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To our Russian Correspondents:

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I've been reading the Russian newspaper reviews and boards. I have to admit, I look at NYCB very critically, but sometimes it takes a foreign eye to show you what you have. The reviewers have marvled at the NYCB's musicality, the company's black dancers and Maria Kowroski. They mentioned Whelan's "boyish" body before being amazed at her artistry. Several reviewers were delighted with the company's ability to play with the music - keeping up with Gergiev, for one! But also, and this is paraphrashing, the dancers can run ahead, then slow down - almost toying with the music. As the NYTimes article mentioned, Maria Kowroski appears to a favorite. Not only because they remember her from her Swan Lake appearance, but because she reminds them a bit of Lopotkina. Although they said Lopotkina's Symphony in C 2nd movement was grand and grave, whereas Kowroski was like a "teenage princess," an interpretation that still worked. They appreciated and condemned NYCB's "contemporary" style. Janie Taylor and Benjamin Millepied also were mentioned. One review said Taylor left out steps in the Bizet 3rd movement, but was so cute and pretty they forgave her. I've seen her do that role and have never seen her leave out steps, but the NYCB Bizet is different than the one Taras and his crew set around the world, although NYCB's later version (I think) has more steps, not less :thumbsup:

I'll look over the reviews and try to add more. I hope Ina, Mikhail and others saw NYCB's visit and report. I think it's interesting to read what others think of "your" company while it is on tour.

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I just read a review of their last program (Concerto Barocco, Hallelujah Junction, Agon and Western Symphony) in Vryemya. The critic, Anna Gordeyev, wrote that Albert Evans, in the 2nd movement of Western, captured the audience, "by the combination of outstanding technique, gushing vitality and sly actor's craftsmanship." She likened him to an actor in a John Ford film.

She described a portion of the Agon pas de deux this way, "But in the central duet suddenly the dancer will be forced cheek-to-cheek with ballerina; he will not designate motion, but will embrace from the entire soul... Something glimmers, something twinkles - but in the finale, four lonely dancers without hurrying will leave to the stage..."

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She described a portion of the Agon pas de deux this way, "But in the central duet suddenly the dancer will be forced cheek-to-cheek with ballerina; he will not designate motion, but will embrace from the entire soul... Something glimmers, something twinkles - but in the finale, four lonely dancers without hurrying will leave to the stage..." 

I sure hope that was a Babelfish translation! I kinda like "Something glimmers, something twinkles..."

Regarding Taylor, they're probably referring to much maligned (rightfully so) sautes de basque Taras insists on setting in the Third Movement. Perhaps they were done at one time, but the current chasses en tournant look much more elegant, and less crammed into the music.


When does Nutcracker start?

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I didn't see the performance in St Petersburg but I hope you won't mind me chiming in :clapping:

How many of the company members went to St Petersburg?

Yesterday I saw a performance with some members of the NYCB here in Sweden, and they said something about arriving from St Petersburg.

But the stage they danced on wasn't raked since it wasn't in the old Opera house, and I guess there wasn't that much of a jet-lag left for us after St Petersburg :)

I think the NYCB has never been in our small country before! So that was a unique opportunity to see them and a Balanchine coreography! But as it turned out that two (Ask la Cour and Saskia Beskow) of the eight dancers are originally from Denmark :)

They performed Apollo, Tchaikosvky's pas de deux and a new coreography called "Triple Quartet" by Benjamin Millepied.

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Always feel welcome to chime in, Susanne. :) I think the full company went to St. Petersburg. What you saw was a small group of dancers produced independently -- meaning the engagement wasn't arranged by the company, although the dancers and most of the repertory were NYCB.

What did you think of that performance? (I know that's slightly off-topic here, but I don't think people will mind.) Who danced "Apollo" and "Tchaikovsky pas de deux"?

And Dale, have you read any more Russian boards for us? :clapping:

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Thank you Jorgen for the website-link! The strange thing is that they say that danses concertantes consist of soloists and principals of the NYCB, but all but one of the eight dancers are "only" corps dancers. But all of them are between 19 and 25 years, so...

Tonight I went to see the performance again...

And I must say that I was rather unimpressed by Apollo the first time, even though I found it better the second time. The music of Stravinskij needed more time to "sink in". I have heard a lot about Apollo before, and I guess I had too high expectations. But the piece grew with time and I found it interesting the second time. Ask la Cour did Apollo and I saw Saskia Beskow, Ellen Bar and Amanda Hankes as the three muses.

In the Tchaikovsky pas de deux the dancers were Andrew Fayette and Megan Fairchild. But I didn't find any Andrew Fayette at all at the NYCB website... :shrug:

When I saw the Tchaikovsky pas de deux the first time I simply fell in love with it :) I think it was the very classical "look" of it that appealed to me. (And of course the very pretty dress that Ms Fairchild wore :clapping: she also had the most beautiful smile which showed a lot of dancing-joy that was nice to see) The piece was very fast and the steps were executed very smootly and quickly in an impressive manner! The music also made it "easy" to like. I love Tchaikovsky's music in ballet!

The last one was the "Triple Quartet" by Millepied (dancers: Ellen Bar, Saskia Beskow, Amanda Hankes, Craig Hall, Ask La Cour and Benjamin Millepied) which had its premiere here in Sweden! It had never been performed before at all!

It was a rather modern piece and my first impression was Center Stage (the movie) final meets modern/contemporary dance. I don't think that this piece had a story in it so I found it a little bit too long for being an abstract piece...but I could be very wrong.

And wathever you do, you cannot accuse the NYCB-dancers of smiling impersonal throughout a whole piece! Compared to our local company they look very "cool" when they dance!

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I don't think there's a set group of dancers (besides, maybe Millipied) that perform with the group. I think it's more of an ad hoc group, different people going depending on availability and interest, etc. When the group performed in London last September, I am pretty sure Whelan and Boal were part of the group (i missed seeing them by a few days).

-amanda, who, of course, comes out of hibernation to post about something NYCB-related...


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I hope nobody minds, but I found a review of the performance of Dances Concertantes in the biggest newspaper here.

This is my translation (so bear with it :flowers: ):

"Apollo" which is having it's 75th anniversary is well known and is danced on many stages around the world. It became abvious that the piece needed more experience dancers who don't feel uncomfortable and who can give the movements more meaning. Apollo has been danced by many great dancers as Baryshnikov and also Peter Martins. The Apollo of Ask La Cour was both weak and vague, and I couldn't resist to wonder if la Cours' - who is Danish too- role was to just walk around looking like Martins. The three muses, Saskia Beskow, Ellen Bar and Amanda Hankes grew into their roles, especially Saskia Beskow.

"Tachikovsky Pas de Deux" which was coreographed in Petipa's spirit, was on the other hand a real show off of ballet as a beautiful art. The young Megan Fairchild, only 19years old, has been dancing for seven years. She already has good control of the speed, lightness and the flying in the steps, and she accentuates brilliantly the highlights. She shows off without any manner (edit: maybe a better word would be divalates?), which is liberating. Her partner was also liberated from annoying artificalities and generously made her shine.


"Triple Quartet" to music by Steven Reich is energetic and playful. Balanchines neoclassical ideal is strongly present, and a small touch of Forsythe would have been interesting if it had brought up a more personality in the style. The movements were disincts, the dancers crystal clear, the tempo generally high. Parts of the piece was quite conventional but there were also innovative movements that surprised. The skilful dancers and their dancing joy makes you happy when the speed, flow and musicality is in center. Craig Hall is remarked as one of the more interesting dancers. He has attitude, stile and musicality, he handles gravity and lightness in a fascinating way and has as nobody else a sort of off-beat which gives the movements another dimension.

The original article with a picture is found here:

Dagens Nyheter's article of Danses Concertantes

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