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  1. Beautiful program and performances this afternoon. Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia were breathtaking in Other Dances. I always feel incredibly lucky to get to see her dance live, but this performance was extra special. They have a wonderful chemistry and really brought out the playfulness in the choreography. In the final lift before the curtain goes down, it looked like her dress got caught over his face and she flicked it away as if it were part of the choreography (or at least I think it wasn't part of the choreography?). Mejia is such a star already -- I wonder if they'll give him a Swan Lake opposite Peck this winter. He's definitely ready. He's also really grown into his looks and looks much more adult than before the pandemic. La Valse is truly a bizarre ballet but I love it. The narrative reminds me of Aurora's birthday party in Sleeping Beauty, with the mysterious guest putting the lead ballerina in a trance after giving her gifts. It's a great role for Hyltin. I felt fortunate to be able to see King in her unofficial "farewell" show. I was never a huge After the Rain fan but Phelan changed my mind about it. I agree with previous commenters that's it's a ballet that really requires long legs. Speaking of which, I can't wait to see Phelan in Agon when they eventually cast her (hopefully in the spring). Today's show was overall great but I'm generally lukewarm on Reichlen. Even though she has height and long legs, her extensions often lack impact in my opinion. I'm sad I missed Kowroski in the role this season. LeCrone was good but there was at least one moment when she looked like she was struggling to stay balanced and in control.
  2. I saw last night's performance. I didn't love the pairing of Reichlen and Ramasar in Monumentum/Movements. He was good on his own but Reichlen looked better in this when I saw her with La Cour. Can't quite put my finger on it but she didn't look as smooth as usual. Still an enjoyable performance though. Rotunda was much better live than when I first saw it in the digital season (surprise surprise). I love how Peck has the men do 180-degree penchés --it showed off Furlan's beautiful lines. He, Danchig-Waring, and Woodward looked great. Also Megan Fairchild was surprisingly good and filled a lot of space in the female solo part, which is so clearly tailored for Sara Mearns. And Gonzalo Garcia is looking fantastic in his second to last season. It's by no means a terrible ballet BUT the Nico Muhly music, which manages to be both chaotic and boring at the same time, does not work for me. I know choreographers want to be timely and original by using commissioned music, but this was not a success. Lastly, the warmup costumes. Some of them are better than others -- Woodward's and Phelen's were cute -- but I can't stand the purple unitard on Gilbert Bolden (so unflattering on his figure) and then the tights-over-leotard on Fairchild. At one point in the pas de deux, Bolden, in partnering Fairchild, accidentally rolled up her tights so they were even higher on her torso. Please keep this look inside the rehearsal room, not on the stage! Chaconne was a treat. I know not everyone loves Mearns in this role but I thought she knocked it out of the park with the perfect combination of control and abandon. (She can do no wrong in my book.) Janzen was elegant and handled the tricky partnering well. He didn't have even close to the verve of Mearns though. I kept thinking about how great Anthony Huxley would look in the male lead role, since there's so much petit allegro. Maybe they'll do a short cast someday. Nice to see Harrison Coll back on stage. He was very good but could have pointed his toes more in the pas de deux. Baily Jones has excellent classical technique -- they seem to be priming her for Fairchild/Bouder types of roles. Her upper body could use some work though. Special shoutout to Ashley Hod in both Movements for Piano and Orchestra and Chaconne -- she's having an amazing season even when she's just in the background.
  3. If Bouder is injured, Peck is probably subbing in for her Other Dances with Mejia on Thursday and Saturday
  4. I think those are three of ABT's best. Shevchenko is a brilliant technician and artist who reminds me of a Russian ballerina. She has long limbs and flexibility going for her too. Bell is one of the technically cleanest men in the company and has developed into a solid partner as well. This is a great cast.
  5. Casting this season seemed to favor Phelan for a promotion all along; also Mejia but to a lesser extent. I assumed it would happen for him when he was cast in Other Dances. I hope we see promotion hopefuls like Woodward and Ball get more big roles in winter -- I think the only major parts they danced this fall have been opening night Symphony in C? I thought Woodward would be an obvious choice for a debut as Russian Girl in Serenade but that only went to veteran principals this time around. She seemed to be on the principal fast track a few years ago when she danced Juliet and Aurora, but we haven't seen a whole lot of her since then. Furlan mentions being disappointed with his fall season casting in this New York Times article. Understandable. Apparently he was originally just cast as an understudy in Russian Seasons but got to fill in, and Ratmansky was really impressed with him. I hope we see more of him, Ball, and Chan (and less of at least one veteran principal man) cast in the classical virtuoso rep. If Chan is tall enough to partner Miriam Miller in Pulcinella Variations, I assume he could be a match for Mearns or Reichlen. And with Garcia retiring, that's an opening for a shorter man like Ball. Fingers crossed for more announcements in the coming weeks or months!
  6. I did want to see Roman Mejia in Western Symphony but based on reports of the Bell and Miller premieres, I'll just wait until it comes back in a future season. I think it was a bad programming choice to put both premieres on the same program (other than the gala). Were they assuming that world premieres from two lesser-known contemporary-dance choreographers would generate a great deal of excitement? That doesn't seem to be the way of ballet these days, at least in NY. It would have been smarter to spread the pieces out in different programs, sandwiched between tried-and-true ballets (like more performances of Symphony in C!) Not surprised that so few people are showing up, especially after the New York Times review.
  7. That might be the most scathing review of an NYCB program I've read, at least in the NYT. Maybe the company should stick to hiring choreographers with more ballet experience. I wish reviewers would move on from the Ramasar drama already.
  8. Thoughts on last night's performance: Serenade -- stunning. Hyltin and Danchig-Waring were standouts. Same with Megan LeCrone -- this is definitely her best role. The female corps is in excellent form. Pulcinella -- not my favorite but what a treat to see Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck, and Anthony Huxley all on stage at the same time. Glass Pieces -- Unity Phelan, wow. No words. Ashley Hod and her very long legs in the first movement really stood out as well. 3rd movement mens corps could have been cleaner, sharper, and more energetic. A lot of these men (boys!) were very young corps members who missed over a year of performing experience, so I'll cut them some slack. But not the best showcase of NYCB male dancing. Management needs to say something about the hair. Why are they letting this slide? Sam Melnikov's bob was particularly awful and so was the overgrown hair on another young man (I think Victor Abreu?) Call me old fashioned but I expect certain grooming and aesthetic standards onstage at the ballet!
  9. I'm sure Angle didn't exactly choose to be bald, but at a certain point, if you don't look the part, maybe that part should go to somebody else (at least in tutu-type ballets).
  10. Diamonds gets 6 shows this winter. Mearns and Reichlen will presumably get two performances each, which leaves room for at least one debut. I predict Phelan or maybe even Miller since she danced the pas de deux at Saratoga. Male casting could potentially be exciting too. (I don't think a bald head will suit that ballet, sorry...)
  11. ^ totally agree regarding masks. If I had to guess, they made the decision about no intermissions during the spring or summer, changed entire programs around that decision (such as taking out Slaughter and 10th Ave with its elaborate set), and after all of that, didn't want to walk back that decision even as it became clear that it was pointless.
  12. On August 18 I received a promo email that included the following paragraph: YOUR SAFETY NYCB remains committed to the health of our audiences, performers, and staff. With safety for all of the utmost concern, we will be implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees and visitors. Audience members must be fully vaccinated and upon entering the Theater will be required to show in-person proof of vaccination. Fall 2021 performances are not planned to be socially distanced but will be performed without intermission to minimize overall time at the Theater. [emphasis added] A separate email from a few days after that (a confirmation of purchased tickets) says the following, with no mention of intermissions. YOUR SAFETY New York City Ballet remains deeply committed to the health and safety of our visitors, artists and staff and has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for all audiences attending Repertory Season performances and Public and Access Programs. At this time, children under the age of 12 will not be permitted to attend performances but are able to attend Public and Access Programs, masked at all times. Specific health & safety protocols are determined by the Theater in its sole discretion and are subject to change. Learn more at nycballet.com/safety. By completing this purchase, you agree to acknowledge and comply with our COVID-19 policies outlined at nycballet.com/safety. So it's not entirely clear, but it sounds to me like no intermissions.
  13. It makes absolutely no sense. I seriously question the judgement of management for making this decision. (Same with their decision to only program Symphony in C once, and for the sold-out opening night.) Vaccination rule and masks should be enough. There's no way Broadway and the Met Opera across the plaza are taking away intermissions; they have complex set changes. It just sounds like another example of "pandemic theater," so to speak... a precaution that serves no actual purpose but to make the institution look like it's "taking health and safety seriously." Taking health seriously should mean letting people use the restroom between acts.
  14. I watched the first three numbers and enjoyed Whiteside's the most. The choreography wasn't groundbreaking but it was whimsical and entertaining, and a solid technical showcase. I tried to like the Lovette and Lil Buck number but found it a snooze. I've seen Lil Buck live and he's at his best when he's in full-on "jookin" mode... this was just too slow and the music wasn't particularly danceable. Tiler Peck showed a lot of promise with her choreography chops in the men's ensemble section of her piece. Roman Mejia and Christopher Grant really shined. But the Mira Nadon section got repetitive and I hated the vocal music. Thankful that Vail aired this for free. They did a good job with the camera work and editing, especially considering it was a livestream. I'm jaded on filmed dance though and can't wait to see these dancers live again.
  15. NYCB sent out an email saying Abi Stafford is retiring on 9/26 with Russian Seasons, which has replaced Namouna (which was briefly replaced by Concerto DSCH) on the Robbins/Ratmansky program.
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