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SPAC--end of week 2 and looking forward to week 3

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Still having computer problems, hoping they are finally resolved!

"Piano Pieces"--on first look I couldn't really see why the fuss in NYC over this revival. Yes, it was very lovely, the music is a delight, but if I had my choice for a Robbins piano ballet it would be "Dances" or "In the Night"--and I still feel that way, but "Piano Pieces" revealed itself to me on the second look. I don't know that I had ever seen it before, but I don't know that I hadn't either--sections looked or sounded vaguely familiar, as did the costumes--but I definitely want to see it again! Soon! And I don't believe it is in next season's rep at all. Why revive something, to accolades no less--for only one season? So much work to put it back together. Although I was very sorry to see that Ansanelli had withdrawn (what up with that, anyway? Please don't let her be injured again!), I was delighted to see Abi Stafford in the first fully realized performance that I have seen from her since last summer. "Piano" is a gentle breeze, it doesn't have the bravura tornadoes that "Dances" has--but it has so much of the same poignancy and wistfulness that touched my heart from the first, and made me a Robbins believer. The Russian character came through much more clearly the second time around as well. Please don't take it away now!

I wish I could tell you something about "Symphony in Three Movements" but unfortuanately I had a crisis over seating right at that point and could not concentrate on the ballet. What I saw was very good indeed--tight and crisp in the corps and languid and complete in the pas de deux. Looking forward to the next performance and will be sure to have no issues that would prevent my scrutiny.

The Gala--not as bad this year as in previous ones, in terms of drunk, badly behaved audience members. A beautiful night and the already inebriated didn't even show up in the theater, they stayed on the lawn, becoming noiser with each ballet. What a shame that we had the only SPAC performance of 'Liturgy" that night. Totally inappopriate for the Gala audience, most of whom don't come to the ballet at all for the rest of the season, and who had no idea what they were looking at. Give them "Thou Swell"--that was a great choice! They adored it. In previous years they have had "Vienna Waltzes", "I'm Old Fashioned", maybe they could sit through "Union Jack" or "Stars and Stripes". The vast majority couldn't care less what is on the program. Meanwhile, the true fans and knowledgable audience stay away from the gala in droves, and they missed out on seeing Kyra in her only SPAC appearance and the only performance of Chris Wheeldon's new pas de deux.

"Walpurgishnacht" with Kyra was a perfectly fine curtain raiser. It is short enough to hold the audience's attention and it certainly has drama. I would have preferred to see Kyra in one of this week's Chaconnes and I fear that we may not see her at SPAC again. It has been years since she danced here. It wasn't one of her more inspired performances sadly. There were no mistakes or glaring problems, and Kyra on an off day is still so wonderful to behold, but the audience was pouring down the aisles (got to finish that last drink before we head down to our seats...) and it was distracting. I will say though, that I was captivated by Janie Taylor's performance, and she isn't usually one of my favorites.

As for "Liturgy"--I was afraid I wouldn't like it, not being a fan of Arvo Part. This music is exquisite! I loved this pas de deux and long for another opportunity to see it. The pas from Agon is described as "one long breath" and that is how I felt about this piece too--it has a similar character.

I do find more to like in "Thou Swell" each time I see it. It doesn't move me to another world, but it is enjoyable enough.

There is so much to look forward to this week! Megan Fairchild's debut in "Coppelia"--there is much buzz about her around here. Everyone is talking about this new wunderkind. Carnival, Chaconne, more Symphony in Three, and one more chance to glimpse heaven with Barocco.

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Thanks for the report, rkoretzky. You made the gala come alive for me. I got an email yesterday from my friend Iris from Washington who'd just come from the program you'd put together at the Saratoga Springs library. She thought the Balanchine film was superb. When you get a chance, can you report on that?

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