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Everything posted by FPF

  1. I Just finished Swan Dive and I really enjoyed it--in fact, a lot more than I though I would based on the excerpts. I think it's definitely worth reading, particularly for those who know Gina and/or NYCB. The language can be a bit profane, but once I got into the book, it really didn't bother me. I borrowed it from the library, and I although don't think I need a personal copy, Gina's a very engaging storyteller and I'd love to hear more from her.,
  2. I saw PTDC last night at PS21 in Chatham, NY--a great, fairly new, performance space (outdoors, but covered) in a former apple orchard. This was the first time I've been there, and I highly recommend the venue--I don't think there's a bad seat in the house and we felt very close to the stage in the 8th row. We had bought tickets a while back when seats were more limited, and the theater improved the seats for the earlier purchasers, so we ended up sitting much closer than expected. The performance started a bit late, but everyone was invited to have a complimentary glass of Prosecco or sparkling water, which contributed to a festive mood, despite the delay. Seating was reduced by ~1/3 and but masks were required for everyone, so it felt very safe. There were two pieces on the program: Aureole and The Green Table. Aureole was lovely and was my favorite of the two works. Green Table was well danced, but of course, much darker. It also had the advantage of live music from two pianists. I think this was the first performance of their reconstruction, as well as my first time seeing any version of it. Great performances all around and a really enjoyable evening.
  3. The Balanchine Foundation also put a new announcement on Facebook yesterday.
  4. In a review in the Times (London) it says: "The book also includes examples of the everyday sexual harassment she experienced as a young ballerina — for instance one of her contemporaries would regularly “greet” her in classes by pinching her nipples while other men egged him on. She would laugh it off and slap him."
  5. I would love to see the Bejart ballet with Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins (if I translated correctly) "Arrival of the Giant Asparagus From an Unknown Planet."
  6. I also usually sit in the front of the balcony or balcony box but based on the description of the program as having only a few dancers and a lot of talk, I sat in section 8 (row AA and CC) at both performances and was able to get most of the conversations. The distancing was weird, at least down below, and definitely not as low as 20% in my section. I was on the aisle both times, with several empty seats between me and the people on the other end of the row. But when I was in AA, there were other people behind me offset by one seat, and when I was in CC, there were people directly in front of me and also people offset by one seat behind me. I ended up masking--it seemed too close for comfort to me.
  7. The delta variant is highly contagious and more severe, rates are rising throughout the country, including in children, and there are breakthrough cases in vaccinated people. I don't stress about what other people are doing since I'm fully vaccinated, but I still wear a mask indoors or in a crowded setting. My point was that you can buy a ticket assuming that things will be safe because the venue or organization tells you that they are taking various precautions, but the precautions by the time of the performance may be different, so caveat emptor.
  8. As I mentioned earlier, I was at last night's All Balanchine show, and I enjoyed this program even more than the Short Stories program. I think the way the structured the excerpts and discussion, it felt like there were bigger chunks of dance at a time, so it felt more like a performance--surprisingly normal. And the rain held off until I was in the amphitheater. To begin the evening, Liz Sobel (SPAC CEO) and Jonathan Stafford came out to honor the three principal dancers who were present at SPAC and will be retiring in the upcoming year, so this was their last Saratoga season (at least as dancers): Maria Kowroski, Gonzalo Garcia, and Amar Ramasar. Each was presented with a bouquet by one of the other dancers and they got a big standing ovation from the crowd. Liz Sobel also mentioned that NYCB will be back at SPAC next summer for their regular season, so we don't have to worry about the future of their residency, at least for a while. After that, Gonzalo Garcia took over as host for the evening. I thought that he was not quite as good a host as Maria, chiefly because whenever he was interrupted by applause/cheers from the audience, he kept on talking, which meant that no one heard what he was saying. The program started off with the variations for the muses from Apollo, featuring Teresa Reichlen, Emily Kikta, and Sara Adams. All did well. Then, there was a fairly long section where Meaghan-Duttton O'Hara and Davide Riccardo demonstrated classical ballet positions and then showed ways in which Balanchine used this positions in his own way, finishing with some of the steps from The Four Temperaments, which was next up, and priming the audience to better appreciate the ballet. The dancers for the Theme section were Jacqueline Bologna and Lars Nelson, Mimi Staker and Kennard Henson, and Meaghan and Davide, again all did a great job and the audience seemed to really respond. After that came the Pas de Deux from Agon with Miriam Miller (fabulous!) and Amar Ramasar. Then, there was another longish section with Gonzalo before selections from Jewels. This one focused on Karinska and the costumes and headpieces and featured a ballerina from each of the excerpts (Emeralds: Claire von Enck; Rubies: Sara Adams; Diamonds: Miriam Miller). Gonzalo talked about how he was told that in Rubies, Balanchine wanted to hear the jewels rattle and had Sara Adams demonstrate the "shimmy-shimmy" so we could all hear. Since there was no orchestra, just the piano, during the performance of rubies, I noticed that I could hear the jewels. Then we got to see excerpts from all three sections: the pas de trois from Emeralds with Bologna, Spartak Hoxha, and von Enck; the Rubies pas de deux with Sara and Gonzalo; and the Diamonds pas de deux with Miriam and Tyler Angle). All were great, but I agree with Karen that Miriam Miller in Diamonds was a definite highlight . She mentioned that these performances were her first time in the role, and I would love to see her in the full ballet. The final excerpts were from Who Cares? Amar Ramasar performed the Liza solo tonight. I noticed a few days ago, there was discussion on the other thread about why people liked Amar, saying that they didn't find his dancing all that special, but I think that what doesn't necessarily come across is his personality as a performer in various roles--he seems very joyful and sunny, like he's having the time of his life and I think that's what the audience responds to more than, for example, his port de bras. So I enjoyed seeing him in this. After Liza there was Somebody Loves Me and Bidin' My Time, and then the group bows. Lots of appreciation from the audience. I was very glad to have seen more of the up-and-coming dancers as well as some old favorites. Next year in Saratoga!
  9. I don't know the role but the injury was a torn ACL. From the article: And the time she tore her A.C.L., and, “a greedy little principal ballerina literally whipped out her phone while I lay immobile and texted the ballet master and (the slimiest degree of opportunism) Peter Martins himself to pitch herself for the role.”
  10. When I bought my tickets for NYCB at SPAC, the policy was to require proof of vaccination or of a negative COVID test within three days of the performance and everybody masked. The policy this week, when the performances actually occurred, was no proof of vaccination/negative test, no masking required unless unvaccinated (but also no checking of vaccination status to ensure that unvaccinated people were masked). The amphitheater on Thursday night was at only 35% capacity, but people were not that distant from one another (<6 feet) . I really dislike that they sold me the tickets under one set of assumptions and then changed the policy. I went, but I brought a mask with me, and after seeing how close the seating actually was, I decided to wear it for the performance.
  11. I saw the other program, Short Stories last night. It was a very enjoyable evening. Maria Kowroski hosted (she did a great job), but did not dance. I liked the program more than I thought I would--I was expecting that it might treat the ballets a bit like museum pieces, but that was not the case. Maria asked the dancers about how they thought about their characters, how they prepared for the role, etc. I think some of the excerpts are somewhat lacking outside of the full ballets, but it was also impressive to see how much could be conjured by just the costumes and minimal props. My moments of tearing up: beginning of the rose adagio; at the end, seeing all the dancers on stage taking last bows together. Huge standing ovation from the audience. My favorite parts: I thought Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara did very well in the Rose Adagio--in the interview, she said that she just started rehearsing it a couple of weeks ago. She nailed all of the balances and looked very joyful. The part where she goes down the line of the (imaginary here) musicians was the only part that seemed a bit off to me. I hope she gets the opportunity to perform the full role soon. The rose adagio was followed by the bluebird pas de deux from Swan Lake, which I also enjoyed, with Sara Adams and Spartak Hoxha. Miriam Miller with Lars Nelson doing the Titania/Bottom pas de deux from Midsummer. She and Maria talked about being coached by Sally Leland about how to act besotted with Bottom (pretend it's your pet/favorite stuffed animal's face that you're looking at). I loved Miriam in this role (so tall and regal) and I'd really like to see her in the full ballet. I also really liked Tess and Amar in the Firebird pas de deux--she definitely had the otherworldly quality of the firebird and it was lovely. Mistake Waltz from the concert was the audience favorite--uproarious laughter, huge applause, cries of encore, extra bows. Emily Kikta and Gonzalo Garcia both did very well in the fourth movement of Western Symphony, but I thought that the Mutt and Jeff casting may have gone too far here--she just towered over him. But I'm glad to have gotten to see Gonzalo dance again before his retirement. Also, great work by the pianists. What I liked less: Opening of Fancy Free with the three sailors, White Swan with Teresa Reichlen and Tyler Angle. Although well danced, I didn't love either in this context. White Swan seems empty without the corps de ballet and Tyler Angle's complete baldness doesn't go (IMO) with the character of a young prince. The SPAC staff who deal with sound, amplification etc. need to sit out in the audience sometime and hear what we hear. The "get to your seats" music was so shrill it was painful; same for some of the high notes on the piano. Also, I'm not thrilled with all of the new building around the theater for concessions, etc. "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot" was what came to my mind. It seemed like a lot more asphalt than formerly--not sure if this is the case or if the additional/taller buildings just make it seem more built-up. Hope you enjoy this program Karen and that the thunderstorms and rain stay away tomorrow for both of us.
  12. They’re restricting to about 35% capacity. I’m there now, about to see the Short Stories program. Will report back later.
  13. Reminder that Dorrance Dance Plays the Pillow begins streaming tonight at 7:30 eastern time. The stream is free but you need to register here: https://www.jacobspillow.org/events/dorrance-dance-2021-online/ It will be available tonight through July 29 at 7:30 pm eastern time.
  14. More information about the programs/casting. SHORT STORIES WEDNESDAY EVENING, JULY 14, 7:30PM THURSDAY EVENING, JULY 15, 7:30PM SATURDAY MATINEE, JULY 17, 2:00PM Featuring Excerpts From FANCY FREE (Opening): Amar Ramasar, Spartak Hoxha, Lars Nelson SWAN LAKE (White Swan Pas de Deux): Teresa Reichlen, Tyler Angle THE SLEEPING BEAUTY (Rose Adagio): Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Kennard Henson, Lars Nelson, Davide Riccardo, Amar Ramasar THE SLEEPING BEAUTY (Bluebird Opening): Sara Adams, Spartak Hoxha A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Donkey Pas de Deux): Miriam Miller, Lars Nelson THE CONCERT (Mistake Waltz): Claire Von Enck, Emily Kikta, Jacqueline Bologna, Mimi Staker, Sara Adams, Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara FIREBIRD (Pas de Deux): Teresa Reichlen, Amar Ramasar WESTERN SYMPHONY (Fourth Movement): Emily Kikta, Gonzalo Garcia, Jacqueline Bologna, Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Mimi Staker, Claire Von Enck, Kennard Henson, Davide Riccardo, Spartak Hoxha, Lars Nelson With Solo Pianists Alan Moverman and Nancy McDill Hosted by Maria Kowroski ALL BALANCHINE THURSDAY MATINEE, JULY 15, 2:00PM FRIDAY EVENING, JULY 16, 7:30PM SATURDAY EVENING, JULY 17, 7:30PM Featuring Excerpts From APOLLO (Muses Variations): Teresa Reichlen, Emily Kikta, Sara Adams THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS (Theme): Jacqueline Bologna, Lars Nelson, Mimi Staker, Kennard Henson, Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Davide Riccardo AGON (Pas de Deux): Miriam Miller, Amar Ramasar EMERALDS (Pas de Trois): Claire Von Enck, Spartak Hoxha, Jacqueline Bologna RUBIES (Pas de Deux): Sara Adams, Gonzalo Garcia DIAMONDS (Pas de Deux): Miriam Miller, Tyler Angle WHO CARES? (Solo, Ladies’ Dance, Men’s Dance): Amar Ramasar, Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Emily Kikta, Jacqueline Bologna, Mimi Staker, Claire Von Enck, Davide Riccardo, Lars Nelson, Spartak Hoxha, Kennard Henson With Solo Pianists Alan Moverman and Nancy McDill Hosted by Gonzalo Garcia
  15. SPAC email says that casting has been announced: SPAC will welcome NYCB dancers Sara Adams, Tyler Angle, Jacqueline Bologna, Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Gonzalo Garcia, Kennard Henson, Spartak Hoxha, Emily Kikta, Miriam Miller, Lars Nelson, Amar Ramasar,Teresa Reichlen, Davide Riccardo, Mimi Staker, and Claire Von Enck. NYCB Principal Dancers Maria Kowroski and Gonzalo Garcia will host the presentations, giving audiences a peek behind the curtain at some of the Company's most renowned repertoire including Apollo, The Four Temperaments, Agon, Jewels, and Who Cares?, and beloved narrative ballets like Firebird, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Western Symphony, Fancy Free, and The Concert. Solo pianists Alan Moverman and Nancy McDill will provide musical accompaniment for both programs.
  16. This summer, Jacob's Pillow has very limited capacity on site, but they are also offering streaming for their programs and also for some programs from other locations. The streams are free, but there is a fee (as far as I can tell, you can add several different streams to your shopping cart but the fee stays the same, so the more streams you decide the see, the cheaper per stream). You do need to sign up in advance. Dates and times (* indicates ballet program): * July 1, 7:30 pm, Crystal Pite's Body and Soul, Paris Opera Ballet (this streams from the POB) July 8, 7:30 pm, Nrityagram (Indian classical dance), streaming from Bangalore July 15, 7:30 pm, Dorrance Dance--(I recommend, especially for anyone who hasn't seen her work before or only her ABT works--I'd love to see this myself, but will be at SPAC for NYCB). July 17, 3:30 pm, Eastern Woodland Dance (local indigenous dancers) July 22, 7:30 pm, Contra Tiempo July 29, 7:30 pm, Ballet Hispanico August 4, 7:30 pm, Brian Brooks/Moving Company August 19, 7:30 pm, Dallas Black Dance Theater August 26, 7:30 pm, La Tasha Barnes Presents the Jazz Continuum September 2, 7:30 pm, STREB *September 9, 7:30 pm, Ballet Coast to Coast, features Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, and PNB performing separately and together Note that the Pillow has other streaming programs available, including PillowTalks, family programs, and school performances (and I make no guarantees that I didn't miss any of the main performances). https://www.jacobspillow.org Also, through tonight at 7 pm, they are streaming their Global Pillow gala featuring Black Grace (New Zealand), Candoco Dance Company (United Kingdom), Companhia Urbana de Dança (Brazil), Germaine Acogny (Senegal), Hong Kong Ballet (Hong Kong), Nederlands Dans Theater(Netherlands), Nrityagram Dance Ensemble (India), Paris Opera Ballet (France), and others. Global Pillow also features Dormeshia, the recipient of the 2021 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, who premieres a new work. https://www.jacobspillow.org/events/global-pillow/
  17. My recollection is that the male principal role in the Gold and Silver Waltz for the past 30 years has generally been cast with someone somewhat reminiscent of Martins in looks--ie., tall(ish) and/or blond--Nilas Martins, Chase Finlay, Ask La Cour. I can't recall any one else off the top of my head. Maybe Hubbe? I've watched Vienna Waltzes twice so far, plus another Rosenkavelier--I really enjoyed it despite the imperfections, especially considering that this was not filmed for the purpose of being aired. The finale doesn't have quite the same thrill of seeing it in person where it seems that the stage can't contain the dancers, but it thrilled me nonetheless, even watching on my laptop.
  18. If anyone is interested in buying tickets, online sales just opened for SPAC nonmembers today and there are not very many available, especially if you are looking for single tickets. There are more pairs open, but still not an overwhelming number. The prices don't seem to have changed from two years ago and they are not requiring that blocks of seats be purchased. I'm very happy to have gotten a ticket for each of the two programs, Short Stories on the evening of July 15th and All Balanchine on the evening of July 17th. I hope to get to see the soon-to-be retirees once more. I'm actually tearing up a bit just thinking about seeing NYCB again in person.
  19. If you're a NYS resident and got vaccinated in NY, you could use the Excelsior pass app (I have gotten it myself, at least not yet).
  20. I liked Mike Richards and Anderson Cooper the best so far and Dr. Oz and Katie Couric the least. Looking forward to seeing some of the other candidates in the upcoming weeks.
  21. I think that these rules are likely to come from the NYS guidelines for large entertainment venues. I am personally fine with these requirements--in fact, I appreciate them, but I am higher risk and still being fairly careful even though vaccinated. Also, if you are not local to the Saratoga area, you may not be aware that the exposure risk in the NYS Capital Region is currently very high. Jacob's Pillow and Tanglewood have similar mask requirement for this summer, so I think this is likely to be common to arts venues in the northeast. The bigger problem is likely to be the difficulty in obtaining tickets with the reduced capacity--Glimmerglass is already pretty much sold out for the summer. I just hope I can get NYCB tickets, preferably for each of the two programs.
  22. The Times Union has also now published on this ( https://www.timesunion.com/entrepreneur/article/City-Ballet-returning-to-SPAC-in-smaller-form-for-16112500.php?IPID=Times-Union-HP-CP-Spotlight) with some additional information: Amphitheater seats, in socially distanced pods of two, will cost $80; pods within designated areas on the lawn are $60 for two people, $120 for four. Single tickets will be extremely limited and available starting at $40 for the amphitheater, $30 for the lawn, SPAC said. If not sold out, tickets will be on sale on the day of a performance, subject to an additional fee. All attendees are required to show proof of a completed vaccination at least 14 days prior to the event or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours. Health questionnaires and temperature checks prior to entry are also mandatory, and face coverings must be worn at all times, regardless of proof of vaccination or negative test. Patrons may bring factory-sealed water bottles and essential personal items only. Restrooms will be available with social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols in place, in accordance with recommended state and federal guidelines, SPAC said. Also, it wasn't there earlier this morning, but the SPAC website has been updated with information about these performances.
  23. NYCB will officially be having a presence at SPAC this summer from July 14-17. As reported in this article from the Daily Gazette (https://dailygazette.com/2021/04/19/new-york-city-ballet-returning-to-spac-on-smaller-scale/), there will be six shows of two programs of excerpts, All Balanchine (4Ts, Agon, Jewels, Who Cares?), hosted by Gonzalo Garcia, and Short Stories (Firebird, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Western Symphony, Fancy Free, and The Concert) hosted by Maria Kowroski. There will be only 15 dancer participating, with music by NYCB pianists. The shows will be 75 minutes long, no intermissions, with about 40 minutes of dancing and 35 minutes of discussion/insights. Tickets go on sale for members on 5/3 and for nonmembers on 5/10. They will be for designated pods of two in the amphitheater and for pods of 2 or 4 on the lawn. No information yet about pricing.
  24. Netflix has been airing a new ballet-themed k-drama, Navillera (Like a Butterfly). There are going to be 12 episodes, new episodes drop on Mondays and Tuesdays, 8 are currently available. The main characters are a retired 70-year-old mailman who has always loved ballet and decides that he wants to learn it and the much younger dancer who becomes his teacher and is also trying to get into a company/win a competition. Their relationship is the main focus of the drama. Other things to like about it: no associations of ballet with mental illness, abuse, etc. The teachers and dancers are generally supportive and hardworking and ballet is just he beautiful art form they all love. One of this week's episodes featured a dancer in a wheelchair. I am really enjoying it so far but suspect it will end up being a tearjerker. More information here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanmacdonald/2021/03/23/in-ballet-drama-navillera-two-characters-must-abandon-regret-to-soar/?sh=3c68ec194b73 Trailer here:
  25. The main reasons I voted for NYCB were; 1. They're the "home team" for me, so it was especially nice to see favorite ballets and dancers in a time of stress. I've looked forward to the performances each week during the virtual seasons. The recent Balanchine programming has been especially enjoyable, but I've enjoyed pretty much all of it. The older Lincoln Center performances that were streamed last spring were also great and the casting brought me back to my early days of watching the NYCB rep. 2. I appreciated that all of the streams, other than Nutcracker, were free. The pandemic has had a major impact on my income, so I haven't watched anything that required purchasing tickets. I know that not all companies can afford to do this, but NYCB has generated a lot of good will from me with this policy. When my income rebounds, I will be very happy to donate. I hope that the streaming from a variety of companies will continue beyond the pandemic.
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