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ABT Fall 2015 season


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Hadn't looked at this thread for awhile -- Green Table!

It's a wonderful example of expressionist ballet. Jooss was cross-trained in ballet and German expressionist dance (a student of Laban's) and so the movement is both meaningful and kinetic. The role of Death needs a man with gravitas (it helps if he's tall, but it's more important that he's strong --the gestures in his main solo were created with the scything motions that you use when you harvest grasses by hand -- it's got great torque) The Profiteer is a great role for someone small and quick. Of the women's roles, I've always loved the Partisan best -- lots of jumping and charging. When the Joffrey toured with this in the 60s and 70s, Christian Holder was often Death (after Max Zomosa died) and Gary Chryst was the Profiteer. I think they were both coached by Jooss before he died.

Back in the Ballet Russe days, we saw a lot of this kind of narrative/expressive work, but it's much more rare now.

Thank you, Sandik, for your information. I read the Wikipedia article and I definitely want to see it. The article says it is Kurt Jooss' most popular work and in the repertoire of ballet companies worldwide. From the essay: "Lasting about 30 minutes and subtitled "A dance of death in eight scenes," The Green Table is a commentary on the futility of war and the horrors it causes." Sadly, it couldn't be more relevant today, could it?

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Thank you, Sandik, for your information. I read the Wikipedia article and I definitely want to see it. The article says it is Kurt Jooss' most popular work and in the repertoire of ballet companies worldwide. From the essay: "Lasting about 30 minutes and subtitled "A dance of death in eight scenes," The Green Table is a commentary on the futility of war and the horrors it causes." Sadly, it couldn't be more relevant today, could it?

David Hallberg was sensational as Death. Harrowing, in fact. I think Thomas Forester would be splendid in the role. Possibly a great role for Roman Zhurbin also.

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Angelica, will you be attending a performance (or more) at Bard?

No, KarenAG, although I LOVE the Bard campus (I went to music camp there decades ago), it's much easier for me to go into the city. I remember seeing The Green Table as a child, and being bored to tears, but I didn't yet have a context to appreciate it. But it's going to take more ballet than is so far programmed to get me into the city. I've never seen Company B--I'll have to look it up on YouTube.

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Thanks, AlexL and stuben, I'm thrilled ABT will perform at Bard this fall! Natalia, I do hope the Mark Morris is a ballet and not a modern dance piece - I'm good with seeing ABT perform Company B again, but I want to see ballet, too (I need to research The Green Table as I don't know anything about it as yet). I'd like to hear what others think of it here, too.

The Mark Morris piece is most likely going to be modern. The only classical Morris piece that I know of is Sylvia for SFB. I do hope for a balance diet with classical ballets and tutus. I may skip any all-modern programs. The fall season will be announced this Wed.

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Hadn't looked at this thread for awhile -- Green Table!

It's a wonderful example of expressionist ballet. Jooss was cross-trained in ballet and German expressionist dance (a student of Laban's) and so the movement is both meaningful and kinetic. The role of Death needs a man with gravitas (it helps if he's tall, but it's more important that he's strong --the gestures in his main solo were created with the scything motions that you use when you harvest grasses by hand -- it's got great torque) The Profiteer is a great role for someone small and quick. Of the women's roles, I've always loved the Partisan best -- lots of jumping and charging. When the Joffrey toured with this in the 60s and 70s, Christian Holder was often Death (after Max Zomosa died) and Gary Chryst was the Profiteer. I think they were both coached by Jooss before he died.

Back in the Ballet Russe days, we saw a lot of this kind of narrative/expressive work, but it's much more rare now.

I love The Green Table! I just wanted to add that I believe that Joffrey performance (with the great Gary Chryst) is on DVD. I would also say it helps if you know the history of Germany post-WWI and pre-WWII and all the reparations they were forced to pay. It's definitely a "political" ballet.

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The Mark Morris piece is most likely going to be modern. The only classical Morris piece that I know of is Sylvia for SFB. I do hope for a balance diet with classical ballets and tutus. I may skip any all-modern programs. The fall season will be announced this Wed.

Morris choreographed "Sandpaper" on pointe shoes. Not sure if his "Pacific" is on pointe for the women. He's OK with the pointe technique. Inventive, challenging. I wouldn't be scared off from Morris doing a work for ABT.

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No, KarenAG, although I LOVE the Bard campus (I went to music camp there decades ago), it's much easier for me to go into the city. I remember seeing The Green Table as a child, and being bored to tears, but I didn't yet have a context to appreciate it. But it's going to take more ballet than is so far programmed to get me into the city. I've never seen Company B--I'll have to look it up on YouTube.

Company B is great.

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Company B is great, but you might consider seeing it the next time Paul Taylor revives it, instead of going to ABT to see it. It is a Paul Taylor classic that is often revived by his own company.

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I like Company B, but I feel like I've seen ABT dance it way too much in recent years. Misty is often featured in the Rum and Coca Cola section, so it's a vehicle for her, I suppose. One of the drawbacks for me is that it uses recorded music, and part of my enjoyment of going to the ballet is hearing live instruments played.

As for Tharp, I would like to see Rabbit and Rogue with its Eifman score, once again. The Cornejo role would be great for Simkin.

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I suppose it's not a ballet, technically speaking. When I said "going to the ballet," I meant going to see a ballet company perform.

But I don't think ballet requires pointe shoes. Is Les Noces a ballet? What about Fancy Free?

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ABT misses the dark undertones of Company B. When you see the PTDC do it you get how this is not just a perky dance with jukebox melodies. Not so much with ABT. I'd recommend seeing the PTDC do this.

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Good point about Fancy Free, DeCoster. I feel like the men's roles are truly classical ballet in Fancy Free. But to me something like Company B is not, because apart from the lack of pointe work, there is littile of the classical ballet idiom in it. Yes, I agree w canbelto on that point - the ABT dancers do not seem to get the dark undertones of the Taylor idiom. I noticed this not only in Company B, but also in a work that ABT premiered by Taylor a few years ago about the Great Depression (forgot the title). When the Taylor company performed the work it had so much more nuance and darkness than when the ABT dancers performed it. I recall that Simkin just performed the Brother Can You Spare a Dime seciton at the gala in May, and it looked more like a jumping competition, completely missing the sadness and pathos of the choreography.

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I love The Green Table! I just wanted to add that I believe that Joffrey performance (with the great Gary Chryst) is on DVD. I would also say it helps if you know the history of Germany post-WWI and pre-WWII and all the reparations they were forced to pay. It's definitely a "political" ballet.

Chryst was featured as the Profiteer in an early Joffrey Dance in America program, which also had footage of Jooss coaching. He's also in a video taped in 1982.

Morris choreographed "Sandpaper" on pointe shoes. Not sure if his "Pacific" is on pointe for the women. He's OK with the pointe technique. Inventive, challenging. I wouldn't be scared off from Morris doing a work for ABT.

Pacific is indeed on pointe, although Morris recently staged a soft-shoe version for his company. The differences were subtle, but fascinating.

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The ballet was Black Tuesday, and yes, ABT missed the dark accents of PT's choreography. In fact I'd say a big problem with ABT when they perform PT is that they tend to take the Twyla Tharp approach to everything -- very athletic, "all-American," big smiles on the girls and swagger on the guys. Paul Taylor's dances are not just a testament to all-American swagger and athleticism.

PTDC has a three week stay in NY at the Koch with very deflated prices (I've never paid more than $20 for a PTDC ticket). I really recommend watching PT dancers do PT.

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The ballet was Black Tuesday, and yes, ABT missed the dark accents of PT's choreography. In fact I'd say a big problem with ABT when they perform PT is that they tend to take the Twyla Tharp approach to everything -- very athletic, "all-American," big smiles on the girls and swagger on the guys. Paul Taylor's dances are not just a testament to all-American swagger and athleticism.

PTDC has a three week stay in NY at the Koch with very deflated prices (I've never paid more than $20 for a PTDC ticket). I really recommend watching PT dancers do PT.

Isn't it the responsibility of the stager( usually a PTDC dancer) to correct whatever mistake the dancers are doing? Maybe, the ABT dancers are just following the stager/coach? Just a thought.

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Company B has been in the repertoire for a number of years so unless they invite the stager back to coach (like they do with Makarova and Bayadere) I think the dancers are following the instructions of the internal ABT coaches.

But ABT often misses the accents of many works, stager or no stager. For instance Symphony in C was staged by Merrill Ashley but the end product was horrifying.

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I suppose it's not a ballet, technically speaking. When I said "going to the ballet," I meant going to see a ballet company perform.

But I don't think ballet requires pointe shoes. Is Les Noces a ballet? What about Fancy Free?

"Dark Elegies", "Moor's Pavanne", "Glass Pieces". "Upper Room", uses both pointe shoes and sneakers. The list of ballets not using pointe shoes is quite long. What about the use of soft shoes in the first act of "Swan Lake", for example. Are these dancers not doing"ballet"?

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The central pdd is clearly ballet in Glass Pieces. Upper Room also extensively uses pointe work along with balletic choreography. I would not classify Moor's Pavane as ballet. It is modern dance. Don't recall Dark Elegies.

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What about the use of soft shoes in the first act of "Swan Lake", for example. Are these dancers not doing"ballet"?

Are you talking about the national dances in the 3rd act of Swan Lake? Cause those are character dances, which are often part of a ballet (also see the Mazurka in Raymonda), but they are not ballet, they are character dances (except in the Bolshoi's version where Grigorovich puts them on point and turns them into kind of a mash up of character & ballet). Also, the Prince's Mother, Bathilde in Giselle - those are character roles, they dancers portraying them are not dancing ballet. In these two cases they aren't even dancing, they are walking & acting.

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David Hallberg was sensational as Death. Harrowing, in fact. I think Thomas Forester would be splendid in the role. Possibly a great role for Roman Zhurbin also.

Thanks, mimsyb, for this. I'm looking forward to the casting.

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ABT misses the dark undertones of Company B. When you see the PTDC do it you get how this is not just a perky dance with jukebox melodies. Not so much with ABT. I'd recommend seeing the PTDC do this.

I agree, ABT doesn't really perform the steps in the Paul Taylor style. How could they? Most of his dancers have studied his style for quite some time before they are taken into the company, its really not ballet. And if you read Paul Taylor's writings its clear that he doesn't consider his choreography to be ballet - he makes his dislike of ballet clear.

But, as canbelto & others have noted its not just that ABT doesn't do the steps in the Taylor style, their emphasis is totally different from his. The Simkin example from Black Tuesday & Rum & Coca Cola from Company B are good examples. Another one is Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B. When Cornejo dances it with ABT its all about how high he jumps and how fast he turns but the jitterbug foundation of Taylor's choreography for the piece doesn't come through, Cornejo looks like he has no feel for the idiom. And in ABT's version you completely miss the fact that the Bugle Boy is killed in a hail of machine gun fire at the end of his dance. Its subtle when Taylor's group does it, its nonexistent with ABT.

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