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Everything posted by DeborahB

  1. I agree with Carbro. I too, went in with low expectations (a bunch of "stars" showing off. How good could that really be?) but had a lot of fun. Of course, I would be very happy seeing two hours of just Hallberg, Gomes, and De Luz (the crowd really loved him which was nice. Sometimes I feel he's a bit unappreciated by the NYCB audience) -- with partners, of course. I liked the other "Kings" but it's impossible to get to know a new dancer in a short solo. But for me the highlight was Desmond Richardson. I lost track of him after Ailey (although I did hear his name associated with this and that over the years), but what a true thrill to see him yesterday. He was in fine form and was as electrifying as ever. It's hard to believe he's over 40!
  2. I'm a bit surprised that no one has posted anything this week. I was there last night and loved Sara Mearns in her "Dances at a Gathering" debut. In fact, the entire ballet was performed especially well. Jonathan Stafford's spectacular catches in some of the fish dives -- especially the final catch of Megan Fairchild -- elicited gasp from the audiences. Maria Kowroski was especially endearing as the woman in green; Gonzalo Garcia (in brown) and Jared Angle (in purple) were strong, elegant and yet playful (perfect), and the rest of the cast (M. Fairchild, Jenifer Ringer, Abi Stafford, Antonia Carmena and Amar Ramasar) were just splendid. I haven't seen this much energy in "West Side Story Suite" in years. At one point it looked and sounded like one of the dancers (in the rumble scene) was about to fall off the stage. Andrew Veyette (Riff), Benjamin Millepied (Tony), Georgina Pazcoguin (Anita) reprised their roles with extra zest. They were terrific. But a special shout out must go to Amar Ramasar. I have made no secret that Jock Soto was my favorite male dancer in the last 20 years, and he WAS Bernardo. Well, not anymore! Ramasar threw himself (literally too) into this role in a way that he hadn't quite achieved in the past. He was totally invested in the role (talk about acting chops!). His dancing in the gym was brilliant -- quick and polished with a combination of joy and menace. And did I mention handsome and sexy too? You can see why Anita wanted this guy. In her debut as Maria, Kathryn Morgan was innocent, beautiful and perfectly cast. Finally, special kudos to Gretchen Smith as Rosalia. Her duet with Gina or Jeni Ringer in "America" is always a highlight. Gretchen really can sing, and she does a fine job in that charming role.
  3. This is a particularly well-detailed review of the season. Thanks for posting it Helene! I find it fascinating that so many reviewers disagree about individual dancers and their performances. I saw all the BEAUTY casts, and two of the three (I think it was three) SWAN casts. I agree and disagree (in parts) with what Mr. Popkin has written, but I very much enjoyed reading this piece. And again, I just want to add that I am so glad that this is the end of story ballets at NYCB (way too many for me. I'm usually good for one or two a year max) for the year.
  4. Thank you all for the wonderful and detailed reviews of the Mariinsky. I saw them in London last year for the first time and was pretty thrilled!
  5. I'm sure looking forward to getting away from story ballets for the last two weeks of the season. And at least we know what we're getting: Balanchine and Robbins. Seems like old times...
  6. I just became aware of this yesterday. Avi Scher is debuting ballet's in NYC in April. Both NYCB and ABT dancers will be performing. They will also be in DC in late May. http://www.avischer.com/events/
  7. I'm with you ViolinConcerto! I'm also Ives crazy. Still, I have a feeling that people would be fleeing out of the Koch after the second all Ives ballet music. We might have that big theatre all to our selves(after the first ballet)! We'd get great seats though (LOL).
  8. PBS broadcast it when it was brand new in 1996, with Miranda Weese stepping in for Kistler at the last minute, and Woetzel as her prince. You might want to watch it at the library and Lincoln Center and save yourself some money. But then ballet-goers wouldn't be able to see Ashley Bouder and Sara Mearns perform the role. For some of us, seeing them as Odette/Odile is worth the price of admission period, even if you don't like the Martins' version. Again, I'm not crazy about it either but I would gladly pay to see Ashley and Sara perform the lead role. I do get that I seem to be the only advocate on this board for this version of SL. But if you were there last night (as I was), and saw Ashley, you might advocate for attendence too. Then again, although I didn't like Martins' R&J, I did go many times to see the dancers. The dancers are always worth seeing.
  9. The ballet dancers at NYCB call each other girls. They do not hate it. Perhaps in other companies, but not NYCB. Also Sophie Flack's contract was not renewed (by Martins etc. ). She was not happy about it either. This is not gossip but fact. So no, that doesn't "say it all." But whatever. It seems to me that we've exhausted this subject.
  10. Some of you may have been there, but for those that weren't here is a synposis: ** The story ballets are almost a vacation for the principals -- if they aren't cast. There are only so many principals roles in these ballets. ** For those that are cast -- and particulary the lead women -- a full length ballet is both exhilarating and exhausting (so much dancing). ** Sara Mearns loves dancing with Jared Angle. She said he's a fantastic partner. He knows exactly how to present his ballerina etc. Although they are debuting tonight (Friday) as parteners in Swan Lake, they did this roll in Italy last year. ** The male leads are there to help/present/show off their ballerinas (you know the famous Balanchine quote). Occasionally the ballerinas don't rely on their partners (100%) and that's when we might see off-chemistry. ** The male dancers might ask the costumers to "add a little fabric here. Make a tunic longer" etc. ** The care of the costumes is a job in itself. So much work! ** Sara doesn't like "bones" in her costume. Mr. Happel -- who said that both Sara and Jared are favorites -- always accomodates her. ** Both Sara and Jared discussed how they always do the steps as "written" but they make them their own. For example, Jared doesn't do certain things that Ben M will do in Swan Lake (those double tours) but will do other things. Sara also described how she might differ from other principals. ** Jared is very funny. He has a great sense of humor. Sara is just a charmer (and so gorgeous/beautiful up close that it's almost shocking). ** Sara often talked about her very rapid rise in the company. She seemed a little in awe of it herself (she's very modest). ** They both said it was a dream job. They were also beyond complimentary of each and every dancer. They were lovely, delightful, enthusiastic, polite and charming young people. These chats are terrific programs.
  11. The female dancers call themselves "girls." Sara Mearns, at the chat last night, said it repeatedly. And other dancers do the same. Jared Angle kept calling the other men "boys." To me they are men and women which is what I alway say. Sorry, but they don't call each other "ladies" (ever. I know many of them personally).. I'm just reporting on what is said. However maybe they'd call me "Lady" (since I'm 52). I'd be fine with that, of course. LOL. As a 70's feminist,who interrviewed the greats (including the brilliant Andrea Dworkin, Betty Frieden et al) when I was editor of my college newspaper, I too find "boys and girls" slightly juvenile. However, we can't re-write history. If the dancers are fine with "boys and girls" so am I.
  12. You didn't see the PBS broadcast? Well, it was AWFUL, even thought Sterling Hyltin was divine despite all. Someone else told me Swan Lake was somewhere in between the badness of R PLUS J and the excellence of his Sleeping Beauty. But I will have to tell you later about that. I do know that Sleeping Beauty really is a fine piece, even with that often-inferior orchestra, but R PLUS J, forget it. If you have to see it, try to get a video, it's not worth 'filling a seat' for. Yes, well so does the Burger King Sleeping Beauty. And he does not fill seats with anything of his own work except Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. Do you know anybody who flies in from the West Coast to see 'Friandises' or 'Songs of the Auvergne' or 'Calcium Lite Nite?' (I know, I know, it's 'Light' and 'Night') Yes, most of us do not like much of Peter Martins's work, and we may say so freely. Yes, they have seen it, even if not this time around. It was done in 2004, and I know a LOT of people who saw it and they all hated it. [sic] Yes, and I saw it then (2004) too. Again, I'm not saying that I love Martins' ballet (as I don't). However, in these tough economic times, filling seats is important. Perhaps these seat fillers will find their way to better rep at NYCB (or other places). I do have to say that "Calcium White Lights" is one of the few Martins' ballets that I actually like. And I can say that freely too.
  13. Women in ballet are not called, "Ladies." And I respect everyone's opinions. For all I know the critics may hate this version. As far as I can tell, not many Ballet Talkers have seen "Swan Lake" yet so it's presumptious to say that " a lot of other people dont" (sic). I have nothing else to say on this subject. However, I take exception at your saying "good for u" (it seemed rude to me).
  14. I don't agree with you at all. The corps did a fine job (they are women or girls, not "ladies"). I too am educated in ballet (not as a dancer but as a historian). I've been attending NYCB, ABT, The Royal and the Kirov for 30 years. I do have a frame of reference. Ashley Bouder/Odette was not "hysterical" in the least. And this is Martins' version of SL, not someone else's. I get that you may not like his version, but to put the entire production down -- including the dancers -- just seems off-base.
  15. Some observations from tonight. And yes -- I think this version of SL is getting a bad rap (which it doesn't deserve). I thought the costumes -- particulary the tutus -- were lovely. At the chat tonight, with Sara Mearns, Jared Angle and Marc Happel (Director of Costumes), they not only showed some of the costumes, but talked about them. The tutus, in particular, are stunning (they almost look like they have been needlepointed). I thought the sets were fine. Nothing to write home about but perfectly adequate. The ballet moved briskly -- I like that though. Many parts of Martins' choreography were very nice. The second act, with all of the diversions, could have come out of Nutcracker or Sleeping Beauty (lots of "acts.") However, the dancers all did a fine job and it was entertaining. Ashley Bouder (Odette/Odile) was so brilliant that words fail me. Ben Milliepied (Siegrfred) looked the best that I've seen him in years. He solos were exceptional. I really liked Sean Suozzi (he's having a great season!) as Benno. Troy Schumacher as the Jester was fantastic (literally. Bravo!). Interesting enough the "Russian Dance" with Yvonne Borre and Sebastien Marcovici was quite good. Yvonne was lovely. I enjoyed Kaitlyn Gilliland and Ask La Cour in the Hungarian Dance, and the Divertissement Pas De Quartre with Sterling, Katie, Ana Sophia and Gonazalo was suburb. Gonazalo, in parrticular, has really come into his own. The corps looked great. Loved Ashley Laracey and Lauren King's Pas De Trois with Sean Suozzi. Erica Pereira and Anthony Huxley were very good in Nepolitan. I also adored Savannah Lowery with Craig Hall, and the alway sunny Gwyneth Muller with (one of my fav. corps members), Christian Tworzyanski (he should be a soloist). The house was packed again. People may not love (some/all) Martins' ballets but he fills seats. And honestly, I think this is a very pleasant version of this ballet. I'll be seeing it 3 more times. I also urge folks to attend some of these chats. It was so much fun to hear what the stunning beautiful Sara Mearns, and the handsome and very funny Jared Angle had to say about Swan Lake (they both love to dance it). I thought the orchestra did a good job playing the score. I choked up more than once (that music is to die for. It never gets old). The final kudo goes to Henry Seth as Von Rotbart. It's always bothered me that he never made it out of the corps. He should have (his technique and lines are quite good). And as an actor (since we were talking about this earlier) he has no peer at NYCB. He was Oscar/Emmy worthy tonight.
  16. Based on viewings of both NYCB and ABT in recent years, I think this generalization is outdated, if ever it was true. Sara Mearns' Lilac Fairy mime was so clear and conversational that a first-time balletgoer would have understood it. Compare that to Paloma Herrera's frequently blank performances in classical roles. Was there ever a more ardent, hopeful prince than Tyler Angle last week? What Mearns and TAngle did, though, was tell their stories through the choreography, really using the music, subtly changing postures or epaulement, shading their timing. This, to me, is what communicating in ballet is all about, whether there is a story or not. What happens on the face (assuming that that's what you meant by "acting") is, to me, the frosting on the cake. And some cakes are even best unfrosted. :-) You may be right Carbro but NYCB isn't an "acting" company (although many dancers take acting lessons). Still, it's hard to talk about this b/c I wasn't there last night. In the past I've found Maria's Odette/Odile excellent. And again, she may have been having an off night. And I respectully don't think it's an outdated opinion. What was Mr. B's famous quote? He advised his dancers to dance, not act (or actually not to think about it). And just for the record I LOVE Paloma Herrera. If I want to see actors I'll go to the theatre (which I do a lot). I'm more interested in great technique etc. -- that's why I fell in love with NYCB 30 plus years ago. And yes -- Tyler was wonderful but he was a bit sloppy (as much as I adore him) in his solos. At least in the first performance. The best case scenario would include great dancing (footwork, technique etc.) and acting. But given a choice, I'll take the dancing. I'm off the NYCB "Chat." Sara Mearns is talking about Swan Lake!! It should be wonderful.
  17. Interesting! It's hard for me to believe that Maria wasn't very good. I've rarely seen her not great in this role. However, she might have had an off-night. Also, in general NYCB dancers aren't "actors." They won't necessarily deliver the emotions the way that ABT will (or the Royal etc.). Like a lot of NYCB balletomanes, I really (only) care about the dancing, as the costumes and sets aren't what NYCB is about. That said, it would be NICE if the costumes and sets were great but.... For a full length story ballet (not my favorite kind of ballet),I don't mind Martins' "Swan Lake." I'm seeing it tonight, Sat. afternoon and a couple more times. I like to see the different casts. Tonight is Ashley Bouder. Woo-hoo!
  18. I so enjoyed this interview when I read it. Savannah has a great sense of humor! I loved her comments about her "big" feet (I have size 9's myself). Wouldn't the NYCB ballerinas benefit from watching Sara Means (gorgeous upper body).? However, I do adore Savannah and look forward to all of her roles (although I understand why some BT-ers aren't as smitten as your truly). Thanks for your opinions everyone! I love reading them! On another note -- and as a longtime publicist -- I'm so happy that NYCB is getting press (and not just reviews). For a few years we never saw stories.
  19. With all due respect, Singer... there are those of us who LOVE Savannah. She was fantastic in "Cortege" last night. Not only is she strong, technically accomplished, fast, musical and enthusiastic -- but her love of dancing permeates each performance. She certainly does fit in. She also received a huge ovation last night too. Balanchine always loved dancers like Savannah. The great thing about NYCB is that if you aren't crazy about a certain dancer, you can check casting and plan accordingly.
  20. Hi MJ, There is always only one intermission in Beauty (NYCB's version). Also Carabosse never dances (in this version). I actually really liked the costumes and colors of the costume. I'm not a fan (at all) of ABT's (athough I do like ABT) version However, I loved the Kirov's (I saw it last year in London). NYCB's is a streamline version of Beauty. I didn't see one child (and there were many! How great!)who was antsy. Even I -- who is not a fan of story ballets -- went to 4 different Beaties (I love to see the cast changes). I think this run was an unqualified success. Still, I'm looking forward to the reg. rep tonight. But then it's Swan Lake -- I'm seeing 4 casts of that too (it's fun to compare). I find it surprising that no one "wowed" you. There was so much great dancing in Beauty. Then again, a triple pirouette (did you see Danny Ulbricht? He can do that and more. Ditto Antonio Carmena and a couple of others) isn't "it" for me. Thank you for your viewpoint! I love reading what other people think of various productions and ballets. Deborah
  21. Katie Morgan tweeted this around 11pm. "Very happy. Much better than the first performance!" Looking forward to hearing from reports here.
  22. I saw the Tiler Peck/Gonzalo Garcia Beauty today. I won't say too much about it because I've logged too many Beauty posts (sorry everyone!). That said, Tiler was excellent -- her musicality was a delight, as always, and she really nailed the Rose Adagio (almost Bouder-like!). But the revelation was Garcia. I've always liked him (especially in Opus 19) but I was never completely smitten. Until today! He was truly outstanding -- both solos were perfect, he was an attentive partner, he made the fish dives catches look easy. I also loved his vision scene, and he seems to be a born prince. I'd like to see him in "Apollo." I adored Gina's "Carabosse" -- this young woman has real acting chops. Janie was a delicate and warm (it's hard to take your eyes off of Janie when she's on the stage) Lilac Fairy. All the solos in the second act were well done -- not a sloppy one in the bunch.Kaitlyn Gilliland was a gorgeous Diamond. I wish she had been cast as the Lilac Fairy this season. One other complaint: I wish that both Adrian Danching-Waring and Sean Suozzi (both so good as Puss in Boots) were cast as Desire. And it seems strange that Robbie Fairchild and Jared Angle wasn't also given a shot. But I guess there weren't enough performance dates to go around. Well, I'm all "Beauty-ed" out. Looking forward to regular rep on Tuesday night followed by Swan Lake.
  23. Michael, I agree with Abatt about Katie Morgan, Tyler Angle, and Sara Mearns. It was a wonderful debut for Katie and she'll certainly grow into the role. She looked pretty nervous in the Rose Adagio (understandable). But she got stronger as the evening progressed. Tyler was a handsome prince, and did a nice job partnering. He was especially good during the fish dives. He stumbled a bit during his solos but I'm sure he'll figure that out. Sara was, of course, just superb. I was disappointed that Rebecca Krohn didn't make her debut, but hopefully she'll be back in time for the Sat. night performance. Alas, I'm going Sat. afternoon so I'll miss her. Chase Finlay is surely a future Desire. More importanly (as I'm not huge on story ballets as I've seen too many times), he has a big career ahead of him with NYCB. And he's tall!! I also enjoyed the first year corps member Sara Adams as Vivacity. But I must say that I'm getting annoyed that they aren't casting the very talented Lydia Wellington in featured parts by now. Ashley Bouder and Amar Ramassar were sitting right near me. Amar is frequently in the first ring when he's not dancing. He is a huge supporter of his fellow dancers. I swear he applauds the loudest! It's very sweet.
  24. I'm interested in what others thought of the performance tonight. One note: Sara Mearns stepped in for Rebecca Krohn. I thought Sara was even better than she was last week (if that's even possible). One quick comment -- keep your eye on Chase Finlay. This young man is an up-and-comer. He was terrific as "Gold" tonight!
  25. Mixing a new piece with some tried-and-true favorites makes it less risky, so perhaps that is their rationale. What I like about the schedule is that an out-of-town visitor can see a lot of different ballets in 4-6 days, so it's attractive from that viewpoint. It's more difficult to see several different programs at ABT during a short visit from long distances. I'm curious to see what NYCB schedules for Saratoga in July. I'm guessing they will stay with the two-week season again due to the tough economy. Does anybody know when that schedule is typically posted? I seem to recall getting a special offer to be a SPAC subscriber every year in late March or April. For the past few years I have gone up to Saratoga, but I buy individual NYCB tickets. These tickets are offered at least a month later than the subscriber offer (May, maybe?).
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