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NYCB 2015 Fall Season Rep Programs


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Any reports on the new ballets that debuted last night?

PS: Janzen replaces Catazaro in this week's performances of Tschai Suite 3, and Huxley is replacing Garcia in this week's performances of Rodeo. This will be a role debut for Huxley.

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While we brace ourselves for Hurricane Joaquin, the Koch Theater had its own hurricane Joaquin DeLuz last night. DeLuz sailed through the killer demands of the final section of Tschai Suite 3 (the T&V section) with abandon and skill. It is such a pleasure to watch him, especially after having seen some pretty awful work in T&V over at ABT during the spring Met season. He seemed pleased to be reunited with his regular partner, Megan Fairchild. Megan looked a little off of her game, with some small errors and bobbles. I think she is finding her form again after being away from NYCB for a year. She still has great speed, but there is a little tentativeness in the execution.

Reichlin and Janzen were terrific in the Elegie section, but I feel like Janzen is now laying on the schmaltz a little too thick in the final moments of the Elegie section. Through my binoculars it looked like he was over-emoting. I felt that Lauren King and Taylor Stanley need some improvement in the second section. King, in particular, seemed plodding at times. Also, the partnering must be smoothed out. As an example, in one of the lifts, she should have been running towards him, and he should have lifted her as she came towards him. Instead, she came to a complete stop right in front of him before he did the lift.

As usual, Pereira and Ulbricht were impressive in the third movement.

It was such an enormous pleasure to see Liebeslieder again. Let's put aside the less than stellar tenor and just talk about the dancing. Jennie Somogyi was utterly luminous. Her thrilling performance made me sad to think about all the years she missed and all the roles she never danced due to her injuries. Mearns also lit up the stage with urgency and abandon. Laracey made a sparkling debut. Hyltin was fine, but I feel that her performance was a bit lacking in lyricism. All the gentlemen performed extremely well in their solos and in the partnering.

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I enjoyed last night's performance of Liebeslieder very much. The house looked under-sold and I know that not everyone likes Liebeslieder -- the woman next to me complained at the pause and (apparently) left at intermission. I don't know how often this piece will be revived, so I'm going to try to attend every single performance this year. I wonder who will replace Somogyi when they do it in the winter. I thought she looked wonderful and wonder why she decided to retire right when she is back in form. She must have her reasons, but I was wishing she could crank out a few more years!

Hurricane Joaquin indeed. I also enjoyed seeing the Balanchine rep again, and all the veteran and newcomer corps members, who I feel fondly affectionate of. Preston Chamblee looking very elegant, and Joseph Gordon very exciting even in the corps. Taylor Stanley IMHO is stunning pretty much no matter what he does. I find his stage presence magnetic.

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Yes, the house was undersold. It looked like they barely sold any tickets in the third ring. Liebeslieder is not popular with the masses, but I love it.

Cobweb, I also thought about who might replace Somogyi in the Winter. That role usually goes to a taller woman, so maybe Reichlin or Krohn? Next season Liebeslieder is paired with Glass Pieces, and Krohn does the lead in Glass Pieces.

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I am sure they will need Krohn for Glass Pieces since Kowroski will probably still be out. Liebeslieder would be a good role for Krohn though. Am I remembering wrong or did Tiler Peck do Liebeslieder (can't remember which part) last time around?

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I am sure they will need Krohn for Glass Pieces since Kowroski will probably still be out. Liebeslieder would be a good role for Krohn though. Am I remembering wrong or did Tiler Peck do Liebeslieder (can't remember which part) last time around?

Yes, Tiler Peck has been cast in Liebeslieder. She was part of the almost entirely revamped cast NYCB fielded in the Spring 2012 season. And, if I recall correctly, she performed the role originated by Violette Verdy, which is the one I've seen Somogyi perform. (Kyra Nichols often performed it as well.) In that same cast Megan Fairchild performed Jillana's role; Sterling Hyltin performed (I think) Melissa Hayden's role; and Maria Kowrowski performed (again I think) Diana Adams' role.

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Peter Martins is giving Miriam Miller, the apprentice that danced Titania in Midsummer Night's Dream in the final show of spring season, another featured role. She will be dancing La Bonne Fee in the Wednesday and Saturday matinee performances of Harlequinade.

http://www.nycballet.com/NYCB/media/NYCBMediaLibrary/PDFs/Press/Casting/NYCB-Casting_October-13-18,-2015.pdf

And this Friday she will be doing the 45 minute pre-performance chat:

http://www.nycballet.com/Educate/Public-Programs/Dancer-Chats.aspx

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I attended Sun. Mat. and had quite a good time. A few impressions.

Ash - Peter Martins/Torke. Ashly Isaacs continues to impress with technique and a strong likability factor in her stage presence. Many of the men looked rushed and somewhat messy. Possibly a problem of the choreography being too fast and busy.

Sonatas & Interludes - Richard Tanner/Cage. I didn't expect to like this but I did. Anthony Huxley and especially Tiler Peck gave a wonderful performance. They were musically sensitive, fearless in execution and related to each other in a very human way. I have a feeling the piece wouldn't work if it was poorly performed.

Tarantella - I see Spartak Hoxha as a real up and comer. He has strong jumps, beats and turns and good stage presence. It wasn't as polished a performance as I'm used to seeing in this but the last two men I saw were DeLuz and Ulbricht. I think Hoxha will get there and I'm looking forward to following his career. Pereira just doesn't do it for me. She still seems underpowered, often a little late with the music and doesn't cover space well. Nice turns.

Rodeo - My first view of this Justin Peck piece and I really enjoyed it. Tiler Peck and Amar Ramasar did the pas and looked great together. One of the things I liked about the piece over all is that it really shows the dancers off well. I loved the way J. Peck moved the groups around with the flow men supporting men. I'd like to see it again.

Slaughter on 10th - I miss Maria K's special brand of wit but I did enjoy Sarah Mearns. She let loose, flung that hair around and her legs looked great. It's a piece that is just so well constructed in that brand of musical theater that it IMO it will always work.

All in all a fun afternoon at the ballet seeing some fine dancing.

One more thing - I've been wondering what will happen when Ashley Bouder goes on maternity leave. She does all those heavy duty ballerina roles like Ballo, T&V etc. Now that Megan Fairchild is back that will help some but I wonder if some new people will be put into those roles. Maybe Ana Sophia Scheller or Ashly Isaacs. I hope Erica Pereira doesn't get pushed too much. Whoever does take on those roles will have some developing to do in many ways. It could be a real treat to watch.

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I attended Saturday night (Liebeslieder Walzer, Thchai suite #3). Liebeslieder is a piece I've seen relatively few times, and I'm trying to deepen my understanding and knowledge of it, but I enjoyed it Saturday even more than earlier in the week. The performance seemed more intense somehow. Jared Angle and Sterling Hyltin were wonderful, especially in that section where he runs around her with his hand on her waist. I loved Jennie Somogyi.

Theme and Variations. I had the feeling Megan Fairchild totally ran out of steam fairly early into the pdd, and I honestly was wondering if she could get through it. I would think doing 8 Broadway shows a week would keep her stamina level up there, but IMHO she has some work to do before she's fully ready for a ballet like this. As to who else would be good for the bravura ballerina roles, I would love to see Ashly Isaacs. She is my vote #1. Also I was noticing Brittany Pollack as a T&V demisoloist and thinking she's ready for more. Totally secure and very grand and gracious looking. Not sure where her technique is, but in terms of presence I think she's ready for bigger roles. Please no Erica Pereira until she establishes more of an interest factor.

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Tiler Peck was mesmerizing and brillliant in T&V. Technically marvelous as always. In addition, gorgeous musicality and phrasing. She also added so many lovely romantic touches in the way she responded to Veyette. I was less impressed with Veyette. He was good but not as flawless as DeLuz. Am I correct that Veyette turned the last turn in his solo into something much easier?

Poor ticket sales. Third ring was less than half full. Fourth ring was closed. I guess they need SL to support these low attendance nights.

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Tiler Peck's performance in T&V last night was up there with the finest ballet performances I have ever seen. Despite pushing the music at times, her phrasing was so luxurious that she made the music look like it was slow. She was unhurried, calm, and gracious, expressing every position to the utmost with absolute clarity. Even the smallest gestures were treated lovingly -- as in the section where the corps ladies are bourreeing in a line and she comes out to join them -- she treated the gesture where she reaches up and joins hands with the other two ladies with deliberation and care, a sense of deep calm, and ravishing beauty. As abatt said there were flourishes that I don't recall seeing before but that seemed very fitting. Sometimes with dancers of great technical ability you have the feeling they're handling the choreography like child's play -- which can be a lot of fun for the audience. Tiler Peck is completely capable of that, of course, but she doesn't treat it like it's child's play -- she takes it seriously, and while conveying liveliness, lightness, and good humor, also conveys gravity and authority. Thank you Tiler.

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I agree that Peck was fantastic in last night's T&V. The speed, technical security and wonderful use of legato were all there but what impressed me most was the sense of joy she brought to it. Paradoxically, this may also be related to the only (small) quibble I have with her performance. For me this is one of the great, grand Balanchine ballerina roles and she didn't look very grand in it. More a princess than a queen, but what a great, exhilarating performance.

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I agree that Peck was fantastic in last night's T&V. The speed, technical security and wonderful use of legato were all there but what impressed me most was the sense of joy she brought to it. Paradoxically, this may also be related to the only (small) quibble I have with her performance. For me this is one of the great, grand Balanchine ballerina roles and she didn't look very grand in it. More a princess than a queen, but what a great, exhilarating performance.

Agreed. I wavered the entire time between wishing for more shading in her port de bras (she was exuberant to the point of jazziness) and enjoying seeing someone so technically secure in THAT role that they could play! (I've unfortunately missed all my chances to see Bouder so far.)

I thought that the first three movements came off better than usual, too. When three softer, more Romantic ballerinas are cast, they just blur together in all the tulle and low lighting. For a long time. Because Krohn (one of the "right" type for this role) was followed by Le Crone (spiky) and Scheller (Scherzo!!!), all three movements actually seemed to have a reason to exist. Le Crone's angularity sometimes jars in non-neoclassical works, but here it usefully cuts some of the sugar: it made the second movement seem dangerous in a way that I haven't seen before.

I'm glad that I finally saw Liebeslieder Walzer, but suspect its charm relied heavily on its original cast. I thought Ashley Laracey came off better than anyone on stage: she projected throughout, but was reserved enough (unintentionally? intentionally?) to look like a girl of the period. Others seemed slightly too forthright at times, although Sterling Hyltin had a beautiful dignity in the first half. (The Angle brothers, of course, did what Angle brothers do for ballerinas.)

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I thought that the first three movements came off better than usual, too. When three softer, more Romantic ballerinas are cast, they just blur together in all the tulle and low lighting. For a long time. Because Krohn (one of the "right" type for this role) was followed by Le Crone (spiky) and Scheller (Scherzo!!!), all three movements actually seemed to have a reason to exist. Le Crone's angularity sometimes jars in non-neoclassical works, but here it usefully cuts some of the sugar: it made the second movement seem dangerous in a way that I haven't seen before.

Oh, I absolutely agree! Too often the casting of the first three movements can seem like an attempt to give underutilized dancers something to do, but Tuesday's cast looked like it had been put together to showcase each ballerina's special gifts and make something special out of the choreography. I especially liked Le Crone's take on the Valse Mélancolique. Dangerous indeed: she was bewitching in every sense of the word, and danced with the kind of intensity that projects beyond that dreadful scrim, the dim lighting, and far too many bolts of pastel chiffon.

If I ever win lotto I am going to march into Martins' office with a big fat check and insist that the company re-dress the first three movements to give the choreography some theatrical context beyond ghosts in a gloomy ballroom.

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I too thought Megan LeCrone brought a very welcome edge to Valse Melancolique. She seems to be getting more opportunities. I generally enjoy her.

Kathleen, I'm with you on re-costuming the first three movements! Too much hair, way too much flowy bits of the costumes. But maybe it's supposed to be like that? Mysterious and vague.

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I'm with you on re-costuming the first three movements! Too much hair, way too much flowy bits of the costumes. But maybe it's supposed to be like that? Mysterious and vague.

Aren't they still using the original costumes (credited in Repertory in Review to Nicolas Benois), or reproductions of them?

Thanks to everyone for the reviews, by the way.

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I thought last night was one of the most depressing nights at NYCB in a long time. When a balletomane like me leaves the theater wishing that I had spent the night at home watching television instead of coming to the ballet something is seriously wrong. The only ballet that I would come to the theater to see again is Justin Peck's 15 minute "New Blood", which pulsated with energy and tricky choreography.

It seemed like things mostly went from bad to worse, with the Brandstup work frustratingly opaque and shallow. First,it seemed like the music was merely background atmosphere music rather than a springboard for the choreography. Would anyone care to enlighten me on the plot. I know Brandstrup was trying to tell us a film noirish story, but the narrative never came through for me. When your work is only 20 minutes long, you had better be a really good choreographer if you intend to tell the audience a story of any depth or meaning. Why was Adrain DW bouncing a ball? Why did Mearns get hold of the ball at the end? Mearns starts out with a blindfold , and by the end Adrian DW is wearing the blindfold/ What? :wallbash: In the meantime, the corps is doing some generic ballet 101 lifts in the background. The portion in which Mearns attempts to interact with the group looked comical to me. Was that intentional? The setting was a almost completely dark stage with a bright lightbulb in the back of the stage.

Is there some handbook which requires modern choreographers to use dim lighting? It was relentless. Almost every work was done on a stage that was dimly lit. Is that to hide the poor choreography? And why were there all kinds of strings, and fabric pieces flying around on the costumes for Troy's ballet? Those big pants that the men wore completely obscured their body line.

My remaining ticket for this program will be exchanged faster than you can say Kim Brandstrup.

It's no wonder that Martins decided not to present the Brandstrup work at the gala, and instead opted for the more user friendly Thou Swell. If I were a donor and had to see this entire program at a gala, I would tear up my donation check.

PS: Despite being approx 10 weeks along in her pregnancy, Bouder looked positively svelte in her skin tight leotard in the Peck work.

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While I agree the first half of last Night was pretty depressing (except for Justin Peck's ballet) I think Jeux was head and shoulders above most of it. The narrative was quite clear - a play on play, serious and not serious games people play on each other, what people choose or are permitted to see etc, with references to Nijinsky. It was more of a dramatic and less of a technically demanding work than the company usually does. I agree Martins' ballet was more suited to the gala, but not because it was a more serious or credible work. I think these nights of a few novelty ballets accompanied by fashion designers might be a nice thing for a gala but having five rep nights exclusively devoted to this programming needs to be reevaluated. Want to add that Happel's dress designs were fab. Better than most of the evening's other designers, particularly the way they worked with the women's' movement. Again though the designs in the Peck were also well suited. My opinion.

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I liked the costumes for all of the ballets except for the costumes used in Common Ground (Troy's ballet). In fact, I thought the costumes in the Thatcher and Binet ballets were more interesting than the choreography. The New Blood costumes were my favorite of the evening. I did not like the makeup used in that ballet, though. It was distractingly weird.

http://dancetabs.com/2015/10/new-york-city-ballet-jeux-polaris-the-blue-distance-common-ground-new-blood-new-york/

Here's there first review regarding last night's debut.

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I guess I am an outlier in kind of liking the new ballet night (except for Brandstrup's Jeux). In fact I saw the evening 3 times. I did feel the Thatcher work Polaris was dull and a real waste of Tilet Peck's talents. But Binet's The Blue of Distance was well danced (everyone was a principal except Harrison Ball). And it really showcased Harrison Ball as the outsider in this group. Sporting a new, very blond crew cut, I didn't even recognize him the first time I saw the piece. But boy can he dance! Jumps and turns galore. So good for him.

I believe I'm probably alone in liking Troy Schumacher's Common Ground but I loved it! Yes, the costumes are a little too colorful and someone should take a scissors to the long strings attached, but I loved the choreography. It almost entirely made up of jumps and has very high energy. Russell Janzen, Amar, Anthony Huxley and Tess Reichlen were fantastic, IMO. The Justin Peck piece I liked less well that Rōdē,ō, but it was serviceable. It did take me 3 viewings to figure out the structure, partly because everyone is so bizarrely made up (and hair slicked back) they are unrecognizable. But then I realized there are a series of PDDs; each person dances 2 but has a different partner for each one, as 1 member of the group peels off and another arrives. With her blond hair, black lipstick and white makeup, Ashley Bouder was almost unrecognizable (and, yes, she is not showing at all).

As for Brandstrup's Jeux, I couldn't agree more with what abatt said. What in the world was going on in this ballet??? Not only did I wonder why Adrian is bouncing a ball but why, when all the other men are wearing suits and jazz shoes, is he dressed in jeans, a muscle t shirt and sneakers? It was though he missed the rehearsal for NY Export Jazz next week and wandered into this ballet that mistake. Equally horrifying (to me) were the drab gray costumes for the women were wearing.outfits that looked like type that prison guards would wear ar concentration camps.

In conclusion, I guess I'm alone in basically enjoying the evening but we'll see which works (if any) enter the repertory.

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I thought the ball in Jeux was an allusion to Nijinsky's choreography which began with a tennis ball landing on stage...In Brandstrup's work I thought the ball playing was a lightweight counter-game to the rather darker blind man's buff game taking place. I didn't care much for the ballet as I found the implicit story a touch banal, the actual dance material only occasionally interesting, and the tone hard to fix. But I felt like I 'got' the ball and I thought Sara Mearns gave a gripping performance as a deceived/disappointed in love protagonist taking on, at first tentatively, a different kind of relationship. (That's the narrative I inferred...) After the first time I saw it I wasn't sure I would find it easy to sit through a second time--but Mearns more than kept my interest.

Without liking every ballet equally, I enjoyed the premier evening altogether quite a bit, not least because I thought there was scarcely a dancer on stage who wasn't outstanding. (In the all Balanchine program that I was also able to see, I also found the dancing excellent--albeit with a minor caveat or two.)

I am unable to write more now, but will try to write a little more later about the other premiers.

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I pretty much agree w Drew's interpretation of the plot. I think the Adrian character is more innocent than the rest - he offers Sara solace to smooth her rejection by Amar, but the ballet ends w Sara starting to play the 'dark' games on him. A highly theatrical ballet. I thought the narrative and themes were quite clear. The Times review discussed the plot as well.

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