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Emma

2016 Winter Season

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A program made up of Liebeslieder Walzer followed after intermission by Glass Pieces --two works of such contrasting music, choreography and overall atmosphere (including lighting, scenery and costumes)-- is actually a very neat idea. It makes you reflect about where we have been, where we are and where we are going --a journey through time (past, present, future) in one evening. I presume it was unintentional, but having two of the dancers (Krohn and Ramasar) appearing in Balanchine's imagined nineteenth century ballroom scene also cast in the second movement of Robbins' modernistic work made the entire thing more moving to me.

Rebecca Krohn is one of the most frustrating NYCB principals for me, because I like her so much to begin with and want to like her even more ...but her performances sometimes come across (to me) as overly studied. On Wednesday she was fine in Walzer, but I thought that she was simply superb in Glass Pieces. Unity Phelan and Laine Habony also looked really good in the first movement of Robbins' work.

Tiler Peck was also in the cast of Liebeslieder Walzer and was the primary reason why I enjoyed that ballet this particular evening so much. My appreciation of all of Ms. Peck's work verges on the stratospheric, so I second enthusiastically every observation abatt has made above about all her performances this season.

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Since I have come to love Balanchine's works by following closely NYCB during the past few years, and since I am someone who by disposition is rather inclined to look back to the past (though I have no illusions about it and do not idealize it), I was very much looking forward last fall to finally seeing Liebeslieder Walzer. To my surprise I did not like it as much as I thought I would. Perhaps it was because of the need to become a little more familiar with this ballet, or the vantage point from which I was watching it in the theater. But after seeing it last evening for the third time this season from a far more advantageous spot in the auditorium I realize now what a gorgeous work this is.

I overheard someone say during the intermission that they liked the second part of Liebeslieder better than the first. I am not sure about this, because both seemed --each in its own way-- splendid to me. I do think, however, that the performance of the second part was better last evening. The gentlemen --Jared Angle, Chase Finlay, Amar Ramasar and (perhaps most of all) Russell Janzen-- actually all looked pretty good throughout the work. I would say much the same about one of the ladies --Megan Fairchild. Rebecca Krohn and Sterling Hyltin, on the other hand, seemed to be more in their element in the latter half of the ballet --each of them having some very beautiful moments there indeed. This is one of those works that requires all the dancers --eight of them in this case-- to concentrate on what is happening on stage and avoid as much as possible giving the impression that they are playing to an audience. Even if they are facing toward the auditorium at any given moment they should not seem to be looking at the audience. One thing that I found regrettable during the performance of the first part last night was the way Ms. Krohn --unlike any of her seven colleagues-- seemed to be doing exactly that (in at least one of her duets).

Frankly, I failed to grasp during the first couple of times I saw her exactly how exquisite Tiler Peck is in Liebeslieder Walzer. She seemed to be portraying some character (not simply dancing --and how sublimely she dances!) far, far more convincingly than any of the other three ladies. I was made to feel --through her performance-- that hers was the most fascinating of the four female "characters" we were watching on stage; and she became therefore the one whose mysteries of the mind and heart I would most have liked to unravel. I don't know this ballet that well. I wonder, would I feel the same way (that her role is the key one in Liebeslieder) if I were to somehow magically see every cast which has ever performed this work, especially the first?

Once again I felt that Rebecca Krohn was outstanding in Glass Pieces. I enjoyed this performance of Robbins' work immensely. All the members of the corps --male and female-- were terrific. So was Amar Ramasar.

Unity Phelan also impressed me again in Glass Pieces. I hope that she dances her part in Who Cares? on Saturday afternoon with plenty of confidence, because it seems to me that she has a lot going for her.

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I was at the Gordon/Fairchild (last minute substitute)/Phelan/Pollack performance of Who Cares? I thought the performance had many of the hiccups expected of a brand new cast. Gordon was technically excellent but his partnering of Megan in Man I Love had some shaky moments, and his face looked very nervous. Fairchild was technically flawless but doesn't bring much sensuality to the role. She needs to do more with her neck and shoulders. The usually solid Brittany Pollack was also very nervous looking and didn't attempt the double fouettes in her solo. Only Unity Phelan breezed through the part with elegance and ease. She looks a lot like a young Suzanne Farrell.

More thoughts about the first two weeks of the season here, including performances of Liebeslider Waltzer, Glass Pieces, and the all-Balanchine bill:

http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2016/01/winter-season-diaries.html

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As has been noted elsewhere, the Tuesday evening performance featured almost all the casting for the cancelled Saturday evening performance, so Mearns and Reichlen switched roles in Walpurgisnacht and Bizet Adagio, Fairchild and Peck in Sonatine and Bizet First Movement, etc.

Mearns was superb in Walpurgisnacht-- the scale on which she danced and the risks which she assumed were almost like Farrell all over again: huge, juicy, daredevil, and bravura. Danchig-Warig was handsome and stalwart as her partner. Segin, as one of the demis, had the delicacy and brio she so often shows and which deserve bigger parts. She would have been vastly superior to Pereira as the soloist; Pereira's mousy timidity and miniscule dancing never look worse than in a ballet beside a ballerina like Mearns (Walpurgisnacht) or a real jumper like Carmena (superb in Bizet Third Movement; unfortunately, Pereira was her usual self...) The vastly underrated, beautiful Nichol Hlinka used to do the soloist role exquisitely.

Sonatine is a Verdy role which does not yet suit Tiler Peck as well as Liebeslieder or Emeralds or the Divertissement pas de deux. Peck was elegant but not insouciant/perfumed/sophisticated/piquant in that inimitable Gallic only-Verdy way, and the utterly pedestrian piano playing of one of Ravel's masterpieces was no help to her. She will probably grow into the role, which is indescribably subtle and which Villella once described as 'Limoges'....

I agree with the complaints about Hyltin in anything, lol, and definitely in Mozartiana...Huxley, making his debut in a notoriously horrific virtuoso part (originally for Ib Andersen, whose beats, jumps, and steps were legendary), was cleaner, more interesting. technically superior at all times. He was impassive and frequently stone-faced, which will change as he dances the part more often, I'm sure. Ulbricht danced the best Gigue I've ever seen anywhere--the only time I have ever enjoyed this dance. His placement was impeccable throughout and the shapes in the air exemplary. The four women in the Menuet were all good, particularly Kikta.

First Movement Bizet featured a wonderful performance by Megan Fairchild, who is always technically correct but who often leaves me cold and strikes me as too small-scale and careful for the roles she is cast in. On this occasion, she was punctilious AND brilliant; not since Nichols and Ashley has the First Movement ballerina hit fifths this tight, clean, and exact , or done pirouettes with this split-second timing, dash, and impeccable endings. Fairchild's entrechats voles are the most beautiful I think I've ever seen, and I can only imagine what sort of muscles she must have to do this kind of moonbeam beats. They are beyond effortless. Hod as one of the First Movement demis is big, grand, and brave. We need lots more of this dancer immediately. Tyler Angle is one of the best partners in any company, and his support of Reichlen in the Second Movement was heroic. I am very fond of Reichlen's dancing in many roles, but the Adagio does not seem yet to be second nature to her. Some of her port de bras are exquisite (in the big-tune penchees and falls into her partner's arms, and in the retransition to the recap particularly) and the little half-running steps near the end are lapidary, and her positions are all stretched and long, but the spirit eludes her. Even Farrell wasn't great in the Second Movement, so...Brittany Pollack did about the best Fourth Movement since Nichols; the infamous turn was whistle-clean and marvelous.

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Frankly, I failed to grasp during the first couple of times I saw her exactly how exquisite Tiler Peck is in Liebeslieder Walzer. She seemed to be portraying some character (not simply dancing --and how sublimely she dances!) far, far more convincingly than any of the other three ladies. I was made to feel --through her performance-- that hers was the most fascinating of the four female "characters" we were watching on stage; and she became therefore the one whose mysteries of the mind and heart I would most have liked to unravel. I don't know this ballet that well. I wonder, would I feel the same way (that her role is the key one in Liebeslieder) if I were to somehow magically see every cast which has ever performed this work, especially the first?

Peck dances the Verdy role in Liebeslieder, and this role is probably the most emotionally troubled and profound of the four. Kyra Nichols gave unforgettable performances in this part, and the critic Arlene Croce wrote a probing analysis of it which appears in her collection Sight Lines.

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I'm also a huge Laracey fan. I think she should have been promoted to principal over Lovette. A recent picture on Craig Hall's instagram feed is giving me some hope that Laracey and Janzen will do the Sym in C adagio at some point (it looks like the adagio, anyway). I saw their Sugarplum/Cavalier and thought they were better than any others this past Nutcracker season. Laracey has the potential to take over the Maria K adagio roles with the same sort of transporting quality that others seem to lack in those parts (including Tess Reichlen, whom I adore in almost everything). I hope Martins doesn't wait too long to give her those chances. She languished in the corps for far, far too long.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BAVuNz0MypC/?taken-by=lsweaters

You are so right about Laracey and Lovette, and the waste of Laracey in the corps for eons. Early on, someone was injured and Laracey , the understudy, stepped into the Martins ballet Eros Piano. I have been a fan ever since.

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I like Sterling Hyltin very much and am curious to see her Symphony in C but I wouldnt expect an Allegra Kent performance. Allegra Kent is a goddess, a Balanchine goddess.

Exactly the point. Second Movement Bizet was created for two Balanchine goddesses: Tamara Toumanova and Tanaquil LeClercq. Kent was a worthy successor; Hyltin has none of the goods required for Balanchine goddess roles.

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I strongly disagree about Hyltin's Mozartiana. I feel like this ballet had been floundering since Kyra retired and Hyltin has revived it. No she's not Suzanne Farrell but I think she brings a lightness, grace, and charm that is, well, Mozartean. I saw Mearns do it -- she brought some good qualities but her body line is too unorthodox for the purity of this ballet. I saw Maria K look beautiful but struggle with the Theme and Variations section.

I actually think Hyltin fulfills an important niche within the company -- no she's not a superstrong technician but she has grace, charm, lightness. I love her airy jumps. Her Sugar Plum Fairy is currently my favorite in the company, as is her Terpischore and Stravinsky Violin Concerto. The principals that I just think "Why?" are Abi Stafford and increasingly, Lauren Lovette.

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Hyltin can't do the steps properly and there is nothing charming or gracious about technical inadequacy. I saw Nichols dance this several times, as well as Farrell, and Hyltin is not a good enough dancer for this role, much less Sugar Plum which is highly demanding. She bores me to death when she is not offending me by omitting or simplifying complex combinations and steps.

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I want to put my 2 cents about Hyltin's Mozartiana and her performances in general. I saw her Mozartiana a couple of years about and saw her tonight. First off, much improved. Her musical awareness, lightness and charm were quite wonderful and I feel she will go deeper into the role as time goes on. One problem is that the Suzanne/Ib Anderson video is so amazing that if you've seen it repeatedly (as i have) it's hard to match. That said Hyltin is a dancer that I didn't like a few years ago but have come to enjoy a lot.

The rest of the show. Ulbricht did gigue and it was as great as it always is. I wish he would be given the lead. He is not that much shorter than Huxley. Tonight Huxley sailed through some parts and struggled mightily with others. I saw Unbricht's Oberon last year - he would have sailed through everything.

The other ballets:

Walpurgisnacht - Merans is sensational - musically, technically, every which way. Alexa Maxwell was the soloist - WOW - ready for prime time. I haven't seen much of this dancer but she is one to watch. It was hard to believe she is a corp member.

Sonatine - Tiler Peck and De Luz gave great intimacy, style and musicality to the piece. As I watched I thought it is one of those pieces that is dependent on the craft of the performer. In this case you couldn't ask for more.

Symph C - OK not the A team. Among the women Megan Fairchild was in a league of her own. Dazzling, comfortable, stylish - she hasn't been a favorite of mine in the past but she looked wonderful. Her partner Gonzalo Garcia - not so much. He looked sloppy to me.'

Reichlin in the 2nd movement seemed very insecure and wobbly.

Third movement Carmena showed his great jump and looked good. Pereira has never been a favorite of mine. To me it looked like she barely got through anything.

Last movement Pollack and Stanley did well.

Overall the impression I had was, other than M. Fairchild, it wasn't the A Team. Well it can't always be. Dancers have to grow and develop. All in all the evening was wonderful and I was struck by the amazing level of musicality exhibited so many of the dancers.

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I'm glad to hear that so many other folks like Ulbricht's Gigue. He's the best I've seen in this role, and I feel that he's unfairly typecast in many ways.

I think Hyltin's "lighter" Mozartiana is more beautific in the eyes of folks who saw Mozartiana performed at NYCB in the years since Nichols was at her prime. Dancers since then had become too reverent...too conscious and fearful of it as a Last Great Work. Hyltin's Mozartiana may lack the originator's nuance...but it no longer feels like a museum piece.

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Hyltin can't do the steps properly and there is nothing charming or gracious about technical inadequacy. I saw Nichols dance this several times, as well as Farrell, and Hyltin is not a good enough dancer for this role, much less Sugar Plum which is highly demanding. She bores me to death when she is not offending me by omitting or simplifying complex combinations and steps.

I saw her execute SPF flawlessly and I know the steps.

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Peck dances the Verdy role in Liebeslieder, and this role is probably the most emotionally troubled and profound of the four. Kyra Nichols gave unforgettable performances in this part, and the critic Arlene Croce wrote a probing analysis of it which appears in her collection Sight Lines.

Thank you, jsmu for enlightening me about this. I thought that I might have been viewing things a certain way because --as I am well aware-- I find myself very much under Ms. Peck's spell. Liebeslieder Walzer is obviously a work which begs for greater familiarity, and I hope that NYCB never leaves it long out of its repertory regardless of whether it is popular or not. I most definitely need to read Arlene Croce's essay. This time around I did not even prepare myself by reading the poems Brahms set to music! There are some moments in this ballet, like the duet of the Verdy/Nichols/Peck role at the conclusion of part one, which are incredibly haunting.

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Sonatine is a Verdy role which does not yet suit Tiler Peck as well as Liebeslieder or Emeralds or the Divertissement pas de deux. Peck was elegant but not insouciant/perfumed/sophisticated/piquant in that inimitable Gallic only-Verdy way, and the utterly pedestrian piano playing of one of Ravel's masterpieces was no help to her. She will probably grow into the role, which is indescribably subtle and which Villella once described as 'Limoges'....

So, then, it would appear that Sonatine is an extremely esoteric work. Are some ballets so inextricably linked to the original artists that performed them that they are doomed to be quickly forgotten? Violette Verdy was evidently in her early 40s when this ballet was created. How can an American ballerina still in her twenties --forty years or so later-- be expected to grasp its "indescribable subtlety", and come across to the audience as being "insouciant/perfumed/sophisticated/piquant in that inimitable Gallic only-Verdy way"? And how, indeed, is a 21st century American audience without the slightest clue about any of this --those like jsmu in it excepted, of course-- supposed to realize what it is missing when viewing such a piece?

I saw Sonatine for the first time this past week and was again --as always-- overpowered by Tiler Peck's "elegance". And what about the strength she evinced? Moving around the stage on pointe with the knees bent??? Ashley Bouder appears to be strong, and is very strong. (How can anybody in the company, let alone Erica Pereira, be expected to fill Ms. Bouder's shoes in the third movement of Symphony in C is beyond me.) Tiler Peck does not seem to be particularly strong, but she is very strong anyway. I thought that Joaquin De Luz was typically excellent in Sonatine.

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Exactly the point. Second Movement Bizet was created for two Balanchine goddesses: Tamara Toumanova and Tanaquil LeClercq. Kent was a worthy successor; Hyltin has none of the goods required for Balanchine goddess roles.

To be clear, which roles other than those in (presumably) Apollo and the second movement of Symphony in C did Balanchine create for "goddesses"? And who in NYCB's current roster has the "goods" to do these roles justice?

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I have a question about Glass Pieces for anyone in a position to know. All the movement that we witness in the first section of the ballet and the positioning of each member of the corps at all times are carefully laid out, right? There is no "Musical chairs" sort of thing going on here, correct? Because I think I detected someone ending up on opposite sides of the stage at two performances.

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I was there too (Sat. matinee, 1/30/16). Loved Gordon! I thought he partnered both Phelan and Pollack beautifully. He also danced superbly with charm, gorgeous turns, jumps, ease with the choreography. Did I mention he is handsome with a great body for ballet?! And he's tall enough! Megan Fairchild was a very last minute substitute for Tiler who was a short notice substitute for Lovette.... Naturally, Joey Gordon and Megan Fairchild were a bit careful (and nervous) during the pas "The Man I Love." There are a few very tricky, difficult partnering moves in that pas de deux. I doubt Joey and Megan had more than one, very brief run through of it. But I was overall very happy and most grateful that Who Cares? was not replaced by Glass Pieces.... due to lack of female leads..... Did anyone notice that the choreography for the turning girl role in Who Cares? has now eliminated some of the turns? Both Pollack and last Thursday's Isaacs had their solos modified, and both were a bit nervous.

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Well opening night Scheller completed all the turns, doubles and all. So it appears this is a modification.

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I saw her execute SPF flawlessly and I know the steps.

Our definitions of flawless execution are diametrically opposed.

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I was there too (Sat. matinee, 1/30/16). Loved Gordon! I thought he partnered both Phelan and Pollack beautifully. He also danced superbly with charm, gorgeous turns, jumps, ease with the choreography. Did I mention he is handsome with a great body for ballet?! And he's tall enough! Megan Fairchild was a very last minute substitute for Tiler who was a short notice substitute for Lovette.... Naturally, Joey Gordon and Megan Fairchild were a bit careful (and nervous) during the pas "The Man I Love." There are a few very tricky, difficult partnering moves in that pas de deux. I doubt Joey and Megan had more than one, very brief run through of it. But I was overall very happy and most grateful that Who Cares? was not replaced by Glass Pieces.... due to lack of female leads..... Did anyone notice that the choreography for the turning girl role in Who Cares? has now eliminated some of the turns? Both Pollack and last Thursday's Isaacs had their solos modified, and both were a bit nervous.

It's more that dancers leave out the double fouettes for convenience's sake, because they, like the rest of the turns in the role, are horrendously difficult.. Scheller, of course, can actually do them. Even the dazzling Merrill Ashley modified a few steps in Morris's variation, which in its original version is one of the three or four hardest which Balanchine ever made. Morris was a GREAT TURNER.....

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To be clear, which roles other than those in (presumably) Apollo and the second movement of Symphony in C did Balanchine create for "goddesses"? And who in NYCB's current roster has the "goods" to do these roles justice?

Good questions, like all of yours. Not questions with quick and easy answers. The term 'goddess' of course was used by the OP with a bit of tongue in cheek I think, as I also used it, but there is some truth there, too. Many of Farrell's roles fall into this category: Diamonds, Don Quixote (which sadly NYCB has not done in decades), Walpurgisnacht, Meditation (which I do not believe has ever been done without Farrell at NYCB, though her company has performed it in recent years), Chaconne....I would say Mozartiana but there's already a dogfight going on over that role and how it is NOW cast/performed, so the less said the better....LOL! I'd say Ashley's two ballets (Ballo and Ballade), several McBride parts (Harlequinade, Tarantella though it calls for a shorter dancer and is now given to nearly anyone, sadly, Rubies), just about all Verdy's roles (La Source, now also cast with almost anyone; Emeralds; Sonatine), and huge virtuoso roles such as the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no.2, Allegro Brilliante, Theme and Variations, and Raymonda Variations. I'd say Square Dance but that ballet has been miscast beyond hope of salvation for years; only with Bouder do you see something resembling the actual choreography. Agon pas de deux was most definitely in this category in former times. Who has the goods? Bouder. Peck. Reichlen in some things. Laracey, sadly undercast and neglected. Fairchild once in a blue moon (like her recent Bizet First Movement). Mearns in some things (this latest Walpurgisnacht was the most brilliant dancing I've ever seen her do and startlingly Farrellesque in several ways). King if she were ever given big roles (grrrrr). Going out on a limb because I've only seen her twice, Unity Phelan in future, perhaps? Claire Kretzschmer perhaps? Isabella LaFreniere? Ashley Hod? I've always thought Pazcoguin could be wonderful in classical roles but Martins will not give them to her.

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So, then, it would appear that Sonatine is an extremely esoteric work. Are some ballets so inextricably linked to the original artists that performed them that they are doomed to be quickly forgotten? Violette Verdy was evidently in her early 40s when this ballet was created. How can an American ballerina still in her twenties --forty years or so later-- be expected to grasp its "indescribable subtlety", and come across to the audience as being "insouciant/perfumed/sophisticated/piquant in that inimitable Gallic only-Verdy way"? And how, indeed, is a 21st century American audience without the slightest clue about any of this --those like jsmu in it excepted, of course-- supposed to realize what it is missing when viewing such a piece?

I saw Sonatine for the first time this past week and was again --as always-- overpowered by Tiler Peck's "elegance". And what about the strength she evinced? Moving around the stage on pointe with the knees bent??? Ashley Bouder appears to be strong, and is very strong. (How can anybody in the company, let alone Erica Pereira, be expected to fill Ms. Bouder's shoes in the third movement of Symphony in C is beyond me.) Tiler Peck does not seem to be particularly strong, but she is very strong anyway. I thought that Joaquin De Luz was typically excellent in Sonatine.

Depends on whom you talk to, I wouldn't say 'esoteric,' I'd say subtle in the extreme. Many people (most who saw Verdy) say Emeralds is permanently lost (this is also usually said of the Paul role in the same ballet); the wonderful and articulate Nancy Goldner says that Emeralds exists only in memory. This depresses me as I was too young for Verdy. I thought Nichols was divine in it but, of course, I didn't see Verdy...You are quite right about Peck's strength , which is both invisible and formidable (like McBride's or Kirkland's for example) and I'm glad you loved Sonatine with her. As I said, give her time--Bouder was not her most brilliant in her Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto debut, either, and she now dances it marvelously. You liked those bent knee piques and pointe steps huh? Verdy was not only a great artist but quite the technician; she danced all the big scary ballerina roles in her day.

When you say how is the audience supposed to realize, you strike the heart of the problem with the arts in today's society.

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Our definitions of flawless execution are diametrically opposed.

Um ... is there any reason to be so hostile? Obviously we disagree about Hyltin as a dancer.

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Depends on whom you talk to, I wouldn't say 'esoteric,' I'd say subtle in the extreme. Many people (most who saw Verdy) say Emeralds is permanently lost (this is also usually said of the Paul role in the same ballet); the wonderful and articulate Nancy Goldner says that Emeralds exists only in memory. This depresses me as I was too young for Verdy. I thought Nichols was divine in it but, of course, I didn't see Verdy...

When you say how is the audience supposed to realize, you strike the heart of the problem with the arts in today's society.

In the 1960's surfer classic The Endless Summer, two surfers traveling the world in search of the perfect wave keep turning up at famous beaches only to hear "you should have been here yesterday." And there is often something to that, say, when it comes to missing a ballet with its original interpreters (like missing that perfect wave)...But I'm a little wary of that attitude at times too. As it happens, I did see Verdy in Emeralds and...yeah...'you should have been here yesterday.' Without a doubt Verdy's Emeralds exists only in memory. And people have a right to mourn that performance. I do. But I still don't think that's quite the same thing as saying Emeralds exists only in memory. In recent years, for example, Peck has found a way to make the Verdy role a living, beautiful, unique, event.

I long thought Chaconne without Farrell was merely a pleasant--often very pleasant--divertissement but then I saw Whelan give a remarkable performance and more recently Mearns. (By the by, Robert Gottlieb -- no slouch when it comes to complaining about post-Balanchine NYCB -- recently wrote that he thought Peck surpassed Mcbride in Who Cares?)

Ballets are passed down through the generations; some will be lost entirely--and others will lose much of their original point. Sure...and it's great to hear from people, like Goldner, who can speak to distinctive qualities of the original casts that have been lost. But I'm uneasy at any implication that new generations can't find their own way to make many of these works live in distinctive ways well deserving of praise in their own right. Should you feel your judgment of Nichols in Emeralds is suspect because you never saw Verdy? I agree that if you had seen Verdy, then you might have a different sense of what Nichols was or wasn't doing, what might be more or less effective in her performance, but my suspicion is that if the performance had its own 'Kyra Nichols' power and musicality, then it was possibly quite a valuable reading of Emeralds.

It's a good thing that great works can be taken up by new generations of interpreters even if loss is involved as well. That's the kind of art ballet is: even with the greatest and most pious of coaches, the tradition morphs. Bodies change, contexts change, cultures change. With the greatest devotion and greatest luck important dimensions of older works are preserved and something new is brought to them as well. Say, Tiler Peck in Emeralds or Who Cares...Sara Mearns in Chaconne.

To invoke another tradition, I have found Anthony Dowell completely irreplaceable in the roles created for him by Frederic Ashton, but I would never say "The Dream" or "A Month in the Country" exists only in memory. And I'm pretty sure no-one has ever been better as Puck than Herman Cornejo who came to the ballet long after Dowell had danced in it. I am grateful for having been able to see both of those performances.

We aren't living in the era of Balanchine--for some, I guess that's condemnation enough of ballet today. It isn't for me though, however much Balanchine remains my touchstone. I would even say that we are living an era of renewed creativity and talent on many fronts especially at NYCB.

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