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Leigh Witchel

Woetzel Farewell - 6/18/08

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I'm covering it for DVT - it was a very special night, wasn't it? How about that tag-team Rubies? I had a feeling we might see Woetzel poke his nose in. I was able to figure out who most of the procession of ballerinas were. How nice to see Alexandra Ansanelli and Miranda Weese at the State Theater, even if only to present a hug and a bouquet.

OK folks, we KNOW you were there.

TALK!

Reports, appreciations and general mash notes go here.

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I'm covering it for DVT - it was a very special night, wasn't it? How about that tag-team Rubies? I had a feeling we might see Woetzel poke his nose in. I was able to figure out who most of the procession of ballerinas were. How nice to see Alexandra Ansanelli and Miranda Weese at the State Theater, even if only to present a hug and a bouquet.

OK folks, we KNOW you were there.

TALK!

Reports, appreciations and general mash notes go here.

It was a lovely evening - I hadn't seen Rubies in a while, and I was a little confused by who was who, but Woetzel's partnering strengths and sense of fun came through beautifully in his brief appearance!

And in Prodigal Son, there is such an intensity in which he inhabits the role. The section after he is stripped bare, and stands, grieving, on the darkened stage, is such a powerful moment. Daniel Ulbricht really caught the power of the role, but has yet to grow into the acting. Damian Woetzel had all that going for him.

And Fancy Free, of course, is such a wonderful showcase for his signature easy-going style.

His graciousness and elegance will be sorely missed!

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It was indeed a very nice evening. It was a special treat to see -- one more time -- Damian's turning exit in Rubies. He really made that his own. And it was a great tribute to Damian personally that so many of his fellow dancers were both on stage and in the audience for his farewell. Can anyone identify who the very tanned dancer was standing to Jeny Ringer's left (stage left that is) at the end of the parade of ballerinas?

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I've had the opportunity to interact professionally w/ Damian Woetzel (albeit indirectly) and he is just SUCH an intelligent, hardworking, considerate individual.

I wonder if there's ever been a dancer who's been this educated! Not to say that dancers are not intelligent, it's just he's quite special in every way.

I am looking forward to how he will shape the future of American ballet with his directorship positions. I will miss him as a dancer!

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There are certainly a number of dancers, and NYCB dancers, who have gone on to post-graduate education. Even some doctors and lawyers, so Damian is scarcely alone in his aducational achievements.

That said, I too look forward to seeing what he does next.

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in addition to the ballerinas with whom DW danced that night and Ringer, Weese, and Ansanelli mentioned already the parade of dancers presenting DW w/ bouquets one by one included:

ISABEL GUERIN (the dancer asked about above)

MARGARET TRACEY

WENDY WHELAN

KYRA NICHOLS

PALOMA HERRERA

ETHAN STIEFEL

ANGEL CORELLA

CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON - who crowned DW w/ a laurel wreath

ROBERT LAFOSSE

ELIOT FELD

(and others i may be forgetting now)

the whole company and extended family, more or less, came on en masse, including P.Martins and D. Kistler and N. Hubbe, to surround the individual presenters who framed DW.

H. Watts was in the first ring but no doubt chose not to come on stage.

Bruce Weber was also in the first ring.

Ulrich Trajoborg was in the audience but not on stage; ditto Diana Vishneva.

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Also Susan Stroman presented Damian with a bouquet. Thanks for identifying Guerin. Ferri was also in the audience

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There are certainly a number of dancers, and NYCB dancers, who have gone on to post-graduate education. Even some doctors and lawyers, so Damian is scarcely alone in his aducational achievements.

not many who've done it while still professionally dancing however (i think it would be impossible to become a dr or lawyer while still dancing, just due to the time constraints)

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Did anyone see Nicolas Le Riche? I thought maybe he would've stayed for the farewell, since he had performed the day before on the 17th.

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I've had the opportunity to interact professionally w/ Damian Woetzel (albeit indirectly) and he is just SUCH an intelligent, hardworking, considerate individual.

I wonder if there's ever been a dancer who's been this educated! Not to say that dancers are not intelligent, it's just he's quite special in every way.

I am looking forward to how he will shape the future of American ballet with his directorship positions. I will miss him as a dancer!

Damian never went to college as an undergraduate. He went from h.s. to NYCB and then on to Harvard grad school.

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I found myself thinking over the past two days, how closely the evening reminded me of my 30th birthday. I spent my whole year as a 29-y-o dreading my next birthday. OMG! I can't believe I'm turning 30! TERROR!!! And for all that, it turned out not to be pretty easy to take.

Wednesday was another expected trauma that turned out to be more rewarding that dreadful. I liked the symbolism of the closing of Prodigal, suggesting that while he ventures into the world beyond (though hardly a new place for Damian), he'll always have a home at NYCB. For what, who knows?

I think we could have done without the introductory clip of Robbins coaching Damian in the clap-bend-reach moves of the sailor variation. It's not fair to see the 20- or 30-something dancer going full out for the choreographer when the same steps occur just a few moments later to begin a marathon where the now 40-y-o dancer's energy must be rationed.

That said, there were few other moments when I had a sense of holding back, and none whatsoever in Prodigal, which got a heroic performance from all hands.

It was an unusually full career, little (if any) time lost to serious injury, no sense of potential opportunities lost. Damian doesn't leave the stage owing his audience or his art anything. That's pretty rare.

Did anyone besides my seatmate and I notice the bat (I think it was a bat) flitting around during Fancy Free?

Thanks for identifying Isabel Guerin, rg. Context is all :) , and while I've seen her dance with NYCB, for some reason she appeared taller than I remembered.

Dancers I noticed in the audience (4th R) included Sarah and Seth Orza in from their new home in Seattle, and Craig Hall.

Editing to add: I know I complained that I was unable to buy a ticket at the box office. Thanks to friend-of-friend for her change of plans. :lol:

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hi! could someone go into more details about the special "rubies" for those of us who weren't fortunate enough to be there??

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The announced cast was Bouder-Millepied-Reichlen. So it was quite a surprise when the curtain rose on Megan Fairchild, Joaquin deLuz and, well, not a surprise to see Reichlen (who performed the Tall Girl role throughout). The Bouder did the pas with Garcia instead of Millepied. Woetzel made his surprise appearance to an ecstatic house alongside Borree in the final movement.

It was a great way to have more principals participate in this honor to Woetzel and leave it to him to decide, perhaps at the last minute, whether he felt like doing it. I'm so glad he did!

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I'm glad DW did Rubies, also - a big burst of energy and fun!

And, I thought it was a moth or two flying around - was it really a bat?

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About three times as big as any moth or butterfly I've ever seen! I hope you're right, though, rnl.

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The casts in Rubies were:

1st Movement: Megan Fairchild & Gonzalo Garcia;

2nd Movement: Ashley Bouder & Joaquin de Luz;

3rd Movement: Yvonne Borree & Damian Woetzel

As was previously noted, Tess Reichlen was Tall Girl throughout.

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I've had the opportunity to interact professionally w/ Damian Woetzel (albeit indirectly) and he is just SUCH an intelligent, hardworking, considerate individual.

I wonder if there's ever been a dancer who's been this educated! Not to say that dancers are not intelligent, it's just he's quite special in every way.

I am looking forward to how he will shape the future of American ballet with his directorship positions. I will miss him as a dancer!

Not to disagree but many dancers at both ABT & NYCB are getting college & graduate degrees. Damian skipped college because of his connections. His natural intelligence obviously helped him manage the Master's degree, but if any of you saw the article in The New York Times several months ago on the topic, none of his professors seemed particularly impressed with his work.

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Thank you so much for posting this video, rnl. It's such a treat to watch! We can only hope that Damian will come back to NYCB in some capacity (at some point). His farewell performance (well, every performance he ever gave, in fact) will always be cherished by this Damian fan.

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About three times as big as any moth or butterfly I've ever seen! I hope you're right, though, rnl.

Damian Woetzel seems to be the fastest moving dancer I've ever seen, almost like a humming bird.

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