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TSFB @ Kennedy Center, Nov. 2012

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The Kennedy Center recently posted details on the upcoming season in DC. In addition to the aforementioned reconstruction-premieres of the Balanchine/Glinka Valse-Fantaisie, the 'Intermezzo from Brahms-Schoenberg and Prodigal Son, we will see a true rarity -- the Balanchine/Stravinsky work for full corps and soloists, Danses Concertantes. If we are extra-lucky, the costumes will be the colorful Eugene Berman designs from the 1940s, which the NYCB wore in its most recent revival of the work.


Program A (Nov. 7, 8, 10 eves., 11 mat.)

Danses Concertantes (Balanchine/Stravinsky)

Intermezzo from Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (Balanchine/Brahms, orch. Schoenberg)

Valse-Fantaisie (Balanchine/Glinka)

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Balanchine/Rodgers, arr. Kay)

Program B (Nov. 9, 10 mats., 11 eve.)

Divertimento No. 15 (Balanchine/Mozart)

Prodigal Son (Balanchine/Prokofiev)

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Balanchine/Rodgers, arr. Kay)

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I noticed this program with keen anticipation - my usual habit with TSFB, I'll admit - and I would especially like to see the earlier, 1953 Valse Fantaisie - for three principal-rank women and one man, performed recently by MCB - but I'll settle for the later 1967 one, too, for a principal couple and four women, remembering a lighter-than-air rendition of this little perpetuum-mobile years ago led by Judith Fugate and Daniel Duell that was the highlight of the evening.

The Berman designs were almost half the show when I watched Balanchine's NYCB dance the 1972 Danses Concerantes, including not only costumes, but a forecurtain, in front of which the cast introduced itself, with some superb "business," during the opening "Marche." I remember B. H. Haggin reporting that there was a new pas de deux, for Linda Yourth and John Clifford, replacing the one made for Danilova and Franklin originally in 1944, but not seen there in my day. (It figured in a painting I used to sit opposite in the Russian Tea Room under the original owners in the '70s.) I wonder whether someone can stage that version? Nancy Reynolds reports in "Repertory in Review" that

For the [1972] Stravinsky Festival, the Berman mounting was still available, and, although Balanchine completely redid the choreography, it is said that in form and effect, the work resembles the original.

Complete redo or no, we all had quite a lot of fun with the 1972 D C.

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Jack, I had assumed that TSFB would be reviving Balanchine's last version (the 1967 one). It was last presented by NYCB not that long ago -- 2010, with Sterling Hyltin as the leading lady, and the Berman designs 'in full bloom'! I see that it also returns to NYCB's rep this fall...so Balanchine Balletomanes will have a chance to compare back-to-back versions of Danses Concertantes. An embarrassment of riches!

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Related to Valse Fantaisie, I see that Washington's own Kirov Academy of Ballet, will be presenting the 1967 edition of the Balanchine oeuvre next week as part of its annual end-of-year concert. It is being staged by none other than the originators of the leading roles, John Clifford and Mimi Paul! I'll report on it, on another thread:


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Announced Casting

Program A

Danses Concertantes

Elisabeth Holowchuk and Kirk Henning

Jessica Lawrence, Nancy Richler, Emanuel Abruzzo (Green)

Amy Brandt, Melissa Reed, Andrew Shore Kaminski (Blue)

Jane Morgan, Jordyn Richter, Ted Seymour (Wine)

Katie gibson, Melanie Riffee, Ian Grosh (Red)

"Intermezzo" from Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet

Natalia Magnicaballi (7th, 10th November) and Michael Cook (7th, 10th, 11th)

or Heather Ogden (8th, 11th) and Pavel Gurevich (8th)

Amy Brandt, Katherine Gibson, Jane Morgan


Heather Ogden (7th, 10th) and Pavel Gurevich (7th, 10th, 11th)

or Violeta Angelova (8th, 11th) and Michael Cook (8th)

Cleopatra Avery, Jessica Lawrence, Nancy Richer, Amy Saunders

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

Hoofer Kirk Henning (7th, 8th); Michael Cook (10th, 11th)

Strip Tease Girl Elisabeth Holowchuk (7th, 8th); Natalia Magnicaballi (10th, 11th)

Big Boss Michael Cook (7th, 8th); Kirk Henning (10th, 11th)

Bartenders Ian Grosh, Oliver Swan-Jackson

Thug James Folsom

Morrosine, premier danseur noble Pavel Gurevich

Gangster John Michael

Cops Peter Doll, Dylan Keane, Jordan Nelson

Ladies of the Ballet Cleopatra Avery, Miriam Ernest, Katherine Gibson, Jane Morgan, Jordan Richter, Melanie Riffee

Gentlemen of the Ballet Ted Seymour, Andrew Shore Kaminski, Emanuel Abruzzo,

Evan Reynolds

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Jack, thanks for posting the full casting for Progam A, which mirrors that in the playbill. In last night's opener, Amber Neff replaced Amy Brandt in the Blue Trio of Danses Concertantes, while Jordyn Richter danced in place of Ms Brandt as one of the three corps ladies in Intermezzo. I'm not sure if this means that Amy Brandt is indisposed for the run. (?) Hope not! The playbill also shows the full castings for Program B, which I'll try to reproduce in another post, after this report.

Review of Program A:

Danses Concertantes, Intermezzo (from Brahms-Schoenberg), Valse-Fantaisie, Slaughter on 10th Avenue

November 7, 2012, 7:30PM

Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater

There was an odd karma in the hall before the show began. An elderly gentleman tripped and fell while descending one of the steep balcony aisles, hitting his head against one of the sharply-pointed metal banisters, causing profuse bleeding from the cranium. He was very still, lying on the steps, and many of us were offering prayers. Three security guards with first-aid training helped him during what seemed to be a long waiting period. The show was delayed a bit until the injured man 'came to' (hoorah!) and was assisted up the steps and (I'm guessing) to parameics and a waiting ambulance. The audience in the balcony applauded and voiced good wishes to the man, as he went up the stairs with the security guards.

Apparently, at the same time (just before curtain up), a lady suffered a similar fall in another part of the theater (orchestra or box tier?)...so we were told.

Once the show began, it was quite wonderful. Elizabeth Howlachuk was especially sharp and scintillating as the Strip-tease Girl in Slaughter, in which a tap-dancing Kirk Henning also shined. Earlier, Howlachuk and Henning were commendable as the leading couple in yellow, in Danses Concertantes, if a bit tentative during their pas de deux (as can be expected in any company premiere of a ballet). DC afforded us the opportunity of seeing new and veteran corps members in the four delectable Trios -- each garbed in a different primary color -- that constitute the middle section of the work. I was particularly blown away by the fleet footedness and comic panache of the 2nd trio (in Blue): Amber Neff, Melissa Reed and Andrew Shore Kaminski. I particularly loved his series of entrechats with the last one ending in grand plie. All 'trios' were fine; there's a lot of talent -- and lots of new faces -- in the company.

The evening also featured company premieres of two small (8-9 minutes each) Balanchine rarities -- both from the 1960s, both sweepingly romantic, both set to lush 19th-C music: the 2nd movement of Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet ("Intermezzo" section) and Valse-Fantaisie, originally from Mr B's Glinkaiana. Both works featured extraordinarily musical ballerinas last night: the glamorous dark-haired Natalia Magnicaballi in 'Intermezzo' and the pert-and-sassy Heather Ogden in Valse-Fantaisie. Ogden was like a beautiful leaf blowing in the wind, tossing out extraordinarily difficult petit batterie as if it were child's play. The elegant Pavel Gurevich, while a gallant partner, was not quite able to keep up with the music and watered-down some of the choreography, e.g., single-assamble jumps near the beginning, instead of the required doubles. Little ballon, so essential to this role. He is not yet able to include the 'grace notes' and inflections that the ballet's originator, John Clifford, and even the young lads at DC's Kirov Academy (coached by Clifford this past spring) were able to do. In Intermezzo, the picture-perfect Magnicaballi received steady partnering from Michael Cook.

The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, led by Leif Bjaland, added so much to the beauty of the evening.

Finally, some words about the designs. Most were pretty and effective. DC had already seen the colorful and appropriately goofy set and costumes for Slaughter. No qualms there. But....Danses Concertantes saw an approximation of Eugene Berman's original primary-colored costumes, redone Holly Hynes -- call it 'the budget edition' as, for example, the skirts, while longer, had less frills and flouces than the Bermans (which DOES affect the look of certain hip-shaking moves). Also, the men no longer wear the colorful gloves from the originals, which, I suppose, now makes the partnering a bit easier. Also, while the front-curtain has been faithfully reproduced, there is no backdrop with balustrade, as can still be seen at NYCB. Yet, even with the changes, Danses Concertantes still looks spiffy.

The less-forgiving 'costume misfirings' of the night came in the two brief romantic works, Intermezzo and Valse-Fantaisie. First the greater problem: Intermezzo's flimsy-'nightie' dresses. Mr B's choreography can no longer be appropriately appreciated because, in the original NYCB version, the ladies wore full-puffy-skirted romantic tutus that give the 'swooshing' effect of blowing in the wind. Now, instead, the ladies are garbed in light 'nighties' (a-la Allegro Brillante or Tchai PDD). Pretty but the 'swooshing' effect of a ballgown, worn in a ballroom, is lost. On the other hand, Valse-Fantaisie's romantic tutus were indeed the right 'romantic' full-puffy-tulle style...but in a dark green color that is so much harsher than the soft lilac hues of the 1960s (which we recently saw at the Kirov Academy). The bodice of the leading ballerina appears to be black with some sort of blue/purple applique. Instead of 'soft light creampuffs,' we now have dark-green moss! A shame. One more quirk in Valse-Fantaisie: the man wears an Italian-sailor's kerchief making him look like a renegade from Napoli.

The positives far outweighed the negatives last night...especially once the lights went down and the 'bad karma' had left the building! I'm happy to have made it back home in time for this run and look forward to seeing 'Program B' later this week, as well as San Fco Ballet next week. smile.png

p.s. I was a tad surprised by the stark choreographic differences in some of the 'placements' (angles of moves) and details of the choreography of Danses Concertantes, comparing NYCB and TSFB. For example, the 3rd trio (fuschia color - with the slow marching steps) is set at different angles here, with the 'marching girl' almost impossible to see, as she now almost faces backstage and the lunging boy covers her. At the end of that trio, the angles of the 'see-sawing legs' seem all wrong, e.g., the girl with the 'low leg' begins at 90-degrees. Ditto, the final pose in the yellow Pas de Deux is altered; at NYCB, the couple ends in a 'mock Diamonds PDD' pose in which the man kneels and kisses the ballerina's hand...instead, he lifts her arm and pokes his head under her armpit, making a funny face at her. Maybe Farrell did not want 'her' iconic Diamonds to be mocked, so the gallant kiss-the-hand move was altered? [Or maybe it was NYCB that altered many moves and we're seeing Balanchine's intended choreography here? Who knows???]

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Playbill lead casting for Program B (Friday, Nov 9 7:30PM; Nov. 10 1:30PM; Nov 11, 7:30PM)

Divertimento No. 15 (Balanchine/Mozart)

showing dancers in order of appearance in the Theme & Variations segment:

Theme - Emanuel Abruzzo, Ian Grosh

1st Var - Elisabeth Holowchuk

2nd var - Nancy Richer

3rd var - Natalia Magnicaballi

4th var - Violeta Angelova

5th var - Pavel Gurevich

6th - Heather Ogden

Prodigal Son (Balanchine/prokofiev; Roualt's full designs will be used)

same cast for all performances:

Prodigal Son - Michael Cook

Father - Pavel Gurevich

Siren - Natalia Magnicaballi

Two sisters - Jane Morgan, Jordan Richter

Two confidants of the Prod.Son - Ian Grosh, Andrew Shore Kaminski

Slaughter on 10th Ave (Balanchine/Rogers)

Hoofer - Kirk Henning at all ProgB perfs

Striptease Girl - Magnicaballi (Nov 10 mat); Holowchuk (Nov 9 and Nov 11 eves)

Boss - Michael Cook at all PrgB perfs

Morrosine, Premier Danseur Noble - Pavel Gurevich

Cops- Peter Doll, Dylan Keane,Jordan Nelson

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Oh dear, I'm not looking forward to Holly Hynes's costumes tonight. She may have run NYCB's costume shop well, but her own designs always fall flat. Pity TSFB can't rent the originals.

Indeed. One mo' detail: the underskirts of the longer tutus are lined in black, in the Holly Hynes version, so that's what we see when the girls jump or perform arabesques and developes (an underskirt of jet-black tulle and black 'underwear'). AT LEAST the colors on the outside of the costumes and general commedia dell'arte feeling remain. Also, the front curtain with the names of the collaborators, throne, etc. looks like the original real deal.

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I'm in essential agreement with Natalia about last night - fuchsia, is it? Thanks, this is one of those guys who knows about ten names for colors...

Anyway, here's my take, composed before logging on through a slow connection:

Program A November 7, 2012

Danses Concertantes was good to see all sharp and energized, after the open rehearsal in the afternoon, which had some sequences under-danced and some dancers incompletely costumed. In particular, the gag bits in the opening March before the front drop were sharply rendered - the Blue trio - Amber Neff subbing for Amy Brandt - exiting with hands fluttering, like the "Bluebird pas de deux" in The Sleeping Beauty, the Red girls tolerating and then dismissing the late-arriving boy, to prance off stage by themselves, and so on. All this had me shaking in my seat, while the man next to me chortled audibly.

The third pas de trios, in Wine - okay, Fuchsia - costumes, was better danced than played; the melodies - and thus the choreography - twine around themselves, but even in tempos so slow Ms. Farrell asked at rehearsal for faster ones, the wind players had trouble with the phrasing; nor at the performance was there much speed-up. By and large, I'd say the quality of the dancing outshone every other element of this production, and I felt these tempos most needed more animation.

Holly Hynes's costume designs refer to Eugene Berman's originals, they don't reproduce his; and her colors, being more intense, don't match the good approximation to his in the front curtain. Jeff Bruckerhoff's lighting is bright on the ensembles, so we see them well, not so bright on the small groups, the pas de trios and pas de deux, so we don't see the most important dancing so well.

With the "Intermezzo" from Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, the character of the program changed radically after intermission from the noodling, bouncy Stravinsky score to sweeping flow; and so the dancing swept around the stage, with Magnicaballi very lovely, especially in the lifts, where she is animated aloft, not merely picked up and shown; and she and her partner were well-lit, too, Mr. Bruckerhoff erring on the other side here, giving the more important dancing good light and leaving the trio of girls - Jordan Richter subbing for Amy Brandt this time - in dim light. (But why err at all? Why not let the dancing draw more or less of our attention on its own?) And Natalia is right to point out here that these costume make less effect than the originals.

Even more flowing dancing after a pause, in Valse-Fantaisie, Balanchine's third setting of Glinka's music, as we learn from Farrell's notes on the Kennedy-Center web site. Ogden usually renders a part very clearly, sometimes to the point of neatness; here, without any sacrifice in that clarity, she outdid herself in throwing some caution to the wind that blows though this piece, and made a larger event out of it than I expected. (Yes, this shade of green is less attractive than we've seen.)

After the second intermission, another radical transformation: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue leaves several corpses in its wake, more as though it were a tragic opera than a ballet - "Everything beautiful at the ballet?" No, too many gunshot victims here for that. But before the violence erupts in the speakeasy in the "inner" plot, the "outer" plot gets underway with Pavel Gurevich portraying the jealous Morrosine just broadly enough that - as in the introduction to the first ballet - laughter is scattered around the theater. As a stripper up on the runway, Holowchuk was a little tame; her first duet was well danced though, and in her second, she and Henning really whipped up that apache-flavored number. And Henning has surprising tap ability, for a ballet dancer, anyway.

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.... in Valse-Fantaisie, ....this shade of green is less attractive than we've seen.)


Jack, have the costumes in Valse-Fantaisie been anything but a very soft lavender or lilac? Earlier this year, the original stars of the 1967 ballet, Mimi Paul and John Clifford, staged this work at the DC-area's Kirov Academy of Ballet. At that time, the proper soft-lavender tutus were obtained from Indiana University. Farrell obtained the "forest greens" from Pacific Northwest Ballet. Surely there's some sort of database (formal or informal) for this sort of thing...'costume repository'...'e-tutus.com'?

I enjoyed reading your report, Jack. We definitely attended the same performance! :)

By the way, Jack - Do you happen to know if Farrell staged these ballets on her own or if she also had assistance from coaches with experience in dancing the specific ballets? Farrell, of course, danced Striptease in Slaughter but, I believe, not the other three works presented in Program A...unless one counts the final movement of Brahms-Schoenberg ('Zingarese'), which is not the portion of B-S presented here. [i'd love to see Holowchuk, especially, tackle the lead in 'Zingarese'!] I'm sure that Gurevich's performance in Valse-Fantaisie would have benefited from, if not Clifford, then someone else who may have danced the role in Balanchine's time and, thus, aware of the subtle pauses and nuances that were missing here. It's not 'just the steps' as you know. Ogden and the four corps ladies, on the other hand, were spot-on in both nuances and dancing except for one teeny-tiny mistep when the four corps ladies join hands and dance in a tight circle, undoubtedly fixed after the opening night....

These little quibbles aside, though, this is a lovely program, beautifully danced. I look forward to tonight's debut of 'Program B' that includes one of my all-time-fave Balanchines, Divertimento no. 15, as well as the company premiere of Prodigal Son, plus a reprise of Slaughter.

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To deal with Natalia's last question first, the credits for Prodigal Son include this line: "Repetiteur Paul Boos and Suzanne Farrell" (Note, on this point, my long third parenthesis, below.)

As for the V-F costumes, I recall pale blue. I think that's what they are on the 1973 video. I don't remember lilac. I'll try to check next week and post, if no one else reports on this.


Further thoughts

Program A Thursday evening November 8th

The main difference here was Ogden and Gurevich rotating into "Intermezzo" and Angelova and Cook coming into Valse-Fantaisie; I can't say Ogden's performance was "better" or "worse" than Magnicaballi's, but different in the way it was sustained, compared to the rise and fall, ebb and flow of loveliness with Magnicaballi. Maybe I preferred Magnicaballi a little, so far, but I look forward to seeing each of them in this again. As for Angelova, as with Holowchuk, she continues to dance on a smaller scale than the two top-rank women. (The company roster is organized into five unnamed categories.)

Program B Friday evening November 9th

(Amy Brandt remained out, replaced by Jordyn Richter)

Divertimento No. 15 was really fine; not only did it have the lightness it should have, the "Theme and Variations" movement, in unusually "easy" tempo - but not by any means dragging - was used to good advantage by everyone, on stage and in the pit. Magnicaballi gave amplitude to the Third Variation (which may have made Angelova's Fourth look a little more scaled-down for that), and Ogden did herself very proud in the Sixth Variation and throughout the ballet; plenty to smile about, although I'm not convinced that detail should actually have been provided. (I'd rather the costumes for this Classical ballet were a less "Romantic" color than lavender and that the principals and corps costumes were more differentiated, too.)

Prodigal Son needs more weight in the principal roles, I'd say at this early stage: Michael Cook's movement was rather snappy, especially in the first scene, so that it didn't convey all the intense fury I've gotten other times from some other dancers, but this is a huge role and we may see some development as the run continues, not unusual with this troupe. Early in the second scene ("In a Far Country", in The Complete Stories of the Great Ballets) he already brings a light, innocent joy to playing around with the Drinking Companions which serves to contrast with his later fright as events overwhelm him and, still later, his shame.

(Also in this scene, Boos and Farrell have restored some extensive antics by the Servants, here called Confidants of the Prodigal Son, while the Siren and the Prodigal … make small talk? … seated on the back of the long table, upstage, cut from the "Dance in America" version of the ballet, which was reissued on the "Choreography by Balanchine" videos. The restored material runs about two minutes, and it comes in at about 33:50 on the DVD.)

And Magnicaballi's generous warmth doesn't serve her so well in another big role that should chill your blood more. Some ballerinas have not only the ability to do that, they can possess the whole space while remaining at the side of it; they don't seem to stop performing when they're standing still. Magnicaballi looks like working into it. So far, it's casting against type, though.

The powerful figure in this ballet for me was Pavel Gurevich, in the smaller role of the Father, especially in the first scene: Here was someone who could produce an effect without obviously doing much but rather by apt phrasing of what he did.

Kirk Henning continues to fill out his role as the Hoofer in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; in particular his tap-dancing is more clearly articulated each time. And from a closer seat than I had opening night, Wednesday, it was clear how Holowchuk was completing her portrayal of the Strip Tease Girl; for example, her first dance with the Hoofer begins as an obligation he has purchased, but later she shows some real interest, which sets up some of the following action.

Edited by Jack Reed
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Friday, November 9, 2012 - 7:30PM

Program B: Divertimento no. 15, The Prodigal Son (+ reprise of Slaughter, reviewed above)

Divertimento was surprisingly crisp and clean, in comparison with the Program A ballets seen on Wednesday. Heather Ogden took the cake as the 'central soloist' - absolutely ablaze in the rapid-fire 5th female solo in the T&V section. However, in the Andante, I most admired the noble port de bras and classical beauty of Violeta Angelova in the 4th pas de deux, with Ian Grosh. Some of the other soloist ladies seemed a bit 'muddy' with their footwork and lackadaisical in their port de bras. On the other hand, the eight corps ladies were sharp and sparkled in the Minuet, something not always seen with other companies. Pavel Gurevich was very elegant in his solo and offered noble partnering in the group scenes.

Prodigal was a tour de force for Michael Cook in the leading role. Following in the footsteps and memories of folks like Baryshnikov and Villella is no easy task. I kept my expectations low but Cook amazed and delivered. More than his dancing (the steps), he conveyed that restlessness, then pathos, of the prodigal...and brought me to tears in the final crawl up to his father's warm embrace. Bravo! The corps of insect-like 'goons' was appropriately nasty and vulgar. Ian Grosh and Andrew Shore Kamisky were magnificent in their 'fighting duet' in the tavern. Natalia Magnicaballi exhuded icy glamour as the siren, although she seemed a tad short for the role, compared to the usual ballerina cast in the role.

Slaughter was even more fun and more 'settled' than at the opening night. Cast was exactly the same, so I won't repeat comments.

Costume quibbles in this program? Minimal. True, the Divertimento tutus are not the Karinskas but they are of proper cut and a nice pale pink color that goes with the mood and style of the work. Prodigal seemed almost-perfect, using all of the Roualt designs, although the dresses of the two sisters were loose and billowy - not at all the form-fitting bodices that we see at NYCB. Hardly important but some of us 'old timers' notice such details.

Unlike Wednesday, the house seemed full -- and much more enthusiastic.

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Program B Saturday matinee November 10, 2012

Divertimento No. 15, Prodigal Son and Slaughter would have been a bit much for Natalia Magnicaballi, and so she was subbed for by Heather Ogden as a cooler Siren in Prodigal, one with a greater air of mastery, appropriately. Elisabeth Holowchuk's Variation One in Divertimento No. 15 was more fully realized than last night I thought, and Angelova's Fourth Variation also seemed stronger, so, with the performance otherwise on its former high level, and with the same cast, this was quite the matinee; and then we got Magnicaballi eating up the role of the Strip Tease Girl, just making it large without any "effects" or exaggeration, just filling it up with energy and clear dramatic detail.

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Thanks, Jack. That's very interesting about Ogden dancing Siren. I would never, in a million years, have pictured her as Siren, i.e., Ogden is even more petite and 'apple pie/gal next door'-looking than Magnicaballi. More power to her, though. Heather Ogden continues to amaze in every respect. I'm sorry to have missed this and other casting changes this weekend. I'm indebted to your (and others') reports.

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Regarding both Ogden and Magnicaballi, I don't need to tell you, that's part of the fun of going repeatedly, seeing dancers develop. Both looked "older" in these roles, M. most impressively - fresh-looking, but the complete actress, knowing what she was doing, going into the taxi dance yet already showing interest in this special guy; in row L, I could keep my eye on her, and saw, for example, her reaction at one side as the police raid began - "Oh! We've got to get out of here!" - small detail, part of the big picture she showed us.

I'd say, having seen MCB's Kronenberg (and von Aroldingen on stage, even more effective than on the DVD), Ogden has farther to go to leave behind that apple-pie quality - there were lapses into youthful innocence, but only lapses, and I wouldn't mind seeing either of them this evening.

(They have of course in the studio the dancer who more than any other in my experience brought a natural combination of innocence and sensuality to the Strip Tease Girl; I never saw Suzanne's Siren, if there was one.)

BTW, Boos was a Drinking Companion in the day; he's credited on the DVD.

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Program B, Sunday evening November 11, 2012

Another beautiful performance of Divertimento No. 15, with its unvarying cast, except that Jordyn Richter continues to sub for Amy Brandt and Miriam Ernest continued to sub for Jessica Lawrence, as she has all during the run, although I didn't mention this before. I noted "Wow!" in my program on Friday night, and it's still pretty much true.

In Prodigal Son, Magnicaballi as the Siren slinks around without being awfully menacing yet; but in a few more performances of this, that may come, too. She does other roles as different as Third Variation and Strip Tease Girl so well, I think she'll fit herself into this one if she has the opportunity. Maybe by the time the troupe goes to Oman? (I don't know whether they're taking this there. Or what that repertory is, except for, apparently, Agon.)

In Slaughter, Henning showed the most complete and pointed-up Hoofer yet, especially in the penultimate scene, where he maintains dramatic tension about the presence in the audience of the Gangster, not to mention his fluent tap dancing.

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Collecting myself for the return to the Windy City, but wanting not to leave any overall impression of grumpiness or pickiness on my part - it's easier to quibble than to find adequate phrases for a troupe of this caliber: Overall it was a rewarding run, more than satisfying; and such shortcomings as there were, like interpretations shown by further performances to have been a little underdeveloped at first - which Sarah Kaufman chose to emphasize in her review of opening night, apparently also choosing to ignore Program B, with its Wow! Divertimento No. 15 right off the bat - can be ascribed to the apparently tiny budget with which Farrell works. We don't usually review the audience much, but their understanding and opinions are interesting: I gather someone in the house explained to a friend Farrell doesn't get a lot of money; and the lady next to me remarked to her companion last night, after the last performance, "I'm going to miss this company. It's all Balanchine, and Balanchine is the best." Amen, sister!

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