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Week 2 NYCB Rep Performances & SAB 75th Anniversary Gala

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Did anyone see the performances starting this week? I heard the GALA was beautiful!

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The house appeared to be sold out last night for the SAB gala. Of the three guest ballerinas in Serenade, my favorite was Misa Kuranaga of Boston Ballet, who did the Russian girl. She was so energetic and exciting. The other women (Delgado and Diana) were good. Craig Hall made his debut tonight in Serenade. He was pretty good, but a bit rough around the edges I thought. Tonight, the performance of Serenade just didn't have the emotional impact it usually does. Maybe that was because of lack of rehearsal time.

Next up was Tarantella w. Ulbricht and guest artist Severin-Hansen. Danny had incredible elevation and wowed the audience with his incredible technique. As par for the course with him in this role, he broke his tambourine. I think NYCB may start deducting the cost of the broken tambourines from his salary soon, since it has happened so many times.(Just kidding). Severin Hansen did some impressive deep plies on point. However, given the showmanship of Danny, she just didn't have a chance in the competition. Moreover, I prefer Fairchild and Bouder in Tarantella.

Next was a performance of 4Ts. Guest artist Postelwaite did a wonderful job in Melancholic. He was very expressive. Paloma Herrera w. Jared Angle were very good in Sanguinic. I prefer Paloma's performance over Abi Stafford's and Lowery's last week. D. Smith of SFB did a good job w. Phlegmatic. The standout was Watson in Choleric. She dominated the stage with fearless, bold attack. Bravo.

The final ballet was VW. Mearns and T. Angle repeated their Tales from the Vienna Woods of last week. Fairchild and DeLuz were fantastic in Voices of Spring. I'm not a big fan of the Explosion Polka section, but it was fine. Ringer looked and danced like a dream in the Merry Widow. It's a shame that so few tickets were made available for sale to the "general public" for this event. It seems that from the outset virtually all tickets were held back from sale for distribution/sale to people affiliated w. SAB or NYCB. It's too bad they couldn't do two nights of the same cast/program so that more people could attend.

By the way, during the curtain speech at the beginning of the performance, Peter Martins mentioned a story that Balanchine stopped an athletic good looking person on the street and asked him to take ballet classes. Peter said that the dancer ultimately became a principal w. the company. Maybe I wasn't paying attention, but to whom was he referring?

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martins didn't name the dancer whose late start he recounted in his anecdote.

my wild guess was Magallanes.

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It's a shame that so few tickets were made available for sale to the "general public" for this event. It seems that from the outset virtually all tickets were held back from sale for distribution/sale to people affiliated w. SAB or NYCB. It's too bad they couldn't do two nights of the same cast/program so that more people could attend.

I don't know that tickets were withheld. It appears that compared to previous years, few tickets were sold at Gala prices, so they were likely given, gratis, to SAB students, staff and alumni. I sat in the Fourth Ring, where there were many empty seats (and a few students), and I could easily see that the Third Ring had empties, too. BTW, I bought my ticket at the usual 4th Ring Society price.

I disagree with you about the Serenade. I thought NYCB's female corps made this one of the best Serenade's I've seen in many years. They supercharged their dancing with a special edge to their energy, their musical response was sharper than usual. It set a standard that the rest of the evening didn't quite reach. I adored Julie Diana's Waltz Girl. She sculpted her movements in a way that amplified both the kinetics and the emotion of the moment.

I believe TWO tambourines were sacrificed in order to bring us Tarantella. Ulbricht broke one, setting the zils (thank you, Wikipedia, for the word) flying and rolling across the stage, then returned on his final entrance with an intact tambourine and -- crash! -- more flying and rolling zils! Margaret Severin-Hansen got through the choreography just fine but this pas requires both members to pour on the personality, and even before having to avoid stepping on zils, she was bland.

Lucien Postelwaite, maintaining a molasses-like tension and weight, was the real discovery in The Four Temperaments. I expected Herrera to conquer Sanguinic -- she's more at home in 20th Century than 19th C. works. She and JAngle seemed to like that partnership. Damian Smith was overwhelmed by the four corps amazons.

Means and TAngle infused the Vienna Woods with youth and eroticism, followed by a wittily dry Megan Fairchild in Voices of Spring, with an overcharged deLuz. I had originally planned to leave after that section, but at the last minute decided to stay, hoping for a breathtaking full-company finale. Taking my cue from nysusan's post from last week, I closed my eyes until the dancers from the earlier sections retook the stage. Somehow, though, the whole thing failed to take flight for me.

In his pre-curtain speech, Martins told (among too many anecdotes) that when he came to the company in 1970, he was surprised to see in Nutcracker that the little boy party guests and soldiers were all played by girls. The male contingent of principals was himself from Denmark, Helgi Tomasson from Iceland and Jean-Pierre Bonnefous/x from France. Balanchine told him that someday, it would not be necessary to bring males in from outside.

While the boy party guests today are all played by boys*, if Martins' point was that SAB was providing all the male dancers the company could use, he failed to consider the presence of Sebastien Marcovici, Gonzalo Garcia, Ask laCour and the recently departed Chris Wheeldon.

*In the interim, boys have been Candy Canes, too, but not recently.

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I attended the Sat matinee performance, "Four Voices". The audience was surprisingly empty for a Sat matinee. The first ballet was nearly ruined for me when the elephant herd in the fourth ring clopped their way down the stairs, as they always do, to the better seats in rows A and B of the fourth ring. If you're going to do that , at least have the courtesy to wear sneakers, not noisy high heels. There was the usual assortment of plastic bag noises and jingle jangle of loose change as the herd settled into their new seats. I really think that NYCB should adopt the approach used at the Met Opera for standing room in the orchestra. The Met literally ropes the standing room crowd in, and the rope is not removed until intermission. This prevents the standing room crowd from charging down the aisles to look for emply orchestra seats when the lights go down. Similarly, NYCB should Rope off the stairs so that nobody can leave rows c-O of the fourth ring until intermission. Sorry for the rant, but this has been going on for years, and it's extremely annoying.

On to the performance. It was enjoyable to see Chiascoro back in the rep. It was also good to see Janie Taylor and Jennie Somogyi back on stage. They looked fantastic. Marcovici did a pretty good job with the lead role, but it paled in comparison to the mystery and intensity that the role's originator, Jock Soto, brought to that part. Papillion was a very minor league ballet. It was clearly filler. While inoffensive, there was nothing interesting about it. It was fun to see the Angle brothers side by side together on stage, though. I missed Concerto DSCH last year. I adored it, and I can't wait to see it again. The pdd for Wendy and Ben was gorgeous. The ensemble work had so many shifting, interesting patterns. Brahms-S Q was generally lovely. Abi & Phillip did wonderful work in the first section. Jennie Ringer and Jared Angle were all romance in the 2nd section. In the 3rd section, Veyette caused the audience to break into spontaneous applause with his breathtaking leaps. He has made great strides in his performances recently. Y. Borree was terrible in the third section. She had her usual attack of the shakes in the partnered portions of the third movement. Moreover, she could barely muster the energy to execute her solo passages. She is cast in all performances of BSQ! Maria K and Charles A led the fourth movement. They were very good, but the gold standard of this section was the total abandon that Wendy Whelan and Damian Woetzel used to bring to these roles.

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