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Everything posted by DeborahB

  1. Thanks for your review, Natalia. I hope others who have attended in DC will follow your lead and post. Just FYI -- Sean Suozzi is a soloist, but Christian (as you wrote) is in the corps, and is always excellent.
  2. Kaitlyn Gilliland debuted as the SP Fairy last year. She was just lovely too.
  3. How did a discussion about "promotions" dovetail into one about male dancer's hairy armpits (again, who cares about this stuff? I don't get it)? I honestly do understand debating whether not a certain dancer deserves their accolades. But we can't, and shouldn't, expect that from a mass market (albeit a bit upscale) publication like Vogue. I'm just happy that a big circulation magazine gave some attention to the world of ballet. With all due respect to several nice folks on this thread -- I urge you to lighten up a bit.
  4. I agree with Carbro and Helene. Plus, the Vogue story is great for ballet, period. As a PR pro for more than 30 years (with a speciality in publishing, cooking, gardening and the arts), I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it is -- especially in this media environment (of shrinking publications etc.) to get major media for anything or anyone (unless you are an A lister) in the arts. The fact that Vogue devoted these pages to Ben and Cory is simply exceptional (it sure helps to have the very famous Annie Leibovitz photographing these dancers). I do think both men look stunning (and do note that Cory himself is a model, as well as a dancer). As for the partnering question -- is Vogue really the place to argue whether Cory Stearns is a great partner or not? Of course not. If the writer says he's a "phenomenal" partner, and he isn't (I haven't seen Cory enough to have a real opinion, but I always find him delightful), who does that hurt? No one. Who does it help? Ballet. Two gorgeous men are featured in a huge US publication (which is also sold in London, and I'm guessing other countries). It brings attention to ballet. Young women in their 20's (and I'm sure many younger men too) read Vogue (although they have plenty of older readers too). Perhaps this story might help capture their interest a bit (based on those photos) and then they'll take a chance and buy a ticket to a ballet. And maybe they'll be hooked (as I was at 19, and at 52 still go many times a week while NYCB and ABT are in season). What's not to like?
  5. Agreed! BAM, and St. Ann's Warehouse in Dumbo (going to a play there Friday night), are two of my favorite venues period. Both are incredibly easy to get to as well.
  6. I must admit that I'm not a huge "Nuts" fan. However, as soon as I saw that Wendy Whelan was cast as the SP Fairy (last night) I bought a ticket. The house was packed; I'm guessing it was sold out. Everyone was well behaved too. As many of you know, Wendy is my favorite ballerina of all time so I won't even pretend to be unbiased. However, she and Philip Neal (another favorite) danced an especially gorgeous pas de deux. They recevied a well-deserved, rousing ovation from the audience. Adrian Danching-Waring, with a lovely Amanda Hankes, was a most energetic "Hot Chocolate." He also performed his brief role with technical perfection. Sean Suozzi was equally outstanding in the very difficult "Candy Canes" lead. Gwyneth Muller was a most alluring, sunny "Coffee" (aka "Arabian"). Antonio Carmena -- who, in my opinion should have much bigger roles in the regular repetory (he's that good) -- breezed through the air splits in "Tea". Erica Pereira was superb in the very difficult role of lead "Marzipan" (it looks easy, but the steps are among the most difficult in the entire ballet). Ana Sophia Scheller was a most delightful, and musically stellar, "Dew Drop." Justin Peck was a lot of fun as "Mother Ginger." His expressions were hysterical when seen through opera glasses. In the less exciting first act Ellen Bar and Christian Tworzyanski (I loved them together!) were our most gracious hosts. And I was lucky enough to see Andre Kramaresky's Drosselmeier -- his miming is unrivaled. The kids were all adorable, and seeing the tree grow is still exciting after decades of viewing. I do think that several of our terrific women corps members need to take the lead from Lydia Wellington, Ashley Laracey, Megan LeCrone, Lauren King, Marika Anderson, Megan Johnson, and the always splendid Georgina Pazcoguin -- it's a party! Be happy (or at least smile a little). The corps men seemed to be having a very good time (which is a good thing in this ballet). Kurt Nikkanen's violin solo was especially breathtaking last night. It got as much appaluse -- and deservedly so -- as anything else on the stage. I continue to be impressed with Maestro Karoui, and our excellent orchestra.
  7. A terrific story on David Alvarez, who attends ABT's ballet school as well as starring as one of the Billy's: http://www.dancestudiolife.com/2009/12/bal...ys-ballet-baby/
  8. Thanks for the recommendation! I bought the book when I first read about it here, and just finished it. It's a very good read. I have a very dear friend who has diabetes so that part struck close to home. Ms. Karz was one of my favorite soloists; it was nice to learn more about her.
  9. News for those of us who were big fans of Kyle Froman's. Kyle, who retired in Feb. 2009 -- even though he's only in his early 30s -- will return to the NYCB on 12/9 (and then again 12/12) to perform Drosselmeier. Welcome back Kyle! http://www.nycballet.com/casting/wk3.html
  10. That's even worse, no matter how many additional stalls they put in. Exactly where were they putting the coats? Or the waiters? Helene, Let me clarify. The second ring ladies' room was being used as a waiter's dressing and changing room/coat check (they need to put their things somewhere). This happens at every opening night gala; I don't see this as anything unusual. There's not a lot of extra space at the theatre for stowing belongings, and there is a large wait staff for opening nights.
  11. Hi Bobbi, The second ring ladies' room wasn't out of order on opening night --it was being used for a "coat check/waiter room." I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
  12. The renovations look pretty good! Especially cool -- the orchestra has a platform that rises now (it can go level with the stage). After a short speech by Peter Martins, and a longer (reading from cards) speech by David H. Koch (not exactly scintillating), the evening got under way. Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH was danced beautifully by Bouder, Garcia, De Luz, Whelan and Millepied. The demis were also in fine form. Things were looking up! Next up was "Rubies pas de deux" (from Jewels) with Paris Opera Ballet guest stars Aurelie Dupont and Mathias Heymann. I'm still trying to figure out what ballet they were dancing, because it didn't look much like "Rubies." Sure, there was the Stravinsky score (love that music!) but not much else was recognizable. Don't get me wrong -- they seem like perfectly fine dancers, but the phrasing was strange, as were many of the positions and extensions (or lack of them). Dupont does have very nice balance, and occasionally seemed like she was enjoying herself. However, the two had absolutely no chemistry -- not a plus for this pas de deux. That said, Dupont wore a gorgeous Christian Lacroix tutu (tres chic!). The audience did not seem overwhelmed, but gave them a warm(ish) round of applause. The less said about "Naive and Sentimental Music" the better. Suffice to say it was a total waste of both our newly promoted principals, as well as Janie Taylor, Jared Angle, Abi Stafford, Andrew Veyette, Ashley Bouder, Daniel Ulbricht, Joaquin De Luz, Philip Neal, Sara Mearns, Jonathan Stafford, Stephen Hanna (welcome back!), Maria Kowroski, Charles Askegard, Sterling Hyltin, and Gonzalo Garcia (just about everyone!). Plus it's over 40 minutes long, and seems even longer; I kept looking at my watch. All and all a most disappointing opening night at NYCB (sigh..).
  13. The Gala program is not stellar; I think that's real the problem. Although I'm looking forward to seeing all of the new principals in Martins' ballet, it's still a Martins' ballet. Plus, although I love the Ratmansky ballet, most of us have seen it many times (i.e. is it really Gala fare?). The addition of the POB stars was smart, as was the the discounting for 3rd and 4th ring tickets. Normally my husband and I spend a lot of money to get orchestra seats (and the pre-program party). This year, however, the program didn't seem like it was worth spending all of that cash. Instead, I bought myself a seat in the 2nd ring (which wasn't cheap either).
  14. I saw program B again today. Although I was underwhelmed with "Continuum" on Friday night, I loved it today. It seems like the type of ballet that gets better upon repeated viewings. Unfortunately, I did not like "Softly as I Leave You" any better today, despite the fact that I adore Jacoby & Pronk. That said, my very discerning friend absolutely loved this ballet. He said it was probably the most sensual ballet he had ever seen. And once again the audience went absolutely wild for this piece. I did enjoy "Rhapsody Fantaisie" much more this time as well. I still think it could do with some tightening up, among other things, but it was very enjoyable, and the dancing was superb. Cameron Grant (of NYCB) played the very difficult Ligeti in "Continuum" brilliantly, and both he and Susan Walters (also of NYCB) made every note of the various Rachmaninoff pieces in "Rhapsody Fantaisie" soar.
  15. It's actually less than a week -- December 9-13th. Also, DC is less than 2.5 hours on the Acela, so it's easy for the dancers to go back and forth. So even for those few days, I don't think we can conclude that principals will not be appearing in "The Nutcracker."
  16. I also wanted to add that the first ring sides do not sell out (for most performances, in fact). Last year that were the same price as the orchestra. They are a good bet for same day performances.
  17. Excellent advice, Carbro. I'm guessing that Jeni Ringer, Tess Reichlen, Sara Mearns, and Kaitlyn Gilliland (already did the role last year), among others, will also be cast in "Nuts" in December. Truly, it is a roll of the dice when you order tickets in advance. Casting usually goes up two weeks at a time, so it's best to wait if you want to see one particular dancer over another (then hope that you don't see that long white piece of "Illness and Injuries" paper sticking out of the program). On a more cheerful note, I can't wait to see who they "try out" later in the run.
  18. It really is worth going kfw, if only to see these dancers (who truly are terrific). And again, I'm going to give "Continuum" another shot tomorrow (I bought tickets long ago). But at City Center prices, it's hard to justify this splurge.
  19. I attended Morphoses program B last night. City Center was packed. Many NYCB dancers -- including 3 of the new NYCB principals (Tyler Angle, Tess Reichlen and Amar Ramasar), and Craig Hall, and Justin Peck, as well as David Hallberg, Damian Woetzel and his wife Heather Watts (I was a big fan of Heather's when she was with NYCB) -- were out in force to support Morphoses. You know that something is wrong when audience gazing is more fun than the actual ballet program. I did not love "Continuum" -- a ballet that most of the London reviewers consider one of Chris Wheeldon's finest. However, I will be seeing it again tomorrow; I hope a second viewing will illuminate the ballet. The dancers were uniformly excellent. I especially loved Danielle Rowe, Rory Hohenstein, Edwaard Liang (who was "the" dancer of the evening in my book. He gets better every year. I do miss him at NYCB), and the always magnificent, Wendy Whelan. I loathed (a word I rarely use) "Softy as I leave You." It's little more than a gimmick -- and a bad one at that. It's also a total waste of the "Goddess" (and if you haven't seen this woman, believe me -- she's that great), Drew Jacoby. Rubi Pronk showed his usual incredible extensions, but my eye was always drawn to Drew -- even in this trashy (and boring!) ballet. There's a ballet waiting to get out of "Rhapsody Fantasie." It's crying out for a ballet "editor." Right now it's a lot of starts and stops -- mixed in with some gorgeous dancing. It's also too long. I saw part of this piece at Wendy Whelan's evening at City Center on Monday night -- that seemed to be the best part of the entire ballet. There was also a very good section with three male couples. All the men were good, but Edwaard Liang was brilliant (and I really did like Rory Hohenstein again; He's grown a lot as a dancer in the last year). As for the women in "Rhapsody Fantaisie, " it was so nice to see the always smiling former NYCB dancer, Carrie Lee Riggins back on the stage. Danielle Rowe was also good in this ballet, as were Melissa Barak (also formerly of NYCB) and Rachel Sherak. Drew Jacoby was terrific with Rubi Pronk in this piece, but it was the final section with Wendy Whelan that was the heart of this ballet. It had everything in that part that seemed to be missing in so much of the rest of the ballet.
  20. You are right Cinnamonswirl. The one caveat is that Darci Kistler will be retiring in the spring (announced) -- perhaps a few other principals will follow her lead (or not). It's wonderful that such a talented group of young dancers received the promotion they deserved! Bravo to all!
  21. Oh, don't be a tease! Which one? ______ Oops, sorry! I thought I included it -- Mozartiana!
  22. This might be a little bit off topic but I was at the Wendy Whelan evening at City Center (Studio 5) last night (and was lucky enough to ride the elevator up with Chris Wheeldon. I asked him if he was jet lagged -- Morphoses just returned from London on Sunday night -- and he gave me an extremely good natured answer. He is just adorable!) At one point -- later in the 90 minute program -- Damian Woetzel invited both Alexei Ratmansky, and then Chris, to talk about why they choreographed parts specifically for Wendy. Chris's answer was quite interesting. I'm paraphrasing, but essentially he said that he sees Wendy in every ballet he choreographs, even if she's not in it. The evening was delightful. NYCB dancers Tiler Peck, Jared Angle, Philip Neal, Andy Veyette, Megan Fairchild and Philip Neal, as well as David Hallberg (he performed a lovely excerpt from "Apollo" with Wendy), and Matthew Prescott performed short pieces from Wendy's best known ballets. Wendy also danced with Philip, Jared (twice), and David. But the highlight was when Damian -- in street clothes -- took Wendy in his arms and danced for a couple of minutes (from a Balanchine ballet). Two of the ballets that will be performed by Morphoses (back to the topic!) were also previewed. It was truly a special event.
  23. Lots of empty seats at today's matinee. House went wild -- standing ovation --for Benjamin Millepied's ballet, and especially for Daniil Simkin. I thought Marcelo Gomes and Isabella Boylston were even better today than they were on opening night (and they were terrific then). Kristi Boone, Maria Riccetto, and (again) Blaine Hoven were also especially impressive (all the dancers were really). I very much enjoyed the second cast for "Seven Sonatas" including Yuriko Kajiya, Sara Lane, Hee Seo, Carlos Lopez, Joseph Phillips and Jared Matthews. The pianist, Barbara Bilach was wonderful too. I still didn't like "One of Three, " despite enjoying the dancers (Blaine Hoven, Craig Salstein, Jared Matthews and Michele Wiles were standouts). The highlight of the afternoon for me was David Hallberg and Gillian Murphy in Robbins' "Other Dances" (one of my favorite ballets. Have seen many casts at NYCB perform this piece). They were simply magnificent. It was also incredibly fun to watch the dancers warm up (in practice clothes too) before each ballet (there was no curtain, and no room in the wings, as has been discussed here already). The audience seemed to love this almost as much as the ballets themselves. It really was a treat.
  24. Cast switch: Jared Angle is debuting in "Agon" tonight with Wendy Whelan. Very cool! Have any Ballet Talkers attended performances in Tokyo this week? Would love to hear audience reactions.
  25. Heading back to Avery Fisher today(mid-Orchestra seat) for the matinee. Hee Seo -- one of my favorite young dancers -- is in this cast of the Ratsmansky ballet (Seven Sonatas). I do think that this ballet is a keeper, and could be performed by other companies as well. This program also includes Murphy and Hallberg (hooray!) performing "Other Dances." And I can't wait to see Millepied's ballet again. As I said here earlier in the week, I very much enjoyed this ballet. That said, I do find it amusing that (often) the audience (at various companies and venues) loves something (as in this ballet), but the critics do not. However, I truly enjoy reading said reviews; occasionally I'll even alter my opinion after considering the critics' analysis. And not to be too sappy but in this terrible time of media cuts (especially arts writers/reporters/editors), we're lucky to still have a lot of coverage here in NYC.
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