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2001 SAB Workshops

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I know that reviews of the SAB workshops have been a touchy subject...however as a novice to the SAB workshop world, I'm VERY curious as to how other people viewed the workshops. First of all, as someone who didn't get past preschool ballet classes, I'm very impressed by all of the dancers who had the talent, dedication, desire and nerve to dance in the SAB Workshops.

IMHO, the ballets were well performed, but I'm not sure all of the dancers "got" the Bourneville style in "Napoli". There were a sprinkling of minor bobbles-just a reminder that these dancers are not pros yet. In general, I thought the women were good,but the men seemed a bit weak.....am I just used to seeing the pros at NYCB/ABT. There were some substutions, (though I believe the substituted-for dancers still danced in the "corps")-so this may have accounted for some of the jitters among the men. Among the men, Joshua Spell (I think) and the male dancer in the first duet of the Tarantella in "Napoli" stood out. I thought there were some weaknesses in a some of the other guys-perhaps I can discuss my thoughts in private e-mails, to avoid negativity on this board....

A question...I noticed that on several occasions, when landing tours (jumps...sorry, I'm still trying to learn all the vocab) would "cheat" the last rotation by essentially doing it on the ground. In skating, this is considered to be a fault"...were the guys cheating the rotations and if so, is it a bad thing in ballet as well. I would rather have seen fewer complete rotations, rather than a cheated rotation on the floor. Anyone want to comment or explain??

Among the women, I was pleasantly surprised to see such a range in body shapes. One gets used to the ultra thin bodies of NYCB....

Does anyone know if Emily Hendrickson is a younger sibling of Adam and Jessy? (Looks like she could be)

All in all, it was a good night of dancing, even though the ballets themselves were not among my favorites.

Oh, I did see Nikolaj Hubbe during intermission, but he did not come out during the bows for "Napoli".


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Thanks for the update, Kate. The next time I update Links, I'll include yours -- I think it's a great idea, and will be very helpful.

You can make a signature and put that web site in your profile, so that every time you make a post it will show up, if you'd like. Check the faq link to see how :)

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I attended the afternoon performance. Coming off last year's great perf of Ashley Bouder (who with her La Source perfs has joined the ranks of Kistler, Ringer, and Somogyi as a fave of mine), Andrew Veyette, and Daniel Ulbricht in Stars & Stripes, this year was inevitably disappointing for me. None of the dancers made much of an impression-- they were lovely, as always-- just no one who stood out.

It was quite odd watching Divertimento No. 15, having only recently seen the very young cast at NYCB do it. For once, I wasn't impressed with the coaching the SABers received-- I didn't see the distinction among the different variations the way I did at City Ballet or when Suzanne Farrell staged it with her group.

The highlight of the program was seeing Melissa Barak's piece. She might not have taken the Balanchine black & white ballet genre to a new level, but she certainly provided us with an extremely watchable variation. I found the ballet immensely enjoyable-- not an *everything but the kitchen sink* attempt. And, unlike Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia, I felt there was a *whole* to this ballet, not just a group of parts strung together.

That she's only 21 and a woman only excites me more.

I hope this ballet moves to NYCB.

-amanda, who still has yet to see any of Leigh's work...

[ 06-05-2001: Message edited by: AmandaNYC ]

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Melissa Barak's piece is moving into the NYCB repertory, according to Peter Martins, who made it official last night. I don't know if next season, or the following.

Jennifer Dunning's review in the Times on Monday discussed it and my meagre two cents would be even more enthusiastic as to its beauty. I found it a lovely marriage of music and movement and classical technique. The dancers were all wonderful--she picked her cast, so presumably, wanted specific qualities in each one, and they delivered a very eloquent performance.

I saw all three performances and found Saturday afternoon's to be the least invigorating--I truly think it was the jitters, as the cast was essentially the same as for the Gala on Monday. Performances on Saturday night were *really* go-get-em, and last night was exciting as well.

I thought the choice of program pieces was also great--how can one not be happy after a performance of Napoli on a June evening???? :)

[ 06-05-2001: Message edited by: Juliet ]

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I saw the Saturday night performance, and really enjoyed it. I agree that Divertimento wasn't as distinctive as it could have been. It was very, very fast, and the soloists had trouble getting through the steps, much less making something individual out of them. I thought the Napoli was very good, too, considering they were dancing in a totally foreign language. They didn't overextend or hold things too long, and I thought they by and large looked relaxed and happy. And the blowing kisses solo didn't look coy or mannered. And of course just listening to that music was such a treat--though the male dancers should have been wearing hats to throw!

I too was impressed by the new ballet, not that it broke new ground, but it seemed so accomplished. She really knew how to move a corps, and the solos for the two girls made them look so good. I was most impressed too that it seemed designed for their age as well as ability--no romantic pas de deux which emotionally might be hard for teenagers to put over, no flashy lifts or soulful glances, just interesting steps.

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I saw the Saturday night and Monday night performances. And, yes, there were some ups and downs in places, but considering that these were student performances, I thought, on the whole, the evenings were quite wonderful, particularly on Monday. I don't think I've ever seen such a glowing, happy performance of Divertimento before. While with City Ballet or other companies, it's often just another ballet (no matter how well-performed) for these kids it was clearly a culmination of years of hard work, and almost a religious experience. Even the corps girls glowed.

And if some of the roles were a bit sketchy, others were quite wonderful, I thought. Far be it from me to mention names, but the girl who did the Melissa Hayden role with the crazy-fast footwork has a great future, I'm sure.

I liked the way Barak's piece managed to be set to Baroque music with two lead women without seeming at all derivative of or even quoting that other Baroque, two-lead-ballerina ballet that NYCB does. The Telemann was joyful, fluent and helped the kids dancing it to look great, I thought.

Speaking of happy, it doesn't get happier than the pas de six (sure are a heck of a lot of dancers for a pas de six!) and Tarantella from Napoli. Again, some kids were better than others, but there's a reason why: these solos are hard has hell. I loved the joy and panache we saw from most of the kids (and yes, the kiss-blowing solo was delightful), despite the occasional less than tidy moment. I remember how pallid NYCB's Bournonville Divertissment had become by the time it was last given a rest, and I'm glad to see how much the SAB students relished their roles.

I certainly left the theater feeling energized and happy myself.

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Ditto with Eric. I loved Div. # 15 Monday night and actually felt that the variations (particularly the first set of solo variations) had more distinction (one from the other) and more clarity than when I saw them performed recently by the company (and I liked that company performance very much). I think Ms. Schorer did a great job coaching them in this.

As for Melissa Barak's piece, I think Jennnifer Dunning's review hit the nail right on the head in two ways.

First, Melissa made wonderful roles for her two principal women, roles that showed off each of their individual essences, their "perfumes," to the point where I would have a hard time imagining anyone else dancing them.

Second, Dunning was also quite right about how eloquent and nuanced Melissa made her dancer's legs -- particularly that subtle, "hop on point (in sous sus)and then pliee very slightly" step which is repeated again and again throughout the piece as a motif. I loved that. It breaths with the the music. Or it's a pulse. Contrast that step with Robbins in "Brandenburg," where the whole corps stands in a sort of conga line and deeply pliees to a baroque rhthym.

It's not that the ballet as a whole is such a damn masterpiece. Some of it seemed very basic and appropriate for a school performance by a very young choreographer. But as a whole it was more than basic, and when I consider the elements I've described above, I think it was quite beautiful. Or at least it has left me with a clear memory of beauty and of those two principal girls, which is not something you say every day after seeing a new ballet.

[ 06-06-2001: Message edited by: Michael1 ]

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Wow..what great reviews...

Since the NYTimes does not appear to be forthcoming with a review of Monday, could someone who attended the Monday performance be so kind as to let me know who won the Mae Wien award(s). THanks!!

Also, I'm still searching for old SAB workshop programs and/or newsletters (or copies) to help me fill in the blanks on my webpage.

You can e-mail via the webpage (see signature)



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I'm sorry--forgot to write about the Wien awards last week (I also assumed that it would come out in the paper, and I am sure it will, eventually!)

Peter Boal: Distinguished Service

Melissa Barak: Choreography

Ben Griffiths & David Blumenfeld

Ashlee Knapp & Megan Fairchild

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Guest hit-5th

no one knows which students are going to get apprentiships. watch out for stephanie sullivan though!!!!

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