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Royal Blue

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About Royal Blue

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    avid balletgoer
  • City**
    New York
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    NY

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  1. Royal Blue

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    Interesting observations! My previous comment, of course, was made by way of pointing out the irony in the situation and praising ABT, instead of as a means to criticize NYCB. Both Symphony in C and Concerto Barocco are works which are justifiably presented often; therefore, it is understandable that some performances of them—though still worthwhile—may seem less remarkable than others. By contrast, it was easier to be impressed by Symphonie Concertante at the festival, since performances of that ballet are infrequent. The fact remains, however, that all five renditions of the latter work I saw this fall were superb, and for that ABT deserves plenty of credit. Additionally, I feel that Shevchenko and Teuscher merit special plaudits, both for making outstanding debuts in their respective roles and for their exceptional performances at City Center.
  2. Royal Blue

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    Two dazzling performances of Symphonie Concertante by ABT at City Center this past weekend within the space of less than 24 hours! To say the least, it is bizarre for ABT to have upstaged NYCB at a Balanchine Festival, especially at this point in time; however, there you have it. This occurred partly on account of how seldom Symphonie Concertante is presented. Those five performances scheduled during the Fall Season were undoubtedly essential for a fuller appreciation of the ones at the festival. The dancing at City Center by Thomas Forster, as well as three female soloists and all the women from the corps in the cast was in any case impeccable. For Christine Shevchenko and Devon Teuscher these two performances marked veritable triumphs: they made every moment of the ballet's outer segments appear incontestably precious, and propelled its exalted middle one into a pinnacle of sublimity.
  3. Royal Blue

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    To have observed last night from close to the stage how supremely well Christine Shevchenko and Devon Teuscher worked in tandem throughout Balanchine’s stately Symphonie Concertante—gracefully mirroring the interplay between the violin and the viola in Mozart’s inspired composition—amounted to another peak experience at the ballet. Truly marvelous stuff Saturday evening at City Center from ABT and these two ballerinas!
  4. Royal Blue

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    During ABT's Fall Season I attended four performances, three of them for the express purpose of familiarizing myself with Symphonie Concertante in preparation for the two this weekend at City Center. Why this exquisite work is not presented more often is baffling. All three casts—Stella Abrera, Gillian Murphy and Alexandre Hammoudi; Christine Shevchenko, Isabella Boylston and Blaine Hoven; and Shevchenko, Devon Teuscher and Thomas Forster—proved delightful from my position in the Fourth Ring. In terms of the actual dancing, the only blemish witnessed was Hammoudi's poor solo work. (The six demi-soloists at each performance, as well as the corps de ballet, were also highly appealing.) Nevertheless, my feeling is that it was appropriate and sensible to choose Shevchenko and Teuscher for the assignments at City Center.
  5. Yes, bobbi. The performance last night of Divertimento No. 15 by San Francisco Ballet at City Center was sensational and profoundly life-enhancing. A great way certainly for Ana Sophia Scheller to return to the city, it featured spectacular accomplishments by at least three of her new colleagues—Dores André, Sasha De Sola and Frances Chung. De Sola's own stumble as the ballet was nearing its conclusion only made her and the company more endearing to me!
  6. Last evening’s performance by NYCB of Symphony in C was not flawless; however, the company still made this great work appear—from my vantage point in the center of the balcony—vibrant and glorious. A lovely yet subdued performance by Viktoria Tereshkina in Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux accompanied a thrilling one by Kimin Kim. The clarity, precision and beauty of movement by Kim impressed, and indicated an abiding commitment to excellence. Superbly matched by contrast, Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Marcelino Sambé offered the audience a rendition of Tarantella which filled the theater with life and joy. Just over half an hour long, Serenade is one of the most beautiful and moving of all ballets—whether abstract or narrative. Although Miami City Ballet's performance was not without flaws either, I would unhesitatingly grab any opportunity to watch Serenade with this company and same cast again.
  7. There is no denying the significance of style in ballet, even if a viewer who has not studied the art form in depth overlooks such essential details as the precise positioning of the hands and arms, the placement of the feet, the direction the body is leaning or the head is facing, and the speed or elevation required during a choreographic sequence. Without doubt, it is splendid and appropriate, therefore, that NYCB has a school of its own where students learn the Balanchine style from a young age, and from which the company primarily recruits its dancers. There are, nevertheless, issues regarding the element of style. Evidently, people who worked closely with Balanchine have disagreements about it. This is why individuals who attended earlier NYCB performances occasionally have remarked on renditions by other companies purportedly more faithfully capturing the illustrious choreographer's intentions. One wonders, moreover, about the impact of the passage of time on this style as various persons instructed by Balanchine no longer are around to pass their knowledge directly to new generations of dancers. Furthermore, all the coaching provided aside, as artists shouldn’t the topmost dancers eventually determine how to interpret a critical role? And isn’t great choreography ultimately about more than style? Despite specializing in works from divergent traditions, it seems unreasonable for other major companies not to be performing any Balanchine—which is partly what makes the six City Center programs starting tonight fascinating. It would be unwise, however, to draw precipitate, sweeping inferences from a sampling of performances. The cast for this evening's performance of Symphony in C by NYCB is superlative. It will be riveting to observe the company perform a magnificent ballet included in the opening program in 1948, and in the venue which served as its original theater.
  8. Royal Blue

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    They are sisters, I believe.
  9. Royal Blue

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    Cast changes and a reshuffling of roles marked the respective performances Tuesday in three out of the four works seen on last Friday's program (the exception was the poignant This Bitter Earth with Teresa Reichlen and Ask la Cour). Yet the result was the same: a marvelous evening! To be sure, it is fascinating to compare and contrast the niceties of how dancers with distinct physical characteristics and/or varying levels of experience and accomplishment—e.g. Sara Mearns and Miriam Miller, or Tiler Peck and Unity Phelan in Pulcinella Variations; Mearns and Sterling Hyltin, or Ashley Bouder and Brittany Pollack in Concerto DSCH; Phelan and Emilie Gerrity, or Indiana Woodward and Kristen Segin in Fearful Symmetries (and so forth)—manage a particular role. What finally matters, however, is how gratifying it was to watch all three ballets on both evenings. How wonderful it is for Brittany Pollack to be back, and to have viewed her dancing Tuesday in two pieces—especially the sturdier Concerto DSCH! Although she lacked the strength and power displayed by Bouder in Ratmansky's work, her aura of femininity and beauty of movement offered invaluable recompense. Six members of the corps—Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Mary Elizabeth Sell, Lydia Wellington, Devin Alberda, Daniel Applebaum and Andrew Scordato—deserve special mention for their contributions to that haunting middle section of Concerto DSCH. Kudos likewise to Tyler Angle and his attentive partnering on different nights of Mearns and Hyltin. On both Friday and Tuesday I craved for those pivotal moments midway in the ballet to continue. Its brevity, however, makes that segment even more forceful and compelling! Although she remains one of my favorite female corps members, Kristen Segin's persistent smiling throughout Fearful Symmetries made her appear a lightweight next to Woodward in the same role. (Incidentally, earlier on Friday, Woodward had also danced beautifully a strikingly different, lighthearted part in Pulcinella Variations.) However, the effect of Segin’s performance was counterbalanced Tuesday by an incisive one by Emilie Gerrity, who had debuted in her role a few days earlier. Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention how in this ballet Mary Thomas MacKinnon, a new member of the female corps, showed tremendous stage presence. * In addition to those who danced the main parts, eight other dancers were instrumental in showcasing the splendor of Allegro Brillante this fall. One of them was Meagan Mann—one of the most elegant, graceful, and recognizable members of the female corps in recent years. Therefore, it was surprising to learn that Mann retired after the season’s last performance of Allegro Brillante.
  10. Royal Blue

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    Friday evening’s NYCB performance—Pulcinella Variations; This Bitter Earth; Concerto DSCH; Fearful Symmetries—was highly rewarding. As I view Pulcinella Variations more and become used to its fanciful costumes, I find myself increasingly attracted to its music and choreography: it is a congenial, effervescent work. Observing how lovely Miriam Miller appears and dances in this is delightful. And although Tiler Peck’s superlative rendition of the role she originated may be par for the course for her it inspires—typically—wonder. (Due to unusual circumstances, I watched the lion's share of another electrifying performance of Allegro Brillante on Wednesday evening with her in the lead from a fascinating perspective.) Ever since the work’s NYCB premiere six years ago, the music of This Bitter Earth has moved me profoundly. Taking everything recently occurring into account—including the weighty remarks she delivered at the Fall Gala (I was unfortunately not in attendance)—I, therefore, considered the casting of Teresa Reichlen in this pas de deux to have been an astute decision—any attendant partnering difficulties involving her size notwithstanding. Some comments made lately by Lauren Lovette, furthermore, would have added a piquant element to her debut in Wheeldon's solemn pas de deux also, so I regret having missed it. With as splendid a cast as Friday night’s—Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns, Tyler Angle, Joaquin De Luz and Gonzalo Garcia—Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH with its unforgettable central section could hardly fail to awe. (What a powerhouse is Bouder shown to be in this ballet with her extraordinarily assured balances, remarkable spins, and breathtaking series of grand jetés!) One reliable way to assess the worth of a particular performance by a dancer or a ballet is by the impact each makes when following anything superb earlier in a program. Friday evening’s Fearful Symmetries was enthralling and featured a spectacular debut by Indiana Woodward, who commanded the stage in a role that ironically receives third billing as if she were one of the company’s preeminent principals.
  11. Royal Blue

    2017 Spring Season

    Viewing Fearful Symmetries again on Friday evening reminded me of some supplementary remarks I intended to make here. First, to complete the thought from an earlier post ... In the all-Wheeldon Program No. 1 of the Here/Now Festival, Mercurial Manoeuvres was the finest work presented; American Rhapsody, the flimsiest. Although Mercurial Manoeuvres, just as the first Shostakovich Piano Concerto, is lovely throughout its high point is the slow second segment. (Both Wheeldon's ballet and Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH are similar in this way.) The female lead in this piece is another striking role for Tiler Peck, whose wondrous performance in the adagio section is a signal example belying any perception of her as simply a superlative allegro dancer. During a recent "See the Music ..." presentation Andrew Litton made some intriguing remarks regarding the mutual respect Ravel and Gershwin had for each other's work, and the influence jazz exercised on the French composer. Although Rhapsody in Blue is a celebrated, memorable musical composition, it does not bear comparison with any of the gorgeous piano concertos by Ravel and Shostakovich. For all its surface dazzle and prettiness, American Rhapsody is merely a Broadway-themed piece whose score and choreography would be more suitable for a musical. During the Festival more than a year ago it was performed capably with Lauren Lovette and Russell Janzen in the leading roles, and was heartily applauded by the audience. And a few comments about Program No. 10 … For those annoyed by the programming during the 2017 Spring Season, this one—comprised of Jeux, The Shimmering Asphalt, Unframed, and Fearful Symmetries—would be in contention as representing its lowest point. Partly due to the elusive nature of Debussy’s music, as well as the duskiness and opacity of the ballet, Jeux has been one of the toughest new works to enjoy out of those that have premiered recently. Its single saving grace has been Sara Mearns’ intense performance in the lead. Since my seat offered an advantageous perspective, and since I became notably receptive to the music on this occasion, Jeux proved pleasantly surprising. The essence of the "games" being played onstage by the characters skillfully portrayed by Mearns, Jared Angle, Justin Peck and a distinguished-looking Sterling Hyltin strongly aroused my curiosity. Of the three recent pieces on the program, The Shimmering Asphalt—with sufficiently attractive music by David Lang and choreography by Pontus Lidberg—appeared to be the most traditional. As was the case with the surrounding works, the casting was irreproachable—Mearns, Hyltin, and Tiler Peck each appeared in two ballets—and provided one of the last opportunities to see Rebecca Krohn before her retirement. Stylistically more adventurous and set to classical music from widely different time periods, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Unframed counts among its tantalizing aspects the interruption of a pas de deux by a pas de trois, and instances involving costume changes. Finally, the dynamic and generally upbeat quality characterizing its music and choreography makes Fearful Symmetries an engaging, irresistible work.
  12. Royal Blue

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    Having arrived at the theater five minutes late, I missed the performance of Allegro Brillante last evening; however, the rest of the program was fantastic! (On Sunday afternoon with a sparkling Sara Mearns in the lead Allegro Brillante seemed a dazzling brand new work, even though it has received its share of electrifying performances recently.) To be sure, Easy is not a major piece, yet it is brief, unobjectionable, and colorful. Provided a performer who grabs my attention as readily as Unity Phelan is included in the cast, it is not onerous to watch. My familiarity with the musicals of Richard Rodgers is nowhere near it should be based on an affinity for the music of his I have heard in various contexts. At the top of beckoning American Musicals is Carousel. On account of this simultaneous unfamiliarity and attraction, I find Wheeldon’s ballet extremely appealing—especially with a ballerina of Tiler Peck's stature as the female lead! The fact that Tyler Angle, one of the most dependable of NYCB's male principals, may be miscast is immaterial under these circumstances. On the whole, NYCB's production of La Sylphide is enchanting, as is the music by the obscure composer. Some mannerisms of Marika Anderson's Madge are excessive; Daniel Ulbricht was efficient as Gurn, and Joaquin De Luz haughty yet touching as James; regardless of the discrepancy in height compared to both men, Lauren King was a memorable Effie. Still, given the critical nature of the role, the evening unsurprisingly belonged to Sterling Hyltin and her potent, captivating portrayal of The Sylph. The comeliness and lightheartedness in her physiognomy and movements throughout the ballet made her change in demeanor and acting at the denouement almost unbearably moving. One wonders how and why sadness can be so beautiful! Tuesday evening at NYCB, in sum, was terrific—an evening which made the regrettable necessity of missing the magnificent Dances of Isadora at New York City Center tolerable.
  13. Royal Blue

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    Actually, the disquieting issues NYCB—not to mention society at large—has been confronting during this past year should rather sensitize us to the beauty and power and value of the company's repertoire and performances. Notwithstanding any issues regarding casting choices or errors in execution that occurred during any particular performance, the six presentations of Jewels at the start of NYCB's fall season were inspiring and heartwarming. It will be interesting to see Diamonds performed by itself in a repertory program later during the 2018-19 Season. With a charming, nostalgic first section, one of the great pas de deux in ballet and its spectacular celebratory conclusion Diamonds is on its own one of Balanchine's greatest works. However, in this run of Jewels, I particularly marveled at the prodigious scintillation of its third section, and the spellbinding fashion the steps combine with Tchaikovsky's glowing music. Four women from the corps—Laine Habony, Olivia MacKinnon, Mary Elizabeth Sell and Lydia Wellington—were delightful here; the solos by Joseph Gordon especially dazzled; the swiftness, flexibility, and stamina of Sara Mearns, as well as her exceptional musicality are ideal for the segment. In Rubies, I immensely enjoyed the Patricia McBride role: Ashley Bouder, Sterling Hyltin and Lauren Lovette each danced it with admirable skill and radiated copious energy and joyfulness. Of the three worlds conjured by Balanchine in Jewels, the most exquisitely beautiful is that in the verdant Emeralds. The Saturday matinee performance of it with the second cast, which included Tiler Peck and Unity Phelan, was sublime and seemed way too short. A magical musical touch characterizes the ending of Fauré’s moving “Epithalame”, the music which accompanies the pas de deux with the Violette Verdy role—a pas de deux whose quality and beauty formerly I seriously underestimated.
  14. Royal Blue

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    What an exceptionally dignified, solemn role that originally danced by Mimi Paul in Emeralds is! This is the part in Jewels—especially in the ethereal choreography for her solo and the “walking pas de deux” (accompanied respectively by Fauré’s haunting “Sicilienne” and “Nocturne”)—that powerfully evokes intimations of another world, and thereby constitutes a coveted antidote to all the extraneous, incessant noise in this one. Wednesday evening's debut by Unity Phelan in this role was ineffably thrilling. This was the debut of the week I was most looking forward to and her performance, situated between two sublime renditions of the same part by a transcendent Ashley Laracey on Tuesday and Thursday evening, exceeded even my trustful expectations. It would be a salutary, gratifying experience for mere mortals to witness this at whatever occasion in this troubling world; however, in light of the chaos swirling around NYCB presently the sublimity and spirituality of the beauteous dancing with downcast eyes by both women could not have been timelier. A unique and special ballerina at her peak, Tiler Peck performed the Violette Verdy role on Wednesday evening as touchingly as one can. So, even though—as reflected in the comments above—Rubies and Diamonds were graced by several excellent individual performances and were thoroughly enjoyable also, it was the Emeralds segment of Jewels on Wednesday that sparkled the brightest.
  15. Royal Blue

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    No doubt! That may be so; however, nothing in any of my posts—including those relating to Prodigal Son in the original “2017 Winter Season” thread that was lost—suggests that I am the type of individual who favors sweeping anything under the rug. That is what I suggested in my post, although I am not privy to any information beyond what I observe on the stage. I am as appalled by the most disturbing allegations in the complaint that was filed as any reasonable person would be. Our choice and—as you rightly point out—our hierarchy of values.
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