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NYCB Fall 2014 Season

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Overall last night was very enjoyable, despite the late start. Loved Sara Mearns in Mozartiana -- she brought a special sense of poetry and inner depth, yearning -- it's hard to find the words, but it was wonderful. Loved Chase Finlay also. In Tchai Suite #3, I enjoyed Taylor Stanley and Ashley Laracey in the second movement. I feel I haven't seen enough of Taylor Stanley lately. I'm not sure, but he seems to be dancing less than he did awhile back. In any case, every time I see him I can't take my eyes off of him. Ashley Bouder and Gonzalo Garcia in T&V -- so yes!

I look forward to Gretchen Smith's debut in Apollo this evening, not to mention Reichlen and Danchig-Waring in Agon.

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The T&V last night were heaven. It was as if everyone danced in a state of grace - the lighting, costumes, corps and soloists it all came together in perfection. -

Ashely Boulder was wonderful - purity, clarity and so natural, I also liked Gonzalo Garcia - everything was balanced and measured, nothing exaggerated.

In Mozartiana the little girls who did such a great job had the ethereal charm of children in 18 century paintings.

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I'm willing to keep an open mind for a secnd viewing, but Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibitiion did not appeal to me last night. I thought most of the music was not suitable for dance (same problem as his Tempest!). Maybe that's why Pictures hasn't been used before for a ballet. The dancers worked hard in very athletic choreography that seemed to have them in constant motion. The only truly musical section was a wonderful pdd for Whelan and Tyler Angle, but that was a relatively short few minutes in a work that, in my opinion, started to become tedious. Kudos also to Mearns and Tiler Peck for executing some very difficult choreography. Frequently, I felt that none of the choreography flowed from the music. For all that energy expended on stage, it just didn't add up for me as a memorable ballet for either its choreography or structure. The background design was wonderful - a changing series of modern art designs and geometric patterns. I liked the color blocked geometric designs of the men's costumes, but I thought the loose short dresses for the women looked particularly unflattering on a few ballerinas.

ON second viewing I liked Justin Peck's ballet, Belle Lettres, even more than on opening night.

I'm starting to like the Liam Scarlett ballet (Funerialles) more, but Tiler Peck's costume is almost like a third character in the ballet that distracts from the choreography. The layers and layers and layers of fabric are in the way.

I didn't like the Troy Schumacher ballet any better last night compared to opening night. Those horrible costumes make the dancers' legs look heavy.

The Carolina Herrera costumes look beautiful and are very well suited to the ballet. I only wish the choreography was a little more interesting.

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I'm willing to keep an open mind for a secnd viewing, but Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibitiion did not appeal to me last night. I thought most of the music was not suitable for dance (same problem as his Tempest!). Maybe that's why Pictures hasn't been used before for a ballet. The dancers worked hard in very athletic choreography that seemed to have them in constant motion. The only truly musical section was a wonderful pdd for Whelan and Tyler Angle, but that was a relatively short few minutes in a work that, in my opinion, started to become tedious. Kudos also to Mearns and Tiler Peck for executing some very difficult choreography. Frequently, I felt that none of the choreography flowed from the music. For all that energy expended on stage, it just didn't add up for me as a memorable ballet for either its choreography or structure. The background design was wonderful - a changing series of modern art designs and geometric patterns. I liked the color blocked geometric designs of the men's costumes, but I thought the loose short dresses for the women looked particularly unflattering on a few ballerinas.

A little divigation from the main topic

I was piqued by your comment that the score hadn't been used for ballet before, since I could remember it showing up in the past, so I did a little rummaging around. The Mussorgsky has actually been used multiple times, in both ballet and modern dance works, although few of them seem to be in active repertories today.

For a fairly complete list, take a look at the link from the Dance Collection, but there is fairly extensive information for a few productions that were made recently.

Flashback 2014

Eva Duda Dance Company

http://evaduda.net/repertoire/flashback/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaTfhhfyhiI

Pictures at an Exhibition 2009

Young Vic

Sadler’s Wells

Choreographer: Frauke Requardt

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2009/may/15/dance-review-pictures-exhibition-mussorgsky

Pictures at an Exhibition 1991

Choreographer: Moses Pendleton

Rhombus Media

http://www.momix.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_Pendleton

new version in PBS shared Dance in America: http://catalog.nypl.org/search~S99?/XPictures+at+an+Exhibition&searchscope=99&SORT=D/XPictures+at+an+Exhibition&searchscope=99&SORT=D&SUBKEY=Pictures+at+an+Exhibition/1%2C39%2C39%2CB/frameset&FF=XPictures+at+an+Exhibition&searchscope=99&SORT=D&20%2C20%2C

New York Public Library Dance Collection listing

http://catalog.nypl.org/search~S99/?searchtype=X&searcharg=Pictures+at+an+Exhibition&searchscope=99&sortdropdown=-&SORT=DZ&extended=0&SUBMIT=Search&searchlimits=&searchorigarg=XPictures+at+an+Exhibition%26SORT%3DD

David Bintley 1997 (citation)

Claude Kipnis mime 1982 (citation)

Gerhardt Bohner 1981 (citation)

Emily Frankel 1972 (citation)

Elsa-Marianne Von Rosen 1972 (citation)

Feodor Lopukhov 1960 (citation)

Bronislava Nijinska 1944 (citation)

Jan Veen 1937 (citation)

And now, back to our show...

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At least the Pictures music is "dansante". And Justin Peck certainly gave himself a challenge with the music he chose. I am quite fond of most of Cesar Franck's music but that piece was pretty bad - sounded like a student-age throwaway.

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A note about programing and casting for Weeks 3 and 4. From the press department:

Christopher Wheeldon’sThis Bitter Earth has been added to the “Masters at Work” programs on Friday, October 10; Thursday, October 16; and Saturday, October 18 (matinee); and will not be performed on the remaining “21st Century Choreographers I” programs on Tuesday, October 7; Thursday, October 9; and Saturday, October 11 (evening). Casting will remain the same, with Wendy Whelan and Tyler Angle scheduled to dance This Bitter Earth at each performance.

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I was at both performances yesterday.

The matinee was a total delight.

Serenade – was beautiful. I’m surprised to find how much I like Savannah Lowery as the Russian Girl. There are other dancers I would have preferred to see getting a chance in this role, and Lowery has never been a favorite of mine, seeming heavy and with ungainly port de bras. But she’s growing on me. She brings a straightforward, energetic, and sunny approach that I enjoy despite myself. As the Dark Angel, Rebecca Krohn, brings glamour and intense but restrained drama. Finally, the pas de deux with Sterling Hyltin and Jared Angle was wonderful, especially the part where she circles the stage and he follows her, with her beginning the musical phrase, and the beat of his legs, perfectly timed, closing the phrase. He seems to have lost weight this season. Definitely one of my favorite dancers.

Mozartiana – as beautiful a performance as any I ever hope to see. The opening movement, with an ardent, intensely interior Sara Mearns backed up by four solemn and poignant young girls, was heartbreaking. (What a piece of genius by Balanchine to include young girls – the poignant effect would be completely lost if the principal were either alone, or backed up by adult women.) Anthony Huxley has perfect form. And Chase Finlay and Sara Mearns look wonderful together. They both have a soft, plush quality which is a joy to watch. She is somehow both restrained and expansive, while he combines nobility and humility. I don’t think Mozartiana is on the schedule for the rest of the 2014-2015 season – a real shame! I’m in love with this piece.

Tchaikovsky pdd – Tiler Peck and Joaquin de Luz amaze and delight with dazzling technique, stellar form, and relaxed, easy charm.

Tchai Suite #3 – The first three movements do get long. The second is my favorite – and Taylor Stanley and Ashley Laracey excellent. Taylor Stanley – as always totally dynamic and riveting, and with spectacular grand jetes.

T&V – Ashley Bouder and Gonzalo Garcia again looking wonderful. Garcia, never previously someone I sought out, is, like Savannah Lowery, growing on me. I also found myself noticing one of the demi-soloist men. I’m not completely sure who he was – after scrutinizing photos on the website, I think Peter Walker. Tall and dark, with a beautiful sissonne.

I was less enthusiastic about the evening performance – or, rather, the programming. Donizetti Variations, with sizzling performances by Tiler Peck and the ever-amazing Joaquin de Luz, was the highlight. It was wonderful to see Wendy Whelan in La Sonnambula, but beyond that this piece doesn’t have a lot of interest for me. Finally, I’m getting weary of Firebird.

The company seems to have a boundless supply of wonderful dancers. Whatever that's like for the dancers, it's great for the audience!

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A few other notes on casting. I saw both Lauren Lovette and Gretchen Smith in their debuts as Calliope in Apollo. Lovette danced with Tiler Peck and Ashley Bouder as the three Muses, while Smith was with Maria Kowroski and Sara Mearns. I felt both were mismatched trios, and would have switched things up. Lovette looked odd next to Tiler Peck and Ashley Bouder. Lovette has so much warmth and individuality that she seemed to stand out next to them -- beautiful, but odd... while Peck and Bouder seemed too cool next to Lovette. Smith, on the other hand, faded alongside the glamour and warmth of Kowroski and Mearns. So I would have put Lovette with Kowroski and Mearns -- three beauties with warmth and individuality, while Smith would be a better fit with Peck and Bouder. IMHO.

I also saw Ashley Hod and Unity Phelan in their debut in the soloist roles of Agon. Both looked very good, I thought, with Hod really standing out. I recall seeing her in some small featured role last spring -- I forget what -- but young as she is, she catches the eye.

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Cobweb, I think you're right - Peter Walker stood out to me too. Thanks for identifying him by name.

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I was at the Saturday evening performance of Donizetti Variations, La Sonambula and Firebird. It was more enjoyable than I thought it would be since like many others I'm not a big fan of either La Sonambula or Firebird. For me the evening was rescued by the dancers.

Tyler Peck, Joaquin de Luz, Wendy Whalen, Robert Fairchild and Ashley Bouder were wonderful.

Can someone help me with some small questions regarding Firebird. I may be getting my productions mixed up or having a senior moment but didn't the women used to roll a ball around? And didn't the men in the beginning of the wedding scene in front of the front cloth come out from either side carrying banners?

I know Firebird has been revised many times and the questions are a probably inane but any help the members can give is greatly appreciated.

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stagings of Fokine's FIREBIRD include the tossing of balls, representing the golden apples, by the enchanted princesses, from the magic tree is Kastchei's garden.

it's true Balanchine's staging had a number of revivals, but i don't think any included the tossing of the golden apples; current stagings said to honor Fokine's choreography do include this "ball" tossing. but they're the size of apples and not a single large ball, that said Fokine's staging also involved the breaking of a large egg from a secret casket, said to be the way to destroy Kastchei's soul.

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Thanks Drew and rg. I must have seen a version of Fokine's choreography somewhere along the way. As you said rg, I remember the tossing of balls the size of apples.

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Reporting in on the Ballet Essentials Adult Movement Class last Saturday. I went with a friend and we were so glad we jumped in although a little nervous. When it was all over she commented, well we weren't the oldest and we weren't the worst! We were made to feel at ease in a room of approx 40 people. Everyone from the staff running the program, to the others participating, to the dancers instructing us were very friendly. I had to stop and pinch myself that I was in a NYCB rehearsal room with NYCB dancers; it was a very special feeling. We were instructed by Savannah Lowery and Russell Janzen. Savannah did most of the instructing starting with a simple center barre, then showing us the opening sequence of Seranade, which was relatively easy to follow. Next came a compilation of moves from Mozartiana, which was decidedly more difficult, but everyone had fun with it. There was time at the end for questions and photos. I would definitely do this again and was disappointed to learn that ALL the dates have been sold out! Let me put in my bid now: if anyone ends up with an extra ticket or 2 for the spring session I would love to purchase them! My friend and I went on to see the matinee performance that day and it was a real treat to see Savannah and Russell on stage after being with them up close and personal. A cherry on the top: this session was held in a rehearsal room on the 7th floor of the Rose Bldg. When we exited the elevator we saw Glenn Close, Lindsey Duncan and Bob Balaban relaxing in the lounge area. Probably there rehearsing for A Delicate Balance. As we exited the building after the session we saw Joaquin Phoenix and Owen Wilson, I suppose attending one of the New York Film Festival events. Also, a NYTimes reporter was there on assignment for the Urban Athlete column. She wasn't sure when the piece would run but she interviewed my friend so we're hoping to see her in print!

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Reporting in on the Ballet Essentials Adult Movement Class last Saturday. I went with a friend and we were so glad we jumped in although a little nervous. When it was all over she commented, well we weren't the oldest and we weren't the worst! We were made to feel at ease in a room of approx 40 people. Everyone from the staff running the program, to the others participating, to the dancers instructing us were very friendly. I had to stop and pinch myself that I was in a NYCB rehearsal room with NYCB dancers; it was a very special feeling. We were instructed by Savannah Lowery and Russell Janzen. Savannah did most of the instructing starting with a simple center barre, then showing us the opening sequence of Seranade, which was relatively easy to follow. Next came a compilation of moves from Mozartiana, which was decidedly more difficult, but everyone had fun with it. There was time at the end for questions and photos. I would definitely do this again and was disappointed to learn that ALL the dates have been sold out! . . .

I'm so glad to hear about this. I guess my class back in January was the prototype for a very successful format for the Company. Let's hope they expand the schedule for 2015-16! The best part for me was learning a few steps from a Balanchine ballet and then "performing" it with the class accompanied by a real rehearsal accompanist on a grand piano - and doing all of this in such hallowed ground.

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I attended last night's performance. I usually dread seeing Interplay, but it allowed me to see some rising talented corps members who I normally don't see in featured parts. The revelation for me was Sebastian Velez. He seems to have exquisite technical skills, and the audience burst into spontaneous applause upon his completion of a series of jumps. Another standout was Harrison Ball.

The evening started with Chaconne, one of Maria K's best parts. Her fluid movements were perfection. Tyler Angle did a wonderful job too, both in his partnering and in his execution of his difficult solo passages. Unfortunately, the secondary leads Erica Pereira and Antonia Carmena had some issues. Not sure who was at fault, but Erica almost took an awful spill.

Wendy received huge applause for After the Rain. She will be missed.

I didn't like Everywhere we Go (Peck) when it debuted last season. A second viewing last night didn't alter my opinion. There have been some changes in casting since the premiere. Most notable is that Ashly Isaacs, a brilliant allegro dancer, made a stellar debut in the ballet.

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I was also there last night and totally agree with abatt about Maria K & Tyler Angle in Chaconne. The were both wonderful. Her musicality and wit, and his allegro technique and ability to make clear, beautiful shapes in the air were on full display.

I've never gotten Erica Pereira. She and Carmena did the secondary pas. She's been a soloist for about 5 years now and hasn't seemed to develop at all. Her upper and lower body never seem in sync. No matter who her partner is, she seems uncomfortable being partnered and there is always a flub. She's small and thin but seems impossible to partner. It's sad to see a dancer so stuck.

Interplay was fun despite a few not so great double tours here and there. Sebastian Velez nailed his four consecutive which was great. Lauren Lovette was partnered with great skill by Chase Finley, and was just beautiful in the pas de deux - lush, radiant, sweet and secure. I think she has the makings of a principal dancer.

In After the Rain, Wendy Whalen & Craig Hall demonstrated their usual sensitivity to the music, choreography and each other. The audience was obviously aware that Whalen is retiring, and treated her with tremendous warmth. I wonder who will inherit that role.

It was my first viewing of Peck's Everywhere We Go. I liked the beginning and a lot of the group movements. I also liked some of the motifs that he introduced and developed. Yet the piece didn't hang together for me. For one thing the music (IMO) has no arc, so the order of the pieces seemed random. That made the order of the sections of choreography seem random too. In fact there were several times when the piece could have ended that would have been fine with me. It wasn't building towards anything. Some dancers did look really good in it. Rebecca Krohn's line, movement quality and port de bras were outstanding. Ashly Isaacs is a real powerhouse. I'm interested in seeing how she develops.

Perhaps I need to see the piece again to make better sense out of it, but on 1st viewing it just went one until it stopped with some interesting sections and good dancing.

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It reads like Sebastian got great spotlight last night even from the Instagram replies :-). Hope there's more from him, roles-wise.

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I went to two thirds of last night's show. I seriously considered skipping Morgen, but since it was a new cast I decided to see it again. With Chase Finlay, Z. Catazaro and R. Janzen taking over the leads, it was certainly easy on the eyes. I thought all of the men could have used additional rehearsal time on the partnering. There were many slight mistakes that need to be ironed out. I thought the most evident difficulty was from Z. Catazaro. Reichlin was too tall for Catazaro to comfortably partner her. This was another smashing debut for Ashly Isaacs in the role originated by Janie Taylor. Isaacs was fearless. I suspect a promotion will be in her future by the end of the 2015. I also loved Krohn in this. Her long limbs and vulnerability were perfect for the role.

Trying to like Clearing Dawn, but it's just not happening for me.

Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild are deepening the content of their pdd in Funerialles with every additional performnace. Last night was perfection.

Another gorgeous performance of Belle Lettres.

I didn't stay for the new Ratmansky, since it is returning in the Winter season and this was a long program.

Sara Mearns twitter page states that she "missed her turn" last night in the Ratmansky. What's that about? Was anyone there.

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I've watched Ashly Issacs dance since she was 11 - it's always been clear how special she is - so glad NYC audiences are seeing her artistry, courage and strength!

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I had heard from other NYCB fans that this was an important program that made ballet feel relevant today, and overall I was not disappointed. Morgan was an uninspiring opening with the above noted partnering issues but from then on it was an exciting ride.

Troy Schumacher was a proud attendee who challenged his accomplished dancers in fascinating new ways. Tiler and Robert and Sarah Burton's fabulous dress performed to justified bravos. Justin's dancers were more beautiful than in anything he's done before. Ratmansky seems once again to be most at home with NYCB's dancers and stage.

Whatever our quibbles with aspects of the choreography or design it felt like many creative forces had brought their talents together to their mutual glory.

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I went to two thirds of last night's show. I seriously considered skipping Morgen, but since it was a new cast I decided to see it again. With Chase Finlay, Z. Catazaro and R. Janzen taking over the leads, it was certainly easy on the eyes. I thought all of the men could have used additional rehearsal time on the partnering. There were many slight mistakes that need to be ironed out. I thought the most evident difficulty was from Z. Catazaro. Reichlin was too tall for Catazaro to comfortably partner her. This was another smashing debut for Ashly Isaacs in the role originated by Janie Taylor. Isaacs was fearless. I suspect a promotion will be in her future by the end of the 2015. I also loved Krohn in this. Her long limbs and vulnerability were perfect for the role.

Trying to like Clearing Dawn, but it's just not happening for me.

Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild are deepening the content of their pdd in Funerialles with every additional performnace. Last night was perfection.

Another gorgeous performance of Belle Lettres.

I didn't stay for the new Ratmansky, since it is returning in the Winter season and this was a long program.

Sara Mearns twitter page states that she "missed her turn" last night in the Ratmansky. What's that about? Was anyone there.

I was there but have no idea what a Sara is talking about. BTW I feel the same way about Clearing Dawn as you.

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