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Spring 2004 Week 2

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Tuesday 5/4...my 3rd WALPURGISNACHT of the season, with Wendy & Lindy Mandradjieff giving delightful performances. Faye Arthurs was esp. lovely in the corps, Walker & Riggins very fine. I believe this ballet is a gathering of witches, and they were certainly bewitching tonight.

LIEBESLIEDER is a unique ballet, something that I think can't be seen too often. The atmosphere of the first half has to be perfectly caught by the dancers, which it was tonight. I noticed several members of the audience left during the pause; they missed a remarkable 2nd half as four of NYCBs grandest ballerinas held the stage...Miranda Weese, simply luscious; the elegant & refined Wendy Whelan; the incomparable Kyra Nichols and a breath-taking performance from Darci Kistler, whose incredible series of turns and melting lyrcism were mesmerizing. The men (Soto, Hubbe, Neal & Angle) are here mainly to show off their ladies...Soto was especially moving as he knelt to kiss Kyra's hand, a beautiful moment capturing two of NYCBs legends in mutual admiration.

FOUR SEASONS was again alot of fun; Carrie Lee Riggins danced brightly in Winter (with Hendrickson & Severini) and Jenifer Ringer was again lilting & lyrical in Spring...Edwaard Liang was amazing, such airy leaps & beautiful placement. He also truly conveys the sheer joy of the dance. Korbes & Tewsley were sexy & sultry in Summer...Korbes radiates, her face & body seem to glow...and she can linger on a balance, just giving that extra touch of magic. Tewsley danced beautifully and caught the sensuous hip movements to perfection. Weese gave a us feast of turns and a gorgeous face in Autumn, and Carmena has a perfect role as the Faun. But the handsome Benjamin Millepied was a bit off his best form here; partnering isn't his forte and the bravura moments didn't quite flow. But he is such an appealing dancer; I'm sure he'll get back into his groove as the season progresses...

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(Am I the only person going to the ballet this week?)...

Thursday 5/6 = Thrills and Spills at NYCB...many years ago I was at a performance if DIVERT #15 where Merrill Ashley took a nasty spill. Fall-downs always look worst in a tutu ballet. Tonight Yvonne Borree fell during her solo; the audience had just recovered from this faux pas when Robert Tewsley & Rachel Rutherford got into some sort of partnering snafu and Rachel tumbled. Later, Ansanelli in a supported attitude turn clipped Tewsley in the stomach. Despite these distractions, I love this ballet and Ansanelli gave a thoroughly satisfying performance. Ashley Bouder was exciting though she could tone down the somewhat "pushed" feeling of some of her movements. Abi Stafford (welcome back!) was lovely, Steve Hanna excellent. Aside from the unforced errors, Borree, Rutherford & Tewsley had some fine moments. But the audience response was very muted. This is such a beautiful ballet.

EPISIODES was magnificent and quickly brought the level of the evening way up.

Jennifer Tinsley, so impressive and so under-utilized, was partnered by the amazingly musical & charismatic Edwaard Liang. Teresa Reichlin gave the most exciting performance I have seen from her; with the enigmatic James Fayette, they played into the mystery of their duet. Wendy & Albert were thrilling in their edgy, difficult pas de deux; Kowroski & Askegard more lyrical in their duet as the music turns prettier with those somewhat ominous tympani beats.

Rachel R brings demure beauty to the opening section of VIENNA WALTZES (with Fayette)...Miranda Weese and Damian Woetzel sailed thru the bravura passages of Voices of Spring with easy brilliance. Amanda Edge seemed to be having fun with the Polka while Megan Fairchild sportingly stepped into her old corps part to replace Melissa Barak. Jenifer Ringer is blindingly attractive but she lacks mystery as the Black Widow. Kyra's beautiful interpretation of the ROSENKAVALIER section is one of those perfect matches of dancer to role...and dancer to gown, for that matter. And everyone looked glorious waltzing away at the end.

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Thusday Night – Div. No. 15, Episodes, Vienna Waltzes

I think it is worth describing Thursday’s program at some length.


Before anything else is said, the salient fact is that this was the night of all nights to see Wendy Whelan and Albert Evans in the third section of Episodes, a superlative performance in what, essentially, is an extended Pas de Deux, set within a small corps de ballet of about four women, to a haunting, moody and percussive Von Webern score. Whelan was unforgettable in this. Pliable, musical, great balance, my God is she strong for all her reed-like thinness, and with such a strange femininity -- the legato flow and the details she rendered in this role were spellbinding, the way, for example when dragged across the stage in one passage of successive lifts by Evans, where the choreography calls for the Ballerina to lightly touch the floor with one foot, while being carried backwards in a split pose, first brushing the floor with a pointed extended trailing foot, then with the same foot flexing, and finally with the full heel of the flexed foot in each successive phrase -- she showed how each rotation of the foot changed the entire presentation of the leg and body, as if this were the incisive point of the entire choreographic passage – It is hard to believe that Balanchine can ever have had a better interpreter for this dance.

In the small corps de ballet in back of them, comprised of Faye Arthurs, Melissa Barak, Carrie Riggins and Genevieve Labean, all in Balanchine leotard vampire woman mode, Genevieve Labean must have had the performance of her life. Labean, who has often seemed younger than her age, and who has often appeared like a seven year old girl dressed up in her mother’s shoes too big for her and her mother’s make up and lipstick (to footnote my friend from Roslyn who first said this but who I am sure would like to remain anonymous, you know who you are) appeared to finally have grown up. Fee, turned out amazingly, beautifully proportioned, otherworldly, sexually predatory. I had to check my program twice to make sure it was her. Brava.

The second, duet passage in Episodes, danced by Teresa Reichlen and James Fayette, was I thought a little flat. Reichlen is perfectly cast in this from the physical point of view. What a body, what a face, but danced the role, however, very cautiously. I found I wanted something rawer, something more animal and spontaneous here, I wanted to see her let go in the way that Whelan let go in the following passage. This was a debut I think and hopefully it will come. It did not help that James Fayette seemed to have absolutely no rapport for her or with her here, being merely attentive rather than emotionally and physically involved himself.

Maria Kowroski, on the other hand, was superb leading the large corps de ballet in the final Riccercata, treating her role in an understated, classical manner which I loved, something of an extension of how she danced Barocco at the Gala the night before. Kowroski is succeeding in becoming a classical dancer these days, concentrating on the alignment of her face, neck, shoulders and arms, is developing an elegant and somewhat Kirov-like presentation of herself. She made the Riccercata seem very like some of the ancient dances in Agon.

Tinsley and Liang danced the first passage. She was fine but I often found my attention wandering. Liang has returned to the company with a stretched physique, particularly in his legs, noticeably less bulked up physically and maturer in his face as well. I love the long, extended fourth positions. I had not noticed before, however, how little turn out he has at the hips. To achieve the illusion of which he turns out instead below the knee.


The other great news of the evening was that Ashley Bouder stole the show in Divertimento No. 15. If it had not been for Whelan in Episodes, Bouder is whom I would have led this summary with. If there is one dancer whom I could just watch chassee and do nothing else, whose mere execution of that bounding musical step is art, it is Bouder. But the performance was much more than that, it was a tour de force in every sense. Her technical facility has reached that level where it frees her from most physical limitations and allows interpretation of a role. Here, where you could compare her to Ansanelli, Borree, Stafford, Rutherford, that facility and the amplitude of her dancing was amazing. What Oberon has said elsewhere, that she can learn not to do everything all the time, is true. But in Divertimento it was not an issue. This may well be the most fully realized performance I have ever seen her give in any role.

Divertimento was, as a whole, very satisfying, much more than the sum of its individual parts which again included some rather visible bobbles, including falls by Yvonne Borree and Rachel Rutherford. It helped very much that the men – Steven Hanna, Arch Higgins and Robert Tewsley – were each extremely good in this, in roles which require beautiful, elegant, elongated lines and a noble carriage from all of them. Tewsley’s big flying pas de chats in his air turns and his clean landings in fifth position put to rest the question of whether anyone in this company can do this.

Borree’s regaining her composure and dancing through her performance after her fall was something heroic. I don’t think I have ever admired her so much. There is something heartbreaking about this girl. I had not noticed before how big she dances. In her last variation, in particular, there was one big escape from fifth position with a huge leap to arabesque on pointe which covered so much space that it made me realize why she was a principal dancer. She has in fact a beautiful smile and a lovely natural presence. But stage fright is her demon and who knows whether or when we will ever see that consistently.

Rachel Rutherford’s ability to move freely, particularly at the hips, seems somewhat restricted at the moment. What preceded her fall were increasingly frantic efforts to reach pointe, resulting in a lurching motion in relevee, and similarly extreme efforts to raise the working leg much above 45 degrees in jetees or arabesque. I have seen Rutherford, whom I adore, dance this role better in previous years.

It is wrong to ignore La Ansanelli, who has grown very much into the Seventh Variation role and nailed it quite well last night. But I left the theater thinking of La Bouder and not of her and I have little vivid memory of her performance. Except for the spins to the knee in her first variation which she performed as a sort of two step process, spin to broad forth and quietly drop into the broad kneeling fourth position. Unconventional, like much of what she does, but it worked. Also the lovely quiet and natural smile she gave the audience at the end of her pas de deux. Her eyes at a moment like that seem to take in the entire theater and to find you personally. That is why she is a star. Abi Stafford’s first, solo variation, was also beautifully performed.

Vienna Waltzes

Vienna Waltzes is, it seems to me, an extremely fragile ballet, and an unforgiving one which needs a very high level of performance to appear its best and which will sink into mere banality at the first hint of miscasting, misunderstanding or a perfunctory performance. Last night illustrated this, oscillating back and forth between the sublime and the banal with an unpredictable frequency.

The first section, Tales of the Vienna Woods, was very fine, primarily because Rachel Rutherford has so nicely grown into the principal role here. Whatever her current physical limitations, Rachel has become the company’s premiere character dancer, one might say Dramatic Ballerina, witness her performances in La Valse last week. Her reading of the Vienna Woods section was very much that of a young and vulnerable girl in love and a first love at that. She achieved a noticeable dramatic entry into that role, by which I mean that moment where you can see a dancer lose herself and fully take on her character. In the scene towards the middle or even the beginning of the end, for example, where she feels deserted by her lover, looking for -- but momentarily not finding -- him as the other couples pair off, she showed first heartbreak, and then a proud relief upon his reentry, requiring Fayette to come to her, standing before him unresponsive but clearly relieved before he atoned, and then melting. All of which reflected her clear dramatic embodiment of the role. She is gifted in this. The conclusion moved one to tears.

Voices of Spring was similarly well performed, with Miranda Weese making a beautiful (debut?) performance opposite Damien Woetzel.

But that was about it. The tendency of this ballet to degenerate to the banal became evident in Explosions Polka and then, above all, in the Merry Widow, danced by Jennifer Ringer and Nilas Martins. Casting whom in this is rather like casting June and Ward Cleaver of Leave it to Beaver fame as the Merry Widow and her Cavalier. What a pity, because I think Ringer would be wonderful in the concluding Rosencavalier section, in which I could not really recover a proper frame of mind for Kyra Nichols. As has been noted elsewhere a propos of the Gala performance, the Rosencavalier is about loss and absence. The Ballerina dances with a shadow, perhaps an absent dream, perhaps a memory of the past, perhaps someone she has lost. Her Cavalier’s role is to recall her to the present. This is a vibrant emotional contest. When performed by Nichols, it can sometimes appear merely the steps and gestures. One misses precisely that vital dramatic entry into the situation which we saw from Rutherford in the Vienna Woods.

Conclusion – The Program as a Whole

Overall, the program was very interesting in the way that two of the three works arise out of, and show Balanchine exploiting, the patterns of social dance -- the minuet and probably some other dance patterns in the case of Divertimento # 15; and successive generations of waltzes in the case of Vienna Waltzes; and in the echo of this then so clearly resonant and present in Episodes, especially in the final Ricercata danced by Kowroski and a corps de ballet of fifteen dancers.

Seen in the context of Vienna Woods and Divertimento, the dance patterns of the Ricercata seemed formal, even to recalling something of the technique of the pas de trios in Agon. Meaning that the dance seemed very much the classical vocabulary merely set in the slightly deconstructed musical space of Von Webern. This is a good example of the power of programming to reveal new aspects of work – I do not think that Episodes would have resonated quite thus except for the context of the other two ballets.

And the reflection and resonance then extends back to Divertimento – for Divertimento # 15 then can also be seen to be a work held together overall by the social orientation of what I will call the community of dancers on stage.

The key to the structure of Divertimento last night clearly appeared to be the repeated acknowledgements and small ceremonial reverences of the women -- first to each other as individuals, then to their male partners as individuals, then of the women to each other as a group, then of the women as a group to the men as a group, and so on for the three men as well. Those small moments of bow, Tendu Attitude Front and gesture to each other, in which each meets the others’ eyes are so important to the perfume of this piece.

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Overall, the program was very interesting in the way that two of the three works arise out of, and show Balanchine exploiting, the patterns of social dance -- the minuet and probably some other dance patterns in the case of Divertimento # 15; and successive generations of waltzes in the case of Vienna Waltzes; and in the echo of this then so clearly resonant and present in Episodes, especially in the final Ricercata danced by Kowroski and a corps de ballet of fifteen dancers.

Divert, Episodes, and Vienna is the company's "Viennese" program. When Vienna premiered in 1977, Balanchine put this program together and the company performed it several times, in contrast to their usual MO of mixing repertory with each performance. I think the three ballets go together well, in part for the reasons you mentioned, Michael.

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Thank you, everyone. This program is one which I would very much like to have seen as counterpoint and contrast to the crazy quilt of the Gala. It is an inspired combination of ballets and I thank you for the detailed reviews....

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Yes, thank you -- I hope to read more! Oberon, your account of Divert reminds one of the book title "Dance is a Contact Sport" :)

We used to get the "Vienna program" down here in the wilds of DC and it was always one of my favorites -- I'm glad they've kept the ballets together. Michael, you wrote so many things that were beautiful and incisive that it's not really fair to single out the June and Ward Cleaver line -- but god, that's good! I cannot imagine Nilas Martins, who is one of the blandest dancers I've ever seen, in that role. (It was my favorite Peter Martins role -- not just because of his size and coloring, and the way he could stand on stage and walk and look at a woman. He was one of the few male dancers I've seen who wore a uniform as though he had actually fought in it.) But you're right, it's a fragile ballet. The weak links were perfect for their originators.

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Michael, you wrote so many things that were beautiful and incisive that it's not really fair to single out the June and Ward Cleaver line -- but god, that's good! 
ITA! Thank you so much.
(It was my favorite Peter Martins role -- not just because of his size and coloring, and the way he could stand on stage and walk and look at a woman. He was one of the few male dancers I've seen who wore a uniform as though he had actually fought in it.) 
I loved him in the role for the same reason. He wasn't just an aristocratic pretty boy in a fancy uniform. I always had the impression that part of the danger and attraction was that he had seen battle and had shed blood, and I've never seen any other man in this role imbue it with the same power or effortless waltzing.
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Funny, but I always thought Peter Martins looked like the headwaiter in that uniform. This is not to say I didn't admire his waltzing or his dancing in general. He was great in almost everything he did. Now Nilas wears the uniform and his resemblance to his father in it is astonishing.

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Jennifer Dunning writes beautifully about EPISODES in the NY Times today...computer dunce that I am, I do not know how to place a link here but maybe someone else can. Her remarks on Liang & Tinsley, Reichlin & Fayette seem very accurate and renewed my memories of this superb performance. She didn't say much about Wendy & Albert...but Michael & I already did.

Dunning goes on to call the performance of DIVERT #15 "dismal"...whoa! Yes, it had it's bumps & lumps but Bouder, Alexandra, Abi and Steve Hanna were excellent and even the people who had glitches redeemed themselves.

People are discussing the problematic Black Widow section of VIENNA WALTZES; I am not sure what we should be looking for from Nilas...to me, he is exactly like his father (not as tall, and not technically of course)...but handsome, aloof, the big hands & nice manners. I know the subtext people like to see in this segment: that these two had been lovers and meet again by chance. Maybe so, maybe not. For me, since Helene left, it is the female role that hasn't been captured. Darci & Jenifer Ringer are both beautiful women and lovely, lyrical dancers but they do not catch the allure or mystery of this role. My dream (well, one of several dreams...) is to see Wendy do it! Perhaps if the woman brings the right "perfume" the partner, whoever it might be, will respond in kind. And at the Thursday performance, the segment was dampened by the lights blacking out just a trifle too soon.

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This is my first posting so please forgive me any technical glitches.

Just returned from LC and wanted to tell someone what a wonderful

way to spend a Saturday afternoon ----

Divertimento was near perfection - no one fell, slipped, or tripped and

every one of the dancers looked like they were happy to be there.

Lots of smiles and straight lines. The Ladies were Stafford, Boree, Rutherford,

Bouder and Ansanelli. All beautiful.

The courtiers were elegant and charming - Hanna, Higgins, and Tewsley.

The guy to watch here is new soloist Stephen Hanna. He's tall, handsome,

technically very good and has such a great stage presence -

I predict he 's going to have a great career. I wonder if Jacques d'Amboise

was this good when he was a soloist.......

Stabat Mater was a pleasant surprise --- I hadn't seen it and had heard that

it was a Real Sleeper, if you catch my drift. but I really enjoyed it. Very

unique set and and very, very good dances. The cast was Borree, Kistler,

Weese, Millepied, Soto, and Martins. They were truly engaging with eachother

and though the variations were almost all solos and pas de deux, they all

were working as an ensemble --- the only thing I would change are those

awful velvet Capri Pants the men wore - especially the bright red and

acid green - mercifully Jock was wearing black.

Four Temps was good as ever --- Fabulous casting --- Boal, Whelan and

Askegard, Evans, and Reichlen. Teresa Reichlen is someone to watch ---

she was Choleric and she was great in the 2nd movement of Episodes

on Thursday.

Mr Fioroto conducted with his usual flair - looking forward to the May 18

celebration in his honor. He is a real Treasure for the Company.

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There have been some wonderful things these past two weeks but I didn't get around to posting them so I am sorry to have to be negative for my first post of the spring season. But, hey, what the heck!! You guy/gals understand how much ballet as an art can mean to a fan.

This post is about the new Wheeldon ballet called Shambards with music by James MacMilian which was commissioned by NYCB. Now, first let me accentuate the positive: The opening tableau of a large corp was stunning, and I can report that there were gasps of approval and applause. Also on the plus side: Wheeldon has great talent for moving groups on stage. The sections were divided -- and called -- The Beginning, the Middle, and the End (how cute!). The Beginning section had Carla Korbes and Ask la Cour in an inter-twining duet (what I call "pretzel" ballet) which kept your interest. The End section was a stunner too: two couples: Ashley Bouder with Daniel Ulbricht and Megan Fairchild with DeLuz along with an excellent corp. There were space eating steps, lively Scotish motifs in the music. Very enjoyable.

Now, on to what the program called the Middle. However, I would re-name it An Episode of Misogyny. This was a duo with Jock Soto and Miranda Weese. Perhaps Weeldon was aware how harsh this section was because Miranda was the only female to wear a tuto skirt. The costume, however, didn't hide the violence of the pas. This culminated at the end of the ballet with Miranda being dragged on the floor by Jock -- by one arm no less -- the length of the stage from front to the back. All that was missing was a club held in Jock's upheld arm; you get the image of a Neanderthal man dragging his prey back to his cave. It was appalling.

In this season of Balanchine to have a female dancer treated with such degradation and disrespect was outrageous. I know I have railed on before about this aspect of Wheeldon's work, and all of the reply posts suggested that I was way off base. But I'm sticking to my guns here: This section should be dropped or reworked. It should not be allowed in the House that Balanchine built. The only blessing was that the stage was darkly lit -- which seems to be the current fashionable trend for lighting these days.

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Before it vanishes into oblivion, I thought I might mention that on Sunday Afternoon Miranda Weese followed her tour de force in Wheeldon's new piece, the first ballet on the program, with the finest First Movement of Brahms Schoenberg that I have ever seen. Steven Hannah partnered her superbly. Ellen Bar, who danced the second Ballerina role, also deserves the very highest praise for by far the best performance I've ever seen from her, but then it's also the most visible role she's ever had -- She is an extremely talented dancer. If this is what we see when we see her, by all means lets see more. In the Intermezzo, the guest appearance by Olivier Wevers and Noelani Pantastico also went extremely well. She is very demi character, appealing, strong technically, draws the eye. Wevers is a danseur noble type, rare enough these days, and partnered her very strongly. The two of them received a warm ovation.

Alexandra Ansanelli and Ben Millepied had the third movement. He certainly has some ways to go in his partnering. Alexandra danced beautifully, but It Takes the Proverbial Two to Tango and, having seen how superb this was last Spring when Alexandra was cast with Peter Boal, one knows precisely what was missing.

Ansanelli is in fact drawing the short straw on her partners these days. Saturday afternoon she had Tewsley in her pas de deux in Divertimento. Now Tewsely is showing himself to be a beautiful and noble danseur, but again somewhat limited in his partnering skills and there is a good deal of intricate and tricky partnering work in both Div. No. 15 and in the Andante in Brahms Schoenberg.

The rest of the program saw a strong Kammermusik from Kowroski and Sylve and a compelling Debut from Janie Taylor (with Robert Tewsley) in Afternoon of a Faun. How glorious the fall of that blond hair. I undertand that Taylor was brilliant Friday Night in La Valse. Good, very good indeed, very very good, to see her back on stage.

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Michael (or anyone else who was there):

Can you comment further on the Taylor/Tewsley FAUN? I really wanted to go but being Mother's Day I couldn't get anyone to take my shift at work...hopefully they'll be cast in the piece in the future.



PS: Michael's notes on SHAMBARDS now have me feeling keen to see it.

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Comments on Friday, May 7:

La Valse: Taylor, Tewsley, Fayette. I saw this last week with Rutherford and Soto, and thought it was very good, but this performance was better because of Janie Taylor. The role seems perfect for her -- her Girl in White seems otherworldly from the get-go, a girl who will be interested in death and drawn to him because of who she is, not just because she is the principal ballerina on the stage. Taylor's abandon and commitment was breathtaking. Tewsley was also excellent -- I was not impressed by him at all when he first joined the company but so far this season I have been pleasantly surprised by him. He is more mannered or expressionist than most NYCB dancers but that is the right way to be, I think, for this role. He and Taylor also work well together -- they are both emotional but in different ways and their styles fit in a quirky but ultimately powerful way. Fayette was a disappointment after Soto, who was chilling and seductive. Fayette was over the top. Among the other dancers Stephen Hanna stood out, giving a well-crafter performance.

Episodes: Wow. This ballet has grown on me, mostly because I have managed to get over my hatred of most of the music. The dancers did an amazing job. I had no doubt, watching them, that I was seeing the ballet as it should be done. Episodes is an austere ballet with its twelve-tone music and plain leotards on the dancers, and the dancers for the most part gave austere, elegant performances to match.

Liang and Tinsley led the first section. I am so happy to see Liang back. His dancing is lovely, light and graceful, and he is a gracious partner. (I am glad to see him back not merely because he is a good dancer but because he is a good dancer of a type the company doesn’t seem to have many of. The younger principals and soloists are, to my mind, heavier dancers and I don’t see a real prince among them.) He and Tinsley were precise and crisp.

Fayette and Reichlen had the second section, done on a dark stage with spotlights. They did a fine job but Reichlen certainly did not erase my memory of Alexopoulos in the role-- she and Fayette both got the steps but nothing more, no sense of mystery came through.

Whelan and Evans were just fantastic in the third section. This is similar to Whelan's roles in Agon and other leotard ballets, but she makes each one look different and fresh. I think I held my breath and possibly did not blink through most of their pas de deux. The steps look like they must take a lot of concentration, both the counts and getting the balances right, but Evans and Whelan made me feel completely comfortable that they would get it right and that they would show me how the steps were supposed to work and how they related to the music.

Kowroski and Askegard led the Ricercata. As much as I have convinced myself not to hate the rest of the music in this ballet, I always feel relief when, in this section, the music finally resolves. Kowroski gave a lovely performance but I think Askegard perhaps does not really belong in leotard ballets – he often looks uncomfortable and contorted.

Vienna Waltzes – or, the ballet I almost never stay awake all the way through. This time I ate a brownie at intermission to keep me up, but this is never going to be a big favorite for me.

Rutherford and Fayette (who must have wanted a nap by this point in the evening) started the piece. I think those long pink dresses are amazingly unflattering to the dancers – I remember Meunier used to look awful, but this evening Rutherford also did, in a completely different way. Their performances were OK but seemed a bit perfunctory to me.

Weese and Woetzel led the second movement. Weese has been just terrific both times I’ve seen her this season, strong, committed, tearing up the stage. It was refreshing to see her whipping out of the wings after the, to me, dull dancing around the trees in the previous section. Woetzel was good but not as good as Weese – not technically, he danced the hell out of the part, but he seemed uncomfortable in his lovely lime green tights. He sometimes appears to have difficulty committing to roles or costumes that are a little silly, like this one or Union Jack. They are also a good pair – unlike other partners, Woetzel matches Weese in strength and power and they push each other to do better.

Edge and Gold tried hard with the Polka, but it seemed a bit slow and lifeless.

Ringer as the black widow is a stupendously bad idea. She is a lovely dancer in the right role, but for this, absolutely not – she is not mysterious or even often three-dimensional. I agree that it would be interesting to see Whelan try the role, or perhaps Sylve or even Korbes, young as she is. Martins – I didn’t expect much and got what I expected.

It’s always a pleasure to see Nichols these days and so I enjoyed the Rosenkavalier waltz more than usual – Askegard was a serviceably gallant partner.

The programming felt strange, to me – Episodes was such a contrast to the other two ballets, and it felt as if La Valse and Vienna were intended to be the sugar to make Episodes’ medicine go down.

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he seemed uncomfortable in his lovely lime green tights. He sometimes appears to have difficulty committing to roles or costumes that are a little silly, like this one or Union Jack.

It's so funny you mentioned this. A friend and I were remarking on this very though the other night when we saw Woetzel in "Four Seasons". He looked really uncomfortable in the pink shirt. Admittedly, not the most flattering color on him. It's so strange that this translates to the audience. His dancing was exciting and perfect as usual, but I kept thinking about the shirt, and almost felt sympathetic towards him. It wasn't a terrible costume by any means, but I had the feeling he didn't like wearing this, and it almost shows. I thought I was imagining it. Strange...

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He doesn't look any too thrilled when he has to wear gypsy clothes, either...Sometimes you feel he is a dancer wearing a costume as a good sport, rather than a character who would wear such attire. This doesn't bother me at all, and I may be imagining the affect.

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