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Spring 2015

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Ditto. Apollo was a hot mess. Catazaro needs to go back to the drawing board and get lots of additional training.

Re last week's performances, I thought Adrian D-W was a fantastic new Apollo. I also thought Ashly Isaacs did a great job in her debut. Time to get her out of the corps and into the soloist ranks. Although Tiler Peck is highly musical and a wonderful dancer, Terpsichore does not suit her. That role is designed to show off long limbs, which she lacks. One size does not fit all in that role.

Reichlin was much better in Agon than last seasson at her debut. However, she still has a ways to go. Adrain D W was a marvel. He is now becoming a NYCB MVP and has really blossomed. The fact that both R Fairchild and C Finlay are out has really provided some wonderful opportunities for Adrian, and he has excelled.

I love Hyltin in Duo. Janzen's issues, I think, might get ironed out in future shows. It was a very auspicious debut. So happy they have rescued this balllet from the trash heap that it had fallen into during the 90s/early 2000s.

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Casting up for week four. Fouirth cast of Sylphide is Lovette-Huxley.

For some reason the casting sheet for week three is gone. When you click on the link for week 3 you get the week four casting. Probably this error will be resolved soon.

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Sadly, I have to agree with the comments about Catazaro's performance in Apollo last night. So surprising. Maybe it was a major case of nerves? An even bigger mistake than dropping the lyre, IMHO, was breaking form and going after it. My sense was that he started off nervous, got more rattled after dropping the lyre, and couldn't recover his concentration. Hoping he can turn this around in his next performance!

I liked Duo Concertant better with Janzen and Hyltin than I did with Bouder and Huxley, but overall I'm finding this piece tedious to sit through.

In Agon I really missed Kowroski and Ramasar. Adrian DW is, as abatt said, becoming an NYCB MVP, but in this role Reichlen doesn't have the intense presence and doesn't command the stage, the way Kowroski does.

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I was also there last night and seem alone in thinking that Catazaro was not a total disaster. When he dropped the lyre it took him a second to figure out how to handle that, but he did recover. There were some partnering difficulties. Most notibly the "swimming lesson" with Terpsichore on his back. Hyltin wasn't positioned quite right and it was tentative, but no disaster. Also I felt Catazaro's movements could have been bigger and more musical, and he had some spacing issues. He got too close to the three muses as he was driving them (or they were pulling him). I know that sounds totally awful but even with all that I could see he has a clear idea of how Apollo develops and tried to present it. He is also a very masculine presence on stage. I was left with the feeling/hope that with some experience, coaching and fixes to the partneering his could grow into a decent Apollo.

When I saw Mearns listed as a muse with Hyltin & Scheller I thought it was a mismatch but was proven wrong. I liked the way the three looked together. Very different from one another but inhabiting the same world. Mearns brought her brand of boldness and musicality to Polyhymnia, and it made me look at the variation in a new way. There is a treacherous step of a pique turn into arabesque, that a lot more often than not has to be fudged by dancers. She hit the first spot on, the next two required some fixing but she handled it. It was great to see Sheller back on stage. She was lovely as Calliope but could have danced bigger IMO. HIltin is a dancer I didn't care for until last year. Now I look forward to her performances. I find she combines fragility and conficence, youth and knowingness in a very enticing way
Agon was great. I saw this cast last season. The only change was Rebecca Krohn replacing Savannah Lowery in the 2nd trio. I always enjoy Krohn in leotard ballets. She can be very extreme in her movements while being totally composed. Reichlin and Danching-Waring did a wonderful pas, I just wish there was more abandon to the opening steps so the sudden stop with her leg wrapped around him had more impact. Unity Phelan stood out in the other trio for her beatiful movement quality and control. I see soloist in her future.
Duo Concertant is one of Hiltin's best roles. Her speed and exuberance a joy to behold. Jansen seemed labored here and and there but had no real problems and was a pleasure to watch.
Symph in 3 - This ballet always makes me smile. It was well danced by all. I particularly enjoyed the pas with Tiler Peck (I don't think there's a role she can't do) and Ramasar. I think I've said this before, but I always think of that pas as an alien mating ritual!
I have to say the house seemed pretty full and the audience was very enthusiastic.
What a great company!!
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I know dancers are supposed to be professionals and cope with everything that happens in live theater, but what a shame to have a prop mishap in a debut, when there are so many things to think about and get right. I hope he has better luck with the next one, now that he has experienced it on stage.

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I know dancers are supposed to be professionals and cope with everything that happens in live theater, but what a shame to have a prop mishap in a debut, when there are so many things to think about and get right. I hope he has better luck with the next one, now that he has experienced it on stage.

I agree and Apollo is a big debut. As I said earlier, to me Catazaro demonstrated that he had a clear idea of the role even if he didn't fulfill it this time around. Dropping the lyre did throw him for a moment. He couldn't leave it where it was because it would have been in the way. He quickly moved it to (or close to) where it was supposed to end up. Whether he should have moved it right then etc. I guess is a call but I totally got why he did.

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I was left with the feeling/hope that with some experience, coaching and fixes to the partneering his could grow into a decent Apollo.


I'm glad you saw some concept in Catazaro's performance (I didn't).But I don't enjoy seeing dancers fail (and, IMO, this was so obviously a failure). But there is some deep down work that needs to be done on his performance, I wouldn't be surprised if they pulled the matinee away from him and gave it to Adrian. Catazaro's problems are not ones that can be fixed in a few days. Like abatt, I think Catazaro has to go back to the drawing board and start over, preferably with some good coaching. But the lack of stature and charisma, someone who demands your attention while even just standing on stage is something that can't really be taught. It comes with experience that I guess he doesn't have enough of. If anyone attends the Saturday matinee (when he is again scheduled to dance Apollo), please let us know.

On a more positive note I am delighted to see that Anthony Huxley has been given the role of James. I've come to love him as a dancer. So quick and elegant, never loses his line. I wish he were a tiny bit bigger but he partnered Rebecca Krohn just fine in Agon last night. In the last year, he's gotten a lot of new roles and succeeded at them all. I hope there is a promotion for him in the near future.

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Lowery has been out for a few days. Last night that led to a cascade of casting changes, since she was scheduled to be in two ballets. Mearns took her spot in Concerto Bar. I didn't think Krohn (in the lead) and Mearns made a good match, and at one point it looked like they were too close together and may have banged into each other. Obviously, last minute cast changes mean little or no rehearsals together. Mearns is all about bold, go for broke attack and big dancing, and Krohn, in my opinion, is the complete opposite. I miss the days when Maria K. did the lead role.

Reichlin took over Lowery's part in Episodes. Somogyi repeated in the section from last week. Mearns and Adrian DW did the final section of Episodes. Quite wonderful, but this ballet is way too long and gets dull fast. It's great to see the last section of Episodes performed so well. It was performed by Darci Kistler in her final years, and most of the actual steps got lost during those pefromances. We were forced to sit through a 15 minute See The Music lecture before Episodes.

Since Mearns was in the first two ballets of the evening, they took Mearns out of her scheduled 4T role in Sanguinic and replaced her with Scheller. I like Scheller and I'm glad she's back, but I was hoping for a Mearns trifecta. Since the mandatory See the Dance lecture had already added 15 minutes to the the performance time, i skipped Four T's.

I suppose there is some merit to these See The Music lectures, and I admire that they are trying to enlighten us, but they should do these lectures during the intermission and invite people to stay in their seats if they wish to listen to the lecture. From now on I'm going to pay more attention to see which nights have the mandatory lecture, and try to avoid buying tickets for that performance.

The woman who makes the casting change announcements when Perry Silvey is not available needs some public speaking lessons. She hasn't improved at all over time.

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I suppose there is some merit to these See The Music lectures, and I admire that they are trying to enlighten us, but they should do these lectures during the intermission and invite people to stay in their seats if they wish to listen to the lecture. From now on I'm going to pay more attention to see which nights have the mandatory lecture, and try to avoid buying tickets for that performance.

I so agree. I have been avoiding "See The Music" performances for a while. I'd rather see the ballets and get home a little earlier than be forced to listen to a lecture about the music. Having them during intermission is a great idea.

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Abatt and Vipa, why are the See The Music lectures so distasteful? Specifically, most people do not understand Webern's music so an attempt to explain his principles might be useful before watching Episodes. More generally, an understanding of music is at the root of Balanchine's structural organization and these brief talks might help elucidate this.

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It's not distasteful, but it should be a matter of choice and should not extend the overall performance running time, especially on a weeknight when people have to get up and go to work the next morning. Some people live far away from the theater and have a long commute home, and 15 or 20 minutes is valuable time. I skipped the last ballet last night because the See the Music lecture extended the evening too long based on the length of my commute home. Commuters, unfortunately, are beholden to various train and bus schedules which have no flexibility.

The whole point of starting the weeknight ballets at 7:30 PM instead of 8PM was to accomodate audience members who work and/or have long commutes. The purpose is defeated when you add the mandatory lecture.

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I agree with abatt: aside for rare family performances where the educational part is there to speak to kids, I think these presentations should be optional. There are plenty of companies that do pre-performance presentations.

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Me too! I often don't even notice it's a "See the Music"night until the pit starts rising up, and my heart sinks. They are typically well presented and informative, but all I'm thinking is, but I want to see the performance and get on home -- I have to get up for work in the morning! I like the idea of having it during intermission, I would enjoy it a lot more then.

I notice that this season NYCB is making a big point of informing people there's no late seating (an insert with my tickets, an email about it, and verbal reminders when ordering over the phone). Amen to that! I just wish they had taken the opportunity to address other aspects of audience behavior: please don't check your cellphone during the performance, chat with your neighbor, or lean forward in your seat!

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Tonight was the Spring Gala and first night of La Sylphide. This evening was a whole lot of Bournonville, so if that's not your thing (it's not really mine) I'd avoid it.

The evening started with Balanchine's Bournanville Divertiisements, which features excerpts from Napoli, Flower Festival in Genzano and Abdallah. The soloists were Periera and Allen Peiffer (Ballabile), Mearns and Tyler Angle. (PDD), and King, LeCrone, Adrian D-W, Krohn, Lovette, Ramasar, and Huxley (Pas de Six). This ballet is terribly difficult; all those beats,sissones, small jumps, tours, snd quick traveling steps, all the while keeping your upper body quiet and elegant. This style is just not NYCB's thing and you could tell. In all, I would say A for effort but meh for execution. Really the only dancers who stood out for me were Krohn, Lovette, Tyler Angle and Huxley. Both Angle and Huxley were very light on their feet and did all the lower body work while keeping their upper bodies quiet. Tyler had the bigger role and not only had the quick footwork but had to travel across the stage. But for me, this was a preview of Huxley's James in Sylphide. Based on how light on his feet and quick he was, I think he'll do well. I also thought Krohn and Lovette were lovely, doing small jumps, holding balances and looking light. Mearns,,IMO, was not cast well. She's not a jumper and because of her size, not especially light on her feet. Not terrible, but I'd like to see someone else do this part.

I found La Sylphide the less interesting of the two ballets. It has some nice, bravura moments (mainly for James) but overall I find it dull. There is quite a bit of mime, which 21st century audiences have become increasingly less used to seeing. For me the standout performance was Georgina Pazcoguin as Madge. She really had fun with the part, camping it up and being evil. Sterling was lovely, ethereal, fragile, held her balances, etc. But as usual I just felt no personality. At one point when 3 corps girls came out in Act 2 (the corps did very well) I thought she was one of them. I just find her generally very bland and sometime indistinguishable from some very good corps girls. I also didn't think she had a lot of chemistry with De Luz. As for him, he executed his solos in a fine fashion but I thought his jumps were better than his beats. Compared to others I've seen, he is not that light on his feet. Ulbricht is wasted in the small role of Gurn, Brittany Pollack (Effie) did not impress me. I did think all the corps girls were wonderful and I liked the fact that they used a number of SAB children in the wedding party. Overall, I found the ballet a bit lackluster but I'm not sure if that's my not liking the ballet very much or the performance (maybe a bit of both). I do know I'm looking forward to seeing Bouder and Vyette in it this Tuesday because they both have technique is spades and great stage personalities.

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I enjoyed La Sylphide. There are certainly dull patches, but overall I think it's a good addition to the NYCB rep. I thought Hyltin was elegant and danced beautifully. As noted, no chemistry with DeLuz. DeLuz got a lot of height in his jumps, but yes, some of the beats were fudged. I didn't like Georgina's interpretation of Madge. She played it like a comedy. Madge is supposed to be evil and menacing, not provide comic relief.

Bournonville Divert. was a very mixed bag. First the good. Anthony Huxley NAILED it. He was breathtaking. Such precison, speed and elevation. I cannot wait to see him as James. Lauren Lovette was another standout, as was Ashly Isaacs in a very small role. Tyler Angle danced well too. Mearns was completely miscast in the pdd. Putting this sophisticated drama queen into a peasant costume to play an innocent village girl was a big error. As Amour said, she has many gifts, but airy lightness are not among them. There were times during the pdd when she flexed her hands, as though she were in a neoclassical ballet. Amar Ramasar also does not belong in Bournonville. He looked like a fish out of water, and he does not have the lines for this style. Adrian D-W was a bit better. I didn't care for Krohn or LeCrone. This style simply does not suit most of the company members of NYCB. Having vivid memories of the RDB dancers in my head from their appearance at the Joyce in January 2015, most of the NYCB dancers did not measure up to the stylistic demands of Bournonville technique. Overall, the Bournonville style was coached much more successfully and cogently for the leads in Sylphide than the leads in Bournonville Divert.

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Tonight was a really good night at NYCB. Walpurgisnacht, Sonatine, La Valse and Symph in C. All are enjoyable and were well performed.

Walpurgisnacht was up first. I think almost the entire female corps performs in this ballet and they looked very well rehearsed. Everyone was together, arms and legs all at the same height. Sara Mearns was the lead and really quite spectacular. Even though its a pretty quick ballet and I often think she's more of an adagio dancer, she pulled this off. The series of lightning fast chainees done on the diagonal got a "wow" from me and a gasp from the audience. But what was really special was that the lead demi was a heretofore unknown corps dancer named Alexa Maxwell. She has an elegance, beautiful line, is quick, polished and IMO, really almost matched Sara. It's truly wonderful when someone unknown gets put in the spotlight and does so well. I hope we see more of her soon.

Sonatine is not that interesting a ballet but Tiler and Joaquin made the most of it. Tiler is such a musical dancer, she can slow down certain portions to hold a balance a really long time and then speed up to be on the music. And she has such wonderfully expressive arms and can use her head and eyes in just enough of a dramatic way to make an impact. I also liked Joaquin. His quickness and technique (the turns in a la seconde) served him well here. It's too bad these two don't look better together. He's really a bit too short for her and their chemistry, while not terrible, is not that great. Nevertheless, they made it work.

I was kind of dreading La Valse with Sterling but to my surprise she was much,much improved from the winter when I last saw her. Throwing her head back in the opening and later, gleefully slipping on the black necklace and gloves, she really was quite dramatic and enjoyable. Jared Angle was her excellent partner, lifting her no problem at all. Lauren King/Antonio Carmena, Georgina Pazcoguin/Sean Suozzi and Megan Le Crone/Zachary Catazaro were the demis. I though the first two of these couples were very good: romantic, using their costumes well, good partnering. I didn't really enjoy Megan, though. I thought she had a hard edge to her that conflicts with the kind of dreamy, romantic quality of the ballet. Amar performed Death and really he is wasted on that role. Why not give it to some deserving soloist or even a corps dancer, since there's virtually no dancing? Still a very good performance of this ballet.

Symph in C was a bit of a mixed bag. Ashley and Andie were the 1st movement. Both were terrific and have tremendous technique and personality. Andie's series of entrechat sixes drew applause while you can only scratch yout head wondering how Ashley manages to move with such speed, attack and precision. My only minor complaint was that, like the last time I saw her, Ashley was ahead of the music at the beginning. How that's even possible I don't know. Playing with the music is fine but when you are simply off it, you are off what the rest of the corps is doing together. It's a minor annoyance that she rectified pretty quickly so maybe it's just her way of dealing with nerves.

The 2nd movement (Maria and Tyler) was where I had some problems. Things started out fine, as Maria bourreed out. Then suddenly as her PDD with Tyler approached the section where Maria does a lot of supported penchees, the music speeded up significantly. I really had a WTH moment. I have to assume that Maria was not feeling especially strong today (or whatever) and didn't want to test her stamina. After they got through that section, the music slowed down to where it had originally been. But it really took me out of the mood. And later, in the finale, I noticed Maria having trouble with her turns, leaning over into them and almost falling out of them. Tyler looked like the excellent partner he is and supported her throughout so I don't think any of Maria's possible problems were partnering issues.

3rd movement was danced by Pereira and Garcia. This movement is a very fast one after a very slow adagio one, Pereira came out in fine shape, as did Gonzalo. All the turns and fast footwork was fine. Yet I didn't really find her that interesting. She's got the technique nearly down but could use dancing with more authority (Gonzalo does). On a positive note, I thought they looked good together. This is the shortest of the movements so it always seems over in a flash

Brittany Pollack and Taylor Stanley led the 4th movement (though much of the movement-ballet wise-is devoted to reiterating the 1st 3 themes and then a finale). Balletwise, their movement is over very quickly which is why this section is rarely danced by a principal. The finale was lovely although it did look at times like Maria was struggling to keep up. At this point I've got used to all the crystals on the costumes and the higher tutus so I think the stage looks elegant filled with women in sparkly white (men in sparkly black) turning and jumping together. A great ending to a great ballet

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Last night was one of those nights when I was grateful to be a New Yorker and to have access to performances by the NYCB. Mearns was brilliant in Walpurgisnacht. She danced with complete abandon, but yet was in total control. This has become one of her signature roles. And who is this wonderful dancer Alexa Maxwell. Sparkling footwork, high jumps. More of her please!

I have only cloudy memories of Sonatine. I think it might have been one of those ballets that was regularly assigned to Y. Borree, so that its charms never made any impression. Well, last night w. Tiler Peck and DeLuz it made a wonderful impression.

As Amour noted, Hyltin has improved a great deal in La Valse.

I didn't notice the problems in the 2nd movement that Amour did. The only issue I noticed was in the 1st movement, with demi soloist Megan LeCrone (subbing for Krechmar). There is a portion where the demisolist must move back and the other demi moves forward. LeCrone was somehow backing up into the line of 4 corps girls behind her, who had to spread out to avoid a crash with LeCrone. Spacing/timing issue. I always smile when I hear gasps from the audience when Maria does her fully stretched arabesque penche in the second movement. I think it should be included in those tour guide books listing must see/must do events in NYC: see the Statue of Liberty, buy a deli sandwich at Carnegie deli and go see Maria K's arabesque penche at NYCB.

A great evening of dance where everyone excelled. So unlike Thursday night, where many of the dancers looked like they were trying on new clothes that just didn't fit.

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I agree that Bournonville Divertissements was rough but I thought La Sylphide was mostly wonderful. I was much more fond of Sterling Hyltin's performance than most -- I think she was beautiful, light, airy, playful, but aloof and it was a wonderful performance from her. I thought de Luz was perhaps too happy and extroverted for James but that he too acquited himself well. Only Pazcoguin as Madge IMO was a misfire. Full review can be found by clicking on the blog on my signature.

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Ditto to the comments about the sparkling Alexa Maxwell in Walpurgisnacht last night. Note to Alexa: glad to meet you! I look forward to seeing you again soon!

Mearns was beautiful, and those chaines on the diagonal so sharp and unbelievably fast it was stunning. And with her hair down! It was quite a sight.

Megan Le Crone replaced Clare Kretzchmar (I'm sure I'm not spelling that right) in the first movement of symphony in c and Kretzchmar replaced Faye Arthurs in the second.

Look forward to any reports in Catazaro's second effort at Apollo. Hoping for the best!

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