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Emma

2016 Winter Season

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In comparison, the top level of McCaw Hall in Seattle sells for $28-35 depending on the rep (mixed or story). But NYC is more expensive than Seattle (although the influx of investment money from China is making Seattle Real Estate jump closer to NYC!)

I got student tickets at Sadler's Wells in London for £5 (~$7.50) and London is even more expensive than NY!

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Clearly, I like and sometimes love Peck's dancing, and think she is a beautiful artist. I do not agree that she reinvents, reimagines, revivifies, or makes new either Emeralds or Who Cares, and I completely disagree that 'we are living in an era of renewed creativity and talent on many fronts especially at NYCB.'

For anyone in the audience who saw Verdy and McBride (or any other great performer) in Emeralds and Who Cares? respectively this may very well be true --although I note the comments by Drew and Kathleen O'Connell. But surely a good chunk of the contemporary audience is not really seeking reinvention, reimagination or revivification of works it has barely experienced or done so with lesser dancers. And there is most assuredly nothing more vivifying that you can see at today's NYCB than Tiler Peck dancing in Who Cares?! (Personally, I find all her performances inspiring in part because I cannot imagine how anyone can do such stellar work day in day out without being exceptionally devoted to her craft.)

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Trust your own eyes, Royal Blue, and enjoy what you see!

I started attending NYCB performances regularly around 1978 when I moved to the area to go to graduate school. Some observations:

1) Yes! I saw many great artists perform and I saw the premieres and/or early performances of a number of great ballets. But ... I also saw more than a few pretty indifferent performances (to put it kindly) and sat through my share of miscasting while Balanchine was alive and running his company. Who was my introduction to "Emeralds"? Karin von Aroldingen and Merrill Ashley. Great ballerinas, both; not great in "Emeralds." But so what? They were who was there to dance it, I got to see it, and the work has lived on to showcase new talents like Tiler Peck and Ashley Bouder (who was for me an unexpected delight in Verdy's role). I heard people grouse about every new Balanchine ballet, too, including "Chaconne," "Ballade," "Davidsbündlertänze,"* and yes, "Mozartiana." Robbins received even less deference. I once enthused about a performance of "Four Temperaments" I'd seen with Bart Cook (Menlancholic) and Merrill Ashley (Sanguinic) to an older fan, who snorted "Oh, if only you could have seen that ballet when the company could really dance it." I, unfortunately, was young and naive enough to immediately discount the wonderful thing I'd just witnessed on the strength of nothing more than his nostalgia. (I hereby vow never to do that to someone wowed by something they've seen on stage.)

2) There is plenty of creativity and talent to see at NYCB these days -- and across the plaza, too, and downtown, and at City Center, and wherever else on cares to look. Just focussing on NYCB, in the past few years I've seen the emergence of some pretty terrific work -- Ratmansky's "Namouna," for instance, or the marvelous second movement of Pecks "Rodeo" (forgive me for omitting the diacritical marks), not to mention my own very favorite guilty pleasure, Preljocaj's "Spectral Evidence." Anyone who has seen Sterling Hyltin in "Stravinsky Violin Concerto" or Teresa Reichlen in "Rubies" has seen these roles danced with real authority and imagination and need feel no nostalgia for the good old days. Reichlen, Jonathan Stafford, and Savannah Lowery led the best overall performance of "Firebird" that I ever saw. Claire Kretzschmar was so good in "Episodes" that I wouldn't have been surprised if Peter Martins walked out on the stage and promoted her on the spot. Maria Kowroski is the only ballerina I've ever seen who can actually make Balanchine's "Variations pour une Porte et un Soupir" work as a piece of theater. I could go on and on. (I mourn the loss of Trisha Brown, but ask me about Tere O'Connor, Wally Cardona, and Pam Tanowitz!) Are there dancers I miss? Of course there are. Are there ballets that could benefit from more rehearsal or better coaching? No doubt. Are there puzzling casting and promotion decisions? You bet! But that was true when Balanchine was alive too -- just go back in time and ask Arlene Croce :wink:.

3) "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven!" (William Wordsworth writing about the French Revolution.) More than a little of my own nostalgia for the dance world of the 70's & 80's is nostalgia for my own youth and its attendant delights -- the thrill of discovery, of being present at the creation, of the sheer newness of everything, even the old stuff. But I'm nonetheless delighted that almost 40 years on I can walk into the very same theater, open the program, look at the casting for a ballet I've been watching for decades and think "Oh wow! I'm glad I'm going to get to see this!"

*ETA: I'm still grousing about "Davidsbündlertänze," although I like it much better with Teresa Reichlen, Rebecca Krohn, and Ashley Laracey than I did with the original cast. Yes - heresy! - I happen to prefer Krohn to Farrell in this particular ballet. I'm on the fence with regards to Tiler Peck in Heather Watt's role, though.

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I attended last night's performance. I thought Reichlin was too slow and plodding in Walspurgisnacht. In this ballet, it's go for broke or go home. Regarding Sonatine, Megan Fairchild does not have the phrasing or musicality of Tiler Peck, but she did a respectable job in the role. Garcia's age and history of injuries is catching up to him, and I thought his execution of his solos was underwhelming, expecially in comparison to DeLuz.

And then came Mozartiana. Mearns was terrific. Her opening Prayer section was so intense and beautiful, filled with deep backbends. Her phrasing in her solos and the pdd was exquisite. There is such fluidity in her dancing. Angle was an excellent partner. He has never been a virtuoso. He made it through the steps, but it looked nothing like the crystalline clarity that Huxley brought to the role.

Seeing Scheller and Veyette in the first movement of Symphony in C was like a breath of fresh air. Scheller is very underutilized at NYCB and I can't understand why. Her technique is so strong. I thought Hyltin made a strong debut in the second movement. She doesn't have the long lines I've enjoyed seeing in this role. In fact, she may be one of the shorter people I've seen in the second movement. I thought she brought a regal and queenly temperament to the role that was suitable. Her technique is strong. I actually enjoyed Hyltin's performance in this role more than Reichlin's. There are some issues that have to be worked out in the partnering with Justin Peck. Isaacs and Gordon killed it in the 3rd movement. They are the future of NYCB.

Fingers crossed that Mearns will be cast in the second movement of C on Sat Feb 27.

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abatt, I agree with everything you've said EXCEPT your impression of Hyltin in Symphony in C.


Reichlin ruined Walpurgisnacht for me - a ballet I always love. Her ice princess demeanor and deliberate, measured movement took all the sizzle out of this effervescent concoction - like a fallen souffle.

On the other hand, Mearns was divine in Mozartiana, Scheller was a joy to behold in 1st movement Bizet and Issacs & Gordon were just smashing in the 3rd.

Even though Hyltin isn't tall, I actually thought that her body type was fine for the 2nd movement ballerina because she is so long limbed, and she has the technique for the role (although the sequence leading up to the 6 o'clock penchee was a tiny bit shaky) . It was her interpretation I objected to. This is one of those "holy" Balanchine adagios. I remember Wendy Whelan saying that dancing it felt like she was having a conversation with God (paraphrasing). Most interpreters bring a very other worldly feeling to this - mysterious or contemplative, sometimes looking very introspective, sometimes looking out to the universe.
I saw none of that from Hyltin, her dancing was pretty but she mostly seemed to be directing her attention to her partner. I saw a lot of extraneous movement of the arms, shoulders & head which I interpreted as yearning, and twisting her torso to look at her partner. She turned it into a romance, which really trivialized it for me.
I'm going to see the program again tonight so perhaps I'll like it better, or maybe (hopefully) she'll be more restrained.

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Re Symphony in C, I thought that the poor looking falls backward were as much Peck's fault as Hytin's. There was repeatedly an evident lack of trust, which really shouldn't come as a surprise. I don't think they have ever been paired up before, and this is not the ballet in which to test out a new partnership. I'm assuming (hoping) that they will have a better, smoother relationship going forward. (I exited after the 3rd movement, so I didn't see the finale). I think Hyltin was probably pretty nervous.

My problem with Reichlin in this role has been that she is too blank. She strings together the steps, but there is no imagination or interpretation in her role. She does, however, have an exquisite body for the lines and extensions of the role.

Martins is increasingly using people of mid-height like Hyltin to do roles normally associated with tall women. Even more problematic is that he is casting really short ballerinas in Liebeslieder. The cast that had Megan Fairchild and Lauren Lovette in Liebeslieder just looked silly. Those ball gowns overwhelmed their petite sizes, and their legs were barely visible in the portions where they had to do extensions in those gowns. I guess Tiler Peck was also too short for this ballet, but her dancing is so exquisite that her height didn't diminish my enjoyment. It's ironic that NYCB's top ranks are now dominated by so many smallish ballerinas.

Yes, 2nd movement of Symphony in C was a signature role for Whelan, and none of the current crop comes close to her brilliance.

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More than a little of my own nostalgia for the dance world of the 70's & 80's is nostalgia for my own youth and its attendant delights -- the thrill of discovery, of being present at the creation, of the sheer newness of everything, even the old stuff. But I'm nonetheless delighted that almost 40 years on I can walk into the very same theater, open the program, look at the casting for a ballet I've been watching for decades and think "Oh wow! I'm glad I'm going to get to see this!"

Kathleen - I feel much the same. For me it's been 60 years going back to City Center and like you I still feel "Oh wow!" and thankful that NYCB continues to exist.

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I absolutely loved Wendy Whelan but I never felt the adagio in Symphony in C was one of her best roles. Her style of dancing and body line were too geometrical for the adagio to make its full impact. I think Sara Mearns has an unorthodox shape but captured more of the movement's swooning grandeur.

There really hasn't been a successor to Wendy in the leotard B&W ballets.

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What "sparks joy." Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle in Mozartiana. Thank you!

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I went to tonight's performance and agree that Sara was absolutely wonderful in Mozartiana. I was really distracted by Tyler Angle's lack of turnout and pointed feet though. The difficult variations of Mozartiana really require very strong classical technique and Tyler's almost flexed feet drove me nuts. I have noticed this about Tyler more than once in recent performances, that he simply doesn't turn out much anymore nor does he point his feet.

I really loved Megan Fairchild and Gonzalo Garcia in Sonatine. I actually liked this rendition of Sonatine more than Tiler/de Luz. There was more rapport between Fairchild and Garcia and Garcia has a cleaner style than de Luz.

Tess was very disappointing in Walpurgisnacht. Just didn't do anything other than be her usual chilly, remote self.

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Thanks for your post, Kathleen!

(And though I'm not a devotee of Carla Korbes, I do wonder how folks who have seen both her and Farrell compare them in Diamonds.)

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I went to the ARTE Series tonight. I agree that Justin Peck's The Most Incredible Thing was overall a disappointment. The four ballets that preceeded his ballet were also not that great. My main issue with the ballet is that some of the 12 divertissements didn't even bother to differentiate, for instance, the Five Senses or Seven Deadly Sins. I did like the costumes and mostly liked the score.

More thoughts here:

http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-most-incredible-thing.html

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Like others, I am enjoying the Ballo della Regina-Kammermusik-Thcai Suite 3 program. Not so much Tchai suite -- I've seen it umpteen times by now. But Ballo and Kammermusik are pretty new and fresh to me. Ballo is a pure delight of music and danciness -- what's not to love? The four soloist roles were delightful. I especially enjoyed the Laracey-Pereira-Isaacs-King group of soloists, although Adams-Maxwell-Gerrity-Pollack were also excellent. So many wonderful dancers! Kammermusik in many ways is opposite to Ballo: modernist, intense, and brooding. But again, pure danciness that holds interest throughout.

Last night I saw Rebecca Krohn and Abi Stafford. They looked like they were dancing in two different ballets. Stafford looked lighthearted and good-humored, qualities about her which I love, but this didn't seem the right ballet for that. Krohn, on the other hand, attacked the steps with an intense ferocity. The Reichlen-Mearns pair had a similar issue, with Mearns full of searing intensity and Reichlen lighter and cooler. Every time I see Adrian Danchig-Waring (in this case as Stafford's partner) I am astonished at the clarity of the sculptural forms he creates, whether static poses or moving through the air.

I have also seen the Walpurgisnacht-Sonatine-Mozartiana-Symp in C program a couple of times. Devin Alberda stood out in the 4th movement of Symphony in C. Looking polished and authoritative, with a beautiful clarity in his movements. (He also particularly stood out in the corps of Kammermusik.)

Sterling Hyltin in Symphony in C, second movement. The night I saw her, I thought that technically she looked good, and had some very exquisite moments. What she lacked was that indefinable, ineffable, otherworldly quality that should be brought to this role. And she and Peck didn't seem comfortable together. That moment at the end when they lock eyes was totally muffed; she was looking when he was focused on something else, and they never really seemed to come together. Kowroski and Tyler Angle make that a heart-stopping moment.

It's that time of year when they announce the Janice Levin award. IMHO the top candidates this year would be Ashley Hod, Unity Phelan, and Joseph Gordon. My bet would be Joseph Gordon, and that a promotion to soloist would come soon after. A look at the male soloist ranks seems to show some room for a promotion or two. Russell Janzen and Taylor Stanley presumably are on their way to the top. Catazaro has had a lot of injury and down time since his promotion to soloist. He probably needs some time to stabilize before he can be considered for further promotion. I believe that if Sean Suozzi, Craig Hall, or Antonio Carmena were going to be promoted it would have happened by now. None of them is getting major new roles. Besides Joseph Gordon, I could also see Devin Alberda getting a promotion to soloist. Others at the junior level who seem to be getting attention are Cameron Dieck, Peter Walker, Harrison Coll, and Preston Chamblee. Some of these are still very young, however. Harrison Ball's star seemed like it was rising a year or so back, but I haven't seen a lot of him lately.

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It's that time of year when they announce the Janice Levin award. IMHO the top candidates this year would be Ashley Hod, Unity Phelan, and Joseph Gordon. My bet would be Joseph Gordon, and that a promotion to soloist would come soon after. A look at the male soloist ranks seems to show some room for a promotion or two. Russell Janzen and Taylor Stanley presumably are on their way to the top. Catazaro has had a lot of injury and down time since his promotion to soloist. He probably needs some time to stabilize before he can be considered for further promotion. I believe that if Sean Suozzi, Craig Hall, or Antonio Carmena were going to be promoted it would have happened by now. None of them is getting major new roles. Besides Joseph Gordon, I could also see Devin Alberda getting a promotion to soloist. Others at the junior level who seem to be getting attention are Cameron Dieck, Peter Walker, Harrison Coll, and Preston Chamblee. Some of these are still very young, however. Harrison Ball's star seemed like it was rising a year or so back, but I haven't seen a lot of him lately.

Joseph Gordon! http://www.nycballet.com/NYCB/media/NYCBMediaLibrary/PDFs/SpecialEvents/2016-Annual-Luncheon-Invitation.pdf

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Yes! I think Gordon is the most deserving! I'm not sure how I feel about Ashley hod, she's a tall leggy girl but seemed always just a bit tad behind during allegro steps of any sequence I've seen her do. I think she's a bit overhyped in general.....

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I'll put my bets on Gordon. Unity Phelan and Indiana Woodward seem fast-tracked as well.

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A quick update: There was a casting change at today's matinee performance of the Ballo-Kammermusik-Tchai 3 Suite program:

Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette replaced Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz in T&V.

Megan Fairchild replaced Tiler Peck in Ballo; Gonzalo Garcia danced the Ballo male lead as originally scheduled.

I believe Lauren King replaced Brittany Pollack as one of the demis in T&V. (Pollack danced in Ballo as originally scheduled.)

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Yes Megan did T&V on Sat afternoon with DeLuz. I'm assuming that there was an illness/injury to DeLuz, which caused today's casting changes. Tiler Peck made an excellent debut in Ballo on Sat. afternoon. Great musicality, and a much better spinner than Megan. Also, I thought Peck's speed allowed her to finish every movement with clarity, whereas Megan has a tendency to clip the end of a movement in order to keep up with music, Too bad Tiler didn't get to do Ballo again today. But really, who can complain about having Tiler fill in in T&V?

Keeping my eyes on the Sylphide casting to see if DeLuz is able to dance his part on Friday.

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FYI, there's tickets for the Feb 14 evening perf. of La Sylphide available on Goldstar for $20. If I didn't already have two tickets that weekend I'd snatch it up.

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Yes Megan did T&V on Sat afternoon with DeLuz. I'm assuming that there was an illness/injury to DeLuz, which caused today's casting changes. Tiler Peck made an excellent debut in Ballo on Sat. afternoon. Great musicality, and a much better spinner than Megan. Also, I thought Peck's speed allowed her to finish every movement with clarity, whereas Megan has a tendency to clip the end of a movement in order to keep up with music, Too bad Tiler didn't get to do Ballo again today. But really, who can complain about having Tiler fill in in T&V?

Keeping my eyes on the Sylphide casting to see if DeLuz is able to dance his part on Friday.

Abatt I disagree with you. I felt that Megan was doing every movement with ease and I think it's just a difference in interpretation in Style. I feel as though your one sided admiration of Tiler tends to negatively affect your interpretation of other artists' performances. Tiler is talented for sure, but her overt, extroverted

sense of musicality does not have to be THE ONLY way for everyone I feel…..

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I went this afternoon as well. As others mentioned M. Fairchild did Ballo. I think she's never looked better. Her legs and line looked fantastic. She's always had solid technique, but in the past my reservation about her has been that she seemed to always play it safe and didn't do much with musical phrasing. Today in Ballo I thought she was great. She pushed things to the edge tempo wise and played with the music. Her upper body was lovely and at ease. Overall I felt like she went for broke and was wonderful. She had a minor flub at the end of a turn sequence but to me that's fine when a dancer is taking risks (I've seen Bouder fall more than once). Garcia sailed through his variations. I usually find him a bit sloppy and unfinished but not today. Adams, Gerry, Maxwell and Pollack were all excellent.

I'm a Kammermusik fan and I enjoyed this performance. Krohn had a more unemotional approach and Abi Stafford sunnier but I liked the contrast even when they danced together. Danchig-Waring and la Cour were accurate and clean which is crucial in this piece.

Tchai suite 3 - The first two movements were fine. In the third movement (Scherzo) I really liked Erica Pereira. She started with a beautiful floating arabesque and was radiant through-out.

T&V - A year or so ago I saw T. Peck do this with DeLuz. I think she is better suited to DeLuz's sunny, warm presence than Veyette's cooler approach but the pairings have switched for reasons I can guess at. That more an observation than a complaint.

As others have said T. Peck is amazing in this piece. There is a section in which she does chaine turns, stops in 5th and changes direction and then changes direction again. I have never seen that done so effortlessly or clearly. She is a joy throughout this ballet. Veyette is also great in it. I heard him say in an interview that T&V was like a classical ballet final exam. Well, he's passed that exam in spades every time I've seen him. He is also a great partner. There is a section at the end in which the lead couple does steps traveling in a circle. On involves partnered turns and the other throw lifts. So many times this section looks rushed and uncomfortable and the throw lifts have a "sack of potatoes" feel. Peck and Veyette did it all with elegance.

It was a wonderful day at the ballet. What a great company.

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Well I actually liked the Fairchild/Garcia pairing in Sonatine more than the Peck/de Luz pairing. With Tiler and de Luz I felt it was like two dancers dancing without much relation to each other. With Fairchild and Garcia I saw this piece as more of a conversation between two people.

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With yesterday's casting change, I also assumed it must be due to Joaquin de Luz being out. Since both Tiler Peck and Megan Fairchild are currently doing both Ballo and T&V, I think it was a no-brainer to make the switch. Peck has danced T&V regularly with Veyette, while Fairchild is more often paired with the shorter men, such as Garcia. By making the switch, they had two experienced partnerships. I was glad for the change. Tiler was amazing, of course, and Veyette was at his best. He is so intense in his focus on partnering. Sometimes I can get caught up in zeroing in on his hands as he's partnering, it's so precise and compelling.

Like vipa, I have been enjoying Megan Fairchild more than ever before. Had a hard time putting my finger on it exactly. Whatever change you've made, Megan -- it's working!

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I am glad you guys are enjoying Megan's performance too! Coz lately I've been noticing that she puts her heart out there at every performance. Don't think it's any coaching from tiler--megan is an artist made of her own mold and know how to make artistic decisions of her own!

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