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ABT Fall 2015 season


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I saw the Sunday Mat performance of 'Monotones' with Copeland, Kochetkova and Simkin in '#1' and Seo, Hammoudi and Han in #2---the only thing I can say about Copeland is that she should stay far away from white bodysuits :blushing:. The performers were not up to the DVD from the Royal Ballet that includes Nunez and Watson. I really love seeing ballet trained dancers in 'Company B--they move with such glorious freedom. Gomes did 'Death' in the Green Table.....and he was a much more forgiving character---nothing like Maximilian Zomosa of frightening

memory,

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the 'green' Monotones, in which Copeland appeared, is performed with plain, domed 'helmets' very similar to those for the 'white' Monotones; i fear the loving detail of the additional, dimensional detail on the original caps, which you aptly dub 'Phrygian,' is gone forever. alas.

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Re: the ballets themselves, I agree that the Monotones I cast looked particularly great on Thursday: it fitted Abrera's line and manner like a glove. (Not surprising, given her training...but I hadn't reallized until I read the program notes that Georgina Parkinson was one of the piece's originators.)

It did take the Monotones II cast a few minutes to warm up to the stage, but by the end they produced the right kind of magic. I hadn't reallized how much this piece relied on the juxtaposition of humanness and inhumanness. When I first saw Monotones II via Morphoses with Wendy Whelan (from whom otherworldly emotionlessness and linearity are expected), I was disappointed; having Part (usually beautifully human and lush) going through the same abstract movement gave it a frisson.

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I was there on Thursday, as well, and completely agree with this assessment. I hadn't thought about how this ballet provides such a stark contrast to Part's usual stage presence. It was unsual but exciting to see her appear so remote, dreamy, un-human. The partnering seemed very secure, so the trio must have improved since opening night. The spins where Part folds herself in half and they spin her around were perfectly timed to the music on Thursday. The only (minor) disappointment for me was that Part wasn't quite 180 degrees when they pick her up off the stage and begin spinning her.

the 'green' Monotones, in which Copeland appeared, is performed with plain, domed 'helmets' very similar to those for the 'white' Monotones; i fear the loving detail of the additional, dimensional detail on the original caps, which you aptly dub 'Phrygian,' is gone forever. alas.

ABT apparently used the Phrygian caps back in 2004, when the studio company danced Monotones, as evidenced by these photos:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/18/arts/dance/frederick-ashtons-masterly-pas-de-trois.html?_r=0

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the 'green' Monotones, in which Copeland appeared, is performed with plain, domed 'helmets' very similar to those for the 'white' Monotones; i fear the loving detail of the additional, dimensional detail on the original caps, which you aptly dub 'Phrygian,' is gone forever. alas.

Does anyone here have an easy link to an image of the original caps?

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the preceding post with a link to photos showing the costumes for the studio company's staging of MONOTONES I proves these to be a fair approximation of what was used originally; a photo of the first cast in Ashton's originals is on p. 347 of David Vaughan's FREDERICK ASHTON AND HIS BALLETS; it documents that the ABT studio versions were an exaggeration of the original creations.

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There's one of the Sarasota Ballet here

It's quite small but gives you the idea.

But why change them? I thought they were quite an important element in the different flavours of the two pas de deux, as well as being oddly attractive in their own right.

(And thanks for the replies)

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When I saw that Copeland & Kochetkova were paired in Monotones 1 I thought they would be a great combination. 30 seconds into the Sunday matinee performance I suddenly remembered that neither one is an adagio dancer. As I was reminded during intermission, with only 3 people on stage and in those unitards the dancers are very exposed and every flaw is readily apparent but, really - neither one could sustain an arabesque without shaking. Very unfortunate. The Seo/Hammoudi/Han Monotones 2 cast was better, but they looked very ordinary, not the mysterious, celestial beings of the Part/Forster/Stearns cast.

I was sooo happy to see the 2nd cast of Company B. Gabe Stone Shayer (Tico), Stephanie Williams(I can dream) and Cassandra Trenary (Rum & Coca Cola) were all amazing.

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the preceding post with a link to photos showing the costumes for the studio company's staging of MONOTONES I proves these to be a fair approximation of what was used originally; a photo of the first cast in Ashton's originals is on p. 347 of David Vaughan's FREDERICK ASHTON AND HIS BALLETS; it documents that the ABT studio versions were an exaggeration of the original creations.

There's one of the Sarasota Ballet here

It's quite small but gives you the idea.

But why change them? I thought they were quite an important element in the different flavours of the two pas de deux, as well as being oddly attractive in their own right.

(And thanks for the replies)

Thank you both -- rg, I must have spaced over that link. The NYT image is indeed larger than life, but very distinctive. The Sarasota image is more what I imagine Ashton would favor.

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Did anyone see the premiere of the new Gomes work, After Effect?

I'm curious, too, if anybody saw it. No on-line reviews (yet). Pre-premiere, there were some Instagrams from company members that spoke glowingly of the work. I really hope it was a success.

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I didn't see the Gomes premiere, but I was there Tuesday night and will post some comments. Thanks to laurel and others who posted reviews so far.

I enjoyed After You and would like to see it again. It's not all slow moving, as I expected from the reviews here. There are three sections: allegro con brio, adagio, and menuetto (minuet) Stella Abrera and Calvin Royal are well-partnered, and they both wore the costumes well too. (They weren't so appealing on more compact dancers, like Skylar Brandt and Craig Sailstein. In general, however, the costumes look much better in motion than they do in photographs.) Royal has learned to control his exceedingly long arms and fingers, and it is a thing of beauty. He has a grace and joy to his dancing that I quite love watching, and I couldn't take my eyes off of them. I hope they are paired together again in Seven Sonatas in the Spring. Gillian was a stand-out, and held her own with the men for part of the allergo section. This was one of those pieces that didn't dazzle choreographically or reveal anything about human relations, but somehow enhanced or illustrated the music in a keen, pleasing way. There was some interesting man-on-man partnering, some playing with pedestrian movements juxtaposed with ballet, but generally it was all about a congenial taking of turns in illustrating the music. But it looked fresh, and the performances were good. Catherine Hurlin appears to be quite the technician but despite all of her stage experience hasn't quite yet figured out how to project her face to the audience. Still I can't believe that's the same girl I saw dance little Clara at BAM when she looked about a foot shorter than Gillian Murphy. Man, time flies. I don't know why only Devon Teuscher wore a pony-tail and the other women wore buns, but this seemed unnecessarily distracting.

It was my first viewing of Monotones, and like an unsatisfied diner at an acclaimed restaurant, I felt like I probably ordered the wrong cast. Misty Copeland and Maria Kochetkova were wobbly in several instances, particularly Kochetkova whose extensions were also a bit low at times, compared to her counterparts. It just didn't glow or captivate, like I thought it could. All three somehow looked bored and stiff. I much preferred the dancing of Veronika Part, Thomas Forster, and Cory Stearns in Monotones II. All three were secure and moved in flowing unison. I'm a fan, but I have to say Veronika was perfection. I don't know if I've ever seen her so pared down and unadorned, in both costume and movement. It was a treat. My husband and I were both intrigued by the music: Satie orchestrated by Debussy (and others). We found a version online when we got home, but the percussion in Monotones I was definitely not what we heard at the theater. I wish I knew the name of the instrument that was missing, but it is very distinctive (and very Debussy)

Although I wish I saw the other cast perform Monotones I, I thought that the unitards looked good on all of the body types (in contrast with the After You costumes). I think Misty is leaner than I have ever seen her. She didn't really stand out too much from Kochetkova physically. This review has a photo: https://bachtrack.com/review-company-b-green-table-monotones-american-ballet-theater-lincoln-center-october-2015

Lastly came Green Table, which I enjoyed but don't really need to see again. Marcelo was predictably stompy and powerful. (The makeup is scary as hell, just in time for Halloween.) Herman was predictably sly and quick-footed. Teuscher's solo was strong, and for some reason it made me think I'd like to see her Hagar someday. Sarah Lane gave an expansive, emotionally jarring performance that just made me mad she isn't dancing Juliet this Spring.

Looking forward to more performances and Aftereffect this weekend.

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Did anyone see the premiere of the new Gomes work, After Effect?

Have not seen any online reviews either but was lucky enough to catch this show even in the down pour, thought it was well worth the walk in the rain. I was actually very impressed with the work, however, it seems the lead female role danced by Copeland was far less then the soloist women. If not mistaken, the lead male danced by Whiteside and the soloist couples danced the most overall, and they did beautifully with synchronicity: Brandt/Sebastian, Hamrick/Royal, Paris/Scott, Schevcheko/Zhang, Teuscher/Hoven, Waski/Baca (IMO standout partnering), K. Williams/Stewart, S. Williams/Zhurbin did the most dancing. Have to say I enjoyed it very much and wish I had tickets to see it again Friday night. Best part of all was seeing Francoise Gilot on stage at the bow! Historical indeed as the back drop was beautiful! <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/28/arts/dance/teaming-up-to-pair-art-and-ballet-in-american-ballet-theaters-aftereffect.html?_r=0>


Glad to have caught The Green Table too! Thought Zhurbin did an excellent job as Death as did the cast for the evening. The pistols going off took me off my seat as I didn't expect either time. I guess I didn't miss the GOP debate after all. All in all a wonderful night to stay out of the rain with some wonderful dancing  


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Too bad they aren't showing it at the Met next spring, but perhaps it wouldn't work on the bigger stage. I'm relieved that the responses are mostly positive -- in contrast with the brutal reviews of Carlos Acosta's Carmen at the Royal this season. Great dancers are not necessarily great choreographers - although that never stopped Peter Martins!

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In an otherwise enthusiastic review in today's Times, Alastair Macaulay wrote this:

"The company should improve its marketing: This meeting of performers and repertory deserves larger audiences than it's currently attracting at the Koch."

For those who have attended the Fall Season, has it been your impression that the season is selling poorly? If so, is it a marketing problem or a programming problem? Or both??

To put it another way, is the Fall programming too geared toward the dance intelligentsia and not enough toward the general audience that packs the Met in the Spring for Giselle and Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet? (i.e. Monotones I and II may set Macaulay's world aflame but does it have mass appeal?)

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Yes , the two performances I attended were poorly sold. I think it's the rep. There is too much repetition of works that most people aren't especially eager to see. For me, the constant repetition of Company B and the Green Table was one reason I only attended twice. Normally, with better rep I would have attended more.

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Yes , the two performances I attended were poorly sold. I think it's the rep. There is too much repetition of works that most people aren't especially eager to see. For me, the constant repetition of Company B and the Green Table was one reason I only attended twice. Normally, with better rep I would have attended more.

Yet all three performances I attended (last Thursday, Friday and again last night) seemed very well sold. I was surprised that the Orch. was nearly full, as were the rings. Even 4th ring . Last night had Misty dancing twice, but the other nights were not necessarily a" Copeland Night". I agree however that the repetition of "Green Table" (which I like very much) and "Company B" (which I prefer in Paul Taylor's company version) was a bit of over kill. Other things might have been presented. I guess Tudor doesn't necessarily sell, but "Leaves Are Fading" would have been a nice addition this Season. It gives many dancers a chance to dance. Possibly with so many firsts ("Monotones", After You" and "After Effect", "Valse Fantasie") it was easier to do older rep more times.

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I wanted to come up to see today's performance but all of the places I liked to sit were sold out (except the fourth ring, which I least prefer as I like to see faces), so I hiked down to DC instead to see the Suzanne Farrell ballet at the Kennedy Center. Im disappointed to miss The Green Table, as I've never seen it. Guess I need to get my tickets earlier next time, since I'm so picky.

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The house was quite full both times I attended, except for the fourth ring, and the dancing on every level of the hierarchy was superb. With the programming and casting of the spring season, perhaps ABT is entering a new and better era, for dancers and audience alike.

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I went to the matinee Saturday. The house was pretty full and it was nice to see a young and diverse crowd mixed amongst the traditional older (and whiter) crowd. If that’s the Misty Copeland effect, then it’s fantastic.

Side note: am I the only one who hates the new (really not so new) seats in the Koch theatre? For someone who’s tall they just don’t work. I feel like I’m sitting on the edge of my seat or in a kiddie chair.

This was my first viewing of Tharp’s Brahms-Hayden Variations, and what a feeling of deva vu when the music started. A former teacher of mine used this same piece to choreograph a work I danced in eons ago. I was immediately transported back, ahem, many years. Anyway. My only real complaints about this piece is that one, I wish at times there weren’t so many bodies on stage doing different things because it was hard to concentrate on anyone for long, and second I wish it were longer. Such innovative choreography and wonderful use of the music. Most of the dancers looked like they were having a ball. Copeland looked better than I’ve ever seen her (though her part wasn’t very long). I’m not her biggest fan, but her technique was crisp and strong (without looking forced, one of my biggest complaints about her) her legs looked leaner, less bulky. She had a charming radiance about her and her pirouettes were sharp and clean. Her partner, Sterling Baca was fantastic; very confident and secure partnering (and this piece has some tricky partnering). He’s had some soloist parts this year, and he more than held his own partnering a principal. I hope he’s one of the next corps dancers promoted. Blaine Hoven also looked better than I’ve ever seen him. Years ago I thought he was on the soloist track, then he seemed to lose momentum and opportunities. Now, he’s looking better than ever (physically and technique-wise). I think his friend (the best male partner out there, Marcelo Gomes) has been giving him tips because his partnering looked stronger than I remember. Stephanie Williams – where has she been hiding? Luminous, lovely. Calvin Royal III (another dancer I hope to see promoted soon) continues to improve, though he still needs to work on pointing his feet. And, as someone else noted he’s gotten control of those very long arms indeed (such arms!) and they’re gorgeous. It was nice to see Catherine Hurlin get some solo opportunities in this program, though she and her partner Cameron McClune had a partnering mishap (completely missed a lift) but I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been looking straight at them, because again, there was so much going on. Skylar Brandt and Craig Salstein made a wonderful pair. Brandt didn’t look like a newly promoted soloist; she had a comfort level that exceeded her experience. And she has an expansive upper body and expressive face that draws you to her.

Gomes’ Aftereffect was next and I still have mixed feelings about this piece. It was wonderful to see how much dancing (without partnering) he gave his male dancers at the beginning. I loved the scenery by Francoise Gilot (the NY Times had an article about it, but why wasn’t this collaboration advertised by ABT? If it was, I missed it.). And even the cool unitards (though I didn’t understand why Jeffrey Cirio put on a sheer shirt near the end). I felt Gomes should have used much different music. The piece by Tchaikovsky just didn’t match the modern, earthy choreography (and dramatic overtones in the beginning) and if he was going for contrast that didn’t work for me either. I also didn’t understand the point of the piece. It began with a strong male section of pure dancing without any women, followed by a dramatic section with Cory Stearns and Cassandra Trenary, flanked by others, conveying loss and yearning, and then it ended with another pure dance section with everyone smiling and happy. The program note said “To those who have fallen…..and those who prevail”. So, the ending was the prevailing? Um, ok. Choreographically, it was fine, better than I’ve seen by him so far, but he had some partnering maneuvers that were that were too reminiscent of Tharp’s in the previous ballet. Stearns has surprised me dramatically in a few pieces (The Moor’s Pavane) and I was hoping he’d come through here but he fell flat. Trenary – wow, wow, wow. Someone mentioned upthread that they felt she was already a major ballerina, and from what I saw here in a short piece, I’d have to agree. Like Brandt, she doesn’t dance like a newly promoted soloist, but, even more so. She has a maturity and command of the stage that usually only senior principals have. Her technique is already there. I cannot wait to see her in a major role. Cirio (my first time seeing him) is a fine technician. I can’t say more than that. I’d need to see him again. But, the oddest thing that happened was when Courtney Lavine’s ribbons on one shoe came completely undone and were literally dragging on the floor. Miraculously, no one tripped on them, not even her. I hope next time she’ll sew them in.

Green Table was last (what a depressing way to end a program) and surprisingly Roman Zhurbin didn’t blow me away. He’s one of the finest dance actors there is and a favorite of mine, but maybe I was underwhelmed because his facial expressions were hidden by the elaborate make-up and that’s what makes him special. I’d need to see the piece with Gomes to compare, but maybe Death needs someone bigger with a more physically commanding stage presence. Simkin as the Profiteer was fine, but he looked too elf-like. I’d like to have seen Cornejo instead. I was most impressed with Zhiyao Zhang as one of the soldiers – big, expansive with long strong legs. I’d like to see him in a bigger role.

I wanted to go back today, but didn’t want to try to brave the marathon traffic and street closings. I do wish their fall season was longer.

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Green Table was last (what a depressing way to end a program) and surprisingly Roman Zhurbin didn’t blow me away. He’s one of the finest dance actors there is and a favorite of mine, but maybe I was underwhelmed because his facial expressions were hidden by the elaborate make-up and that’s what makes him special. I’d need to see the piece with Gomes to compare, but maybe Death needs someone bigger with a more physically commanding stage presence. Simkin as the Profiteer was fine, but he looked too elf-like. I’d like to have seen Cornejo instead. I was most impressed with Zhiyao Zhang as one of the soldiers – big, expansive with long strong legs. I’d like to see him in a bigger role.

While Jooss was not an extra-tall dancer (he made the role of Death for himself) most of the really effective dancers in this role have been tall. And most of the effective performances of the Profiteer emphasize a size difference between the two characters. Back in the 70s with the Joffrey, Christian Holder and Gary Chryst made a great combination as Death and The Profiteer, particularly the moment where The Profiteer crouches suddenly to avoid being swept up by Death.

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My only real complaints about this piece is that one, I wish at times there weren’t so many bodies on stage doing different things because it was hard to concentrate on anyone for long, and second I wish it were longer.

Totally agree with ABT Fan about too many bodies on stage, and this leads me to the last show yesterday with Ratmansky's Piano Concerto. I am not sure if anyone on BA will agree but this was wonderful to watch, just the right amount of "bodies" :flowers: I thought it gave everyone a chance to see the individuals and couples even at a far distance. Shevchenko, Brandt, Royal and Shayer did a wonderful job as the leads, and the corps was well presented with the ladies lead in by Waski (whom I caught this season with a few soloist roles and nice partnering work with Baca in After Effects I might add), also had a small solo with Royal and looked beautiful with both being the same body type, always nice to see long and lean dancers IMO. The program began with After You and ended with Brahms but I much prefer Ratmansky in this case and seems the audience did too.

Side note: It was wonderful to see a member of the Jackie O family at the show!! Lee Radziwill surprised me and great to see her looking so well!

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I wanted to go back today, but didn’t want to try to brave the marathon traffic and street closings. I do wish their fall season was longer.

You made the right choice. I had an event at Lincoln Center last night and trying to navigate the area on foot as late as 6 PM was a chaotic nightmare.

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I don't have time for a full review, but here are my big take-aways from ABT's Fall 2015 season:

1) Get this company out of the Met and into The Theatre Formerly Known as State asap. Or at least get them there for a few more weeks.

2) Cassandra Trenary & Skylar Brandt. I plan buy tickets to see both of them in the Spring. (Ahem. William Taylor, please take note.)

3) Go Gabe Stone Shayer! I thoroughly enjoyed watching him in Company B and Piano Concerto #1.

ETA:

4) Whoo-hoo! Monotones! I'm always happy to see more Ashton added to ABT's rep, and was especially happy to see Monotones. Please bring it back next Fall!

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