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fondoffouettes

Fall 2017 Season

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I received the flyer too. It was just "unclassical" in street clothes (tube top) but that reflects much of the repertoire that will be danced in the fall season. The flyer and rep didn't compel me to buy tickets. 

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1 hour ago, CharlieH said:

I received the flyer too. It was just "unclassical" in street clothes (tube top) but that reflects much of the repertoire that will be danced in the fall season. The flyer and rep didn't compel me to buy tickets. 

Tube top makes it sound like they threw her in something from the Forever 21 clearance bin. It's at least a rehearsal or performance top, with invisible straps holding it up.

 

I can't say I found the flyer terribly convincing, either, though. They tried to fit everything and the kitchen sink on the back. I find the image a little bland and dark, but it reads to me as a classical ballet company presenting contemporary rep (the pointe shoes and both of their musculatures remind me that it's a ballet company). 

 

For several seasons, NYCB has been employing a mix of street and rehearsal clothes in their promotional materials, so it's certainly a trend, whether it appeals to the core ballet audience or not. And ABT's promotional photos for the Met season, taken by the NYC Dance Project, didn't present the dancers in costumes (with the exception of Copeland who wore a Juliet dress, I believe). I think it probably humanizes the dancers a bit and makes the art form feel more approachable, while still showing off the dancers' beauty. Also, if you aren't a hardcore fan, it may not matter whether a dancer is presented in a costume versus street/rehearsal clothes.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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About the photo - I did not find it offensive at all, and I agree that it conveys more contemporary work usually done in the fall.

 

About Cirio - It was announced by English National that he would be a guest artist for the fall season:  "Joining as Guest Artists next season are Jeffrey Cirio, Principal at American Ballet Theatre, who performs with the Company for the Autumn/Winter season ..."  

Edited by its the mom

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I'm wondering who will fill the tbds for Other Dances at the Saturday matinee. That's the one and only performance I'm seeing.

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2 hours ago, aurora said:

 

I had the same reaction.

It is certainly not an amateurish image (as I believe it was described earlier in the thread), and if the suggestion is simply that showing Misty in a leotard top (not a particularly revealing one) = Hooters, that is pretty offensive.

 

 

 

I agree, Aurora. Referring to Misty and this photo as "Hooters Ballet Theatre" floors me. It feels like body shaming. Women have breasts. It's a fact. And we all have them, man or woman, whatever size they may be.

 

I actually really like this photo. The push/pull affect with them facing opposite directions with one leg up yet connected at the hips. It's contemporary, active, and serene all at the same time.

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Now that I've seen the photo I don't see anything remotely offensive about it. It's a contemporary ballet photo which is the focus of the fall season, and Misty and James look very fit to me and not at all vulgar. "Hooters Ballet Theatre" is a head-scratcher. And this coming from someone who once dined at Hooters and enjoyed the meal -- Hooters waitresses would love to look as fit and toned as Misty.

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I'm unfamiliar with ABT's recently-acquired contemporary rep, so I went back to read this forum's "ABT fall season 2014"  thread on the premiere of Scarlett's "With a Chance for Rain." It seems that Ms Copeland's physique, and how it was "used" in the ballet, was definitely a topic of discussion here. A small quote from the Oct. 23, 2014, post of member "abatt" reviewing the premiere of the Scarlett ballet at the gala:

 

Except for the last few minutes of the Scarlett ballet, which was a lovely pdd for Hee Seo and Gomes, the work ranged from tedious to offensive. I didn't think most the of the ballet was well constructed in terms of the choreography. The offenisve part were segments where James Whiteside had to grab Misty's boobs. The other offensive part had both Misty and Whiteside shaking their rear ends at the audience in a twerking kind of motion. What foolishness. This wasn't humor. This was juvenille. Also, why is every Scarlett ballet I've seen performed in near darkness. Is he afraid that light might force us to focus on the choreography? There were no curtain calls for the new Scarlett ballet.

 

From the sounds of it, this work seems unballetic and vulgar. I guess that explains the "bouncy" aspect of the photo, even though it is a still. The odd thing is that, even though they appear in the publicity shot, Copeland and Whiteside are not cast in the pdd this fall. Instead, I see that Seo/Zhurbin and Boylston/Foster are cast in "Elegy pdd" from "With a Chance of Rain". Maybe the "boob grabbing" pdd is being supplanted by the "lovely pdd" (Hee Seo) described by abatt? 

 

Now I know that I'm definitely planning to skip this, with all due respect to the dancers. It's not their fault.

Edited by CharlieH

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3 hours ago, Barbara said:

I'm wondering who will fill the tbds for Other Dances at the Saturday matinee. That's the one and only performance I'm seeing.

Me, too. It's the only performance I'm going to in this rather underwhelming season. How about Simkin/Lane in Other Dances? Neither is scheduled to dance in other pieces during those two performances that include the TBA Other Dances. I know others have said that the piece has often been cast with short, lively dancers, so they would seem a good fit. It might be nice to see a younger, up-and-coming couple in the piece, too, though. 

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Nice to see Forster getting so many opportunities -- 5 separate works.

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54 minutes ago, miliosr said:

Nice to see Forster getting so many opportunities -- 5 separate works.

 

Thanks for pointing that out, miliosr. Although I may skip the whole Fall season, I have high hopes that Forster is on the way up to Principal.

 

Edited by angelica

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I like the photo. It's not at all what I'd imagined from reading some of the comments here when it was initially described. 

 

Thanks for the explanation about Cirio. I'm glad to hear he's a guest artist and not injured. Our loss this fall though.

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, CharlieH said:

 

 

From the sounds of it, this work seems unballetic and vulgar. I guess that explains the "bouncy" aspect of the photo, even though it is a still. The odd thing is that, even though they appear in the publicity shot, Copeland and Whiteside are not cast in the pdd this fall. Instead, I see that Seo/Zhurbin and Boylston/Foster are cast in "Elegy pdd" from "With a Chance of Rain". Maybe the "boob grabbing" pdd is being supplanted by the "lovely pdd" (Hee Seo) described by abatt? 

 

Now I know that I'm definitely planning to skip this, with all due respect to the dancers. It's not their fault.

 

For what it's worth, I didn't find "With a Chance of Rain" particularly vulgar or unballetic. The real problem with the Copeland / Whiteside duet was that it came far to early in the ballet; had it come later the audience would have had more context with which to evaluate those gestures in terms of the particular world (or community or society - pick your term) that Scarlett was evoking on stage. I promise you, they weren't there merely to titillate us: they were there to tell us something about that couple and their relationship. I would actually like to see the work again, but won't be able to this time around.

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On 8/18/2017 at 11:27 AM, aurora said:

 

I had the same reaction.

It is certainly not an amateurish image (as I believe it was described earlier in the thread), and if the suggestion is simply that showing Misty in a leotard top (not a particularly revealing one) = Hooters, that is pretty offensive.

 

 

Agreed, I think the photo is fine.  I was expecting something hideous.

 

I am also going to skip the fall season though.  It's a shame that the Kennedy Center Mariinsky performances are the same week, or I'd try to sneak in at least one ABT fall performance.  

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The ballets and casting are not perking my interest. I love Symphonic Variations but other than that nothing attracts me. I'll probably stay away. In the choice of rep, I don't understand what message is being sent in terms of the ABT identity. 

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Tickets are far too expensive to purchase them just to see 14 or 15 minutes of Other Dances. In my case, I would also have to drive 4+ hours to NY. I'll be doing that for NYCB's fall season a couple of times but not for ABT. What a shame that they are not programming ballets from their treasure-trove of Tudor, Fokine or DeMille rep. Or even Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp.

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I absolutely agree about the sad omission of anything from ABT's jewel box of Tudor! Per the repertory page, here's what they have:

 

Continuo
Dark Elegies
Dim Lustre
Echoing of Trumpets
Fandango
Gala Performance
Goya Pastoral
Jardin Aux Lilas
Judgment of Paris
The Leaves Are Fading
Little Improvisations
Nimbus
Offenbach in the Underworld
Pillar of Fire
Romeo and Juliet
Shadow of the Wind
Shadowplay
The Tiller in the Fields
Undertow

 

The Theater Formerly Known as State is a far better venue for most of the Tudor rep than the vast reaches of the Met and it's a part of the company's heritage that they should both conserve and celebrate. A revival of some of the lesser known (and maybe just plain lesser) works might be too much to ask for, but why not take the opportunity to put the new / newish crop of principals and soloists through their Jardin or Pillar paces?

 

That being said, there are things on the fall calendar that are worth seeing, especially Ashton's Symphonic Variations and Ratmansky's Serenade after Plato's Symposium. I try to see all the Ashton I can and while I'm not a Ratmansky completist, I found Symposium well worth a second look. Fortunately, both are on the 10/21/17 matinee program with Other Dances and the Ratmansky premiere (with Shevchenko and Royal), so I grabbed a ticket.

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22 hours ago, vipa said:

In the choice of rep, I don't understand what message is being sent in terms of the ABT identity. 

I sometimes think that Kevin McKenzie wants ABT to be any kind of company except the company that it actually is. How else to explain Wheeldon and Millepied and Scarlett? Does ABT's audience have some unquenchable thirst for this stuff that I'm not aware of?

 

McKenzie could put together a dream season consisting of Ashton, de Mille, Fokine, Morris, Ratmansky, Robbins, Tharp and Tudor. (In other words, all the things ABT does well.) He could even supplement it by picking up those pieces that his old employer, Robert Joffrey, lovingly restored to repertory in the 70s (and which Ashley Wheater has tossed aside.) But then, that wouldn't be "hip" and "happening".

Edited by miliosr

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14 minutes ago, miliosr said:

I sometimes think that Kevin McKenzie wants ABT to be any kind of company except the company that it actually is. How else to explain Wheeldon and Millepied and Scarlett? Does ABT's audience have some unquenchable thirst for this stuff that I'm not aware of?

 

McKenzie could put together a dream season consisting of Ashton, de Mille, Fokine, Morris, Ratmansky, Robbins, Tharp and Tudor. (In other words, all the things ABT does well.) He could even supplement it by picking up those pieces that his old employer, Robert Joffrey, lovingly restored to repertory in the 70s (and which Ashley Wheater has tossed aside.) But then, that wouldn't be "hip" and "happening".

So well said miliosr. Thank you. I was even thinking recently that it would be interesting to see Ailey's The River make a comeback. A very distinctive season could be put together.

 

As an aside, it really bothers me that more and more companies are using the same choreographers. 

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10 hours ago, vipa said:

I was even thinking recently that it would be interesting to see Ailey's The River make a comeback. A very distinctive season could be put together. 

Or Ailey's Pas de Duke, which comes from the same fertile period as Other Dances, Push Comes to Shove and The Leaves Are Fading.

 

10 hours ago, vipa said:

As an aside, it really bothers me that more and more companies are using the same choreographers. 

The sameness becomes deadening at a certain point. If someone showed me ABT's fall repertory without the company's name attached and asked me to identify the company, the only clue pointing toward ABT for me would be Symphonic Variations. Otherwise, I might have guessed City Ballet or San Francisco Ballet or the Joffrey or Pacific Northwest Ballet. 

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Year after year, ABT gets beat up in the New York Times about the nature of its spring season. I wonder if these fall seasons we've been getting are part of a misguided attempt to fight those sorts of perceptions of the ABT identity?

 

I agree with miliosr's idea above, though. The answer, it seems to me, is "Do you, and do it well."

 

Edited by nanushka

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15 hours ago, miliosr said:

I sometimes think that Kevin McKenzie wants ABT to be any kind of company except the company that it actually is. How else to explain Wheeldon and Millepied and Scarlett? Does ABT's audience have some unquenchable thirst for this stuff that I'm not aware of?

 

McKenzie could put together a dream season consisting of Ashton, de Mille, Fokine, Morris, Ratmansky, Robbins, Tharp and Tudor. (In other words, all the things ABT does well.) He could even supplement it by picking up those pieces that his old employer, Robert Joffrey, lovingly restored to repertory in the 70s (and which Ashley Wheater has tossed aside.) But then, that wouldn't be "hip" and "happening".

 

Like many artistic directors, McKenzie is trying to nurture working choreographers while he curates their historic repertory.  You make a good point by bringing up Joffrey, who had a similar mission for his company, but though Joffrey might have wanted a collection of the program-length 19th c rep (and did make a beautiful Nutcracker), some of his biggest efforts were spent on works that really weren't going to be performed by anyone else.  His work with the Ballet Russe repertory kept it from the dustbin, but he didn't really use his resources to maintain a large collection of Swan Lakes and Bayaderes.

 

4 hours ago, miliosr said:

Or Ailey's Pas de Duke, which comes from the same fertile period as Other Dances, Push Comes to Shove and The Leaves Are Fading.

 

If I were to choose, I'd pick The River over Pas de Duke -- River is about Ailey's style, and Pas de Duke was a showcase for two extraordinary individuals.

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I'd love to see ABT do The River again. I see it every time Ailey programs it and while its enjoyable, its not the same without the point work.

 

I am also going to WAY fewer performances than usual this season, partly because of casting but mostly because of the rep. Anyone else notice that ABT has a real aversion to BALANCE? Its either guest artists everywhere you look, or no guest artists at all. One soloist gets all the opportunities while the others stagnate - until this past spring season they have never spread it around. And now, all current contemporary work and nothing from their great historical repertoire. Would it have killed them to include 1 by Tudor, or Fokine or Massine or DeMille along with the Wheeldon, Scarlett, Millepied and Ratmansky? It doesn't have to be a choice between "nurturing working choreographers" or performing great works that were made on them in the past.  As great as he is, we really don't need 3 by Ratmansky in a 13 performance season.

 

Symphonic Variations is the only piece I really want to see, and I'm pretty conflicted about that. I fell in love with it the first time I saw ABT do it back in 2003 with Ashley Tuttle & Maxim Beloserkovsky, but when they did it last year, I thought it looked stiff and rather unmusical. I'm not sure if it was the casting or the fact that since we lost Georgina Parkinson ABT really hasn't had a coach familiar enough with the Ashton rep. I was also let down by their recent performances of Sylvia.

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52 minutes ago, nysusan said:

Anyone else notice that ABT has a real aversion to BALANCE? Its either guest artists everywhere you look, or no guest artists at all. One soloist gets all the opportunities while the others stagnate - until this past spring season they have never spread it around. And now, all current contemporary work and nothing from their great historical repertoire. Would it have killed them to include 1 by Tudor, or Fokine or Massine or DeMille along with the Wheeldon, Scarlett, Millepied and Ratmansky? It doesn't have to be a choice between "nurturing working choreographers" or performing great works that were made on them in the past.

 

I totally agree. Why can't they represent both their history w/ some Tudor, de Mille, etc. with the newer works with Wheeldon, Ratmansky, etc. 

 

I'll probably go to one performance, but I'm probably not inclined to see more than that (and casting isn't helping either).

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In some ways, ABT is hamstrung by the sheer amount of work they've got in their archive.  One of my responses to the Ric Burns documentary was "wait -- show more of that one!"  Little tastes of so much stuff that I've read about but haven't seen.

 

 

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9 hours ago, nanushka said:

Year after year, ABT gets beat up in the New York Times about the nature of its spring season. I wonder if these fall seasons we've been getting are part of a misguided attempt to fight those sorts of perceptions of the ABT identity?

When the fall New York seasons came into being in the 1990s, there were a number of salutary benefits to the company. One of them was that the company could now perform smaller-scale but artistically first-rate works that would (and did) get swallowed up in the Met (i.e. the Tudor repertory). Kevin McKenzie's implementation of this policy, though, has been inconsistent in the last 20 years. As nysusan pointed out above, some years have featured the best of the company's past repertory. But other years have seen McKenzie and company chasing whatever micro-trend was occurring at the time. There was the Stanton Welch boomlet and the Jorma Elo boomlet and the James Kudelka boomlet and the George Harrison tribute and on and on. Now, we have a fall season populated by people who got their starts elsewhere (and, in some cases, did their best work elsewhere) and whose creative output would appear to be at odds with the kind of classical dancing ABT does well.

 

There's an old saying that, "you can chase after failure as much as you can chase after success." I don't think programming Wheeldon, Scarlett and Millepied is going to buy McKenzie the artistic praise he appears to covet and will only alienate that portion of the ABT audience who knows what the company's true repertory classics are.

Edited by miliosr

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