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

Dances at a Gathering

Recommended Posts

I remember reading once about a French author (I forget which one) who in his old age had a mistress, who was irritated when he continually talked about his first one. Finally she said "I am more beautiful, more intelligent, more witty than she was, don't you agree?" "Yes", he said. "Then what did she have that I don't?" "She had my youth." Dances at a Gathering had my youth, I guess, and even with all the now familiar choreographic tics (cartwheels, girls in chiffon, upside down lifts, general cuteness)that can irritate me about other Robbins pieces, I do love that work. It is the British cast that is imprinted on my brain, and that music inevitably makes me see Nureyev, Sibley, Dowell, Seymour, and the others. But I guess because those pictures are so firmly implanted, I can watch it without feeling like I am missing something--it is almost like watching two performances, the one in my head and the one on stage, and I can enjoy both of them.

The cast last night at City Ballet was very good, and Jenifer Ringer is as good an Apricot as there is. The audience loved it too, and even sat still for the final piece--except the moron who let his cell phone ring.

Link to comment
Originally posted by cargill:

The audience loved it too, and even sat still for the final piece--except the moron who let his cell phone ring.

I saw it twice last summer in Edinburgh, and at one of the performances, there also was a moron with a cell phone frown.gif

It seems that part of the audience in Edinburgh didn't like it much, but I really liked that work (and especially Peter Boal, Kyra Nichols and Helene Alexopoulos). Now I really regret not having seen it in Paris when they danced it in the early 90s. Many of the dancers who had been chosen by Robbins to dance it (Loudieres, Guerin, Platel, Arbo...) are retired or close to retirement now, and I really would have liked to see them in that ballet.

Link to comment

I saw the season's final Dances at a Gathering yesterday afternoon. I know the ballet was not popular In Edinbugh but it is one I have always loved. I saw once as a teenager in the lates 60's at Ravina (near Chicago)with much of the original cast and later in the mid 70's when I moved to NYC. I have special memories of McBride, Kent, Leland, Cook among others.

I was struck yesterday by how much the dancers seem to be showing us a part of themselves as well as an archtypical character. Ringer and Millepied as the local daredevils. Kowrowski as the girl so pretty, smart and independent that she doesn't need a man. Fayette and Van Kipnis as the "kids" next door. Neal is the "American" prince, a lttle reserved but capable of warmth with the right woman. Alexopulos and Marcovici are the exotic beauties. Woetzel isthe "Mel Gibson" character, charming, arrogant, attractive and capable of beibg the good guy when he needs to be. Nicholas is by reason of the depth and purity of her dancing and her person the moral compass of work. She is the one who holds this community together. (I wonder if she plays that role within the company, unofficial team captain?)

These are the people I saw yesterday while watching a performance that was as well danced as any I have seen of this ballet. Ringer is the best girl in apricot since Leland on whom the role was made. Ringer never held back and showed no fear in the complicated pas de six, a strong but feminine performance. Every performance that Nichols dances now is very special, full of warmth, maturity and serenity that come from years onstage. I don't see, at least in the roles she continues to perform, the loss of technique that marred Ashley's final performances.

The rest of the program, Walpurgisnacht and Stars and Stripes, had many pleasures. Janie Taylor as the second ballerina in Walpurgisnacht, a role that showed off her strong technique and contained her wildness. She looked beautiful at the end with her long, blonde hair flying. Kristin Sloan did well as one of the soloists and the demis - Goldbin, McBrearty, Abergel and Diner - were strong as well.

Tom Gold was terrific as usual in Stars - he knows how to milk this role. Meunier and Askegard did a good job with the ppd. Meunier's solo showed off her ability to turn and some nice jumps.

I know that many of us have felt that NYCB was in an end of the season slump for the last few weeks but, IMO, they closed the season with a bang. Even the rainy, dreary February weather couldn't depress as I left the theatre on Sunday - I walked part of the way home.

Link to comment

I saw "Dances at a Gathering" and "Stars and Stripes" at the February 24th matinee. The casts for both ballets were the same as those who performed at the February 25th matinee. There's no way I can top liebs' review of "Dances at a Gathering". She really put a fresh perspective on a ballet I've seen and loved many times. "Dances at a Gathering" is a truly beautiful ballet, and all the NYCB dancers gave lovely, lyrical performances.

"Stars and Stripes" is another ballet I've seen many times. I was a bit disappointed with the quality (or lack of quality) of the female corps. Overall they seemed a bit off. At the beginning of the first campaign a dancer fell. And during the second campaign, one dancer was so removed from the rest of the group it was almost laughable. Jennifer Tinsley danced well as the leader of the Corcoran Cadets, and Ellen Bar was pretty good as the leader of the Rifle Regiment.

The men's corps, led by the incomparable Tom Gold, was outstanding. Gold is a really exciting dancer - his leaps and especially his turns were just phenomenal. And as liebs has already stated, Gold does know how to milk the part for all its worth.

I was very impressed by Monique Meunier and Charles Askegard in the pas de deux. It was

great seeing Meunier dance again, and she gave a really strong performance. Her balances were wonderful, and her scissor leaps were first rate. But I've always been impressed by the power of Meunier's dancing so her performance didn't surprise me. Charles Askegard's performance did surprise. I'm so used to seeing Damian Woetzl in this part, and Askegard has never

struck me as a dancer whose strength is pyrotechnics. But he was really great - displaying first-rate entrechats and thrilling turns a la seconde. And Askegard really caught the fun of the piece - infusing his performance with a sly wit and a twinkle in his eye. As well Meunier and Askegard have real chemistry together.

The only diappointment of the afternoon was Peter Martins "Burleske" which was performed by Janie Taylor, Peter Boal, Darci Kistler, and Jared Angle. All danced well, but it was a really forgettable ballet (imo anyway). In her review of the premiere of "Buleske" (with the same cast I saw), Anna Kisselgoff of "The New York Times" called it bland. I think bland is the perfect word for "Burleske" and all the other Peter Martins' ballets I've seen. I can't think of one of Martins' works I've found memorable in any way. And it worries me that NYCB seems to be devoting more and more of its time to performing Martins' ballets. I don't ballet companies should be museums. New works are always necessary. It's just that I find Peter Martins to be a very mediocre choreographer.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

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