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Winter 2018

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In the upcoming Agon Ashley Laracey is dancing the PDT. I remember Rebecca Krohn used to dance it, and Tess as well.

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5 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

I don't care for the first few movements of Suite No. 3, but in my 30 years of ballet going I've only seen NYCB perform the Suite in its entirety. What an interesting idea. It would make it more like ABT, though.

 

It's pretty frustrating that the company feels such an obligation to perform only Balanchine's final iterations of his ballets. Suite No. 3 is pleasant enough, but it pales in comparison to the brilliance of Theme and Variations on its own. I'm not saying the full suite should never be performed, but I don't think it needs to accompany T&V every time it's performed.

Would it kill the company to, once in a blue moon, perform Square Dance with a caller, or to perform the original version of Apollo with the birthing scene? The company seems to have a very narrow-minded view of what it means to preserve the legacy of Balanchine.

It's time for NYCB to stop think about pleasing "Mr. B" and to treat Balanchine like any other genius-artist. The company has every right to pick and choose how it presents Balanchine's works. 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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2 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

I've seen Savannah Lowery and Megan LeCrone in the MWM trio. 

 

When I recently saw Lowery in 4 Ts, filling in for Mearns, I enjoyed her more than I have before, but her dancing still had a cumbersome quality. She's like an Amazon without fire or beauty. 

I agree with others that LeCrone excels in leotard ballets, but I don't love her dancing (though it's hard for me to pin down exactly why). Her face is very offputting, at least for me.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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I just got back from this evening's performance. A very satisfying show. What a great company.  Some thoughts -

Square Dance - After that ballet I could have gone home happy. Megan Fairchild sailed through technical challenges with ease and flair. I truly think of her as a dancer reborn after her Broadway experience. I really liked Huxley too. The adagio solo was totally secure and had a wonderful introspective quality. The corps was fabulous.

Oltremare - I like this ballet very much and find it holds up over repeated viewings. Harrison Coll was a real stand out in a stellar cast.

The Fours Seasons - A delightful ballet! Lauren King was terrific in Winter. She's always been a radiant performer, but I thing she's really grown into her soloist ranking. Her turns were secure (a problem she's had in the past) and was technically on top of everything. Her way of relating to everyone on stage has always been a joy. Spring was led by Sterling Hyltin & Chase Finaly. Hyltin is wonderful in everything I see her in. She has a naturalness, musicality and gracious manner that take my heart. I know that in SB she is cast as Aurora (and she is wonderful) but part of me would love to see her as lilac fairy. Finlay was fine, but he always seems to fall short technically with small mistakes here and there. Laracey was lovely and expansive in summer. That IMO is the weakest section. Fall was my first viewing of Roman Mejia - Wow. Great jumps and turns, and an ability to hold the stage with his presence and warmth. Bouder was her fun, secure, wonderful self. Her fouettes were super fast and then she just stepped out of them calmly and stopped. Loved it. Catazaro doesn't quite do it for me in these virtuoso roles. Some of it is all right, but I never feel confident. In his a la seconde turns  his leg keeps dropping down and when he pulls in, I feel like it's very hit or miss. 

I am a bit concerned about who is going to replace Veyette & DeLuz when it come to these roles. Veyette has had problems recently (few years ago he was delivering outstanding performances). DeLuz is over 40. 

However, it was a great night of ballet. I have had a difficult couple of weeks and the performance was like a tonic! What a great company.

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Vipa, this is just to say "ditto" to your post about last night.  I just want to add an extra "shout out" to Taylor Stanley who gave  some particularly exquisite dancing in the Summer role.  

Edited by bobbi

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12 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

They may not be your cup of tea, but both Savannah and Megan LeCrone dance Agon quite well.

I do think I would like to see LeCrone in it more than Lowery. The latter has a body type that I just personally don't find inherently appealing for a dancer, and to my eye lacks in her dancing the qualities that could make her appealing to me despite that. I just find myself sighing resignedly every time I see her on a cast list for something I'll be seeing. Very much a matter of personal taste, I admit.

Thanks for the video!

Edited by nanushka

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14 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

LeCrone is also well suited to the Agon second woman role with all her angularity. There's a short video of her rehearsing it and talking about it on the NYCB website.  She seems like a Stravinsky ballerina to me. All the women's roles in that ballet tend to go to the taller women.

Jennie Somogyi was excellent in the second Agon Pas de Trois (the one with two men and one woman) and she wasn't tall, although she did seem to dance about six inches taller than her actual height.  Sofiane Sylve — a very different dancer from Somogyi in terms of both body type and style — was very good in the role as well: I think it can accommodate ballerinas in all their variety, so long as they are musical. (The Branles Gay, to which the second PDT ballerina dances her solo is a metrical thicket: the castinet ostinato is in 3/8 time but the other instruments are irregularly subdivided into meters like 7/16 or 5/16, so nothing ever quite matches up until the end.) 

I've seen LeCrone in the role and liked what I saw. I'd like to see Claire Kretzschmar get a crack at it, and Isabella LaFreniere too — both have been looking particularly good this season.

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1 hour ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Jennie Somogyi was excellent in the second Agon Pas de Trois (the one with two men and one woman) and she wasn't tall, although she did seem to dance about six inches taller than her actual height.  Sofiane Sylve — a very different dancer from Somogyi in terms of both body type and style — was very good in the role as well: I think it can accommodate ballerinas in all their variety, so long as they are musical. (The Branles Gay, to which the second PDT ballerina dances her solo is a metrical thicket: the castinet ostinato is in 3/8 time but the other instruments are irregularly subdivided into meters like 7/16 or 5/16, so nothing ever quite matches up until the end.) 

I've seen LeCrone in the role and liked what I saw. I'd like to see Claire Kretzschmar get a crack at it, and Isabella LaFreniere too — both have been looking particularly good this season.

I am not a ballerina, but I was so into Balanchine as a student that I learned Labanotation and one of my teachers found Balanchine choreography for me to learn. In the end I taught myself that second ballerina Bransle Gay. A metrical thicket is a good way to describe it! The notation was excellent, attitude wasn't just "leg bent to the back." It was a true Balanchine attitude, with the knee directly behind the hip and the lower leg crossing over at an angle. I've noticed the NYCB dancers do a few steps differently from what was notated; from what I've read Balanchine probably changed a step or two for a particular dancer, or had a Melissa Hayden version alongside a Violette Verdy version (for example).

I missed Jennie Somogyi's entire career, sad to say. Sofiane Syle, too. I'm just starting to notice Claire Kretzschmar and Isabella LaFreniere.

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Usually a ballerina does the Bransle Gay for a few seasons before ascending to the main pdd.  This was the case with both Maria K and Wendy Whelan.  They both did Bransle during their soloist years before being elevated into the lead pdd.  I was surprised that Miriam Miller was given the chance to do the main Agon pdd without first doing Bransle.  I never saw Miriam do the Agon lead, but  I did see her Siren debut.  I think she needs some important demi soloist roles before being given more lead roles.

Edited by abatt

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15 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

It's pretty frustrating that the company feels such an obligation to perform only Balanchine's final iterations of his ballets. Suite No. 3 is pleasant enough, but it pales in comparison to the brilliance of Theme and Variations on its own. I'm not saying the full suite should never be performed, but I don't think it needs to accompany T&V every time it's performed.

Would it kill the company to, once in a blue moon, perform Square Dance with a caller, or to perform the original version of Apollo with the birthing scene? The company seems to have a very narrow-minded view of what it means to preserve the legacy of Balanchine.

It's time for NYCB to stop think about pleasing "Mr. B" and to treat Balanchine like any other genius-artist. The company has every right to pick and choose how it presents Balanchine's works. 

In many ways I prefer Apollo with some of the earlier scenes; Apollo being unwrapped by the two muses in particular. ON the other hand, I can see why NYCB would want to preserve Balanchine's last iterations of his ballets. Who else's judgement should win the day?

I don't, however, feel a need to see Square Dance with a caller again after seeing it on youtube. The caller seems redundant, and it's easier to hear than to see, so it's distracting. Patricia Wilde is amazing, tho!

 

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I'm agnostic towards the birth, but I love the unwrapping and the awkwardness, ie, more character development, and the stairs to the sky instead of the AT&T logo ending.

With Square Dance, I wish they'd do it with a caller for the woman's solo only -- the one in the Balanchine bio -- and kill it for the rest.   The caller gets old in the DVD version, although Patricia Wilde is divine in it.

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San Francisco Ballet did whole Apollo ten years ago for their big Balanchine celebration, very successfully. In that spirit they tried Square Dance with the caller, but it didn't work.  Helgi Tomasson said there was something with the band on the stage not being able to hear the orchestra.

Also, the reverse of Apollo, the original Square Dance is shorter. And it doesn't have the haunting male solo, which came later - sort of a fifth Temperament.

Edited by Quiggin

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18 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

It's time for NYCB to stop think about pleasing "Mr. B" and to treat Balanchine like any other genius-artist. The company has every right to pick and choose how it presents Balanchine's works. 

I agree. NYCB needs to start thinking of Balanchine objectively. And maybe it will now that Martins isn't at the helm anymore and they install an AD that didn't dance for Balanchine directly. 

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

I'm agnostic towards the birth, but I love the unwrapping and the awkwardness, ie, more character development, and the stairs to the sky instead of the AT&T logo ending.

LOL -- AT&T logo ending is a great way to describe it. I hadn't seen Apollo in some years, until this season, and the ending felt so anticlimactic to me. The glowing sun looked sort of funky, and seems too obvious.

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

I'm agnostic towards the birth, but I love the unwrapping and the awkwardness, ie, more character development, and the stairs to the sky instead of the AT&T logo ending.

Yes, the original ending is so much more evocative and meaningful. And the iconic image was still there, but subtler, as Robert Garis describes in Following Balanchine (great book): "in the apotheosis a sunburst figure passes before your eyes like a cloud formation (rather than what it has become in the current version, a brilliant Apollo-logo to ring down the curtain)."

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While we're at it, let's go back to some of the original titles, like Ballet Imperial. So much more fitting and less clunky. (I kind of insist on using the name anyway, in defiance. Like a friend of mine who refuses to stop calling it "the State Theater.")

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Since NYCB does not use the scenic designs, tutus or tiaras of Ballet Imperial, I don't think they should go back to using that as the name of the ballet either.

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2 hours ago, abatt said:

Usually a ballerina does the Bransle Gay for a few seasons before ascending to the main pdd.  This was the case with both Maria K and Wendy Whelan.  They both did Bransle during their soloist years before being elevated into the lead pdd.  I was surprised that Miriam Miller was given the chance to do the main Agon pdd without first doing Bransle.  I never saw Miriam do the Agon lead, but  I did see her Siren debut.  I think she needs some important demi soloist roles before being given more lead roles.

I agree wholeheartedly. I've seen Miller's Titania, Siren, and Agon lead; they were long on promise and short on that special alchemy whereby a capital B Ballerina turns mere steps into a genuine performance. She was positively radiant as one of the demi-soloist couples in the Chaconne finale, however;  she looked far more relaxed, happy, and joyful than she did in her three big roles — and no surprise there, she's very young. I hope the company gives her the time and space to grow both her technique and her artistry. 

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5 minutes ago, abatt said:

Since NYCB does not use the scenic designs, tutus or tiaras of Ballet Imperial, I don't think they should go back to using that as the name of the ballet either.

I definitely get that, but I also think there's a lot in the choreography itself that fit the title. (And I might advocate a return to the tutus and tiaras, even.) There was an article in Ballet Review Winter 2016-17 that discussed this (the choreography, I mean, not the title change — as I recall): "Crystallization: Balanchine's Imperial Ballet" by Don Daniels. Some of his ideas seemed to me a bit unconvincing, but there were others that I found interesting.

Edited by nanushka

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11 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I agree wholeheartedly. I've seen Miller's Titania, Siren, and Agon lead; they were long on promise and short on that special alchemy whereby a capital B Ballerina turns mere steps into a genuine performance. She was positively radiant as one of the demi-soloist couples in the Chaconne finale, however;  she looked far more relaxed, happy, and joyful than she did in her three big roles — and no surprise there, she's very young. I hope the company gives her the time and space to grow both her technique and her artistry. 

... and I wholeheartedly agree also. I enjoyed Miller more in Chaconne than I have previously, because she looked relaxed and vibrant. 

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2 hours ago, nanushka said:

While we're at it, let's go back to some of the original titles, like Ballet Imperial. So much more fitting and less clunky. (I kind of insist on using the name anyway, in defiance. Like a friend of mine who refuses to stop calling it "the State Theater.")

I'm with you. I'll never call it the D**** H. K*** theater!

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2 hours ago, Marta said:

I'm with you. I'll never call it the D**** H. K*** theater!

It will always be State Theater as far as I'm concerned! Although I found it funny when I discussed this with a friend and found out she assumed the place was named after former NY mayor Ed Koch

 

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56 minutes ago, vipa said:

It will always be State Theater as far as I'm concerned! Although I found it funny when I discussed this with a friend and found out she assumed the place was named after former NY mayor Ed Koch

 

I am sure many people think this...

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