalanchineFan! I can’t wait, either. Judt bought my tickets to Maria’s farewell. I’m so unused to thinking about going to the performing arts, that I completely forgot to go online on Aug 1 for tickets! I am so glad I remembered - orchestra sold out, first ring almost sold out (two seats left not together); I managed to get two seats together in second ring row E. Darn! Had I remembered on Aug 1, might have gotten first ring seats. But I am grateful.

  2. On 7/17/2021 at 3:21 PM, Caesariatus said:

    I saw Short Stories on Wednesday.

    We were in the first row of the balcony.  The tickets had been sold with social distancing in mind, so the theater was about 20% full.

    There was a lot of talking.  Maria Kowroski emceed, introducing each dance, and sometimes interviewing the dancers before and/or afterwards.  She was occasionally joined by others, Wendy Whalen once, and some other people whose names I didn't catch at the beginning.  Unfortunately, I could only catch about 70% of what anybody was saying, and my girlfriend even less, so we missed a lot of it.

    The dancers who most impressed me were Spartak Hoxha (Fancy Free and Sleeping Beauty Bluebird) and Teresa Reichlen (Swan Lake and Firebird), the former full of energy and the latter full of emotion.

    I also really liked Miriam Miller in MSND.  She seemed very fairy-like, if that makes sense.

    Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara's debut in the Rose Adagio was fine, although I've never been a fan of the Rose Adagio in general.  It's always seemed more about technique than art.  I've never seen it done where Aurora doesn't look like a woman concentrating on her balance more than a teenage girl at her birthday party.

    All in all, it was great to see live dance again.  I appreciated the outpouring of ballet video which filled the Internet during the pandemic, and I hope that doesn't entirely go away, but there's something about seeing it in person that can't be reproduced.


    Thanks for the review, Caesaritus. I like your forum name, too!  The front row of the balcony is my favorite area at SPAC.  I was in Section 15, then 16, both times Row H and I had a bit of trouble seeing well. 

  3. 47 minutes ago, FPF said:

    As I mentioned earlier, I was at last night's All Balanchine show, and I enjoyed this program even more than the Short Stories program. I think the way the structured the excerpts and discussion, it felt like there were bigger chunks of dance at a time, so it felt more like a performance--surprisingly normal. And the rain held off until I was in the amphitheater.

    To begin the evening, Liz Sobel (SPAC CEO) and Jonathan Stafford came out to honor the three principal dancers who were present at SPAC and will be retiring in the upcoming year, so this was their last Saratoga season (at least as dancers): Maria Kowroski, Gonzalo Garcia, and Amar Ramasar. Each was presented with a bouquet by one of the other dancers and they got a big standing ovation from the crowd. Liz Sobel also mentioned that NYCB will be back at SPAC next summer for their regular season, so we don't have to worry about the future of their residency, at least for a while.

    After that, Gonzalo Garcia took over as host for the evening. I thought that he was not quite as good a host as Maria, chiefly because whenever he was interrupted by applause/cheers from the audience, he kept on talking, which meant that no one heard what he was saying. 

    The program started off with the variations for the muses from Apollo, featuring Teresa Reichlen, Emily Kikta, and Sara Adams. All did well.

    Then, there was a fairly long section where Meaghan-Duttton O'Hara and Davide Riccardo demonstrated classical ballet positions and then showed ways in which Balanchine used this positions in his own way, finishing with some of the steps from The Four Temperaments, which was next up, and priming the audience to better appreciate the ballet. The dancers for the Theme section were Jacqueline Bologna and Lars Nelson, Mimi Staker and Kennard Henson, and Meaghan and Davide, again all did a great job and the audience seemed to really respond.

    After that came the Pas de Deux from Agon with Miriam Miller (fabulous!) and Amar Ramasar. 

    Then, there was another longish section with Gonzalo before selections from Jewels. This one focused on Karinska and the costumes and headpieces and featured a ballerina from each of the excerpts (Emeralds: Claire von Enck; Rubies: Sara Adams; Diamonds: Miriam Miller). Gonzalo talked about how he was told that in Rubies, Balanchine wanted to hear the jewels rattle and had Sara Adams demonstrate the "shimmy-shimmy" so we could all hear.  Since there was no orchestra, just the piano, during the performance of rubies, I noticed that I could  hear the jewels.  Then we got to see excerpts from all three sections:  the pas de trois from Emeralds with Bologna, Spartak Hoxha, and von Enck; the Rubies pas de deux with Sara and Gonzalo; and the Diamonds pas de deux with Miriam and Tyler Angle). All were great, but I agree with Karen that Miriam Miller in Diamonds was a definite highlight . She mentioned that these performances were her first time in the role, and I would love to see her in the full ballet.

    The final excerpts were from Who Cares? Amar Ramasar performed the Liza solo tonight. I noticed a few days ago, there was discussion on the other thread about why people liked Amar, saying that they didn't find his dancing all that special, but I think that what doesn't necessarily come across is his personality as a performer in various roles--he seems very joyful and sunny, like he's having the time of his life and I think that's what the audience responds to more than, for example,  his port de bras. So I enjoyed seeing him in this. After Liza there was Somebody Loves Me and Bidin' My Time, and then the group bows. Lots of appreciation from the audience. I was very glad to have seen more of the up-and-coming dancers as well as some old favorites.

    Next year in Saratoga!

    Lovely review, FPF! I agree that Amar Ramasar dances  with joy and freedom. I didn’t know he was retiring; Jonathan did not introduce either matinee. But I am glad all three retiring dancers were honored with bouquets and acknowledgments. Lauren Lovette will be retiring, too. So there will be promotions coming up for some lucky few. 

  4. 1 hour ago, cobweb said:

    Thank you KarenAG for the blow-by-blow reports! Much enjoyed. Thanks also to FPF and Caesaritus for the reports. Especially glad to hear Emily Kikta was suitably sassy and bodacious as the "Chapeau Girl" (great moniker by the way!) in Western Symphony. I would love to see her in this. 

    Thank you, Cobweb! And thanks to FPF and Caesaritus for your thoughts and reviews, too. Yes, next year Saratoga!!! ❤️ 

  5. I loved yesterday's program "Short Stories" as much as I loved Thursday's "All Balanchine". I am so happy to have been able to support the company, see them dance, and give them the standing ovations they deserve. It is sad that they only sold 35 % of the amphitheater space, as @FPF noted. I see those two programs as perhaps sparking interest in ballet-going newbies for future SPAC seasons and I wish there had been more tickets sold because they could have easily sold additional amphitheater tickets (they eliminated the pod seating on the lawn, I believe) and still have maintained meaningful social distancing. It seemed Thursday's matinee performance had a larger audience, and I'm sure the rainy forecast had something to do with it.. 

    I loved that Maria Kowroski hosted and she was generous and fun in her recollections, comments and compliments.  It was great to see so many corps de ballet members, as well as principals and one soloist, Sara Adams,  dance principal roles and dance them with rock-solid technique and great artistry. I loved Tess Reichlen's delicate, soulful handling of Odette and as always, her interpretation of the Firebird. How I longed to see her dance the Berceuse! Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara was absolutely lovely as Aurora and danced her Rose Adagio with secure grace, a beautiful technique and great confidence. Miriam Miller did not disappoint as Titania in MSND; she danced gracefully and beautifully, and conveyed playful sweetness in her infatuation with Bottom. I would love to see both these ballerinas dance these full-length roles. I have never seen The Concert, believe it or not, but I am not going to let that stand; I have recently purchased the Tribute to Robbins DVD. What a delight Robbins' choreography is, and it is fun and interesting to see it side by side again with Balanchine's mastery and sensibilities.  They complement each other, I think, and Jerry R's genius is certainly his own. I loved the athletic, jazzy choreography in Fancy Free, too; the danseurs were sassy and sexy, the choreography conveying the joy and release of being on shore leave. Sara Adams danced an elegant and stunning Princess Florine with her marvelous Bluebird, Spartak Hoxha. I think Emily Kikta danced "Chapeau Girl" (my name for her) in Western Symphony with the required sass and bodacious charm that I often find lacking in others' performance. I think Gonzalo and she had chemistry and the pairing worked very nicely. Overall, I am as impressed with the men dancers as I am with the ballerinas. I have felt depressed that the company will no longer have Maria, whose artistry has reached a stunning high, in my opinion, and who represents the end to an era, too, but I feel confident the company is in excellent hands and look forward to seeing these corp members grow and hopefully reach their own artistic pinnacles. I know I am very gushy in my assessment but I can't help it; it was a breath of fresh air to see NYCB perform this week and I am on Cloud Nine today! 

    About yesterday, personally. We hosted after two years our annual ballet picnic. It was a small group of dear friends compared to past picnics where sometimes we had as many as twenty-five guests, which was grand fun, too. It was wonderfully relaxing, easy-breezy, but there was also a solemn feeling of gratitude and we were so grateful to be able to share this day together again. I have gotten into the habit of honoring dancers who have recently passed and so we honored Jacques D'Amboise. I shared the NYT obituary with everyone in an email and talked about his dancing with respect to the pieces being offered in both of the programs, including the elegant show-off, competitive-like shenanigans with Tanny in Western Symphony. We also honored fellow BA member, Katherine Barber, who graciously attended a few of our picnics with her friends, which was such a treat for my husband and me. Rest In Peace, departed souls.



  6. On 7/16/2021 at 4:01 PM, FPF said:

    I saw the other program, Short Stories last night. It was a very enjoyable evening. Maria Kowroski hosted (she did a great job), but did not dance. I liked the program more than I thought I would--I was expecting that it might treat the ballets a bit like museum pieces, but that was not the case. Maria asked the dancers about how they thought about their characters, how they prepared for the role, etc. I think some of the excerpts are somewhat lacking outside of the full ballets, but it was also impressive to see how much could be conjured by just the costumes and minimal props.  My moments of tearing up: beginning of the rose adagio; at the end, seeing all the dancers on stage taking last bows together. Huge standing ovation from the audience.

    My favorite parts:

    I thought Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara did  very well in the Rose Adagio--in the interview, she said that she just started rehearsing it a couple of weeks ago. She nailed all of the balances and looked very joyful. The part where she goes down the line of the (imaginary here) musicians was the only part that seemed a bit off to me. I hope she gets the opportunity to perform the full role soon. The rose adagio was followed by the bluebird pas de deux from Swan Lake, which I also enjoyed, with Sara Adams and Spartak Hoxha. 

    Miriam Miller with Lars Nelson doing the Titania/Bottom pas de deux from Midsummer. She and Maria talked about being coached by Sally Leland about how to act besotted with Bottom (pretend it's your pet/favorite stuffed animal's face that you're looking at). I loved Miriam in this role (so tall and regal) and I'd really like to see her in the full ballet. 

    I also really liked Tess and Amar in the Firebird pas de deux--she definitely had the otherworldly quality of the firebird and it was lovely. 

    Mistake Waltz from the concert was the audience favorite--uproarious laughter, huge applause, cries of encore, extra bows.

    Emily Kikta and Gonzalo Garcia  both did very well in the fourth movement of Western Symphony, but I thought that the Mutt and Jeff casting may have gone too far here--she just towered over him.  But I'm glad to have gotten to see Gonzalo dance again before his retirement.

    Also, great work by the pianists.  

    What I liked less:

    Opening of Fancy Free with the three sailors, White Swan with Teresa Reichlen and Tyler Angle. Although well danced, I didn't love either in this context. White Swan seems empty without the corps de ballet and Tyler Angle's complete baldness doesn't go (IMO) with the character of a young prince. 

    The SPAC staff who deal with sound, amplification etc. need to sit out in the audience sometime and hear what we hear. The "get to your seats" music was so shrill it was painful; same for some of the high notes on the piano.

    Also, I'm not thrilled with all of the new building around the theater for concessions, etc. "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot" was what came to my mind. It seemed like a lot more asphalt than formerly--not sure if this is the case or if the additional/taller buildings just make it seem more built-up.

    Hope you enjoy this program Karen and that the thunderstorms and rain stay away tomorrow for both of us.

    Thank you, FPF, we had mostly good weather, although it began to pour around 3/4 into the performance but no one in our party who had lawn tickets got soaked 🥰 (we were in the amphitheater). I hope the evening was okay weather-wise for you, too, and that you enjoyed the program. My thoughts about the program soon.

    FPF, regarding the new concessions, despite the asphalt, which I deplored for sure when the first mess went up under Herb Chessborough's leadership, I find the new buildings as well as the brand new pavilion to be tidier and a tad prettier (although there is  still a lot of asphalt). Still, I agree with your witty assessment, "they paved paradise....".  

    I have an anecdote to share regarding Sara Leland's suggestion to think of one's pet while dancing Titania's pas de deux with Bottom. In Suzanne Farrell's memoir "Holding On to the Air", when preparing for her PDD with a donkey and having difficulty with how to interpret the interaction, Mr. B asked her if she had a pet and when she replied she did not, he suggested she acquire one.  She immediately adopted a female kitten from her local deli and named it Bottom. Later Suzanne acquired two more kittens which were named Top and Middle, and all three cats went to Belgium with her and Paul Mejia! One of my favorite YouTube clips is seeing Suzanne's PDD from the film version. She is entirely successful in conveying the playful and sweet relationship she has with her 'new love'.  



  7. On 7/13/2021 at 6:25 PM, cobweb said:

    There is some interesting casting here. Please, please - anyone who attends, detailed reports greatly appreciated. 

    Glad to see Emily Kikta and the under-used Sara Adams getting some opportunities. Has Kikta done Apollo before? But I'm most intrigued by Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara in the Rose Adagio. I could see her potentially being very good in this. Reports please. 

    Cobweb, I was very impressed. Meaghan was wonderful.  More on this in my post of thoughts about yesterday's matinee performance.  

  8. On 2/28/2021 at 2:04 PM, Helene said:

    I am listening to a Met Opera Guild podcast* of a recording of the late Father Owen Lee's lecture about "Faust," the first opera performed at the Met, and he said that the ballet music that Balanchine set for his "Walpurgisnacht" ballet was incongrous with the rest of the act, and he suspects it was written by Leo Delibes, not Charles Gounod.  He said there is an edition of the manuscript of it in the archives of the L'Opera with Delibes name on it.  It does have a Delibes-like bounce to it.  But he also notes that Delibes may have orchestrated music written by Camille Saint Saens, who was originally hired to write it when Gounod objected to writting the ballet on religious grounds.

    *Episode 170 "Talking about Opera: Faust with Father Owen Lee. ~55:32.

    Thank you, Helene, this is very interesting. Recalling the music, I can hear Delibes. I will either listen to the music today or watch the NYCB performance in Paris. 


  9. On 7/13/2021 at 3:06 PM, California said:

    New York City Center has announced its 2021-2022 season: https://www.nycitycenter.org/About/2021-2022-season/

    A few interesting ballet offerings:

    Nov 17 – 21, 2021

    Pioneering choreographer Twyla Tharp turns 80 and she’s celebrating on our stage. Stars including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s James Gilmer and Jacquelin Harris; American Ballet Theatre’s Aran Bell and Catherine Hurlin; Tony-nominated actor and dancer Robert Fairchild; and New York City Ballet’s Sara MearnsRoman Mejia, and Tiler Peck perform signature works and two world premieres including a group piece featuring the principal dancers and an ensemble of young performers for this once-in-a-lifetime event.


    Mar 3 – 6, 2022

    Artists at the Center is our new dance series that gives City Center’s extraordinary family of artists opportunities to conceive and curate their own programs for our stage. Tiler Peck, New York City Ballet principal dancer, will launch this annual event with a program of her design, performing alongside a variety of dancers and musicians. A City Center-commissioned world premiere set to music composed by jazz legend and recent Academy Award-winner Jon Batiste is presented alongside works by William ForsytheAlonzo King, Jennifer Weber, and Peck herself.


    Jun 10 – 12, 2022

    Award-winning choreographer Boris Eifman explores the life and artistic universe of the famous comedy dramatist Molière in his latest production, Molière Passion, or The Mask of Don Juan. Like the 2001 production of Don Juan & Molière, the new ballet draws its dramatic energy from the contradictory unity of theater and reality, and the paradoxical relationship between the author and his characters.

    I definitely want to see Twyla Now. Thank you, California, for posting this information. 

  10. On 7/13/2021 at 5:19 PM, FPF said:


    On 5/10/2021 at 2:14 PM, FPF said:

    If anyone is interested in buying tickets, online sales just opened for SPAC nonmembers today and there are not very many available, especially if you are looking for single tickets. There are more pairs open, but still not an overwhelming number. The prices don't seem to have changed from two years ago and they are not requiring that blocks of seats be purchased. 

    I'm very happy to have gotten a ticket for each of the two programs, Short Stories on the evening of July 15th and All Balanchine on the evening of July 17th. I hope to get to see the soon-to-be retirees once more. I'm actually tearing up a bit just thinking about seeing NYCB again in person.



    Featuring Excerpts From

    APOLLO (Muses Variations): Teresa Reichlen, Emily Kikta, Sara Adams
    THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS (Theme): Jacqueline Bologna, Lars Nelson, Mimi Staker, Kennard Henson,

    Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Davide Riccardo

    AGON (Pas de Deux): Miriam Miller, Amar Ramasar
    EMERALDS (Pas de Trois): Claire Von Enck, Spartak Hoxha, Jacqueline Bologna RUBIES (Pas de Deux): Sara Adams, Gonzalo Garcia
    DIAMONDS (Pas de Deux): Miriam Miller, Tyler Angle

    WHO CARES? (Solo, Ladies’ Dance, Men’s Dance): Amar Ramasar,
    Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Emily Kikta, Jacqueline Bologna, Mimi Staker, Claire Von Enck, Davide Riccardo, Lars Nelson, Spartak Hoxha, Kennard Henson

    With Solo Pianists Alan Moverman and Nancy McDill Hosted by Gonzalo Garcia



    I just came back from the 2 pm matinee and it was WONDERFUL.  And yes, FPF,  I started welling up just before it started, I was so moved by the fact that NYCB was there, after the 2019 Coppelia heat wave cancellation and, of course, 2020 and all the sadness and sorrow the year brought, and would be dancing again on that stage as they have for the past 55 years.  The dancers were in fine form and I loved seeing some new faces in principal roles. They were all marvelous, but I was thrilled to see Miriam Miller dance the Diamonds Pas de Deux - she was regally austere and splendid.  She conveyed that unattainable quality that, in my opinion, the role requires.  It was the highlight of my afternoon.  The Who Care's selections were breezy and fun, and everything was danced really crisply and cleanly. I loved the other excerpts of Jewels, too, and Gonzalo Garcia, who hosted the intros and dancer 'interviews', danced so happily; he seemed to be having the time of his life.  The black and white selections were excellent. Everyone danced so  beautifully., as if they hadn't been away from performing for all that time.  I can't wait for Saturday to see Short Stories! FPF, please enjoy tonight's performance. 🩰



  11. On 5/10/2021 at 2:14 PM, FPF said:

    If anyone is interested in buying tickets, online sales just opened for SPAC nonmembers today and there are not very many available, especially if you are looking for single tickets. There are more pairs open, but still not an overwhelming number. The prices don't seem to have changed from two years ago and they are not requiring that blocks of seats be purchased. 

    I'm very happy to have gotten a ticket for each of the two programs, Short Stories on the evening of July 15th and All Balanchine on the evening of July 17th. I hope to get to see the soon-to-be retirees once more. I'm actually tearing up a bit just thinking about seeing NYCB again in person.

    FPF, I feel the same way. We are attending both matinees and I just cannot wait! 

    On 5/10/2021 at 2:14 PM, FPF said:

    If anyone is interested in buying tickets, online sales just opened for SPAC nonmembers today and there are not very many available, especially if you are looking for single tickets. There are more pairs open, but still not an overwhelming number. The prices don't seem to have changed from two years ago and they are not requiring that blocks of seats be purchased. 

    I'm very happy to have gotten a ticket for each of the two programs, Short Stories on the evening of July 15th and All Balanchine on the evening of July 17th. I hope to get to see the soon-to-be retirees once more. I'm actually tearing up a bit just thinking about seeing NYCB again in person.

    And thank you for posting this information. 

  12. On 1/27/2021 at 9:36 AM, BalletontheRocks said:

    Megan Fairchild posted on her Instagram this morning that she is expecting twins in April: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKjMD1cgmEP/

    Congratulations to her! 

    Edit: she mentioned in a comment on the post that the twins are both girls 

    Great news!! 

  13. Rest in Peace, Carla Fracci. How I wish I’d had the privilege to see her perform. I was struck that she danced with the exquisite Roberto Bolle who is 29 years her junior, who I saw for the first time in London in Manon Fall 2019. I, too, am viewing Ms Fracci’s work on YouTube.  She had a beautiful line and a gorgeous technique. So sad to know she is gone. 


  14. On 8/19/2020 at 10:57 AM, Buddy said:

    I like this video for at least two reasons besides just being enjoyable. Outdoor performances really seem like a good idea and dancers wearing face masks in close contact at this time is probably a very good idea as well.

    Dance Theatre of Harlem -- Dancing Through Harlem

    (Thanks to Naomi M at BalletcoForum)

    Too beautiful for words, thank you, thank you, Buddy. These dancers are extraordinary. Such beautiful, clean choreography. I loved it. 

  15. I posted this in the Ballet History subforum today, but I guess it’s more appropriate here. 

    Good day, Everyone,

    Please see today’s Google Doodle honoring Maria Tallchief in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, and enjoy this wonderful video about the Doodle. 

  16. On 11/3/2020 at 3:55 PM, nanushka said:

    I got a very nice surprise in the mail today, six back issues (Fall 2017 – Spring 2020) of Dance Index with a note:

    I'm guessing this may be because my subscription to Ballet Review was paid beyond their end of publication.

    I received the same six issues, as well. What a lovely surprise! 

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