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NYCB at The Kennedy Center


Dale

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Four days into the run and nobody has gone to see NYCB at the Kennedy Center or been able to post?

Last night's opener of Program B -- Concerto Barocco, Liturgy, Gentilhommes and Liebeslieder -- was very well attended , considering that this is not a Nutcracker in "Nutcracker Season." About 75-80% of 2nd Tier, where we sat, was occupied. From our vantage point, the Orchestra section was full. However, I am wondering how many folks in attendance were like the row of eight Georgetown University students who sat behind us in 2nd Tier -- deeply disappointed because they thought that they had bought tickets to The Nutcracker??!! (I had to ask the young lady with whom I spoke at intermission to repeat her words, as I could not believe my ears.)

It gets better. When the curtains parted to reveal the candlelit ballroom and elegantly garbed dancers and singers of Liebeslieder Walzer, someone in the audience behind us said "Look! It's Nutcracker after all!" Lots of applause and happy sighs throughout the house when that curtain went up!

I'll defer detailed dancing comments to others except to mention:

* Wendy Whelan and Albert Evans stole my show with their extraordinary performance of Wheeldon's 'pas de deux ballet' Liturgy. Beautiful sculpture in motion.

* Gentilhommes is an unusual Peter Martins ballet -- an all-male-cast of nine showing-off elegantly spiffy moves. The central gent, Danny Ulbricht lived up to his bravura fame but the two corps lads who impressed me the most (going by my little booklet of NYCB corps photos) were both tallish and ultra-elegant: Sean Suozzi and Christian Tworzyanski.

* The best-known of the two Balanchines on view, Concerto Barocco, received a credible performance from Maria Kowroski, Abi Stafford and Stephen Hanna. The corps ladies were a bit too raggedy for my taste, though. Perhaps they had minimal rehearsals for this and thought that they were still doing 'snowflakes' in Nutcracker?

* Liebeslieder is one of my favorite 'somewhat-rare Balanchines.' The four ladies on view tonight -- dark-brunette (!) Darci Kistler, Jenifer Ringer, Jennie Somogyi and Janie Taylor -- certainly imbued the work with the right mannerisms, movements and 'perfume.' Taylor, in particular, was an exquisite Goddess of the Ballroom. However, with the fine exception of the patrician gentleman Charles Askegard, the male dancers weren't quite doing it for me...somewhat jumpy and 'flighty' even with the over-feminine placement of fingers in their white-gloved hands, evoking a Minstrel Show at times. Not quite what Mr. B. had in mind. Where are the Hubbes, Magallanes, Ludlows, etc. of yesteryear?

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* The best-known of the two Balanchines on view, Concerto Barocco, received a credible performance from Maria Kowroski, Abi Stafford and Stephen Hanna. The corps ladies were a bit too raggedy for my taste, though. Perhaps they had minimal rehearsals for this and thought that they were still doing 'snowflakes' in Nutcracker?

Natalia (or anyone), do you know which lady - must have been either Maria Kowroski or Abi Stafford, I guess - partnered Stephen Hanna in the middle section of Concerto Barocco? I really loved their performance on Sat. afternoon. :off topic:

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If casting remained as announced, the adagio was Kowroski. Stafford dances Second Violin, offstage for most of the central movement.

Anything else about the program you'd like to comment on? Here in New York, we're always hungry to know how our home team is received on the road.

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Yes, it was tall and lanky Kowroski in the pdd.

DeborahB, thanks for reminder on SeanS. but I was referring to the structure of the ballet -- one main man (Ulbricht) surrounded by a male corps of eight other men. I realize that some of the "corps of eight" hold other job titles. :off topic:

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The four ladies on view tonight -- dark-brunette (!) Darci Kistler, Jenifer Ringer, Jennie Somogyi and Janie Taylor --

Are you saying Kistler has dyed her famous golden mane?

I'm wondering the same thing after seeing her this afternoon. I'm so glad this performance, in Nutcracker Walzer :off topic: , was my last view of her, and not the Vienna Waltzes I saw earlier this year. She showed her age some with a bit of stiffness in the back, but she was beautifully and movingly in character.

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Like kfw, I was happy to have this parting memory of Kistler's dancing to bracket my first, a blazing Walpurgisnacht many years ago. She glowed. Lovely! Although no one else has yet mentioned her, I also found Jennifer Ringer ravishing, whether moving as though wafted by a perfumed breeze or flying through a spirited waltz. I last saw Liebeslieder so many years ago that the cast included Farrell, von Aroldingen, and, I believe, Stephanie Saland. The opportunity to see it again was a priceless gift.

Does NYCB often present Concerto Barocco and Les Gentilhommes on the same program? There are many obvious parallels, and I enjoyed both. Wise, though, to have the incomparably sculptural Wendy Whelan in between, another gift.

When the programs were first announced, I was somewhat disappointed to miss a chance to see Dances at a Gathering, to say nothing of the rest of the other program. I still hope to see Dances at a Gathering again, but this was a magical afternoon.

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The four ladies on view tonight -- dark-brunette (!) Darci Kistler, Jenifer Ringer, Jennie Somogyi and Janie Taylor --

Are you saying Kistler has dyed her famous golden mane?

I'm wondering the same thing after seeing her this afternoon. I'm so glad this performance, in Nutcracker Walzer :off topic: , was my last view of her, and not the Vienna Waltzes I saw earlier this year. She showed her age some with a bit of stiffness in the back, but she was beautifully and movingly in character.

Yes, Darci dyed her hair brown quite some time ago. It was a significant change in her look, in my opinion.

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Does NYCB often present Concerto Barocco and Les Gentilhommes on the same program?
Since Les Gents was first choreographed as a piece d'occasion and, unless I'm mistaken, didn't enter the active rep until last year, the answer would have to be No, not "often."

Searching this forum, I see mention of them paired only twice, once at (what appears to be a gala) NYCB, and the following spring at the SAB Workshop.

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