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About nysusan

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  1. nysusan

    Winter 2019

    The tempo was probably not entirely at the discretion of the conductor. I recall that when this production was new it was described as being done "our way" (NYCB's way) and found this on their website: "...Martins' version is streamlined into Two Acts, that combine the drama and beauty of the original choreography with the speed and energy for which New York City Ballet is known." The music has always been played at breakneck speed, especially the fairy variations. For me this is always the low point of the production because it robs the variations of their meaning and often makes the dancers look ridiculous. Its just impossible to keep up with those tempos and the fact that NYCB always ignores the port de bras is just insult packed upon injury. Over all though, I like this production. I like the projections, I like the costumes, I like the use of children and, of course, I love the Garland Dance! I recall seeing Means the Lilac fairy role several times and she was always amazing & expansive. Also Bouder dispatching the Rose Adagio like it was the easiest thing on earth. I'm going to my first performance tomorrow night & very much looking forward to it.
  2. nysusan

    Opening Night 1/22/19

    Last night certainly was a great way to start the season. It began with a curtain speech by Tyler Angle & Maria Kowroski. They told us that it was Balanchine's birthday and wished him a happy one. Then they spoke a bit about their favorite Balanchine/Stravinsky roles. He said that "third rock" in Orpheus was his first role with the company. Maria said that Arthur Mitchell coached her in the Agon PDD shortly before he died and she wished they had been able to spend more time on it - he provided her with numerous insights that she hoped to incorporate into her performance. Last night's Agon was great, Maria was so sharp and authoritative and executed all of the treacherous moves beautifully. She and Tyler really sizzled. As mentioned above, LeCrone looked very good in this, it is her type of role. Orpheus is not my cup of tea but it was done well and I love the music & Noguchi scenery. Apollo is one of my favorite ballets and I loved this cast. I didn't always love Tiler's Terpischore, but it is growing on me and this time I loved it. She doesn't have the most beautiful arabesque, but she is so musical and just right on rhythmically. Woodward was lovely as Calliope and Pollack's Polyhymnia was fine. Of course the real story of this Apollo was Taylor Stanley. He was superb, if not quite 100% there yet. He danced it well with intense focus and presence but there is some room for improvement in his characterization. Still, it was a very impressive debut and a great evening!
  3. nysusan

    ABT 2019 Met Season

    "Pretty but bland" - thats a good description of Seo in pretty much all of her roles. I saw Trenary's Aurora. It was awhile ago and I don't remember details but I remember thinking that she was wonderful. I also think the prince is a better role for Gorak than for Bell. I think Bell has the potential to be a great dancer and I'm looking forward to seeing several of his debuts this season but I'm skipping this one. In Ratmansky's version most of the prince's dancing is petite allegro and I think that usually looks better on a shorter dancer. I'm planning to go to Lane/Cornejo and Trenary/Gorak.
  4. Thanks Barbara and rg for identifying Nick Palmquist as the prince on 12/15. I asked several ushers and was told there were no programs or casting info.
  5. I went to the 12/15 performance. For the first 20 minutes or so I thought Sleeping Beauty Nightmares would have been a better title - typical contemporary dance angst choreography. Though since this was a Vishnea project it was danced at a very high level. It improved - the projections were interesting and while the electronica music bore no resemblance to anything I can imagine accompanying Petipa's Aurora's 100 year's worth of dreams, if you took it on its own terms it was interesting. Gomes did not appear in tonight's performance - the prince was danced by a thin blond dancer. There were no programs or cast lists so if anyone knows who it was please post his name.
  6. The difference between their SL and their DQ was like night & day. van Danzig's SL was a turgid, muddled affair. The tempo was so slow it dragged the whole production down. I'm not talking about just the white pdd, in every scene the music was played at what seemed like 1/2 speed. He interpolated some really bizarre choreography that did nothing to clarify or add to the plot, it just confused things. Other have mentioned the unintelligible prologue, here are a few other examples. In act 1 the prince and his mother sit and watch the pas de trois - but the prince gets up and partners one of the girls - turning it into a kind of pas de quatre. In the first lakeside act von Rothbart is there almost constantly - lurking or directing the swans, really destroying the visual beauty of the white act. It would take longer than the 4 hr production time to describe all of the bizarre changes to the 3rd act. To start, the prospective brides no longer enter with their retinues - they are pulled, pushed or cajoled by the master of ceremonies. Not terrible in and of itself except that this renders the national dances pointless. And they are danced pointlessly, interspersed with a pas de quatre to the same music that Martins uses for his pdq in his SL. Except in this version, one of the women looks like she is trying to seduce the prince. Then, after the whole black swan pdd Odile waltzes with the prince before revealing her treachery.I'm sure the 4th act was just as bizarre but I could't bear any more so I left at intermission. By contrast, their DQ was pretty traditional. There were a couple of minor changes but it basically followed the Bolshoi/Mariinsky stagings. The music was played at tempo and it was wonderfully danced by Melnik, Tsvirko and all the rest. In fact Melnik was so much better as Kitri than as Odette that she looked like a completely different dancer.I would gladly see their Don Q again but you couldn't pay me enough to sit through that SL again!
  7. nysusan

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    I was on the side in the third ring and looking down at the orchestra before the show started I thought I saw someone who looked like you! Hope you enjoyed your time in NY. Unfortunately you did choose a rather dull program. I think the Lang is pretty but no big deal and I do not like the Dorrance. I love In The Upper Room (I saw MCB do it several years ago, did you?) but think ABT did not do it justice this time around I agree that even a less than great performance of ITUR can't kill it, but it saddens me that ABT didn't do it justice this time. I hope they re-think the casting and get better coaching for the Met spring season. In particular I thought pairing a very tall dancer with a very short one as the 2 main stompers threw things off. I can't recall this ever being done before and I saw all the casts ABT fielded the last 2 times they did this, plus Miami City Ballet once. I also recall that while those 2 stompers went thru their marathon, in the past they really radiated joy and ecstasy. I saw no joy from Teuscher, to me she looked like she was just determined to get thru it. I know that she is fully capable of executing all of the steps, and assume that she wasn't actually having a hard time with it but I just didn't like her presentation. Also Boylston didn't have the authority necessary for the ballerina role. In the past with Dvorovenko or Herrera in the role it was clear that she was the leader and the other ladies on pointe were secondary. This time they all looked like equals.
  8. nysusan

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    I was just looking at availability for tonight's performance and they are essentially sold out everywhere except the 4th ring. There are 4 seats left in the orchestra, 8 in the 1st ring and then just the 4th. I know that a lot of the tickets were probably sold at a discount but still - this is great news. Its so disheartening to sit in a half empty theater and I can only imagine how badly the dancers feel in those circumstances. Here's hoping that Abrera is recovered from her injury. She is supposed to dance in the Lang again tonight.
  9. I'm going to second the recommendation Faux Pas made. Had Copeland danced Columbine as originally cast I think it would have been disastrous. However Pierette is a much less technically demanding role that really requires a lot of charm and Copeland should be great in it. Lane is a wonderful Columbine and I'm sure Lendorf will be a great partner for her. This is the cast I'd choose If I was going.
  10. nysusan

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    I agree. This was the same cast I saw on opening night (this time there was a casting update slip in the program) and they all brought at least 10x more energy to it on Friday night. Especially Brandt. She was kind of meh on Wed but she was fantastic last night. I also agree about Gorak. I don't think I've ever seen him look more relaxed and joyous. Even through all the smoke he was so easy to pick out due to his lyricism, gorgeous line and those beautiful feet. I'd also like to add a big shout out to Aron Bell. This was my first time seeing him in a soloist role and boy, was he fantastic! I did not love Garden Blue, but I liked it a bit more than Laurel did. Rather than athletic, I thought it was very lyrical and that it played to the cast's strengths. There were no technical demands made on Seo and Copeland and they both looked lovely. It was great to see Abrera and Forster and I thought Katie Williams was a real standout. The Ratmansky I just found dull.
  11. nysusan

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    I'll jump in here - considering that the first cast didn't exactly knock it out of the park on Wed I'm happy that with only 4 performances scheduled they are getting all of them. Hopefully they will improve with the extra stage time and give us great performances for the rest of the run. We all want to see corps and soloists get chances, and I'm sorry that it looks like the ones scheduled for the second cast won't get their chance with this, however second casts usually get much less rehearsal time than the first. In a piece like this which is so foreign to classical ballet DNA, and without proper rehearsal time I think we have a better chance of getting a good performance from the first cast. And I'm not paying to watch rehearsals. On the other hand, the casting on the ABT and Koch calendars has changed completely from the initial casting (see chart upthread), and my gala program does not match up with the old casting or the ABT and Koch calendars - so who knows who we'll get. I double checked my gala program and it lists Zhurbin, Hoven and Cornejo as the trio of male stompers. The ABT and Koch calendars do not show Zhurbin listed at all, and I think it was Bell who danced. Also, the program listed Granlund and Hanson as the 2 secondary dancers in the red pointe shoes, where the calendars list Lall and Katsnelson. I don't know what any of these dancers look like, but one of the pair I saw on the stage was black, and neither Granlund and Hanson look black on their ABT headshots. Lall definitely does, so they may have switched them
  12. nysusan

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    I was there last night. ABT's fall gala started out with a lovely, short introductory speech by the ever elegant Caroline Kennedy. It was followed by Lauren Lovette's work "Le Jeune" performed by ABT's Studio Company. If not a great work, it was charming, enjoyable and well danced. During the "pause" between Le Jeune and the new Dorrance piece we were treated to what felt like at least 20 minutes of speeches by Lauren Post, Misty Copeland and 2 women from among ABT's patrons or board. I guess I should be grateful that McKenzie didn't decide to speak. I was really rooting for the Dorrance piece, but I was disappointed. It was set to Duke Ellington and while the women were on point, the choreography was basically lindy-hop inspired movement mixed with tapping with some ballet tricks thrown in - a triple pirouette here, a grand jete there. In between she had the women tapping out rhythms with their pointes and looking like somewhat spastic holdovers from another era. I love In the Upper Room, and its the main reason why I decided to go to any of ABT's fall performances. It was enjoyable, but not nearly as good as it had been in the past. It still built to that exhilarating finale, and it started ok, but the middle kind of dragged. Somehow, it seemed slower (although I know it couldn't have been, because its danced to a tape and those speeds don't change) and the 2 main stompers - Teuscher and Brandt - didn't dominate anywhere near the degree I remember from past casts (I think it was Murphy/Boone and Wiles/Abrera most recently). The printed program doesn't jive with the online casting so I'm not 100% sure who some of the corps dances were. Most of the cast was new and at soloist & corps level so hopefully they will improve.
  13. Casting has been posted for this: https://www.nycitycenter.org/pdps/2018-2019/Balanchine/ Scroll down to Cast & Credits to see the casting I'm most excited about seeing Jeanette Delgado in Serenade, Mathilde Froustey in Scotch, Tereshkina and Kim in Tschai Pas. Also the 2018 top Vaganova grad Maria Horeva as Terpischore. I don't know the POB dancers very well at all, but I'm wondering if Hugo Marchand and Sae-Eun Park are versatile enough to do justice to both the heavenly Midsummer's Divert and the bold, bracing Agon Pas.
  14. nysusan

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    Hyltin's height wasn't a major problem for me. Even though she is short she is very long-limbed and when I saw that she was cast I thought that might serve her well. I think that in general taller dancers look better in this but she looked ok. It was more her temperament that was the problem. Symphony in C's second movements is one of those magical Balanchine Goddess roles. I remember Whelan in an interview (paraphrasing) saying that when she danced it she felt as if she was talking to God. Others have brought great mystery, or spirituality or transcendence to it. Hyltin was just pretty, she didn't really project any inner life and for me that is a killer in this role. I have enjoyed her very much in other roles, but not this one. I think LaFreniere, Gerrity, Phelan and Laracey are all promising candidates for this, but I don't think any of them are ready for it with the exception of Laracey, and I don't think they'll cast her in it. She doesn't seen to be a favorite.
  15. nysusan

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    When I saw the casting for the recent tour - Reichlin did all the Bizet and Kowroski only the After the Rain PDD - I held my breath for NY casting hoping I'd get to see Kowroski in Diamonds and the Bizet one last time. I expect that her technique will not be what it was 5 years ago, but I'm sure its still strong enough, and there's no one I'd rather see in those roles. I can wait for new interpreters, especially remembering the last new ballerina to be given 2nd movement Bizet- Sterling Hyltin who was totally miscast.