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Winter 2018


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Exxon/Mobil supported many PBS programs as well.  There have been numerous debates about whether some money is too dirty to accept, ie, whether it is the equivalent of reputation-laundering --  and the Koch brothers' contributions is the subject of one of them.

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I feel conflicted about the Koch Theater. The refurbishments have made it the most comfortable theater in the city, at least among the ones I frequent. It’s definitely enhanced my enjoyment of going to NYCB. I’m so happy ABT does their fall season there rather than City Center, with its hard seats and awful legroom.

I wish the money had come from another source, but I am glad it came from somewhere.

Just as a side note — was it the Koch money that was supposed to help the acoustics of that theater for when NYCO was in residence? I ask because I feel like I can always hear the NYCB orchestra so well, even in orchestra balance, which is not the case at the Met.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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6 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I suppose that every dollar David Koch donates to the arts is one less dollar he can shovel into political dark money, so that's a good thing.

That being said, I for one do not consider Koch's reputation to be much enhanced by his philanthropic largesse. 

 

 

Well said and I couldn't agree more.  Koch cannot buy integrity or quality with his billions.

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1 hour ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I suppose that every dollar David Koch donates to the arts is one less dollar he can shovel into political dark money, so that's a good thing.

That being said, I for one do not consider Koch's reputation to be much enhanced by his philanthropic largesse. 

 

I so agree. Thank you. The Koch fight against recognizing global warming is too devastating to be forgotten.

 

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Tyler Angle danced (if that's the right word) in Oltremare today. 

This was my only viewing of the Square Dance-Oltremare-Four Seasons program. Square Dance was, as always, a bright spot of joy for me. 

Oltremare - I went in trying to keep an open mind. I read negative reviews here, as well as a few positive comments from post-ers I usually agree with. But I found it dreadfully dreary. I don't care for the acrobatic lifting school of choreography. And dancers suddenly darting forward for no apparent reason - is that supposed to be deep? The whole piece seemed calculated to startle and depress, as contrasted with the other two pieces on the program, which aim to amaze and delight. However, the friend I brought with me had some thoughtful comments about it afterward. I would try it one more time. 

Four Seasons is a delightful piece. Ashley Laracey looked positively radiant and aglow in Summer. Roman Mejia was a sensation in Autumn. Not only technique, but tons of stage charm and charisma. Hope he can continue to develop, and not overdo the charm. Zachary Catazaro got through his solo sections, but this kind of dancing is not his forte. 

Edited by cobweb
Incorrect season
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Such a glorious Square Dance yesterday afternoon. Megan Fairchild exuded joy and made everything look so effortless. Taylor Stanley was a revelation - I didn't think anyone could beat Peter Boal is that role but Taylor definitely came close with his classical line, buoyancy, and sparkling technique.

Agree with Cobweb about Oltremare and Four Seasons. Roman Mejia stole the show. Catazaro looked a bit nervous but it's always good to see him.

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Chiefly on account of the first ballet, the “New Combinations” program—The Red Violin; dance odyssey; Russian Seasons—was relatively weak. Nevertheless, it contained its share of delights Friday evening.

Besides the colors and costumes, The Red Violin was worth watching for three reasons. First, Emilie Gerrity and Lauren King, both of similar height and body type and cutting fine figures in their clothing, shared the stage often together: the parallelism in their lovely dancing gratified the eyes. Second, although not by any means enough of what is required of choreography to be considered successful, there are some specific movements in the piece which on their own are captivating. Lastly, —Unity Phelan:  she is fascinating to observe. One can hardly blame her for being unable to make this choreography seem natural or flowing. What matters is that The Red Violin offered an opportunity for her to acclimate herself being front and center in a ballet. 

To be sure, dance odyssey is pleasant to watch and Tiler Peck instills life into every ballet she appears in. Still, it is a light work—until the final pas de deux. Even though Peter Walker is quite young, in its concluding moments there are traces of the worldliness and nostalgia I was searching for in dance odyssey. This segment’s effectiveness is immeasurably enhanced by the cultivated, knowing presence of Ashley Laracey, looking splendid in that particular hairdo. Although not one to ever complain about leotards, I believe the additional garment Laracey wears during this pas de deux is extremely appropriate. This sequence is more persuasive and imposing with Adrian Danchig-Waring instead of Walker.

Easily the weightiest item in the program was Russian Seasons. In her regular role in Ratmansky’s compelling ballet, Megan Fairchild was outstanding. Three other women in the cast—Lauren King (who appeared in all pieces of the evening and was debuting in Seasons); Marika Anderson; Kristen Segin—were excellent. From the Third Ring at last Saturday’s matinee, it seemed in her unscheduled debut that Emilie Gerrity was flailing her arms helplessly about. On Friday evening, her performance from close appeared dramatic, intense, genuinely appealing. In her second ballet of the evening (this, a significant one), Unity Phelan made a superb debut.

Edited by Royal Blue
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Admittedly, I haven't seen R+J, but it sounds like Kathleen Tracey may be laying it on a bit thick:

Quote

Kathleen Tracey, the ballet master responsible for staging of “Romeo + Juliet,” said that Mr. Martins’s tweak echoes a piece of City Ballet history.

“He took a page — and I think this is amazing — he took a page from Balanchine’s book, and another Shakespeare that we do here, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’” she said. In that ballet, she added, Balanchine has an angry Demetrius prepare to kick Helena — but then restrain himself. “That’s the same idea that Peter said we should do this season.”

Amazing!

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44 minutes ago, abatt said:

I never thought they'd dump the Martins full-lengths immediately -- like the article says, they are money-makers -- but frankly, City Ballet's interim directors aren't really in a position of authority to predict which of his works will remain in the repertoire long-term, unless one or more of them expects to remain in power permanently. A new AD could easily sweep aside all or most of Martins' plotless works, even if they are already programmed for next season. 

Maybe over the next decade or so, at least one or two of the Martins full-lengths can be replaced with a new production.  

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1 minute ago, fondoffouettes said:

I never thought they'd dump the Martins full-lengths immediately -- like the article says, they are money-makers -- but frankly, City Ballet's interim directors aren't really in a position of authority to predict which of his works will remain in the repertoire long-term, unless one or more of them expects to remain in power permanently. A new AD could easily sweep aside all or most of Martins' plotless works, even if they are already programmed for next season. 

Maybe over the next decade or so, at least one or two of the Martins full-lengths can be replaced with a new production.  

Yes, I personally read the article primarily as projecting a sort of "Keep moving people, nothing to see here, things are great, carry on!" message.

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It's interesting how the exact same choreographic moment in a ballet is interpreted based on who the choreographer is.  My recollection is that the Ratmansky Romeo and Juliet, which I saw a few weeks ago in the cinema, also had a significant slap of Juliet by her father.   It was not deemed a problem in the Ratmansky production, but in the Martins production it causes a big uproar that leads to it being removed.

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12 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Admittedly, I haven't seen R+J, but it sounds like Kathleen Tracey may be laying it on a bit thick:

Amazing!

Seriously -- the Balanchine moment seems unremarkable enough (though I can't picture it right now), and Martins decision to turn a slap into an arrested slap doesn't seem like an echo worth mentioning. 

Of course the article mostly skirts the issue of the artistic merit of Martins' works. I agree they shouldn't be removed from the repertory because of his past behavior; they should removed because most of them are dreadful. 

Edited by fondoffouettes
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3 minutes ago, abatt said:

It's interesting how the exact same choreographic moment in a ballet is interpreted based on who the choreographer is.  My recollection is that the Ratmansky Romeo and Juliet, which I saw a few weeks ago in the cinema, also had a significant slap of Juliet by her father.   It was not deemed a problem in the Ratmansky production, but in the Martins production it causes a big uproar that leads to it being removed.

That is interesting. Though it doesn't sound like any "big uproar" caused its removal. The article mentions some audience gasps and "the condemnation of some critics," and it's been revived since then, presumably with the slap. (Again, I haven't seen it.) It sounds more like it was removed as a precautionary measure, to avoid any potential controversy in the wake of recent events. 

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Agree that this is a bit of "everything is well, we are doing great" PR article. And notice that Jon Stafford was careful about saying which Martins works he was going to keep. I don't think for instance we'll ever get Red Violin again. When I saw it last Friday audience response was so unenthusiastic the dancers came for a curtain call to almost complete silence.

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I haven't seen this R+J in years and never will again. Twice was enough. I'll be curious to hear how it sells.

On another note, whatever Peter Martins did or didn't do, he was a man of considerable experience and knowledge.  I do feel for Hyltin and other dancers who miss his guidance. I hope the AD search is going well! 

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