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DeborahB

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Everything posted by DeborahB

  1. Again, I find myself defending the farewell performance. For those of you who didn't go to the performance, it's hard to weigh in on what happen. I was there. Yvonne was overcome with emotion in the Brahams-Schoenberg. I thought is was amazing that she even made it through. And again --there are kinder ways to phrase a less than stellar performance (although I thought she did a very nice job). This is even more true during at farewell performance. I do think it's amusing that so many BTers are defending the NYT's reviewer. In the past, there has been a ton of criticism about NYT reviewers. And not to pander -- but please see our own (BT) Leigh Witchel for a way to comment/even criticism a performance and dancer without crossing the line into (almost) being unnecessarily unkind/mean/nasty.
  2. I'm forced to chime in here again because of this post. What an unpleasant, and needlessly so, thing to say: "never speak ill of the dead." Many of us actually liked Ms. Borree's farewell performance. We have that right, afterall. Just as her fans have the right to have enjoyed her performances over the years in many of the ballets you mentioned above. To each his/her own. And I do think you are very wrong about A and B list Principal performers at NYCB. Perhaps in the past, but certainly not now. Casting is not handled the same way as in years (decades) past. One final thing. As we all know -- Balanchine's last ballerina is retiring in two weeks. While we can all admire (I did too) Balanchine's ballerinas, love it or hate it, these are Martins' (and his ballet masters etc.) ballerinas -- and have been for nearly 27 years. I'm good with that.
  3. Yes, much like 'Principal' (the label--which some bring more substance to than others.) All the Principals are called 'Principals', but some are definitely more Principal than others. No matter what the 'non-star system' that Balanchine always espoused, Suzanne Farrell was unquestionably the exception--even there. (aside from whether one thinks she's the greatest, etc.) A 'farewell performance' is not the end of someone's life or career even. It was a performance. Nobody reviewed Alicia Alonso's performance at her 90th birthday celebration (although it could well be some sort of 'farewell'), because it was an appearance--it was all about her admirers, worshippers, etc.. Borree can go on to many things. Once you are a Principal at NYCB, all the doors are open to you, whether you got there by talent alone, 'nepotism', or whatever combination or neither. That is quite sufficient for some of us. Borree obviously has a fanbase herself. A 'farewell performance', by the way, is not necesssarily a sad thing anyway, and what does it matter what some critic says (apart from whether or not you agree with what the critic said) if you have confidence in yourself. She danced at NYCB for 22 years (I think I read), that's plenty reward. Not that I think that she should be trashed (or anyone else) just for the doing of it, just that I think if she didn't dance that well in the farewell performance that it ought to be reviewed just like when she danced on any other occasion. Furthermore, it's obvious plenty of Borree's fans were there to support her. So, she wasn't a darling of the critics like Bouder and Mearns and Kowroski, but in Farrell's day, the other ballerinas weren't to quite that degree either. That's life. As for comparing Nilas and Borree, that was just because they are both NYCB Principals who have gotten a lot of criticism and are not usually considered the brightest lights of the company. Such things as this remind me of old conversations of Charles and Diana, they used to use the term 'royal kremlinologists', when you'd hear every tiny piece of trivia taken very seriously by those who knew them, often only very tangentially. I would imagine Ms. Borree has quite a bright future. A review like that is sort of like not winning an Oscar or something: It was already a huge honour to be nominated. Principal is actually a ranking (and pay scale), and not a label. A or B lister is a label. As for some principals are more principal than others. Not so much these days (with very few exceptions). And I say, "hooray!" (and yes, I did attend NYCB when Ms. Farrell was still dancing). I'll bow out of this particular discussion now. I don't want to keep making the same points. I will look forward to reading other opinions though!
  4. Could also mean she wasn't really a Principal except nominally, though. That's the impression Nilas Martins gives me. Vaguely parallel to A-list and B-list film stars. Some are thought to be 'A-list' and are basically pretty 'B-list' (or there's a whiff of it) if you look hard enough at them. I don't know when that nomenclature got started, but take a couple of old stars like Lana Turner and Tyrone Power. They were both definitely considered to be 'A-List', but there's a big touch of 'B-list' about their very frequent respective banalities when you compare them to Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper. Which doesn't mean the 'Soloists' are not often great, or the B-listers are not sometimes stupendous. Maybe it just means that the 'A-listers' and 'Principals' who aren't great almost all the time are a particular category--which is different from an off-night, which anyone can have--Farrell had them, Nureyev had them... Then there are just B-Listers who are never A-listers but they can be great too: I wouldn't take anything for every single performance I've seen Barbara Nichols do Yvonne Borree wasn't a nominal principal. She was a principal, period. She danced a lot for a quite a while (although not in recent years). Ms. Borree's career was certainly major -- to her, and probably to many others (I adored her in several roles over the years). The audience showed her a lot of love at her farewell. And as a teacher at SAB (public knowledge), she might have taught some of the current corps members or apprentices at NYCB. I'd say Ms. Borree has made an impact. As for A-listers and B-listers -- I'm not a big fan of such labels. And the labels are often totally off the mark anyway. Finally, as others have said here -- a little kindness, especially at a farewell performance, goes a long way.
  5. Thank you for writing this Abatt. I totally agree.
  6. Re: horses. Agreed, Abatt! Also, I bet that Chris has seen "War Horse" in London (coming to Broadway either in the fall or spring 2010. Don't miss it! It's that great) more than once. Many of the horse movements (especially Andrew Veyette's and Gina Pazoguin's) remind me of those in "War Horse."
  7. I'm going to keep my remarks short as I'm sure many BT folks were there this afternoon. It was a wonderful afternoon. Yvonne looked gorgeous and danced very well -- especially in Duo Concertant (I saw her first performance in this ballet many years ago). The house gave her a rousing, and very long standing ovation (so nice!). As is NYCB's custom, Yvonne was showered with bouquets and single flowers from all the NYCB principals. Starting it off was Peter Boal (nice surprise!) and Damien Woetzel (who was sitting right near me. In fact, dozens of dancers were up in the first ring watching all three performances). Damien brought Yvonne a red, paper heart (think "Steadfast Tin Soldier"). It was just lovely.
  8. Oh!! Now that's worth renewing early! I worship Patti! I've seen her in everything she's done (within two hours from NYC). And speaking of Wheeldon -- I saw "Tryst" at the Royal Ballet over the weekend. I simply loved it! I wish the NYCB would stage it (I cast it with NYCB dancers while I was watching it. The lead screams, Wendy Whelan!)
  9. Several people have commented on all the empty seats, at both NYCB and ABT this month. Is it worse than recent seasons? Does it seem to reflect the struggling economy or just disappointing repertory offerings (or perhaps both)? Along with news of other companies folding or shortening their seasons, this is not good news for the arts... Is there any information at all about the repertory planned for NYCB next year? In the print New York City Ballet NEWS (Spring 2010), it says subscriptions for 2010-11 will be available in June, with single tickets for fall 2010 in August. I was guessing they'd announce the fall schedule in June. They list some works for fall in NEWS, but it's far from complete, and nothing is listed on the web site. There's no question that there are many more empty seats than normal (for the spring). We could chock it up to ABT, (now at the Met) but ABT's season just started. I'm guessing that NYCB could have even more empty seats now that they have competition across the Plaza. Such a shame. I have two subscriptions to ABT too, and the tickets are more expensive than NYCB's. I really hope that NYCB quickly comes up with discounts before the season is over. As for the rep. Not much is announced yet (it's supposed to be coming "soon."). However, there will be three new ballets by Benjamin Millepied, Susan Stroman (whom I just saw in the lobby of the Meniere in London on Sunday night. She's co-directing, with Hal Prince, a new Broadway bound musical starring Mandy Patinkin. Unfortunately, it's dreadful so I doubt it's transfer here) and Lynne Taylor-Corbett.
  10. You are so sweet Abatt for worrying about me! I appreciate that a lot! There is an option to pay in installments. You can pay half now and half in a month or so (or something like that).
  11. I just received my renewal. I thought it was for the short fall season. However, it's for the fall, winter and spring seasons! They want you to renew for the entire year. And there's no option (on the form) to only renew for a season at a time. I called the subscription office to find out if I was seeing things. They confirmed that you can only renew for the entire year. I am extremely devoted to NYCB. As some of you know I have a professional (and personal) connection (which is why I don't post about the performances anymore) to many of the dancers. However, this is nuts! I still go to performances three times a week, and have noticed that the house is in need of more bodies to fill the seats (it's pretty depressing). On the other hand, I was just at the Royal Ballet (I was in London last week) and the place was packed. Of course I'll renew, but I bet that they'll lose many subscribers because of this scheme. This is not smart marketing.
  12. Great to know! I was at NJPAC for the first time recently to see Patti LuPone. I was impressed with the venue -- it reminded me (a bit) of Avery Fisher.
  13. I'm disappointed that this tweeting discussion (most of it negative) is still going on. It really seems to me like this thread is now beating a dead horse. For those that don't like/get/enjoy tweeting -- don't do it and don't read tweets. Others (including me) see twittering as another marketing tool (albeit, still in its infancy). From what I've read on this thread people keep repeating themselves. Can we go back to discussing ballet?
  14. I haven't received my several subscription tickets yet either. However, I did receive individuals tickets to the "Farewell" performances today (I'm attending three out of the four).
  15. Jack, Although I said I didn't want to represent the branding/marketing/publicity and PR point of view, your question about "how someone sees these tweets in the first place" is a valid, and good one. There's no question that most people who read someone's Twitter feed have some connection to either that person, company or have an interest in what the person/company does. For example, one of my clients (not in the arts, but in the food world) is pretty well known. About a year ago he started tweeting (yes, I pushed for it but he loves doing it). It was a chance for him to get out from behind the stove (so to speak) and talk to both fans, regular cooks, and people who are interested in cooking. We have guidelines for what he tweets (i.e. nothing too personal etc.), but mostly it's just fun stuff (even about things that have nothing to do with food, but instead his own interests). His "followers" (what people who pick up Twitter feeds are called) are probably 90% fans/cooking enthusiasts/food companies. The other 10% are people who are interested in anyone who is well known. This is just one example. I'm guessing that 90% of any dancer's Twitter followers are people who: 1) Are genuine fans of the dancer. 2) Have seen the dancer perform and were impressed (perhaps at an out-of-town appearance or at a Gala?). 3) Have some connection to dance -- perhaps a student? It's a way to follow someone who has "made it." 4) Have seen the dancer in question (Daniil Simkin comes to mind here) in a general press (i.e. not dance media) feature. Perhaps they noticed the article because a friend likes ballet, or they thought the person was "cute" or the dancer featured has some pretty famous friends.. In other words there's a passing interest, but when they read that person's "tweets" they decide to check it out. Maybe they'll decide to go to a performance someday, maybe they won't. The idea behind tweeting to "followers" is simple -- it's about building some sort of relationship (i.e. marketing and branding). Give out a little information and perhaps a follower will be more likely to want to buy your next book, or come to the ballet the next time you dance ______(fill in a ballet here). I also want to mention that people "unfollow" Twitter feeds frequently. Once you sign on to someone's feed you can "unfollow" with a stroke of a key. It's that easy. It's not much of a commitment. Personally, my favorite Twitter feed is Roger Ebert's. I hope that helps a little. Deborah
  16. You may not have read the tweets in question, but you've gone right to the point here, Patrick. Aura? How's this for enticing newcomers to ballet? great massage! and my new tv was delivered today! this apartment is slowly but surely getting decorated and finished:) Ashley Bouder is being a young woman in her mid-20's (I'm almost 53 so we're not in the same generation). Some people relate to the idea that a dancer of prominence does every day things. They might find this tweet charming. Then again, I think it's charming. I understand that Twitter (a "tweet" is a post on Twitter. It's really as simple as that) may not be everyone's cup of tea but why be so negative? I don't get it.
  17. Just a quick note about Twitter followers, then I'll bow out of this discussion; I don't want to argue the branding/publicity and PR point of view. Despite today's front page story in the NYT (and also their very high traffic website), and a lot of social networking coverage of this story, Ashley Bouder only has about 1000 twitter follows (up by hundreds, however, from yesterday), and Katie Morgan has less than 600 (also up by hundreds). In the scheme of things these are tiny numbers (anything over 5,000-10,000 followers starts to be fairly impressive. Anything over 200,000 is very impressive). Still, some of these new followers may be actual fans already, and maybe others will become fans. Reading these dancers tweets (most of which are pretty straight forward and really don't say all that much. Yet they can be quite charming too) is just another way for some fans to feel connected to either a dancer, the arts or a particular company. NYCB also uses Twitter (ABT does too. Most companies do, for that matter) -- and often retweets (RT) dancers' own posts too. The arts need (and are learning how) to adapt to the 21st century in order to (fiscally) survive. Social networking may or may not help (no one knows for sure. It's just too new), but I certainly don't think that reading about someone's dog or another's take on their own performance hurts anything. 5 years ago we didn't see dancers talking straight to a camera in videos (like they do on the NYCB website). Certainly some of their personalities come out in these videos, as they do in a Twitter feed. I see this as a plus, not a minus. Finally, if it takes the mystery out of a performance, then something else isn't working (and it's not necessarily that the dancer told us what they ate for lunch).
  18. Twitter is white/red hot right now -- that's why this story is on the front page of the NYT. As for the mystery etc. Interesting points. As a veteran arts/publishing/food publicist, I will say that Twitter/FaceBook helps (a lot) with branding/publicity and public relations. All good things, in my opinion. I use both to help get my client's messages out. It's fun, it's easy, it doesn't hurt anyone. What's not to like? And most companies (including the NYT) do have Twitter/FB rules for their employees. However, the great thing about social networking is that you don't have to use it. Not interested in what a ballerina who tweets may be doing, or what she's thinking at any given moment? Don't subscribe to her Twitter feed. FaceBook is even more easy -- people have to approve you in order to be their "Friends." Most of the tweeting dancers are young. By putting themselves out there (especially on Twitter) they understand that bringing a bit of personality into the equation is a good thing these day. It could help build new audiences.
  19. This is a very petty complaint (just a warning!). But it isn't smart that you can't buy tickets to NYCB until May. The box office doesn't open until then. This is true even for members (I buy my tickets as soon as I get the brochure). Those of us that trek up there want to book our hotel way in advance (so it's not sold out). I just don't get why they can't sell tickets now. It makes planning to attend very difficult. That said, I've never had a problem getting tickets to the performances that I've wanted to attend (the facility is huge), but I have had problems booking my hotel. Why not make it easier for people who want to go to SPAC? I'm guessing that it's a money issue (i.e. no staff during the year before May) but still...
  20. Carbro, I agree with everything you've written. Thanks for expressing this opinion (mine too!). One thing -- I wish we could see more of the SF Ballet! Talk about stellar male dancers (wow!). I wish Helgi (sp?) could come coach our male dancers. Do note that I think we have many very good male dancers: both Angles, Robbie Fairchild, Adrian Danchig-Warning (whom I adore and wish he danced more), Sean Suozzi (a personal friend), Philip Neal (I'm going to miss him so!), Joaquin DeLuz, Ben Millepied (who is dancing so much better this season), Adam H., Andy Veyette, Amar Ramasar, Antonio Carmena, and others. That said, there's room for improvement (and even thought I'm a NYCB nut, David Hallberg is, by far, my favorite male dancer. M. Gomes comes a close second.)
  21. All the reviewers seem to agree with you, to one extent or other. (At least I think so; I haven't seen any positive reviews.)This raises questions for me. Putting on a ballet, especially one with so many principal dancers, is a complex affair with plenty of opportunities to stand back and say: "Hey, this isn't working." So why didn't that occur? How does something widely perceived as deeply flawed survive the long creation process and still get on stage? (Especially in these times of diminished financial resources.) (P.S. Maybe we need a new thread: "What were they thinking?!? (When talented people put awful work on stage.) In this case the answer is surely that Peter Martins runs NYCB (albeit, now as Artistic Director only ). Who is going to say "no" to him? (no one). Plus he must have thought it was working (i.e. viable/good etc.). I bet this ballet will fade away (thank goodness!) by 2011.
  22. That's the main problem with SPAC (in my opinion) -- there's a whole lot of drinking going on. People are not supposed to take their drinks to their seats (or maybe they allow it. Not sure), but they do. Plus they drink right outside the theatre and make a lot of noise. Last year the police had to break up a fight (people were drinking too much). I attended the Gala two years ago and it was all about socializing (few even came in to watch the performance) -- loudly. Sorry to sound like a curmudgeon, but SPAC does have its problems. People also tend to talk during the performance and don't care when you ask them to stop talking. As for insects -- I always attend drenched in bug spray and creams. That doesn't help. This year I intend to wear long sleeves (hopefully it won't be 90 degrees!). SPAC itself (the park) is pretty run down these days. I remember it from 20 years ago -- it was gorgeous then. Despite all of this, I plan on going to three programs (and will stay overnight). I am devoted to NYCB and want to support them by seeing them at their summer home (plus I alway feel so sad when the season ends in NYC. It's a bonus to know that I'll soon be seeing them again). I've also figured out which performances are attended by people who actually want to see the ballet/dancers. And Saratoga itself is beautiful! I adore seeing all the lovingly restored building there.
  23. Thanks for posting this, California!. I did see the calendar a few days ago but didn't notice the actual program. To be honest, I'm not a fan of SPAC (too hot, too many insects,inattentive audience members, a lot of screaming kids etc.) That said, I will go back again this year (I've been going for many years) for a few performances (staying overnight). It's just a three hour drive from NYC (not bad). Plus Saratoga itself is gorgeous! I stay at the Saratoga Arms -- a wonderful, if pricey B&B.
  24. The choreography, with the exception of Ashton, was pretty awful. However, I easily overlooked this because it was such fun to see the dancers. Still, I laughed out loud when I read Alastair Macaulay's line ".... - since "Kings" is a long evening and this occurs after the second intermission -- I began to lose the will to live somewhere around the point Mr. Hallberg solemnly tucked a rose inside his bent knee." (the line is much funnier in context with the entire paragraph). I'm sure I'd feel this way too if I had to see the program more than once, but for one performance it wasn't too torturous (and Hallberg looks good doing anything -- even tucking a rose into his new. LOL!). Peter and Darci were sitting right near me. Darci didn't make it back to her seat during the second (the longest) act. Maybe she was sitting with someone other than Peter then? She was there for the third act.
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