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Opening night articles/reviews

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Mindy Aloff reviews last night's New York City Ballet gala opening in DanceView Times:

A Gala Opening, with Brilliant Dancing

The news is that the audience left this gala drunk on the performance of George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, which, for the first time in memories going back at least a decade, fielded four principal couples who were more than adequate to their roles, a flock of demi-soloists who danced with finesse and close attention to detail, and a superbly rehearsed corps de ballet. Symphony in C—presented (with Concerto Barocco and Orpheus) at the inaugural performance of the New York City Ballet on October 11th, 1948—is debatably the cornerstone of the New York City Ballet repertory: both a condensation and a summation of Balanchine’s gifts and a monumental index to the full company’s depth and range. A Karinska tutu ballet that, in this production, begins with a squadron of 12 dancers at attention in fifth position and concludes with a battalion of 50, photographically arrested at the crest of a rousing, almost jazzily swinging march toward Georges Bizet’s top note, the work stakes a powerful claim to just about every aspect of the classical lexicon—adagio, allegro, jumps large and small, corkscrew turns and smooth tours, transition steps and lifts—and, the ultimate program closer, it wages what is debatably the most persuasive campaign on behalf of classical dancing in the past 100 years. Even in uneven or indifferent performances of it, the ballet advances toward a sense of triumph; it is dancer-proof in that its individuals become subsumed in a larger whirlwind of energy and choreographic design.
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Tobi Tobias reviews the New York City Ballet opener in her ArtsJournal blog, Seeing Things:


(She also answers, in passing, the question we've asked here about whatever happened to That Postage Stamp:)

January 22, 2004 marks the 100th anniversary of George Balanchine's birth.  The celebratory "year" that is wrapped around this propitious date follows the art and social worlds' custom of beginning in the fall and extending through the following spring.  It has been and will continue to be filled with activities centering on the man who shaped twentieth-century ballet according to his singular vision.  No end of exhibitions, archival undertakings, film and video screenings, symposiums, and-most important-productions of the ballets worldwide are calling attention to Balanchine's genius.  (A continually updated schedule of the happenings is available at http://www.balanchine.org/05/archive/2003cent3.html.) There will even be a George Balanchine postage stamp, Mr. B sharing an American Choreographers commemorative with Miss Graham, Miss De Mille, and Mr. Ailey.  (Leave it to the U.S. Postal Service to indicate the marginality of dance in our culture by determining that none of its practitioners deserves solo homage!)
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Happy Thanksgiving!

In the NYTimes, Anna Kisselgoff reviews NYCB's opening night gala:

Celebrating Balanchine, From Kinky to Classic

Centenaries come and go, but celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of George Balanchine (Jan. 22, 1904) is not like an anniversary tribute to Bach (although Balanchine is certainly the Bach of choreographers).

Bach lives on through his music just as Balanchine and Frederick Ashton, also born in 1904, live on through their choreography as two of the greatest choreographers in the history of ballet.

Yet we remember Balanchine and Ashton (he will have a New York centennial celebration at Lincoln Center this summer) as part of our lives. They are within living memory and affected most of the dancers and audiences who witnessed their creative impact and who are still here today.

That creative surge is the significance of the Balanchine Centennial. Even the range on Tuesday's program testified to how differently Balanchine worked within a style that he defined over the decades as distinctly his own.

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Copied over from today's Links:

Another review of NYCB's opening night by Jocelyn Noveck for the Associated Press.

When the dancing ended, the undisputed star of the New York City Ballet took the stage for the night's biggest ovation.

It wasn't a dancer at all, but the late George Balanchine, one of the 20th century's great artistic minds, descending from the rafters Tuesday evening in a giant black-and-white photograph. The elegant tableau showed him in perhaps his most comfortable pose: teaching in class.

The audience cheered, and the dancers of the company he created knelt in a deep bow. A shower of glittery confetti rained down on the stage.

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And Hilary Osterle in the Financial Times:

Balanchine 100 New York City Ballet New York

The glorious Symphony In C, was a reminder of how scintillating the company can be when fully charged. Janie Taylor, an upcoming dancer of speed and volatility, was outstanding. Partnered by Bejamin Millepied, she danced the third allegro vivace movement with charm and attack. Jennie Somogyi and Robert Tewsley set a brisk pace in the first; Maria Kowrowski swooned appropriately in the Adagio and Pascale von Kipnis and Albert Evans lead a sparkling finale. A promising beginning for a banner Balanchine year.
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Thanks to Ari for finding this one -- from the French Press Agency, but published in the Khaleej Times (Balanchine has a big reach):

New York celebrates ballet during George Balanchine centennial

“I’ve always wanted to be in the New York City Ballet, and only in the New York City Ballet, that’s all I had in my head,” Jennifer Tinsley, a solo ballerina with the leading US ballet company, told AFP.

“He was so ahead of his time, he broke away from the old fashion, he asked us to dance faster, to jump higher, he took away the big heavy costumes, he pushed the body to the limits,” says the young Texan, a member of New York City Ballet since age 13.

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Here's Ms. Tinsley's bio, from NYCB's web site -- www.nycballet.com if you'd like to check out other bios) :

Born in Dallas, Texas, Jennifer Tinsley began ballet training at the age of six. She studied at Brookhaven Community College, The Nancy Schoeffenburg Ballet School, Dallas Ballet and Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. Ms. Tinsley attended summer classes at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, from 1983-1988 and studied there full-time from 1988-1990. She became an apprentice with the New York City Ballet in the spring of 1990 and was invited to join the Company’s corps de ballet in 1991. Ms. Tinsley was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1999.

That doesn't answer your question, of course :thumbsup: It could be that the writer misunderstood, and that 13 was the age at which she entered the school. I don't know; that's just a guess.

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