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JuliaJ

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About JuliaJ

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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    Brooklyn
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    NY

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  1. Omg for real... the "debut deferred" series just sounds so depressing. Why would anybody other than maybe die-hard fans of those particular dancers want to watch that? I haven't watched, and I don't plan to watch, any of ABT's online offerings. Whatever the reason for ABT not streaming past performances, they're missing out on valuable opportunities to show the world what we're actually missing in their absence. I admire NYCB's fundraising strategy of showing videos that elicit joy and appreciation -- not pity -- from audiences and donors.
  2. Mearns is one of my absolute favorite dancers, but I think you need to see her live to really appreciate her stage presence. She sure doesn't fit the classical ballerina archetype, if that's what you're used to watching. But I prefer her dancing over delicate, spindly Russian types, at least in Balanchine/Robbins/American choreography. Like other great NYCB dancers, she's a one-of-a-kind talent.
  3. Reichlen is constantly casted in real life, and that Western Symphony video featured her prominently. Abi Stafford is practically retired at this point. Other than Ramasar, who was omitted for obvious reasons, I think Daniel Ulbricht is the most under-represented principal in the Digital Season... he barely does anything in Justin Peck's Rotunda. The world should see more of him!
  4. I saw the Mearns/Janzen Diamonds that was performed two nights after this screening, and Mearns was a little more technically secure in that performance -- I remember her fouttées looking totally clean, and I think she pumped up the intensity more during the finale (it was the last "Jewels" of the run, after all). The curtain calls were endless that night. Still a stellar, tear-inducing performance in this video though. Janzen is injured so often; it's a rare treat to see him in a bravura role like this -- I noticed while watching this video that his feet are exceptionally arched for a man.
  5. After watching the recording of Pulcinella, I remember liking it more when I saw it live, from faraway in the theater's third ring. All of the criticisms here are valid, but I think the costumes have a more positive impact when you see them onstage, in person -- on video they look so distracting and they drown out the choreography more. Also, the camerawork here was the worst they've shown yet, so that didn't help. It isn't Peck's best work but I think it's a decent ballet and there are some shining moments, like the solos for Anthony Huxley. I would take this one over "Rotunda" any day.
  6. I've seen a videographer in the back-center of the first ring filming before -- not sure if someone is always there though? I don't normally sit on that level. All of these videos look like they were shot from the first or second ring. The company puts out so many performance clips on social media and on their website so they have to be filming a lot if not all performances from somewhere. Also, the medley currently streaming is fabulous -- I thought the "short takes" worked better than expected and really showed off the best of the company. Agree that Mejia displays worlds more confidence than dancers nearly twice his age! Tiler Peck in Divertimento and Gordon/Hyltin in Afternoon of a Faun were particularly breathtaking. And of course, 4Ts is my favorite ballet so I'm thankful they showed the one section since I didn't get to see it this spring as planned.
  7. There should be two more unannounced programs; maybe they will devote one to recent choreography and include something by a woman (there must be some pressure to do that), and then maybe, hopefully, a full-length -- Midsummer or Coppélia -- on the 29th?
  8. Thought Concerto DSCH was wonderful and am ashamed that I've never seen it in person! Will definitely be in the audience next time it comes around. What a perfect match of choreography to music and dancers. Love how Ratmansky uses the company's fast-paced Balanchine technique to bring out a feeling of mid-century Soviet athleticism, but in a way that looks distinctly NYCB and not Bolshoi or Mariinsky. The bits of humor were delightful, especially the part where Devin Alberda hops on two feet with flexed feet in the middle of the stage for what feels like forever. Garcia was really on that night -- so much more energy than what I'm used to seeing on him. I'm greatly enjoyed these broadcasts and also would love to see more of them even when performances resume, but I also think the company should be very careful about its video strategy moving forward. If people know in advance that the company will be airing certain shows online, will they bother buying a ticket? Sure, some will, but enough to sustain an in-person audience over time? Airing only during off-seasons might be a good idea, and/or only airing a very limited number of performances. The fact that the Met Opera has made opera more accessible via streaming is great, but haven't ticket sales seriously slumped in the past few years? Anyway, I have been enjoying Marquee TV lately; it's great to be able to watch European companies that I would never get to see otherwise.
  9. I think that at worst, it's possible that companies will cut down their performance schedules once things are back up and running and the virus is no longer an obstacle to putting on or attending a show. NYCB may decide that it's not worth putting on seven shows a week for six weeks straight (and four weeks in the fall, plus all of the Nutcracker) if it loses too many audience members. NYCB used to perform less shows anyway before they added the fall season. This would be terribly sad, but we would still be getting more ballet in NYC than most cities do. ABT's Met season was already going to be shortened before the pandemic hit. In any case both companies should really make the absolute best use of programming once they do reopen, and they need to heavily court young/young-ish audience members, as those are the people who are more likely to want to enter a theater again.
  10. Garcia is indeed "pleasant" and has many talents, but he's overcasted. They've been putting him in a lot of bravura roles since De Luz left (it's like he's the de facto De Luz just because he's Spanish and short), but he isn't usually suited to them. They frequently cast him with Megan Fairchild for some reason. For me he was decent in Rubies but lacked the panache that makes the role fun to watch... last dancer I saw in this is Andrew Veyette, who is also around 40 and past his prime, but he brought in a fun, carefree, masculine energy that I didn't really see in Garcia.
  11. Very much enjoyed the performance, but I also prefer Sterling Hyltin and the lightness she brings to the role. I remember seeing her dance this last fall and it looked like she was floating across the stage to the music, without sacrificing any of the choreography's sharpness. I always appreciate Fairchild's stellar technique and crisp musicality though. Great debut for Nadon although she isn't quite at the level of Emily Kikta. Rubies is one of my favorites and I'm glad I've gotten to see this cast now.
  12. I've only been regularly attending ABT since 2017 but have been closely observing the company's decisions since then. Agree with the previously mentioned anecdotes. Among other problems the company has shown an especially poor understanding of audience in recent years, which is puzzling given that it has an executive director who is supposed to understand the business of performing arts, plus a whole marketing team that sends out surveys after every show. While I like Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty, even I, as a "ballet nerd," wish it had more mainstream-friendly elements. Desiré should have more than one solo! The wigs and costumes in Act 1 are truly an eyesore. The demi-pointe chainés, the long mime scenes, etc. Why would anyone think that letting Ratmansky recreate ballets EXACTLY how they were danced in the 19th century, when technique wasn't as developed as it is today, would be a good financial decision in the 2010s when public interest in the classical performing arts has noticeably declined, and people naturally expect to see whiz-bang tricks when they buy a ticket to a full-length ballet? I didn't even bother seeing Harlequinade because I read that there was too much mime. So with productions like that, the company is not only deterring occasional or new ballet goers, but some regular ballet goers as well. (And the box office last year and the year before certainly showed that). I think Ratmansky has made some truly brilliant work, but cutting-edge originality needs to be balanced with commercial appeal, especially when a company is in a precarious financial situation. Isn't it management's job to help guide that process if the choreographer himself lacks the "big picture" vision? This problem isn't unique to ABT, of course -- I didn't see Voices at NYCB (was supposed to see it this spring), but how could anyone think that a musical score like that would bring much of an audience? Based on reports on this site, it didn't. One of the many depressing factors of ABT's present situation is that "Of Love and Rage" sounds like it really hit the right mark and could be a hit in NYC, but now we don't get to see it for a long time. Other problems with ABT have been talked to death about here, but I'll summarize a few. For one, programming decisions outside of Ratmansky reconstructions have also been glaringly bad. Whipped Cream, though a decent and fairly popular ballet, sold hardly any tickets last year. Why did they think it was a good idea to program it three years in a row? For me, and I think a lot of people, it isn't a ballet that merits repeat viewings year after year. Some of the fall programs have been such wasted opportunities, on paper and in reality. The "Women's Movement," while well intentioned, has largely been a failure -- not a single good new ballet has come out of it. Jessica Lang is not a choreographer worth pushing. What's REALLY sad is that the 2020 Met season seemed totally designed for maximum box-office appeal to make up for past losses, and now it's been cancelled. And then there's the casting and the Copeland problem. Copeland draws a big crowd of people who are mostly just there to see her, but for others she really cheapens the ABT brand. Of course, the company has done nothing little to nothing to elevate some of its best talents, especially Sarah Lane. IMO Christine Shevchenko, who does get casted a lot, should be an international star on the level of Bolshoi, Mariinsky, and Royal Ballet ballerinas, but the company hasn't really promoted her. Despite its problems I do love attending ABT shows. I want the company to be around for years. I gave a generous donation to their relief fund and am letting them keep my Met subscription money until I use it for a future season. But if ABT does, in fact, go into "dissolution" after this pandemic, it's safe to say the company has been digging its own grave for awhile now.
  13. Woodward is one of my favorite dancers, along with Stanley and Peck. Not so warm on Pollack... she was mostly good but there were a few moments when her lack of "centerness" and fluidity stood out next to her fellow dancers, especially since Peck and Woodward move in a similar manner and also happen to look alike. Really lovely performance overall; I'm so pleased to be able to see it now since I didn't catch it last January. Thank you NYCB!
  14. Just watched this. Definitely second-rate Peck for all of the reasons mentioned above. Not only is it a poor introduction to Peck for many people; it's also a poor introduction to the brilliant Sara Mearns. I hope they show something that better showcases her talents (and that looks better on her body). I get why they wanted to show this one... it just premiered a couple of months ago and the company has barely gotten to perform it. But hello! Rodeo! Pulcinella! Year of the Rabbit and Everywhere We Go! Those ballets are so much more fun to watch. It didn't help that they preceded this screening with an A+ performance of the A+ ballet Allegro Brillante. Oh well. I am still so thankful they're offering these videos right now. But I'm also thankful that I didn't go out of my way to see Rotunda live. Looking forward to Apollo and Ballo della Regina next week.
  15. This is more likely the reason: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1366525/New-York-Ballet-bosses-censor-tweets-star-mocks-director-100-million-donor.html Tweeting not-so-nice things about your boss and a mega-donor of the organization won't help anyone's career (however valid the comments).
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