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Helene

2017-18 Season

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"Mayerling" has moved to The Hobby Center for four performances from 22-24 September.

 

In preparation, Houston Ballet has published an org chart, which will be a great help in keeping the characters straight:

 

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Oh, I like this -- I always loved the family tree charts that some historical novels would use!

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Houston Ballet is going to be at Jacob's Pillow August 15th to 18th.  They will be performing Stanton Welch's Clear, excerpts from his Sons de L'ame, a new Welch ballet, Just, plus Trey McIntyre's In Dreams. I don't think I've seen anything by either of them. Any thoughts on these choreographers/works? Is this likely to be a good program?

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I don't know much about Welch's work, but Trey McIntyre has made some very good work, for Houston and elsewhere.  If you go, please report back!

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Second the McIntyre recommendation.  

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Posted (edited)

I love Stanton Welch's Clear. ABT has performed this in the past; I wish they'd bring it back. It's a work for a male ensemble and one woman. Music by Bach. I would consider it a "pure dancing" piece and a great showcase for the men to just dance (there is partnering with the lone woman, but some nice solos for the guys). I'd recommend seeing it, especially if there are male dancers you don't get to see dance very often, or not often enough.

Here's an old review that describes the choreography:

https://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/30/arts/ballet-theater-reviews-seven-men-and-one-woman-equal-explosion.html

And, a short clip:

 

Edited by ABT Fan

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Thanks Sandik, Jayne, and ABT Fan.  You and the video have convinced me to go. I've just bought my ticket. 

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11 hours ago, FPF said:

Thanks Sandik, Jayne, and ABT Fan.  You and the video have convinced me to go. I've just bought my ticket. 

Let us know what you think!

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15 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

Let us know what you think!

ditto that!

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Will do.

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I went to the Saturday matinee at Jacob's Pillow. This was the first time since 1979 that the Houston Ballet appeared there, and it was also my first time seeing the company or works by two choreographers.

There were four ballets on the program.  First up was Just, a new Stanton Welch ballet that was commissioned by Jacob's Pillow. The music was by David Lang and costumes were by Holly Hynes There were three movements. The first was a somewhat tempestuous pas de deux for Jessica Collado and Christopher Coomer in character shoes. The costumes looked like street clothes--jeans and t-shirt for him, and I think white shirt and coral capris for her. The second movement also seemed angry, and featured Mackenzie Richter and Brian Waldrep, plus 7 men as backup.  The men were in black suits with black shirts and Richter wore black pinstriped pants with a black tunic, black fishnet stockings, and black pointe shoes. The third and final movement featured Nozomi Iijima and Chun Wai Chai plus 10 women. Iijima was in pale coral pajamas, Chai was shirtless with I think pale coral pajama pants, and the women wore slipdresses. All were barefoot. This movement was mournful and . On the whole, I didn't particularly care for this ballet. It wasn't clear to me how the movements related to each other, and although the dancers seemed to be characters, I didn't get what the story was while I was watching.  I also didn't really care for the music, especially the third movement (Lang's Just [after Song of Songs]), which was very repetitive and seemed to go on forever (and days later it's still an annoying earworm) to the extent that I started to wonder when it would end. In the post-performance talk that I am linking to below he discusses this ballet as representing three emotional stages in a relationship, but this was not clear to me when I was watching it.

The second ballet consisted of excerpts from Welch's Sons de L'ame, featuring Tyler Donatelli and Ian Cassidy in the first excerpt, Chae Eun Yang and Andrew Vesceri in the second, and Mackenzie Richter and Harper Watters in the third. The music here was Chopin and was played live offstage. Costumes were also by Holly Hynes and I think these were white unitards. I like this ballet better than the first one, but also started to feel a bit bored as it went on. 

Things improved after the intermission with Trey McIntyre's In Dreams. (In her welcoming remarks, Pamela Tatge mentioned that McIntyre was in the audience and he stood up and got a big ovation.) This ballet featured music by Roy Orbison, costumes by the Bisou Consortium (jeans and shirts for the men, matching dresses for the women). The dancers were Alyssa Springer, Chun Wai Chen, Brian Waldrep, Karina Gonzalez, and Melody Mennite. I enjoyed this piece--the choreography was livelier than in the earlier ballets and more inventive.

Last was Welch's Clear, which I enjoyed quite a lot. The first two Welch ballets on the program shared some similar motifs (e.g., arms up in right angles), but Clear was more choreographically distinct.  The cast I saw was Connor Walsh, Chun Wai Chen, Harper Watters, Jessica Collado, Austen Acevedo, Shu Kinouchi, Hayden Stark, and Chandler Dalton. 

The dancers were excellent throughout. 

For some more information on the Houston Ballet at Jacob's Pillow, here are links to a post-performance talks and two reviews (the massive link features a photo gallery😞

 https://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/after-a-40-year-absence-houston-ballet-makes-a-formidable-return-to-jacobs-pillow,547899

https://www.masslive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2018/08/houston_ballet_beautiful_at_ja.html

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