Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

NYCB Winter 2015 Season

Recommended Posts

Fourth week casting up. Surprisingly Tiler Peck is not cast in Juliet.

Seems like Martins is sticking with his original Juliets. I'm surprised he is still casting Sterling H. It seems he's always wanted youth not developed artists. At least that seemed to be his original idea. Personally I always thought that idea a bit wacky.

He seems to really favor Hyltin (I actually don't like her). I do like everyone else in the cast, though, so I might go see it if tickets are still available. I'm glad to see Peirera is getting to do a few Juliets. BTW, this is just the first few days. Tiler might still get a Juliet.

Link to comment

What a difference a cast can make. We again had Donizetti Variations, La Valse and Chacoone tonight but the leads were different. While we had basically the same cast of Donizetti, Andy Vyette danced the male lead instead of Joaquin. Ashley was still fantastic, maybe even a little more so than last week due to Andy's strong partnering (especially how high and how long he could lift her). But when it came to the solos Andy simply didn't match Joaquin. He did not have enough speed for the multiple a la second turns, pirouettes, tours, & split air jumps. As a result, he did fewer of them and did them more slowly (and less cleanly) than Joaquin. He also didn't jump as high or cover as much ground. Thus, he wasn't that much fun to watch. I would say that while still excellent, the piece lacked the over the top excitement it had last week.

As for La Valse, it was a thousand times better with Sara Mearns than Sterling Hyltin. Sara brought her innate musicality and dramatic flair to the role. She may not have the vulnerability of Janie Taylor, but I liked her interpretation, especially when she accepts the necklace from Death, looks away from the mirror and then plunges her arms into the black gloves. Tyler Angle, as usual, was her partner and was fine. Justin Peck was ok as a seductive Death but I thought he looked a little bit out of shape (clearly choreographing is coming first these days). I was very impressed with the demis tonight: Lauren King was a lovely, pretty dancer (she reminds me a bit of Janie) partnered well by Antonio Carmena, Georgina Pazcoguin is simply a dynamo (definitely one to watch) partnered by Sean Suozzi and the handsome Zachary Catazaro (another one to watch) shined in his partnering of Ashley Laracey. I love the Romantic swirling music, matched with the long, beautiful swirling gowns .All in all it very successful performance of this piece.

Finally, there was Chaconne. Tonight Tess Reichlen and Adrian Danchig-Waring were the leads and again the piece was also a thousand times better than with Maria and Tyler. Adrian is a gorgeous dancer (big quads of steel, too), with clean pirouettes, fast brise volées, nice lines and a sureness about his partnering. In the past I have often not liked Tess, finding her without personality or stage presence. Well, tonight she showed both, along with an ability to hit her lines (be they arabesques, penchees, or the Balanchine hip thrust forward thing). She smiled, as did he, so they looked like they had some chemistry (Maria and Tyler did not) and even as though they were enjoying themselves. I would also commend Adrian on his strong partnering; Tess is a tall, big girl and helping her find her balance can't be easy. But the section where Tess extends her leg to a high second and her arms are overhead, Adrian takes her hand, turns her a little and then grasps the other hand was flawless. And they repeated this move again, with their back to the audience. My friend,who danced with NYCB during their "glory days" found Tess too safe and unwilling to go just a bit off balance (the definite hallmark of Balanchine style back then) But I say baby steps, first lets get her to feel comfortable on stage and then she can start risking this (hopefully she has a good coach).

Chaconne has a large cast and is proving to be training ground for young corps members like Hod, Phelan, Sanz and even for apprentices (Clara Miller, Miriam Miller,Preston Chamblee and Baily Jones). Then there the long time corps members like Devin Alberda who need to be promoted to soloist NOW. Anyway Chaconne tonight was far from soporific (as I found it last week) and the evening proved to be very enjoyable.

Link to comment

Cobweb, Ashly Issacs is this year's Janice Levin Award winner. The announcement was printed on the NYCB Guild luncheon invitation.

Thanks for the info, mira! She absolutely deserves it. I hope she's back in action soon -- her Sugarplum debut was cancelled, and I don't see her on the schedule at all for the current season.

Link to comment

I must respectfully disagree with Amour about Chaconne. I most definitely am not a fan of the Adrian Danchig-Waring/Tess Reichlen pairing. He is just too short to partner her. They had a very visible bobble in the opening pdd when she has to duck under his arm -- because she had trouble ducking that low. He also had trouble reaching for her wrists when she was on point with arms raised. Awkward. I found Maria and Tyler's opening pdd just magical and ethereal. Maria also is just inherently regal. The Adrian/Tess version was clunky. Otoh, I thought they both excelled at the solo variations. Can't they find a taller person for Tess to dance with regularly? She's been stuck with Ask la cour amid a rotation of other men who aren't quite right, and she hasn't really had time to develop a partnership with any. What about Janzen, or Catazaro?

I thought Sara Mearns was fantastic in La Valse. So much better than Sterling Hyltin (I don't much like Hyltin in anything).

Link to comment

I saw a few performances over the weekend, including Hyltin's La Valse. I didn't like her interpretation, but I'm willing to see keep an open mind about it. She conveyed a lot of fear when interacting with Ramasar's death figure. However, she didn't convey that she was seduced in any way by either Ramasar himself, or by the objects Ramasar was giving to her. The steps were all there, but somehow the drama was lacking. I think Hyltin is better in neo-classical works than in dance dramas.

Bouder toned down her racing ahead of the pack in the finale of Symphony in C, but that tendency still slipped in briefly. I though B. Pollack was a breath of fresh air in the 4th movement. In fact, I enjoyed the entire cast of Symphony in C on Sat evening, except for Chase Finlay. He needs improvement in his technique, pronto.

Bouder and DeLuz were thrilling in Donizetti over the weekend, as others have noted.

I feel that Chaconne is one of Maria's best roles, and I thought she and Tyler Angle did an excellent job. Have not seen the Reichlin/Adrian D-W cast in Chaconne.

Regarding the week 4 casting, isn't it strange that there are only two lead casts alternating in 5 consecutive performances? I hope they can handle it.

Yes, Isaacs is a very deserving recipient of the Levin award. I hope she is able to return to the stage soon.

Link to comment

Thanks to all of you who have reported on the performances this winter season. I have enjoyed all of your posts. Almost like being there! I am recovering from an auto accident and can't get into New York from Connecticut so had to exchange my tickets for my winter performances for spring so I am happy to hear all the details from you. Please report on the Peck/Copland ballet-- I had a ticket for that and am keen to read your synopses and reviews. I also had a ticket for R&J, which I had seen before with Hytin and Robbie and I love the ballet and the music.

Link to comment

1/28/2015 Performance

It doesn’t get much better than Ashley Bouder in Donizetti Variations. She brought everything to this ballet last night: charm, wit, brilliant-risk-taking allegro technique. She has an amazing jump and sharp attack to details when needed, all with an abundance of playfulness with the music and playful partnering with Andrew Veyette. Ashley does this never going overboard or disrespecting Balanchine’s choreography. She never takes any short cuts, she never simplifies difficult choreography. Ashley is a joy in this ballet as well as many others where allegro is required.

Andrew Veyette was quite wonderful in Donizetti with his flawless partnering and risk-taking technique. He moved with great freedom and strength. His lines were long, lean and elegantly masculine. If he did not move quite as fast as the much shorter De Luz, it didn’t bother me one bit. I preferred Veyette’s expansiveness. And don’t get me wrong, Veyette also moved with the speed of a big cat. He didn’t smile a flashy grin throughout, but when something made him smile, the audience smiled along because it seemed a natural response to whatever was happening at that moment in the ballet. He had a very easy going style/approach without sacrificing any of the seriously difficult and speedy technical demands.

I agree with Amour, Devin Alberda was a standout all night. He is a very giving, sensitive, and youthfully handsome performer who always gives his best. In addition to dancing one of only three guys in the corps of Donizetti, Devin had a bit of tricky partnering responsibilities with Bouder which he handled expertly.

Next up was La Valse which I haven’t seen in a while. Sara Mearns was once again a fine dramatic actress, as well as being awe inspiring with her luxurious movements. I was also struck by Gina Pazcoguin’s new confidence and larger than ever sweeping movements. She and Sean Suozzi were a mysterious and boldly intense pair. The stage seemed small when they danced together.

Chaconne was led by Tess Reichlen and the fascinating Adrian Danchig-Waring. It’s about time that he danced, really danced, not just partnered in a big principal role. Adrian is a big cat if ever there was one. He must be part cat to have executed every technical demand with such quiet, muscular strength. He was not flashy, but reminded me a bit of what had been Wendy Whelan’s balletic eccentric style. All the classical lines and technique but with something extra, otherworldly. Adrian was a beautiful creature rather than a charming prince. I wasn’t sure that his style would work for him in a ballet such as Chaconne, but Adrian was astonishing. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

Perhaps Adrian was not the tallest partner available for Tess, I’d agree. Russell Janzen I believe is taller than Adrian and has danced Chaconne with Sara… I don’t believe Sara is taller than Tess so why didn’t Janzen dance with Tess and Adrian dance with Sara? Only the NYCB casting chefs know.

Tess in her solos and approach to Chaconne overall had a long way to go, as did most of the other female dancers in that ballet. Most played it safe and did less than the choreography required except for Gwyneth Muller in the pas de trois who seriously needed to be a bit less trashy. I love trash and flash, but not when it’s over done. She did give it her all however which was lacking from the other soloists with the exception of Antonio Carmena, David Prottas and once again Devin Alberda.

Still, there was much to delight in this evening. An all Balanchine program never fails to amaze whether or not the casting is perfect.

Link to comment

Tonight was the All Bach program at NYCB. First up was Concerto Barocco, which is one of my favorite Balanchine works. Tonight's leads were Tess, Sara and Ask all of whom did a good job. But I have to say I think Tess has reached a new level in her artistry. As with her performance last night, she showed confidence, personality and stage presence. She seems to be using her tall, long limbed body to its full extent. In the beginning, I have to say my eyes were totally drawn to her and not to Sara (who seemed to be trying to catch up to the music). Ask is a suitably tall partner and there were no bobbles tonight (I did see the one you saw with Adrian, balanchinette, it just didn't bother me that much), just a beautiful, well executed PDD. By the end, Sara had caught up to the music so the finale was wonderful.

Then came Robbins' Goldberg Variations. What to say about that? It was my first time seeing it though I am familiar with the music (just piano). There was good and bad. The good was that much of the dancing is beautiful; sustained, long legato phrasing where every movement is stretched out. We get gorgeous développes to the front, penchées, attitude derrière, and a myriad of other steps. While Faye Arthur's and Zachary Catazaro start the piece, we quickly move from them into PDT or a variety of combinations (all men, two women, 4 couples, the variety is endless). What was really great, IMO, is that the majority of the piece is danced by soloists or corps members, namely Lauren Lovette, Anthony Huxley, Joseph Gordon (not long for the corps, methinks), Taylor Stanley, Daniel Applebaum and the one principal Abi Stafford (who I think has been injured but at this point looks no better than Lauren). Lauren, Anthony, Taylor and Gordon were all terrific. Then towards the end we get the principal couples: Tiler with Gonzalo, Maria with Tyler and Sterling with Tyler's brother Jared. I thought all three couples dances wonderfully with this sustained, adagio movement. It was especially nice to see Tyler dance solo (and with some brisée volees and a la seconde turns) so you can see he can dance as well as partner. I also like Sterling; she made the most of her proportionally long arms and legs. And of course Tiler Peck did a gorgeous job with Gonzalo, holding some passées for a long time. She also did some perfect fouettes. (She got the most applause) And at the finale more corps joined those who had danced. Finally Goldberg ended like it began, with Faye and Zachary.

The main thing about this piece was that it was simply too long. To have a piece with mainly the same kind of slow,sustained, legato quality go on for 1 1/4 hours is simply too long. This piece should have used only some of the variations and been 30 minutes long. Really, I would rather sit through the 45 minute Sacre (which the Mariinsky is doing in DC) than this.To some extent my concentration was faltering partially because of a bad toothache. But while I would like to see this piece again, it would be more digestible in smaller portions. A few people walked out of the theatre before the piece ended and my seat mates complained they were terribly bored. The other thing was I saw chunks of Balanchine's choreography being lifted. One example is when Maria(I think) does a backbend into Tyler's arms and he slowly rotates her face down, 360 degrees with her head back and finally (I think) her leg développes front. But that was not the only one instance, just the only one I csn recall quickly. Taken together these drawbacks are significant, especially when we, as the audience, are not really used to seeing more than about 1 hour of dance before an intermission (and even, then, in SL, for example there are all different types of music and dancing during that hour). I will probably try to catch this program again but I feel like I have to take notes.

Link to comment

I was at last night's program too. I know Goldberg is considered a masterpiece, but why does it feel like such hard work to watch. It has many beautiful segments, especially in Section II of the ballet. But section I just goes on and on and on. I have no objection to long ballets. I love Dances at a Gathering, for example. But Goldberg just doesn't draw me in, and the choreography is too repetitive in places.

I particularly enjoyed Tiler Peck, Maria K. in section II, and J. Gordon and Huxley in section I. Maria was so fluid and lyrical, and Tyler Angle was an excellent partner. Tiler Peck nailed her difficult variations with speed and great musicality. I have fond memories of Wendy Whelan performing Sterling Hyltin's role. I think Hyltin may settle into the role over time, but I thought she was the least enjoyable of the three principal women leads for section II. I also noted that Abi Stafford was the only principal dancing in Section I of the ballet. She has been doing that role for quite some time. She never seems to advance into new roles. I'm quite interested in the second cast scheduled for next week, but I don't think I can sit through this ballet again in the near future. Maybe next season if they bring it back.

The Concerto B. performance was terrific.

Link to comment

I agree the Goldberg is too long; I don't think it should be cut, because it is a great composition and needs to be played in its entirety or you lose the structural genius that it is, But Robbins takes most of the repeats, which most concert performances do not. The usual concert performance is about 40-50 minutes, not 80-85,. I get that by taking the musical repeats Robbins gets to do something different with the dance during the repeat. Also I thought the clapping that increased as the performance went on was very disruptive. Cameron had to wait several times between pieces and that disrupts the musical flow. Someone told me that back in the day the audience was asked not to applaud until the piece was over. Not sure of the source on this.

Link to comment

regarding applause mid-ballets at NYCB, in the early 1970s there use to be a slip in the program for both GOLDBERG VARIATIONS and for DIVERTIMENTO NO. 15 that went more or less as follows:

"We respectfully request that the audience hold its applause until the final curtain."

(in the case of GOLDBERG, it may also, or only, have been a pre-curtain announcement, but there were times when it was simply stated on a slip in the program.)

Link to comment

I saw today's matinee. I like the music for Symphonic Dances, but the choreography isn't great. Hyltin was very impressive as the new lead in the Cage. She was completely successful in this spikey, angular choreography. Andantino is too much minor league schmaltz for me, but Bouder and Veyette performed well. Janzen was remarkable as the new lead in Cortege - an excellent partner to Maria and wonderful in his own solos. Maria, as noted, has the regality for the Cortege ballerina role, but she hardly moved her torso or arched her back. Paz. was thrilling as the secondary lead in Cortege.

Link to comment

I attended this evening's show. Bouder was excellent in Donizetti. Veyette's first solo was awful. When it was time for his second solo, he did not return to the stage as the music played on. He evidently sustained an injury. Corps dancer Harrison Ball partnered Bouder in the final moment of the ballet, taking Veyette's place. To my surprise, Veyette came out when the ballet was over to escort Bouder for the bows. (Usually when there is a significant injury the dancer does not come out at the end.). Unless this was some sort of passing illness, don't be surprised if Veyette is replaced in tomorrow night's premiere of the Justin Peck work.

I thought Mearns was thrillingly vibrant as the doomed heroine of Valse. She played it as a shallow party girl - an easy victim for the Death figure to entice with jewels and gloves. There was nothing dangerous about Justin Peck's death figure. He is not menacing or seductive.

Adrian D-W's clear and articulate footwork in Chaconne was very well done. (I thought Tyler Angle blurred a lot of the footwork in the earlier cast, as he struggled to keep up with the music.) Reichlin danced with regal authority. A wonderful evening but for the unfortunate injury to Veyette..

Link to comment

Tonight at NYCB we had Donizetti Variations, La Valse, and Chaconne. Same cast as last week (which I saw): Bouder and Vyette in Donizetti, Mearns and Angle in La Valse and Reichlen and Danchig-Waring in Chaconne.

Donizetti started out well. Different from the last 2 performances we had a different group of corps members. Replacing Devin Alberda, Daniel Applebaum and Troy Schumacher were Harrison Ball, Joseph Gordon and Spartak Hoxha. The women were all different as well except for Emilie Gerrity. Although I love Devin Alberda, I thought Harrison Ball was very good and Joseph Gordon is definitely someone to keep your eye on.

As for the leads, things started in a very promising way. In the first few lifts, Andy held Ashley very high and for a long time so she actually looked like she was hovering in mid air. He also really gave her traction so she could pull backwards and off balance in some arabesques. What a great partner! Ashley did her first solo and was speedy, had crisp footwork and could still play with the music. This remained true throughout the piece. She is such a virtuoso and artist. And those saut de chats with her working leg at 120 degrees. Wow!

As for Andy, his first solo was ok but, like last week, nothing approaching the excitement of Joaquin. But with the second solo, I sensed something was wrong. Andy looked like he was really struggling. Hr had virtually no elevation in his grand jetés and had trouble with the quick changes of direction. He completely bailed on the turns in a la seconde and only managed about 4 revolutions in the pirouettes where he gets the momentum from going on relève with his standing leg. He did a few off center pirouettes and then disappeared for the rest of the piece. He missed his final solo (the corps girls just kneeled there) and Harrison Ball came on to partner Ashley in her final supported pirouettes. Although it was obvious he'd gotten injured Andy did come back, once the curtain went back up to take his bows but he looked like he was having trouble moving and in pain. I know we all wish Andy well and that he recovers quickly from whatever happened tonight. It is quite the irony that he just gave an interview to Gia Kourlas for Timeout in which he talk about his aging body (he's 32). You can read it here:http://www.timeout.com/newyork/dance/new-york-city-ballets-andrew-veyette-on-the-new-justin-peck-and-the-aging-male-body

La Valse was again wonderful with a dramatic Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle. But when I saw Justin Peck as Death, the only thing I could think of was how was he going to replace Andy for the premiere of his Rodeo tomorrow. Someone is going to have a lot of rehearsing to do. What a shame all around.

I again very much enjoyed Tess and Adrian in Chaconne. She seems to really have found personality and confidence this season. There was a minor bobble again in the beginning (not as noticeable as last week's) but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the piece. I also really liked Lauren King and Antonio Carmena in the PDD. She is a great turner and the 2 of them have good chemistry. The rest of the corps was also very good. Again, just a change in casting really affected my enjoyment of the piece.

Link to comment

I was as at Saturday night's performance of Concerto Barocco and Goldberg Variations. This was the first time I've seen Goldberg Variations. I have some reservations about it, but my experience overall Saturday evening was exhilarating. This has happened to me before -- I attend several performances in the opening weeks of the season, finding it mostly very enjoyable, and then suddenly something even deeper hits me -- a performance where the depth and greatness of the company hits me. That was the case Saturday evening. Reichlen and an explosive Mearns, backed up by eight outstanding corps women, left me wondering --wow, where do they find so many strong and interesting dancers? Then Goldberg Variations, with a huge ensemble cast that looked fresh, excited, and well rehearsed. So many dancers delivered memorable performances that one hardly knows where to start or how to list them all. Tiler Peck was just astonishing. Taylor Stanley, Anthony Huxley, Daniel Applebaum, and Joseph Gordon were an outstanding foursome. Joseph Gordon has a wonderful springy quality, going up and down like his legs are rubber bands. He dances large, with amplitude and a generous air that reads all the way to the balconies. He has something else -- charisma. I don't know how to define it, or what goes into making someone charismatic, but it's one of those things that you know when you see. Sometimes you wish talented corps members would be promoted, and it's great when they are, but it's also wonderful to look at the corps de ballet and see interesting dancers, whether accomplished, authoritative veterans such as Faye Arthurs, Gwyneth Muller, and Alina Dronova; exciting newcomers like Ashley Hod and Unity Phelan, plus many others, like Emilie Gerrity and Claire von Enck, to name two of my current favorites. And that's only the women! I'd also add, since I've seen several performances I haven't commented on, that I saw two performances of Agon and especially enjoyed the Devin Alberda-Daniel Applebaum-Megan LeCrone trio. I loved LeCrone's angularity. Thanks to all!

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...