Jump to content
Emma

2016 Winter Season

Recommended Posts

As an example of what I'm talking about in comparing M Fairchild's Ballo with Tiler's, there is a moment in the choreography that I think is called a grand pas de chat or a pas de chat jete. It requires the dancer to throw the left leg out all the way out to the side and then pull the right leg into passe. Megan, in order to keep up with the music, barely throws that left leg out. In contrast Tiler Peck (and our beloved and missed Bouder) throws that left leg all the way out so that you can clearly see the brilliant choreography. I'm not saying Megan gave a bad performance. I applaud anyone who can do this role without falling on their face. It's a killer. However, I think she makes small compromises in executing the steps in order to keep up with the tempo.

I do feel sorry for M. Fairchild and her personal situation.. I think that all of the busted up romances at NYCB must create real casting headaches. It's generally not a great idea to get romantically involved with co-workers.

Share this post


Link to post

I thought Megan was fantastic in Ballo, better than Tiler overall. She was fearless, particularly in her huge jumps landing with both feet on pointe then jumping again and landing on pointe. She made that crystal clear and so thrilling and exciting (while Tiler sort of landed on pointe then quickly transitioned to demipointe, or at least it didn't look as clear with her). Megan must have ankles of steel. Tiler is better in T&V, although Megan was very beautiful in it too. I thought there might be something off with Joaquin after Saturday's performance because he seemed to have much less energy than usual -- including omitting the very last double tour the men do in the finale (one on each side, Joaquin did one and then walked to the other side while the other men jumped). He's been so good this season that I couldn't believe all of a sudden age was catching up to him -- he really seems to be the fountain of youth. Hopefully it's not an injury but just a bug and he gets better soon. Shout-out to Gonzalo in Ballo, he really surprises me at how good he can be sometimes (he was NOT good in 1st movement Sym in C).

Also on Saturday, I though Ashley Laracey was breathtaking and haunting in the usually boring waltz section of Suite No. 3. She must, must, get a chance at doing Sonnambula next time it comes around! Erica Pereira in the Scherzo had issues with her turns and fell out of the showcase fouettes. Awkward. I really liked her in Walpurgisnacht this season (I thought her delicacy worked well with the music), so that was disappointing.

Finally, I was so happy to see Lydia Wellington back on stage after a long absence -- she's one of my favs and my eye is always drawn to her no matter where she is in the corps -- she made a couple of unannounced appearances last week and was finally officially listed this past weekend. And I always love Devin Alberda -- so glad to see he is getting more featured roles. Looking forward to Tchai Piano No. 2!

Share this post


Link to post

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!

I heard Megan Fairchild in a podcast say that she used to be married to a NYCB dancer. A marriage or long term relationship breaking up is difficult for everyone involved. M. Fairchild and Veyette behave professionally and continue to their job. As an audience member I deeply appreciate that. It is interesting to me that in an attempt to make dancers seem like people companies/dancers are showing us aspects of their lives that used to be private. It gets tricky when they offer up the positive but leave the negative up to speculation.

Share this post


Link to post

Ballet just does not and cannot get any better than something like Theme and Variations with Tiler Peck in it-- "as" good, yes; "better"... no. I believe that as Ms. Peck becomes more conscious of the realities of the world and life's inherent bittersweetness --to wit, as she grows older-- she will display more grandeur and queenliness in the part than she currently does. But by golly, in that section of the work where the ballerina is supported by a line of corps members on pointe she exhibits tons of these characteristics already! Her dancing throughout is, of course, superlative. This is a great performance which I expect will become in a certain sense greater in the future!

I saw this program three times and enjoyed Megan Fairchild in Ballo della Regina very much; but I also thought that on Sunday afternoon she was clearly struggling with the role a bit (she seemed at times to be trying to catch up to the music). In point of fact, she was by no means the only one struggling on Sunday. Abi Stafford and Rebecca Krohn were very uneven in Kammermusik No. 2. The former is unquestionably the weakest dancer in the principal ranks of NYCB, but I always end up (for the most part) enjoying watching her dance anyway. I cannot recollect though ever feeling more pleased by a spotty performance in a ballet than that of Rebecca Krohn in Kammermusik! It seemed to me that she was really making a heroic effort to master this part, and was actually quite superb in several sequences. I, for one, was very appreciative of her efforts. In the previous nights I had seen this program, I should point out, Krohn was outstanding in the "Elegie" section of Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3.

Besides the obvious one, the one other performance I thought was flawless on Sunday afternoon was that of Ashley Laracey in the "Waltz" section of the Suite. Of the first three movements in this ballet the second is the one that most requires an excellent performance by the female lead, and on this occasion it got one from Laracey. Like all great dancers do, she was giving you the distinct impression that she was putting her entire body and soul into this. I wasn't at all surprised, because Laracey has always struck me as being one of the most artistic members of this company. To me this lady is a principal.

When Kammermusik is danced by two such brilliant female dancers as those in the first cast it is a treat to watch. During last Wednesday's performance one of them tumbled early on, got up, and proceeded along with her extremely talented colleague to give a magnificent rendition of this somewhat strange work. I applaud the lady who fell especially not only for her exceptional work that evening (those spectacular grand jetes were breathtakingly awesome!) but for that on all the many occasions I have been fortunate enough to see her.

Share this post


Link to post

Tiler Peck's biggest career hurdle is her size. Since Martins is casting the shorter "soubrette" types in T&V, she was able to get that lead part and triumphed in it. However, I doubt we will ever see her in most of the "queenly" roles due to her stature.

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting point, Abatt. "Back in the day" Allegra Kent and Kay Mazzo did second movement Bizet.

Share this post


Link to post

All the more reason then to enjoy her performance in Theme and Variations at every opportunity! I was afraid of that, abatt. If height is the reason why such criticisms as lack of grandeur and queenliness are levied against her, then no ...she's never going to grow any taller.

How tall was Wendy Whelan? Before she was injured I saw her cast in Diamonds. And if she was so good in the second movement of Symphony in C, and if Hyltin is also now doing it ...? I don't want to be misunderstood: I find all the tall ballerinas being given these roles simply magnificent! But I'm just wondering....

Is Ballo della Regina usually performed by shorter dancers?

The casting for the upcoming Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 is fascinating! Mearns, Reichlen, and Tiler Peck all doing the same part??? So, then, in that ballet height is never an issue.

It is clear that Ms. Peck has a talent for comedy and is being cast in soubrettish roles frequently. On the other hand, we shouldn't underestimate her abilities to portray serious depth and emotion. We just saw her, for example, in Liebeslieder Walzer. Then there's her work in Romeo + Juliet, La Sylphide, her supreme rendition of Columbine's haunting solo in the second Act of (oddly enough) Harlequinade....Someone please explain to me why, given her extraordinary gracefulness, she would not --with the proper training and coaching-- have made a remarkable Giselle over at ABT.

Thanks to the MTA I was unable to catch Saturday afternoon's performance, but I would be totally shocked if your description, abatt, of Tiler Peck's debut in Ballo was in any way misleading or inaccurate. It's not that we are biased. It's that we see with our own eyes how splendid this woman really is!

Share this post


Link to post

I was (pleasantly) surprised that Martins gave Tiler Peck Tschai Piano Concerto 2. That lead role usually goes to a tall to medium height woman. However, with Bouder out and Hyltin already in so many other lead roles this season, I guess it was Tiler's turn for this juicy, difficult role. Notably, Scheller remains in the soloist role, which she has been doing for a period of time. For whatever reason, Martins does not appear to regard Scheller as an artist worthy of significant advancement to new, important roles. I can understand why he passes over Abi Stafford and Krohn, but I don't get his attitude regarding Scheller.

Share this post


Link to post

All the more reason then to enjoy her performance in Theme and Variations at every opportunity! I was afraid of that, abatt. If height is the issue why such criticisms as lack of grandeur and queenliness are levied against her, then no she's never going to grow any taller.

How tall was Wendy Whelan? Before she was injured I saw her cast in Diamonds. And if she was so good in the second movement of Symphony in C, and if Hyltin is also now doing it ...? I don't want to be misunderstood: I find all the tall ballerinas being given these roles simply magnificent, but I'm just wondering.

Is Ballo della Regina usually performed by shorter dancers?

The casting for the upcoming Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 is fascinating! Mearns, Reichlen, and Tiler Peck all doing the same part??? So, then, in that ballet height is never an issue.

It is clear that Ms. Peck has a talent for comedy and is being cast in soubrettish roles frequently. On the other hand, we shouldn't underestimate her abilities to portray serious depth and emotion. We just saw her, for example, in Liebeslieder Walzer. Then there's her work in Romeo + Juliet, La Sylphide, her supreme rendition of Columbine's haunting solo in the second Act of (oddly enough) "Harlequinade"....Someone please explain to me why, given her extraordinary gracefulness, she would not --with the proper training and coaching-- have made a remarkable Giselle over at ABT.

Thanks to the MTA I was unable to catch Saturday afternoon's performance, but I would be more than totally shocked if your description, abatt, of Tiler Peck's debut in Ballo was in any way misleading or inaccurate. It's not that we are biased. It's that we see with our own eyes how really good she is!

Well, Ballo was made on Merrill Ashley, certainly not a short dancer.

Share this post


Link to post

I think it's not just Peck's height (she's medium height, not short) but also her physique/looks. NYCB has some rather rigid typecasting -- Apollos are usually blond, Terpischores are also usually blond, Titanias HAVE to be blond, and (I have no idea why this is) Mozartiana, Symphony in C adagio, and Diamonds dancers are also almost always blond. Tiler has a compact build and is definitely an intense-looking brunette.

Share this post


Link to post

That's interesting, regarding the hair. Blondes --and certainly the tall blondes in this company-- are awesome. But I think that this seems a bit shallow. Brunettes are awesome too! And I believe that Ms. Peck's physique is ideal for ballet. It's the reason why she is able to dance so well and make such a strong impression on the viewer in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post

It's not just height that matters, it's overall proportions -- things like the length of a dancers's limbs relative to the length of his or her torso, for instance, or the size of the head relative to height. A large head and shortish limbs suggest the proportions of a child rather than those of, say, an idealized Prince or Queen; without considerable artistry and a healthy dollop of authority a dancer with those proportions -- even if they aren't necessarily shorter than their peers -- will have a harder time pulling off a role that demands some measure of grandeur. Life ain't fair.

I very much enjoy Tiler Peck's dancing, but I don't find her proportions ideal for ballet, or at least not all ballets. She has a relatively large head and face, and reads younger than springtime as a result. Jennie Somogyi, who certainly wasn't any taller than Peck did read like a taller dancer from the stage at least in part because her proportions were more like those of a taller dancer.

(Compare this image of Somogyi with this image of Peck to see the difference. It's subtle, but real. Or, compare this image of Degas' Little Dancer paired with Peck in costume for the role in the musical.)

I'm not suggesting that height and proportion should determine how a dancer is cast, only that they have a real effect on how a dancer looks from the stage.

Share this post


Link to post

I thought Peck was miscast as Terpsichore in Apollo a few seasons back because of her proportions. I also thought that Lovette was miscast in the main pdd in Wheeldon's DGV (the pdd that was done by Maria K and Whelan) for the same reason. Sometimes size (and proportions) do matter in certain ballet parts.

Share this post


Link to post

I very much enjoy Tiler Peck's dancing, but I don't find her proportions ideal for ballet, or at least not all ballets. She has a relatively large head and face, and reads younger than springtime as a result. Jennie Somogyi, who certainly wasn't any taller than Peck did read like a taller dancer from the stage at least in part because her proportions were more like those of a taller dancer.

This is an interesting point. I always thought Somogyi was tall and was very surprised to finally see her in person and realize she was of mid-size height. Peck is the opposite - when I see her in person I am always surprised how much taller she is than she appears on stage.

Peck also has a naturally sunny quality in her dancing which tends towards soubrette casting. Somogyi was more introspective. (Both ladies are/were capable of great range, just to me that was their "neutral" state.)

Share this post


Link to post

I guess I'm lost on the stereotypes people put on ballet dancers. It used to be that black skin wasn't the color of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Now, with Misty Copeland, the stereotypes have broadened and, as a result, ballet has been enriched. I think ballet needs to shake the idea that tall, lanky, blonde women are preferred in any role. I think its time for ballet to widen its ideas about stereotypes in ballet. Artistic Directors as well need to start thinking outside of the box when it comes time for body proportions. I have a strong preference for what I like to see in ballerinas, but I am in no way saying my ideas are correct, and that is my point. Let's move beyond and make ballet more accessible to all people of all body types. I guarantee you will see some amazing dancing in the future -- not just models.

Share this post


Link to post

I didn't think this conversation had any relationship to race. One size does not fit all for ballet roles. That sentiment is unrelated to race.

Share this post


Link to post

Proportions aside, I agree completely about Peck's range...I found she was really able to show the more plangent, melancholy 'notes' in Divertimento from Baiser de La Fee (a Mcbride role). And she brought a sense of privacy and hidden depths to her role in Liebeslieder. She may not be right for every role--though I think I'd be happy to see her give any role a try--but for sure she can and has reached deeper and farther than soubrette in any number of roles.

Share this post


Link to post

Just for the record, I don't think that a dancer's body type, ethnicity, height, age, or (and I can't believe anyone needs to say this) hair color should determine whether or not he or she is cast in a particular role.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not saying only blondes should be cast in certain roles, it's just that Peter Martins seems to favor a leggy, blond type dancer in many roles. This goes for the guys as well as the girls: I often wonder if Chase Finlay would have been so fast-tracked to stardom (and then beset with injuries) if he didn't have that look that Martins favors for Apollos.

A look at the current NYCB Titanias: Maria Kowroski (tall blonde), Sara Mearns (tall blonde), Tess Reichlen (tall blonde), Miriam Miller (tall blonde)

The original Titania, Melissa Hayden, NOT a tall blonde:

125584-004-53094B2B.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

Backing up......

The double fouettees are not what I was referring to when I mentioned that in Marnee's solo (the turning girl solo of Who Cares?) had been modified with Pollack's and Isaacs' debuts.

There was an entire diagonal of turns removed and substituted for steps that did not involve turns. Double fouettees or not doesn't really matter much to me, as long as the fouettees are beautifully done.

Yes, Marnee's version of the variation was absolutely incredible. And btw, she had a little trick to staying on pointe, while turning, and in her fouettees, so that she didn't have to come off pointe. I've never seen anything like that since.

"The Most Dreadful....." sounds awful. Not a great evening overall either if they had hoped to encourage new audiences to attend. Sigh....

Yes. Understood. However, the doubles in this particular part mattered very much to Balanchine, as Ashley recounts in her autobiography when discussing this role and these steps. (probably because Morris was perhaps NYCB's greatest-ever turner.) Ashley also talks about the diagonal (in the middle of the variation yes?) of turns you refer to. Even she had to modify that step....

Share this post


Link to post

I was (pleasantly) surprised that Martins gave Tiler Peck Tschai Piano Concerto 2. That lead role usually goes to a tall to medium height woman. However, with Bouder out and Hyltin already in so many other lead roles this season, I guess it was Tiler's turn for this juicy, difficult role. Notably, Scheller remains in the soloist role, which she has been doing for a period of time. For whatever reason, Martins does not appear to regard Scheller as an artist worthy of significant advancement to new, important roles. I can understand why he passes over Abi Stafford and Krohn, but I don't get his attitude regarding Scheller.

I was flabbergasted. Martins typecasts constantly by size, so although I expect Peck will be the best ballerina in the company in the Tschaik Concerto I never thought she would be allowed to dance it. You're sadly right about Scheller--I was surprised Martins even made her a principal.

Share this post


Link to post

Scheller was out for a long time due to injury. I don't think any of us are in a position to know what roles she is ready to take on or not.

Share this post


Link to post

I've seen both Patricia McBride and Tiler Peck in "Who Cares." I cannot say that McBride was the better of the two. I certainly wouldn't say she was "definitive" in the role, especially after having seen Peck dance it.

To paraphrase Charles DeGaulle, the graveyards are full of indispensable dancers.

And to directly quote modern social media, whatEVER.

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting point, Abatt. "Back in the day" Allegra Kent and Kay Mazzo did second movement Bizet.

Well, Kent was certainly not short--but in fact Mazzo was. Mazzo was capable of a considerably regal presence, though I never saw her in Bizet.

Share this post


Link to post

At this point, NYCB's principal roster of principal women is solid: the problem is not the dancers, it's how they are cast.

That's on Martins, not the dancers.

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...