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NYCB: April 29

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Just some very brief comments, as I am one very tired ballet fan!

As a whole, I thought the company looked well rehearsed and recharged.

It wass great to see Damian Woetzel back onstage again-he'd been out since January. He looked good in "Donizetti Variations" with his usual speedy pirouettes. Ringer was also good.

Whelan and Soto were outstanding in "Symphony in Three Movements" as was Abi Stafford.

Darci Kistler replaced Kyra Nichols in "Chaconne". Darci has cut her hair-it's now shoulder level and she looks lovely.

Interesting tiddbits for next week...

Somogyi and Ringer will debut as Odile/Odette, Ulbricht as the jester and laCour as Von Rothbart.


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Donizetti had that all-too-familiar dress-rehearsal look. Although Ringer's charm and Woetzel's flair managed to weather Andrea Quinn's familiar lickety-split conducting, would that the same could be said about the corps, which often seemed to be playing a game of desperate catch-up. It seems Donizetti is one of those "minor" Balanchine works which doesn't merit adequate rehearsals -- at least before the curtain goes up.

Oddly enough, Quinn settled down and delivered a punchy yet measured rendition of Symphony in Three Movements, which was the finest performance of the evening, with Wendy Whelan in strong, even sensational form, along with Jock Soto. Abi Stafford was also measured, but could've used a bit more punchiness, and could take lessons from Whelan, and even Van Kipnis, on how to Cut Loose.

At my first glance in Chaconne of the hatchet-job Kistler's done on her hair, I was reminded of the old Saturday Night Live skit about the interview TV show called "What Were You Thinking?" ("Shelley Long, what were you thinking?"). I'd just noticed how out-of-place a corps girl with very short hair appeared in the beginning of the Elysian Fields section, compared to the others' flowing locks (Carla Korbes was particularly to die for), when, there was Kistler. I'd always thought Kistler's hair was gorgeous, so I just don't get it.

For awhile, Kistler turned Chaconne into a bit of a roller-coaster ride, with some touching moments of passion verging on madness. I overlooked the fudging and mis-cues (Kistler could teach a course on how to make a single pirouette look like a double) and was a bit in awe of her ability to cobble together a mass of ideosyncracies into a coherent performance, at least until the middle of the finale, where she clearly ran out of gas. From then on Kistler just marked most of the steps (the ones she didn't omit).

As for Nilas Martins, I shall be kind and say nothing. Yet.

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I was extremely worried when I saw that Darci Kistler was replacing Nichols in Chaconne. I didn't see her Chaconne last season but her Symphony in C was shaky enough for me to think she was only a few steps away from eternal retirement.

I agree last night she flubbed, simplified, and skipped some stuff through the 2nd pas de deux. But I still left with that "I just saw something wonderful feeling". I would saw she had her old magic back. The type that makes you forget about the actual steps and makes you just relax and think about the performance and presentation on the whole .... and this is how I want to remember Kistler. I think what makes her so great especially in view of many of today's up and comers is she has "ballerina polish" in abundance, charm, refinement, authority, etc. I would rather see a simplified kistler with polish than a perfect kowroski without.

In conclusion, if Kistler can pull off one performance a year like this (in an Allergra Kent type arrangement) she still worth keeping on the roster

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Can't really add much to what everyone's already said.

It was nice to see van Kipnis again, I feel like I haven't seen her in ages.

As for Kistler, she's heading down the "Heather Watts" road for me.

Whelan continues to just amaze me...

Overall, I thought the program was a bit of a weak "opening" nothing to get me too excited about anything, but well danced nonetheless.

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Now that I'm more awake, a bit of explanation on Kistler's hair. Long hair is gorgeous, but Kistler's was TOO long and it had a tendency to take over her performance when it was down. At times it would stick to her partner, wrap around her face or her partner, and distract from the actual dancing.

As someone who has had really long hair, now shorter, I would point out that everyone's hair is different. Some women can't grow their hair beyond a certain length without it looking scraggly/unhealthy, and also, long hair takes forever to wash and dry. Thus, it doesn't bother me to see some of the dancers with shorter hair.

Also, be aware that some of dancers do use switches (is that the right word-bundles of real or artificial hair that match their own hair) to fill out their natural hair, even in ballets when they have their hair down. So what you see, is not always complete reality!


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I thought Donizetti looked very under-rehearsed. Ringer was lovely in her solos and the jumps on point were so musical, but the pas de deux had some very shaky moments and some of the timing was very off. It is a lovely trifle and needs a lot of froth, which it didn't get consistently--but it was worth it for Ringer.

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