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Everything posted by BalanchineFan

  1. I've also been enjoying the Vail Festival offerings. The interview with Heather Watts, Damian Woetzel and Unity Phelan and Calvin Royale III was very illuminating. I found Heather particularly inspiring, talking about how dancers should dance "like themselves" and develop their own responses to the music and choreography, rather than copying what earlier dancers have done. She's saying this as someone who coaches younger dancers in roles she has performed, not as a way of throwing out existing (masterpiece level) choreography.
  2. I wrote a piece about NYCB working rehearsals (from 2015). Is this the right place to post a link? I'm not sure I'm ready for unfettered discussion, though. https://medium.com/@Allisunni/a-glimpse-into-new-york-city-ballets-working-rehearsals-4d73844c8795?sk=5ddd5fba29cf44a881b46933335c8fe1
  3. Maybe McKenzie means the dancer has to "set the tone" or "be an example" for rehearsals, performance, and preparation. Since Gabe Stone Thayer is Black (and as a Black person myself) I feel certain he's not talking about Calvin Royale III. Any non-white dancer with an attitude problem getting promoted when "attitude" is used as the reason a dancer of color is not promoted is part of the general conversation these days. Particularly among people of Stone's generation. You'd think management would at least change the language, or have a less litigation provoking kind of response.
  4. Merrill Ashley's husband Kibbe (that's the spelling from her book) gives her THE BEST ADVICE! I wish every ballerina had a husband like him. She says in her book that they agreed early on he should tell her any "notes" he saw in her dancing without worrying about how hard it might be for her to attend to them.
  5. Here's another article about Silas Farley and his retirement from performing. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/arts/dance/silas-farley-new-york-city-ballet.html I'm so sorry to hear about it. Silas Farley is such a lovely performer - a true prince. I remember Mr Martins having him demonstrate for the audience when SAB's advanced students took class on the stage in celebration of Balanchine's birthday. I saw Farley's debut in Concerto Barocco a few years ago (with Ashley Laracey) and I can attest to seeing him at many a dance lecture and event. We shared the stage briefly when Victoria Simon spoke at the NYPL about teaching Balanchine's works for the trust. She wanted volunteers to learn the beginning of Serenade. When he presented himself, she said, "only people who haven't performed the ballet." Silas responded, "These are women's roles. I've never done them," and she let him come up and learn it. He has such enthusiasm for all aspects of dance and Balanchine, always wanting to learn. I wish him every success.
  6. I utterly agree. The past, (especially Balanchine!!) is the foundation that everything else is built upon.
  7. It was a significant decision to end the Digital Spring Season with a program of new ballets. It says to me that NYCB, with their impressive, unmatched repertory of Balanchine and Robbins, and perhaps the largest working repertory of any ballet company, is focused on creating NEW WORK. That was one of Balanchine's core principles, make new ballets. The art of creation is foremost. Put a choreographer, a dancer, and live music in a studio and see what can happen. As if ballet were a verb. Any ballet company, perhaps every ballet company has old ballets that people have seen. Some build their entire rep around old, traditional ballets (see ABT). This company is about the new, which means it is perpetually perched on the cusp of reinvention. It, they, can always speak to the present moment. Dancers need new ballets to grow and by ending the Digital Spring Season with new works NYCB is inviting the audience to think to the future. It is probably why they included so many debuts, too (Taylor Stanley's Apollo, Mira Nadon's Rubies, Roman Mejia's Western Symphony). What could be? Who might develop? What partnerships could bloom ... when the company continues? If they had ended with Balanchine (not that anyone would mind) that would have been about the past, as if they were over. Start with the past, whet our appetite and move into the future.
  8. What a lovely reminder! I watched Midsummer last night. As much as I love the ballet, and as many times as I've seen it, I discover new delights each time. This time it was the quartet of lovers, and Hermia's mad scene which is quickly followed by the Mechanicals and more much needed comedy. There's another stunning solo from The Runaway posted on the NYCB site, trigger warnings for those with rap music issues... https://www.nycballet.com/Videos/Ballet-Detail-clips/The-Runaway-Taylor-Stanley-excerpt-Kanye-2.aspx
  9. I'd pay to see different casts of The Times Are Racing in its entirety, too. I'm warming up to Bartok Ballet. Sometimes the first time seeing a new ballet is just shock. Imagine if you're expecting Dances at a Gathering and you get The Cage instead. Isn't there a podcast where Tanowitz talks about the ballet? I may need to listen to that before my next viewing.
  10. Another duet from The Times Are Racing. I don't typically like the idea of comparing artists and artistry, every dancer brings their own unique and worthy gifts to each role. But I like the idea of seeing the different possibilities in a single ballet. So in that spirit... I was inspired by Taylor Stanley and a fellow BA poster's suggestion of watching the various casts and genders in The Times Are Racing. Was it you, Kathleen?
  11. I agree about the ensemble, they are killing it in Donizetti. The tempo is so fast and everything they do is clear and full and beautifully phrased. They have a lot to do in Donizetti, too. I watched the last digital offering last night. I'm not going to write about each excerpt, but I thought the section of Bartok Ballet was really well chosen. I saw the piece live, didn't like it, and I don't remember it moving through space as much as the excerpt they showed. I thought the excerpt came off well, and enjoyed the ballet more last night than in the theater. It could have been because I had lower expectations, or because I had a better idea of what to expect, but it's also because the directors chose such a good excerpt to share. What a difference editing makes! So nice to see Robert Fairchild and Justin Peck dancing in The Times are Racing. And good to know that their unison was built on years and years of knowing each other and dancing together for fun even before they got into the company. I hope all the Peck doubters got a little taste of Peck's choreography at its best. I also enjoyed Easy more than when I saw it in the theater. Peck was trying to fulfill a specific assignment and honor a particular vein of Jerome Robbins' choreograpy. It's not a major ballet, but it achieves the modest goals he set for himself. I respect that. The other thing I want to write about is Taylor Stanley. Just wow! I am always amazed at his work, but nowhere more than in The Runaway. This is one of, I believe, five solos he has in the ballet. The mood is introspective. He articulates different joints and the movement quietly grows through his body and then unfolds into a perfect tendu croisé or we find ourselves marveling at the purity of his line in arabesque. He holds a developpé to the side for so long the audience starts to applaud but it’s not a circus trick, he’s searching. It's like he morphs into a fully formed classical artist in front of our eyes and brings his and the choreographers' wealth of culture and history with him. I'm so glad this was included in the Digital Season. When dancers say that they enjoy originating roles or want to be a muse, this must be the sort of experience they are looking for each time; a perfect alchemy of choreographer, dancer and creation. Stanley and Kyle Abraham seem to have had a meeting of the minds. In Megan Fairchild's interview of Indiana Woodward they talk about dancing with Taylor Stanley, and with good reason. I think it's 30 or 45 minutes into the interview. Stanley is a beautiful dancer and a one of a kind artist. He doesn't remind me of anyone dancing past or present and seems to have created his own mold; a dancer for our time.
  12. I should have said larger houses, as in larger than the places people of modest means have in NYC.
  13. Outside of New York people of modest means have large houses, and some dancers seem to be filming in public parks. Maybe they went to the house of a donor to make their films (though my guess is that Tiler Peck is dancing in her family's backyard). Many of my clients have empty vacation homes. We just don't know where the dancers are or how they happened to be there. If you were making a film, wouldn't you choose a beautiful location? I was impressed that Peter Walker got someone to follow him with the camera. That was some tricky camera work.
  14. I also like Wheeldon's DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse. Lauren Lovette has been dancing the lead in that, including the pdd with Andy Veyette, recently. It may have been too long to fit in with this Digital Spring Season. Though Carousel is not among my favorites, there's no other ballet remotely like it in the NYCB repertory and it shows another facet of what they can do. It's kind of part of the Digital Spring Season, I suppose, are people aware that A Part of Together, a new six minute ballet choreographed during the pandemic by Tiler Peck, Troy Schumacher, Lauren Lovette, Ashley Bouder and Peter Walker is now on the nycballet.com front page? I found it quite charming. It's a series of solos to Bach's Brandenburg #6. Each of the dancers appears outside in their own location.
  15. Thank you for this Dale. What a great evening. Having played in orchestra as a child I always appreciate Litton's perspective, and the dancing is glorious. It's amazing to see Reichlen and Janzen, such long, tall dancers, negotiate the small space with such amplitude.
  16. It could be an issue with the platform you're using. If you have Apple TV and YouTube, I suggest using it to view the season. The sound is better and more synchronized with the movement. I had some trouble with pages loading when I watched the digital season via Facebook on my computer. Everything was off, or it would freeze and then speed up to catch up. Ughh.
  17. I love Sara Mearns' dancing as well. I've seen her subtlety in Mozartiana. She is the picture of simplicity, rising on pointe with bourreés straight down the center of the stage. I'm scratching my head at this entire thread. I find it hard to believe we were watching the same Diamonds, though sometimes the ballet itself is just not one of my favorites. I also love her boldness in Walpurgisnacht.
  18. I've seen Liturgy live. It's a slow pdd and she's GORGEOUS in it!
  19. While I think ABT's management is behind the times in terms of online presence, one of the issues ABT may be dealing with is the size and configuration of the Metropolitan Opera House. NYCB puts cameras in the back of the first ring. At the Met the cameras would be in the Parterre Boxes, which are the most expensive seats in the house, and a full crosstown block away from the stage. Maybe it just doesn't work visually. I find it difficult to watch dance in that house. I suppose they could have filmed the mixed bill performances when they cross the plaza to the NYCB theater, but it doesn't seem like they have. I was surprised they didn't have toasts from more of the past generations of ABT stars.
  20. I also thought the costumes for The Runaway were among the most successful from the Fall Fashion galas. Firstly, their individuality and weirdness are incorporated into the choreography. Secondly, the more cumbersome costumes are dramatically jettisoned, like in a FASHION SHOW. Georgina Pazoquin has a great moment throwing her oversize ball skirt into the wings. It looks like they'll be showing at least one of Taylor Stanley's solos from the piece. I can't wait! I am of mixed opinion about the fashion gala. I'm glad it brings designers and, one hopes, audiences into the ballet, but I wonder where is the process that will develop the next Karinska? Creating costumes for dance, and for ballet in particular, is a skill and designers need to study it rather than just being thrown into the deep end for a few weeks once or twice in a lifetime. None of the designers chosen for the fall fashion events are going to have a career designing for dance, or even for theater. They are fashion designers, trying to build a collection for their next show... trying to sell to department stores, or develop a couture customer base. Designing for the ballet stage should be a focus somewhere. I'll meet you on the virtual Promenade during Oltremare.
  21. In the last few years I have attended several talks about Balanchine and costume design for his ballets. Many ballets originally had much more elaborate costumes. One poster mentioned 4T, and the Seligmann costumes are indeed outrageous. Google them if you never have. Another fitting donation to a museum. Tanaquil Leclerq's 4T costume had big mittens covering her hands and in Choleric, when she's being partnered by the four men, they would often grab for a hand and get nothing but mitten. Difficult to partner that way. Hello black leotards and pink tights for the women, white Ts for the men. Goodbye mittens. Concerto Barocco had a series of Greek inspired costumes, as well as Apollo. Serenade had a long series of different costumes, some short, some long, some partly maroon and with hats (!!) before Barbara Karinska came along and solved that ballet. I hope that Peck is open to recostuming a few of his ballets at some point. If not, I'll keep hoping to see them in an open rehearsal ... some day when we're doing that again.
  22. I am loving the Digital Season. Loving it!! And I hope NYCB (and all performing arts organizations) continue to find ways to get more content online, in keeping with whatever misgivings and union constraints management may have. I am certain it will increase audiences for live performance. I think it's a great idea to have the streaming available for only 72 hours. It adds to the sense that it's a special occasion, and focuses discussion (good for us! but for others too). I may watch Pulcinella again. I watched the previous program with the excerpts from 4T and Western Symphony about five times.
  23. Thanks for responding. I think the move is called enveloppé. Again, I'm not going to die on the hill defending this ballet. The next part has a movement used in both Concerto Barocco and Symphony in C where the man lifts the woman in a series of jetés from side to side. We could do better, and we've certainly seen worse.
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