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Everything posted by CTballetfan

  1. Reading all these posts I am struck mostly by Canbelto’s point #3 about disappearing into the choreography. This point articulates for me why I love Balanchine danced by NYCB. The ballerina loses her separate identity in the expression of the role. That creates for me a transformative experience. That’s where the magic happens. All the more so when with a partner the pas de deux transcends the steps and the partnership becomes art. Ballerinas who become transformed by Balanchine and lose themselves include, for me, Sterling Hyltin, Maria Kowroski, Tiler Peck, Megan Fairchild, and Sarah Mearns. How lucky we are to have these exemplars of Balanchine artistry dancing today.
  2. Wonderful news! I always enjoyed him as a dancer and he certainly has a distinguished record as a teacher. With him at the helm we can be confident that the Studio Company will prepare dancers ready for the main company and hopefully more men who can be groomed to be leading men down the line to fill the dwindling ranks of male principals. A great decision on management’s part.
  3. I would love to see ABT make Robert Fairchild “an offer he can’t refuse,” as Cobweb suggested. I do think he has the “appropriate epaulement, acting chops and stamina” AlexL thinks is needed for a full-length ballet b/c he has carried a Broadway show as well as NYCB’s R&J and other full-length ballets. But I wonder if he would be interested in returning to NY.
  4. Fortunately you can see well from almost everywhere in the orchestra!
  5. Wow, what a great program! I just resubscribed to a flex series yesterday and the DeLuz Farewell was one of my picks. I also received today’s email about priority seating, so I’m glad I’m in the queue as of yesterday. The rep I ordered my series from told me that requests for good orchestra seats for this program are going to be difficult to fill.
  6. Thank you so much, Laurel, for this review. Oh I wish I had been able to see Gillian Murphy one more time as O/O. The last time I saw her in this role she had to retire after Act 1 with an injury (2014). She has truly matured as an artist.
  7. Last evening I saw a Mark Morris performance for the first time. It was Pepperland, to numbers from the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. The performance was part of the New Haven Arts and Ideas Festival, which runs for about 2 weeks. The performance was exactly one hour long, no intermission, with a small band and singer offstage. This was my first experience with modern dance, being a lifelong lover of ballet. The ensemble was about 15-20 dancers, and the numbers nonstop one after the other to the Beatles' tunes. I found it spritely, the dancers competent, but the choreography seemed repetitive. Only one number seemed to be a hit with the sophisticated arts audience, Penny Lane. Some of the numbers bored me. Being somewhat conversant with classic and contemporary ballet, I thought Morris was influenced by Jerome Robbins, many of whose works I see at NYCB. In turn, I saw resemblances between Morris and Justin Peck, NYCB's resident choreographer, and wonder if some of Peck's work has been influenced by Morris. Has anyone seen Pepperland?
  8. Unless I am able to get to Lincoln Center next week for Don Q, this will be the first spring season in a long time that I have not seen ABT, even though I pay for an annual membership and for many years was a subscriber. I have been faithfully following this thread and the threads on this forum for the individual ABT ballets this season and regret that I missed a few stellar performances, esp. Shevchenko in SL. I was not moved to see any of the new ballets, and the old stalwarts draw me in only if there is an outstanding ballerina. None of the leading men is much of a draw now that Gomes is gone, although I do like Cornejo. I did love all of NYCB's spring performances that I saw--still dreaming about them, the music, the choreography, and the top 5 principal ballerinas, all of whom I love--and hoping to see as many performances as I can in the fall. If ABT will be at the Koch Theater in November--does anyone know?--I would be tempted to go because it will be repertory, not full-length ballets. I guess I am tired of all the supernumeraries prancing around for long periods of time in crowd scenes of classic full-length ballets and just want to get at the real dancing. Just my personal perspective but I am disappointed that ABT does not move me the way it used to. I wonder if anyone else has been disappointed in ABT this spring or is it just me?
  9. The last two evenings I have gone into the atrium this spring Wichcraft was closed. The atrium is open but no food is served.
  10. Yes, my mouth is watering. A couple of weeks ago, my most recent trip to see NYCB, the gelato cart was just rolling up to the plaza from the street about 45 minutes before curtain, and I raced over to get my favorite combo too, coffee and chocolate. Rich and delicious, better than dinner. That evening a graduation ceremony for Cardozo Law School was just letting out of Geffen Hall onto the plaza and the graduates and families were queueing up for gelato too. Very festive!
  11. Thank you, Lady Bubbles, I think I'll give Boylston a try b/c the date works best for me. I saw Murphy as Kitri about 7 years ago--great!--so I'll hold off a few days just in case I can make her Wed matinee. You are right--it might be her last in this role.
  12. Oh that I could come Saturday--I would love to see Lane and Cornejo--but that's the one day I can't come in. But thank you for your very welcome recommendations. I think I'll have to hope Boylston has not run out of gas.
  13. Now that ABT will be coming into the home stretch, after a number of exhausting principal roles over the season, which of the principal casts do you think will have the energy and dynamism to make Don Quixote week look as fresh and exciting as the first week? Do you think after carrying so many leads this season Boylston will still be fresh? Or go with Murphy--this is one of her signature roles--or someone else? And what about the men? I haven't been able to get to ABT yet and would like to catch this--it's one of my favorites. Thanks for your advice.
  14. I also agree that center orchestra G and M5 and 7 are the best. I like to see the dancers' facial expressions, and for several years had subscription seats in center orchestra row G. As pointed out, however, up to row M it is flat so you take your chances on whether a tall person or one with a lot of hair will partially block your view. BUT there is a solution: downstairs in the cloakroom you can borrow (for free) a velvet seating cushion, which will elevate your view. They keep them for kids but they are unlikely to need their entire supply on a Monday evening for this ballet. You need to leave your driver's license, which they will return to you when you return the cushion after the performance. Second choice for me is M 5 and 7. Very good seats and the first row on the incline, so unless the person in front of you is extra tall, your view should be good. Also a good compromise between seeing the dancers up close and seeing the patterns of the corps on stage. But you are a little further back. i think these are your best bets. It's a great, rousing ballet and you will both love it. i usually eat at a casual place like Le Pain Quotidien, which is fine for a casual meal. For a birthday, I second Bar Boulud. Friends just ate there before a performance and raved. I found Fiorello overpriced for what you get. Have a great evening!
  15. I saw last evening's (May 29) program: Mozartiana, Not Our Fate, Pulchinella Variations, and Glass Pieces. Mozartiana: I take it all back that I was disappointed in Maria Kowroski's dancing last month. In Mozartiana she was spectacular, like a fleeting butterfly or a water sprite, ethereal, almost surreal, every move flowing from the one before and perfect. It is a demanding role and from my perch in Orchestra row F she didn't seem to tire, her energy as high at the end as the beginning. It was a privilege to witness her performance. Tyler Angle was of course an excellent partner and his solos were executed well, but he is not a butterfly! Daniel Ulbricht executed his intricate solos well, but I like him best in comedic roles where his ebullient personality can shine. The four little girls from SAB (about 8 or 9 years old) were delightful. What surprised me was Lauren Lovette's Not Our Fate. I expected it to be a throwaway little piece created for the gala, but it was the highlight of the evening and the audience responded with the most loud and sustained applause of the evening, plus multiple curtain calls. Michael Nyman's music is intense, throbbing, pulsating, and the choreography matched it with whirling, nonstop, riveting action. Best was the same sex couple of Taylor Stanley and Preston Chamblee--the intensity, fearlessness, emotion and action of this couple caught the entire audience in its thrall. Wonderful piece of work for Lovette and I hope to see more of what she has up her sleeve. For me the disappointment of the night was Justin Peck's Pulchinella Variations. The audience gasped at the costumes when the curtain went up and revealed the cast on stage but as soon as they started dancing the costumes became an impediment to the dancing, at least for me. The distracting images (eyeballs??), teacup skirts that flopped ridiculously, crazy patterns from neck to toe that obscured the usual beautiful line of the dancers' bodies--all of these got in the way of the dancing and choreography and prevented me from enjoying the piece. What was Peck thinking when he chose these costumes? On the dancers: at the last minute Sara Mearns was replaced by Miriam Miller (I hope Mearns is not injured, she is scheduled to dance tonight). Miller is tall and it seemed like she and Jared Angle did not have time to rehearse or get comfortable with each other--early in the pas de deux their hands did not catch and he had to upright her. The lifts were awkward as well. The rest of the cast was wonderful, especially Anthony Huxley's solo (although the flapping streamers on his arms were distracting). Best was Unity Phelan--she has it all! I see principal dancer in her future. Her partner, Joseph Gordon, continues to unimpress me. Glass Pieces is one of my favorite Robbins dances and on this viewing I deepened my appreciation of it. I love the music so much I bought it a few years ago and play it often. Such brilliant choreography it stuns me every time. Teresa Reichlen and Ask La Cour were perfection, their bodies so beautifully suited to each other, the classic, cool interpretation and poses contrasting with the pulsating staccato music of the rest of the piece. This role suits Reichlen to a T and she reminded me here of Suzanne Farrell. This is my last NYCB performance for this season and I wish I could have seen more.
  16. Just to finish my report on the Sunday April 29 matinee which I started yesterday, I enjoyed both Le Tombeau de Couperin and Symphony in Three Movements, neither of which I remember seeing before. I think I would have appreciated them even more had I sat somewhere above the stage rather than at stage level, so I could have seen the dance patterns better. In Symphony, Tiler Peck and Taylor Stanley were outstanding, especially the section where they crossed arms. Lauren King and Troy Schumacher were outstanding as well, very well matched, and each a whirlwind of power, he in his energetic, beautifully executed jumps and she in her speed, agility, and grace, ponytail whipping around her. I hope to see more of her. What to say of the choreographic perfection and execution of Apollo? I hadn't seen it in years and this time paid close attention to the narrative arc, which drew me in and built to its exquisite end and final pose. Bravo to Balanchine, who lives in this ballet. Bravo to the muses--Sterling Hyltin, Ashley Bouder, and Lauren Lovett--in sync and individually expressive, and to Zach Catazaro for his beautiful line, dancing, and partnering. It's not fair to compare his performance with the great Apollos of Jacques d'Amboise and Mikhail Baryshnikov, both of which I saw when I was a teenager, and I hope Zach's command of the role will only grow as he matures. He is a beautiful dancer.
  17. Fabulous! Tremendous energy, speed and verve. Of course they are always great together and complement each other well. Mearns was electric and dazzling. Despite needing to lose a few pounds, Tyler hit every jump easily and was fluid and made his solos look easy. He's still got it, in my opinion. The highlight was the end--two glorious fish dives that left the audience gasping. I was sitting in row B of the orchestra and Sarah's face was luminous, while dancing and in multiple curtain calls. The audience did not want to stop clapping. And she looked so incredibly happy with their performance. Btw, the rest of the program was terrific too. Will post on this later.
  18. 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.
  19. The cast changes and uncertainty are dizzying. Personally I would not buy a ticket for any performance unless I didn't care who the leads were--because they are likely to change one or more times before the performance. Since all but Harlequinade are staples in the ABT repertory, and I have seen them all multiple times, I won't be buying tickets until the last minute, if I do at all. And even then casting can change, as I have experienced many times--the dreaded white casting change slip in the program! An ABT volunteer called me the other evening to try to get me to take a last-minute subscription because I used to take one for years and I told her that casting is important in an old warhorse ballet and since it's likely to change before the performance, I do not want to make that commitment. Anyway, NYCB is much more exciting and its cast of world-class ballerinas makes almost any performance a standout. I just renewed my NYCB membership and this donation is well worth it. ABT needs to do something to win me--and others--back.
  20. Last evening I attended opening night of Romeo and Juliet. Since I am not as well versed as many of you on the technicalities of ballet, my review will be strictly my impressions and appreciation. For me, the performance had its ups and downs. The audience, including me, was most energized and excited by two elements: (1) the strong performances, swordplay, energy, and command of the stage by Joaquin de Luz as Tybalt and Daniel Ulbricht as Mercutio. Wow! Both command the stage and Ulbricht had the time of his life with all his jumps and spins. In the sword fights they fed off each other. It was sizzling! (2) a small troop of little boys from the SAB school, one of whom could not have been more than 5 or 6, who took center stage and whirled and jumped with bravado. They got what seemed to be the biggest applause and calls of Bravo of the evening. Now, what of the leads? I had seen Sterling Hyltin in the role in 2012, with Robert Fairchild as her Romeo. That performance was electric, moving, tragic, the connection between them palpable. Last night IMO Sterling did capture the essence of a young conflicted girl. Her dancing was, as always, effervescent, light, fluid, musical, but the choreography had her doing a lot of running back and forth on the stage, which made her seem to me more like the mad scene in Giselle. But the key to the ballet, at least as I read Shakespeare, is the tragic love story. It takes two for a love story and I, at least, did not feel the magic, chemistry, despair, and tragic loss of this pair. Harrison Coll seems very young and unseasoned. Although he has a lovely line and beautifully proportioned body for ballet, and he executed the steps competently, to me he lacks dramatic presence. He can't yet hold the stage on his own. Compare to De Luz, who in his bright yellow costume and surrounded by a stageful of other dancers, commands your eye even standing still as you view his evil glance and clanking swords. Coll seemed always to be racing around like a dervish(maybe that was intended). But I wanted to be more moved by the balcony scene and I wasn't. The pas de deux where he turns her first with one hand and then the other was okay, but the feeling between them was lacking. I almost felt that Hyltin was trying to inject on her own the connection that didn't develop between them. A shoutout to Maria Kowroski, who portrayed Juliet's mother with dignity and compassion without hardly dancing a step. Poor use of Ask la Cour as Juliet's father and Russell Jansen as Paris, who had little expression and not much to do. Finally I think the pacing could have been better. Love scenes and tragedy scenes deserve extra time for the audience to absorb and feel them. Maybe the orchestra was too fast paced--I don't know. The fast pace worked well for the sword fight scenes, where the performance came to life. Anyway, this was the only performance of the company I can see this winter season, so am grateful I was there, sitting right up front in row D center aisle seat where I could easily view all their expressions. I look forward to your comments on this performance and the performances of the other leads.
  21. CTballetfan

    Gomes and ABT

    I haven't posted for quite some time but have been following this thread and the terrible news about Gomes's resignation. He has been my favorite male dancer for so many years, gives his heart and soul to every performance. To say he will be missed is such an understatement. I just read Nanushka's assessment of who is left in the male principal ranks and it seems to me the situation is dire. Time to put a lot of effort into the promising male soloists like Thomas Forster, Blaine Hoven, and maybe one or two more. I do think Whiteside can turn in a great performance when he is moved to do so, but the other strong principal men are too short to partner any but the smaller women. Cory Stearns continues to unimpress me. Coincidentally I just sent ABT a check for my annual membership the day before the Gomes news broke. How will his loss affect subscription sales?
  22. A note to Peter Martins: Please, please schedule more SL--how about trading some performances of Midsummer Night's Dream, R&J or the new choreography evenings--this year just so those of us who missed the debut performances of Tiler Peck and Megan Fairchild as O/O can see them. You will not lose money at the box office! I was fortunate to see Sara Mearns on opening night but dearly would have loved to see Tiler and Megan. I know my wish won't be granted but I can hope, can't I? When you think of all the unsold seats for some of the less popular mixed bill evenings, surely you can rethink your planning.....
  23. Thank you, Vipa, for your report of today's performance. I am pleased that Bouder was able to transform herself into the role, esp. the adagio. Yes I totally agree with you about Ullbricht, whom I loved in the jester role Tuesday evening. I think you nailed his appeal and strengths. I also have not been enamored of Veyette in a princely role. I'm glad you think Gordon has "white tight potential." I thought so too on his performance Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to Megan Fairchild's interpretation, esp. after the piece in the Times the other day. And of course, Tiler Peck. I wish I could be there for both of those evenings. I hope those of you who attend will report back in full!
  24. Yes I wondered whether the music was a little fast in places, although so thoroughly engaging. I noticed at the end of one of Ullbricht's solos, he kneels down and raises his arm on the last note, but this gesture was a second after the music stopped. And I too meant to give a shoutout to Brittany Pollack--her performance was exquisite.
  25. Opening night of Swan Lake Sept. 19: I attended last night's performance, which IMO was wonderful. Packed and enthusiastic house. First, the music, always so enthralling, played so beautifully by the orchestra. Bravos to the conductor and to the oboist(?) who caught my attention with his soulful solo. Now to the dancers. I had not seen Sarah Mearns as O/O and she captured both roles. Can one be both statuesque with exquisite extensions and pliant with deep backbends and liquid motions? Yes she was. But it was the last act where she transformed into her tragic character. The audience was with her all the way. I had read an article where she talks about how she becomes the character. It was heart-catching. And catching her was Tyler Angle, sturdy and strong smooth and showing her off to advantage, the perfect foil to her fiery performance. A great partnership. His solos showed he still has the goods IMO. Btw, Mearns did what appeared to be 26 traveling fouettés (I counted), 2or 3 of them doubles. If you count the doubles as 2 fouettés (do you?) then she may have done 32. Other standout performances: What can can be said about the pyrotechnics of Daniel Ullbricht that have not been said before? He was on fire, high in the air defying gravity, all jumps and steps perfection. The audience gasped. And he played his jester role with glee. Joseph Gordon was a whirling, stage gobbling dynamo with fantastic energy in the pas de trois. Electrifying performance. And so tall--great roles should come his way. In the Russian dance Rebecca Krohn was fluid and mesmerizing. She still has lots of dance left, which I'm sure she will be teaching her new students. Sad to see her career coming to an end. The four small synchronized swans gave the best performance I have ever seen in this show-stopping number. They were all the same size and synchronized perfectly as one body. The SAB children were delightful and beautifully trained, and all looked thrilled to be part of the show. Bravo to them and their teachers, and to Peter Martins for orchestrating the whole production with all the groups and divertissements seamlessly. My reservations were ones I'm sure others have mentioned on seeing this production before: (1) the atrocious scenery; the less said, the better. (2) IMO there are too many white swan corps numbers; by the last act my eyes were glazing over. (3) the Elizabethan ruff, balloon pants and heavy dresses costumes; very distracting as they took up space in the background,and of course their costumes masked their bodies. This is ballet, folks! I have seen Sterling Hyltin as O/O, in her first year's performance (2007 or 2008) as a young colt, and would dearly love to see her this year in her mature performance, but will have to rely on your impressions. I am also sorry to miss the O/O debuts of Tiler Peck and Megan Fairchild, so will hope to read your comments. I must admit as I watched Mearns I sometimes envisioned how I thought Tiler would handle the role. I think it's a natural for her.
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