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Spring 2015

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I'll talk more about tonight's MSND performance after I see tomorrow's matinee as well but I just wanted to say: I could barely concentrate on the performance tonight (and neither could much of the first ring) as Elisabeth Moss was there! She was very pretty and petite and about a zillion people (myself included) went up to her and gushed about Mad Men.

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Saturday night's performance was the same cast as vipa saw: Tess Reichlen as Titania, Danny Ulbricht as Oberon, Troy Schumacher as Puck, Amar and Sterling in the divertissement.

I have to say I disagree a bit about the performance. I thought Tess was just wonderful. I enjoyed her more than Maria on Tuesday night. Those long limbs that stretch to infinity. Her dancing was surpremely assured and confident. And I thought she was a terrific actress and comedienne. Her miming was very clear, especially when she emphatically tells Oberon he can't have the little boy. I haven't seen such an authoritative Titania since I saw Alessandra Ferri in Ashton's The Dream. The one shaky part was her PDD with her cavalier, who was Justin Peck, and that's because he was a mess. Such strained, labored partnering. He really struggled in the PDD. And when Tess jumped onto his shoulders, for a moment I thought he was going to drop her:( And his beats were terrible. He really needs to just concentrate on choreographing and, IMO, stop dancing.

I love Danny and he was as fantastic as abatt and vipa said. But I think the reason he doesn't get many roles are his proportions. His legs and arms are short. And his thighs are very thick. Some nights it doesn't bother so much (like if he wears black) but tonight in those white tights it did. Still he is a fantastic dancer and, like Tess, also a great actor. All the sequences of their fight and then their reuniting at the end was crystal clear.and yes, his high jumps, ability to cover space and his batterie are great. But until Joaquin retires, he's going to be the short guy that gets roles (unless Huxley is promoted and it becomes him), Danny is just not going to get enough roles.

I really liked Troy Schumacher as Puck (now there is a choreographer who can still dance). He was funny, speedy, his runs in the air were perfect. He also did a lot less mugging than Antonio Carmena, which I preferred. And Claire Von Enck as the butterfly was perfect. This role really suits her. She was delightfully light, perfect attitude turns, great pointe work. And thanks to the wig and makeup she didn't look 12 years old but like an adult. It's clear she is being fast tracked (I think she's only been in the company a year or two) and she deserves it.

Unlike opening night the lovers were all soloists or corps members. I thought opening night (where they were principals) was better. Rebecca Krohn was certainly more convincing than Brittany Pollack as the lovelorn Helena. But I do really like Ashley Laracey (Hermia tonight). She's very pretty, has beautiful proportions and a wonderful line. To me, she like a "Balanchine ballerina" : long legs and neck, small head, very pretty and with a great plastique. Definitely, one to watch. I was surprised that Gina Pazcoguin was not fiercer as Hippolyta; she usually displays such spirit. And yes, her fouettes did travel.

Sterling and Amar in the divertissement I didn't care for. After seeing the perfection of Tiler and Tyler on Tuesday....well these don't have it. Try as she might Sterling simply does not have Tiler's musicality or ability to exude graciousness. She also not nearly as assured technically as Tiler. Also I almost always find her vanilla bland (like tonight). And Amar is not anywhere as good a partner as Tyler Angle (of course, who is?). Also, again not near as strong technically as Tyler Angle. And I didn't see much chemistry (not that there has to be a lot in Balanchine but there should be some). So I thought the divertissement was blah tonight and enjoyed Act 1 much more than Act 2. The pairing I'm most interested in seeing, though, is Ashley Bouder with Adrian Danchig-Waring later today. Now THAT should be interesting.

I have to add the audience was extremely enthusiastic tonight. Also, like canbelto, I was very excited to see Elizabeth Moss (aka Peggy Olsen from Mad Men) on the promenade at intermission. Thank goodness I sat in the orchestra (she was in the first ring) so I wasn't distracted during the performance. What really surprised me was how short she is: probably 5'2" max. She's also not glamorous or twig thin. She just looks like a regular person. Still it was exciting to see a famous actor (supposedly she went to SAB for awhile). I didn't get to talk to her, though.

Now onto the debut of Miriam Miller and Anthony Huxley. Can't wait. EVERYONE I know is going. I think the house is completely sold out!

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Miller and Huxley were at Friday's rehearsal of Act 1. She is lovely. Tall, blonde, long legs and arms.

Huxley's variations look great and his acting is very expressive thanks to his experience as James.

Martins worked with them on their first scene, quarreling over the pageboy. Was fun to see Peter

miming both roles. Can't wait for this afternoon. They are both ready.

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I saw Ulbricht in his debut as Oberon on Thursday night. I had a different reaction from the posters above. I found Ulbricht stiff and inelegant of line. His acting was unsubtle and seemed to come from the outside rather than the inside. For example, making a big show of tapping his foot impatiently when waiting for Puck. It bordered on caricature.

I totally look forward to Huxley and Miriam Miller.

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I saw Ulbricht in his debut as Oberon on Thursday night. I had a different reaction from the posters above. I found Ulbricht stiff and inelegant of line. His acting was unsubtle and seemed to come from the outside rather than the inside. For example, making a big show of tapping his foot impatiently when waiting for Puck. It bordered on caricature.

Maybe he overdid it, but the foot tapping is traditional.

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I was at the Saturday evening performance of MSND. I thought Ulbricht was terrific. Of course, one expects virtuosity (and got it in spades) but I was very impressed with his presence, authority and command when he wasn't dancing. IMHO one of the best Oberons I've seen since Villela.

I like Ramasar very much but I don't think the divertissement PDD is his cup of tea. I agree with Amour that there didn't seem to be mush chemistry between him and Hyltin.

Schumacher's puck was perfect. Fun without going over the top.

Overall, a good performance. I look forward to the magic of MSND every year and Saturday did not disappoint.

P.S. I was totally unaware that Kate Moss was on the promenade.

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I attended this afternoon's performance--and quite enjoyed it. Miller seemed to me to start off a little less than strongly, and never looked entirely comfortable with her 'cavalier.' Ask La Cour was replacing Russell Janzen and that may have played a role. But as soon as she danced on her own, she seemed much freer and more responsive to the music and the moment. She was also charming with Bottom and I especially liked the tender and loving way she led him off stage at the end of their pas de deux--the manner of it is 'in' the choreography, but she brought a lot of charm to it. As Oberon, Huxley danced with wonderful space covering energy, showed off swift beats, and had the appropriate arrogance--with a touch of real nobility too--but towards the end of the scherzo the choreography got away from him and he slipped noticeably though not disastrously several times. His split leg jumps are also a little less...well...split than is ideal in some of the choreography. But he seems to me to have the makings of a very fine Oberon. Bouder was poise itself in the beautiful final act divertissement, but my favorite dancing of the entire afternoon came from Sterling Hyltin as Hermia in her great Act I 'monologue' -- one felt waves of incredible nervous energy pouring through her in a pure dance expression of agitation and confusion. Hyltin is a fine comedienne too; very glad I got to see her with this afternoon's cast.

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I was there this afternoon and last night. I thought overall this afternoon's performance was stronger. Last night Daniel Ulbricht wowed the crowd as Oberon but Reichlen was at her most inscrutable as Titania and Hyltin and Ramasar slightly miscast in the Act Two divertissement.

Miriam Miller doesn't yet have the exquisite control over her limbs the way Tess Reichlen does but her comic timing is superior, and the Hyltin/Arthurs combo as the two Athenian women was way more enthralling than Pollack/Laracey from last night. Bouder was so secure in her Act Two divertissement.

My full review here: http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2015/06/midsummers-night-dream-exciting-debuts.html

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I was at the matinee today, as well. Miriam Miller is a beautiful dancer. Tall, pretty, with very long limbs, she is cast in the Tess/Maria mold. I thought that for someone who is still technically an SAB student (she was named an apprentice early) she danced with great confidence. Her very fast bourrees, her slow, lovely développes, her big sissones were truly wonderful. I know she is only an apprentice now; to make it into the corps you have to log in a certain number of performances. But I feel certain we are seeing a future star.

I'm too excited about Anthony's promotion to review his performance other than I thought it was great. I leave it to others to critique.

Jumping from Act 1 to Act 2, I thought the divert with Ashley and Adrian D-W was fantastic. This was not the lyrical, gracious PDD of Tiler & Tyler, it was the athletic one, the "Osipova" one. Ashley is just such a virtuoso. She played with the music by holding every arabesque, really every pose, extra long and then catching up to the music. In her promenade, she kept her leg at 90 degrees (Tiler's was lower) and had absolutely no problems. And Adrian matched her, doing multiple pirouettes, some jumps, but mainly showing Ashley off. For me, these two are some of NYCB's more idiosyncratic dancers. They don't look like anyone else. They don't dance like anyone else. They don't always dance "pretty", but they always show off their technical chops. I like this pairing a lot.

As an aside, Leonid Sarafanov was at the performance this afternoon, attending with a somewhat older Russian woman who used to teach at SAB.

The one blip on the afternoon was an approximately 4 year old who sat behind me and kept talking in a full, loud voice THE ENTIRE TIME, despite her mother's shushing. There were a lot of kids today but none as poorly behaved as this one. Parents, if your child is too young, has a short attention span or otherwise can't behave in a theatre, either take them outside the auditorium or leave them home. It's extremely thoughtless to those around you who paid more than 100 dollars (I was in the orchestra, so $134 to be exact) to see the performance. I made a mental note to myself that if that ever happens again I will complain to an usher.

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Seeing Miller as Titania reminded me of old photos I've seen of a young Suzanne Farrell as Titania. It was refreshing to see someone so young and sweet in the role. Looking forward to seeing more of her in the future. Huxley did well, but the wooden acting problem resurfaced. After seeing him do such a great acting job as James, it was disappointing to slip back in the acting department. Bouder and Adrian DW were excellent, but overall I preferred Tiler and Tyler earlier in the week.

As noted, Sterling Hytlin is excellent as one of the four lovers, but was badly miscast in the divert. Maybe she would do better with another partner in the divert. Not sure. I would have thought that shw would eventually get Titania, but so far that hasn't happened. Anyone know if there was a particular reason that Faye Arthurs was given Helena for the last show of the season? She's been with the company a Long time.

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Miriam Miller was absolutely lovely, and I look forward to seeing more of her. It's easy to see why they thought of her as Titania -- tall, slender, and very long-limbed. She has room for improvement -- needs to work on a stronger stage presence and presenting herself to the audience. She doesn't seem completely at home with her tallness (of course, she may just recently have become that tall!). There were times when she was "at ease" (such as standing back by her clamshell, watching her maidens dance) when she struck poses that seemed ungainly. I am sure that more time, especially more stage time, will help. I hope they give her the time it takes for her talents to gel. If she realizes her full potential, it will be glorious.

I thought Huxley was wonderful. He threw himself into the scherzo most impressively, although he seemed to be flagging by the end.

I'm very excited about the promotions!

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I attended both matinee performances. I enjoyed Sara Mearns and Andrew Veyette very much, even in the absence of the reverse height discrepancy. In particular Veyette brought a macho bravado to Oberon that made his conflict with Titania seem that much more comical. Miriam Miller and Anthony Huxley showed huge potential in their roles. Miller is understandably still finding her stage legs, and yet what she did on stage could certainly not be described as a student work, for she is already a beautiful dancer. Much of Huxley's dancing had a breathtaking brilliance to it, although as Drew mentioned, he put too much force into his third solo passage in the scherzo and began to lose control; it is an especially difficult sequence traveling backward, and when he needed to turn around and change direction, he had trouble recovering his center, although I am certain that by the next time he performs the ballet he will have figured out how to negotiate the choreography from beginning to end.

Among the other dancers, I admired Sean Suozzi's witty and aerial Puck, Sterling Hyltin's vivid Hermia, Aaron Sanz's very funny milksop of a Lysander, Taylor Stanley's Bottom in his adorably sweet donkey incarnation, Megan LeCrone's genuinely Amazonian Hippolyta, and both Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle, and Ashley Bouder and Adrian Danchig-Waring in the divertissement, while acknowledging that the former were a bit closer to absolute perfection, with the latter not far behind. Best of all were the priceless SAB children.

All the children in the audience seemed to be thoroughly enchanted. Darci Kistler, champagne in hand, and Peter Martins were on the promenade during Sunday's performance, presumably celebrating the successful conclusion of the season.

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I don't know if Elisabeth Moss ever attended SAB, but she did study at Westside Ballet in Santa Monica, California under the late great Yvonne Mounsey. I remember seeing her as a lovely first act "Giselle" and later as "Fairy of the Woodland Glade" in Sleeping Beauty at school performances there. That was about in 1996 and 1997.

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For those who have been wondering about Abi Stafford, now we know: Maria Kowroski announced today that she and Abi are both going on maternity leave. Abi's baby is due next month. Congrats Abi!


With Abi, Maria, and Carla Korbes all about to become new mothers, that's some serious ballet talent going into the human gene pool :)


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