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New York City Ballet Fall Season

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11 hours ago, Marta said:

I never loved the theme idea that NYCB came up with 10 or more years ago.  I do love the all Balanchine or the Balanchine B & W but as Vipa said, I also would be thrilled to see a program with an indisputably great Balanchine and two new works, or two by other choreographers, new or not.  I'd be curious to know which programs had higher ticket sales.  

My recollection is that the Balanchine Black-and-White and similar themed programs started as marketing for the Balanchine Celebration in 1993 and then crept into the regular programming.  

I personally prefer programs with some variety--even if all Balanchine, I'd rather see three works in somewhat different styles and/or with different composers. I also think that new audiences might be more easily enticed with a varied program because there's more of a chance that they will find something appealing in the mix.

When I first started attending NYCB, it was after seeing T&V and Bourree Fantasque on two different mixed bills at ABT and realizing that I wanted to see more Balanchine.  The variety has kept my interest ( and also illustrates the danger of the mixed bill, as I've only occasionally gone to see ABT since). It took me a while to warm up to the black-and-white ballets. If there had been whole programs of them at the time, I wonder if I would have kept coming back long enough to grow to appreciate most of them. There are a few ballets I've seen at NYCB over the years that I don't care for, but few that I dislike enough (and that have stuck around in the rep long enough) for me to avoid an entire program. 

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Most offensive to me is one of the spring programs titled something like Balanchine meets Peck.  It shows an arrogance that Peck is somehow worthy of meeting Balanchine.  They should stick with the simplicity of Balanchine & Peck.

Edited by abatt

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I don’t get the peck mania.  None of these modem guys (including ratmansky, dsch aside) comes close to Robbins or ashton, let alone Balanchine.  It’s too bad Nycb does no Ashton.  I’d like to see how they would do monotones, for one.   Balanchine is like the bach of ballet.  Pure genius. Even today, ballets like Episodes or Porte et Soupir are much more avant- garde than anything modern I’ve seen. 

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The first Balanchine ballet I ever saw live was "La Sonnambula," and I didn't like it at all then.  (I had seen other Balanchine on The Ed Sullivan Show, Bell Telephone Hour, etc., but I didn't understand then that Balanchine was the through line: I just thought it was all good.)  What hooked me on Balanchine, too, was ABT's "Bourree Fantasque."*  NYCB revived "Bourree Fantasque in Spring 1993, when, 10 years after Balanchine's death, they performed as much Balanchine as they could as a tribute.

* I got to see Harriet Clark dance the 1st movement (Leclercq role): Martine van Hamel was originally cast, but she broke her foot during "Jardin aux lilas," the opener for that mixed rep program.

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On 10/8/2018 at 1:02 AM, balanchinette said:

I, for one, much prefer all Balanchine, or a mix of Balanchine and Robbins, to a mix of Balanchine and new.  It’s so much more rewarding.  I thought peck’s easy really suffered by comparison when it followed the genius allegro brillante.  I find most modern works uninteresting compared to Balanchine, and I definitely avoid all new nights. One exception is DSCH, which I love, but it still wasn’t enough for me to keep my subscription ticket to that program this season, given the other works. So count me as one audience member who would go out of her way to attend an all Balanchine program, but avoid a mixed bill with meh new works.  I’m less likely to want to spend money for only one banchine gem among a slew of blah new works.  And I’ve never been a fan of ballets set to sung lyrics.  I like when the dance speaks, rather than accompanying a song. 

Balanchine was pure genius.  And Robbins was absolutely brilliant.  You can sit me in front of their works daily and I’ll never tire of them. However, I am still of the opinion that new works need to enter the rep or the company and it's dancers will stagnate. 

I personally happen to enjoy most of the ballets created by Peck, Wheeldon, and Ratmansky, as well as some of the other lesser known choreographers.   I may not always love the music, the costumes, or even the choreography, but I still look forward to seeing new works.  Some are gems, most are not.   Just this past Saturday I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the new Abraham ballet (Runaway) along with a Peck, Wheeldon and Martins ballet.    Yes, the classics of Balanchine are the backbone of NYCB, but why stop there?    

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3 hours ago, Golden Idol said:

Would that NYCB dance Bourree Fantasque again! Why the neglect?

I saw it just the one time, almost 30 years ago at ABT, and have never seen it since. I would love to see it again (from either company). 

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5 hours ago, NinaFan said:

Balanchine was pure genius.  And Robbins was absolutely brilliant.  You can sit me in front of their works daily and I’ll never tire of them. However, I am still of the opinion that new works need to enter the rep or the company and it's dancers will stagnate. 

I personally happen to enjoy most of the ballets created by Peck, Wheeldon, and Ratmansky, as well as some of the other lesser known choreographers.   I may not always love the music, the costumes, or even the choreography, but I still look forward to seeing new works.  Some are gems, most are not.   Just this past Saturday I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the new Abraham ballet (Runaway) along with a Peck, Wheeldon and Martins ballet.    Yes, the classics of Balanchine are the backbone of NYCB, but why stop there?    

Agree. And I would put Robbins in the genius category (particularly as someone who choreographed iconic works for ballet, musical theater, and film, and had a larger pop culture impact than Balanchine).

And though most new works will not stay in the rep, it is important to keep those creative gears turning. What makes NYCB unique is that it's a choreographer's company that is at the forefront of creating ballets that are subsequently disseminated around the world. It's not just a repository for Balanchine/Robbins works.

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8 hours ago, NinaFan said:

Balanchine was pure genius.  And Robbins was absolutely brilliant.  You can sit me in front of their works daily and I’ll never tire of them. However, I am still of the opinion that new works need to enter the rep or the company and it's dancers will stagnate. 

I personally happen to enjoy most of the ballets created by Peck, Wheeldon, and Ratmansky, as well as some of the other lesser known choreographers.   I may not always love the music, the costumes, or even the choreography, but I still look forward to seeing new works.  Some are gems, most are not.   Just this past Saturday I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the new Abraham ballet (Runaway) along with a Peck, Wheeldon and Martins ballet.    Yes, the classics of Balanchine are the backbone of NYCB, but why stop there?    

I don’t disagree with you. I was just responding to the question of whether all Balanchine programs or mixed Balanchine/meh new works programs would sell better. From my point of view I would not want to spend money for a mixed bill over an all Balanchine one.   If the company were to do away with all Balanchine nights in favor of mixed programs with only one Balanchine ballet, I would definitely attend much less frequently.  

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3 hours ago, FPF said:

I saw it just the one time, almost 30 years ago at ABT, and have never seen it since. I would love to see it again (from either company). 

Miami City Ballet performed Bourree Fantasque when they came to NYC a few years ago. It's a lovely ballet, funny, too. It would be great if NYCB would do it again! There's a lot of rep that's been missing for too long. I kind of think that if Peter Martins didn't already know the ballet he didn't program it.

I miss the variety of programs they used to have. It was interesting in past years (ok, waaay past years) to look at the season and try to pick a night where you saw certain ballets in combination. 4T would be paired with leotard ballets one night and with tutu ballets the next. I thought maybe they changed it because it was easier for the crew to set up for the same combinations of ballets (21st Century, or All-Balanchine 1, 2, or 3, for example). Mostly I hate having to look in several places to remember exactly which ballets I have tickets to. You know, "what's the name of the program with Dances at a Gathering on it?" or "is All-Balanchine 1 the Apollo-Agon-Orpheus night or is it the Walpurghisnacht-Ballo-Bizet?

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Cast changes and a reshuffling of roles marked the respective performances Tuesday in three out of the four works seen on last Friday's program (the exception was the poignant This Bitter Earth with Teresa Reichlen and Ask la Cour). Yet the result was the same: a marvelous evening! To be sure, it is fascinating to compare and contrast the niceties of how dancers with distinct physical characteristics and/or varying levels of experience and accomplishment—e.g. Sara Mearns and Miriam Miller, or Tiler Peck and Unity Phelan in Pulcinella Variations; Mearns and Sterling Hyltin, or Ashley Bouder and Brittany Pollack in Concerto DSCH; Phelan and Emilie Gerrity, or Indiana Woodward and Kristen Segin in Fearful Symmetries (and so forth)—manage a particular role. What finally matters, however, is how gratifying it was to watch all three ballets on both evenings.

How wonderful it is for Brittany Pollack to be back, and to have viewed her dancing Tuesday in two pieces—especially the sturdier Concerto DSCH! Although she lacked the strength and power displayed by Bouder in Ratmansky's work, her aura of femininity and beauty of movement offered invaluable recompense.

Six members of the corps—Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Mary Elizabeth Sell, Lydia Wellington, Devin Alberda, Daniel Applebaum and Andrew Scordato—deserve special mention for their contributions to that haunting middle section of Concerto DSCH. Kudos likewise to Tyler Angle and his attentive partnering on different nights of Mearns and Hyltin. On both Friday and Tuesday I craved for those pivotal moments midway in the ballet to continue. Its brevity, however, makes that segment even more forceful and compelling!

Although she remains one of my favorite female corps members, Kristen Segin's persistent smiling throughout Fearful Symmetries made her appear a lightweight next to Woodward in the same role. (Incidentally, earlier on Friday, Woodward had also danced beautifully a strikingly different, lighthearted part in Pulcinella Variations.) However, the effect of Segin’s performance was counterbalanced Tuesday by an incisive one by Emilie Gerrity, who had debuted in her role a few days earlier. Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention how in this ballet Mary Thomas MacKinnon, a new member of the female corps, showed tremendous stage presence.

                                                                                                                                   *

In addition to those who danced the main parts, eight other dancers were instrumental in showcasing the splendor of Allegro Brillante this fall. One of them was Meagan Mann—one of the most elegant, graceful, and recognizable members of the female corps in recent years. Therefore, it was surprising to learn that Mann retired after the season’s last performance of Allegro Brillante.

 

Edited by Royal Blue

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On 10/9/2018 at 2:29 PM, NinaFan said:

  Yes, the classics of Balanchine are the backbone of NYCB, but why stop there?    

With the possible exception of  some pieces by Justin Peck,  many of NYCB's biggest fans and financial supporters are always going to be resistant to  anything that isn't Balanchine or Robbins.   It's as predictable as sand is in the desert that they will resent different  work because it means fewer chances to see even more selections from the prolific works of  B & R.    

What's wrong with staying in your lane?  It's worked for NYCB all these years.  As to the dancers, they didn't become  NYCB dancers because they wanted to dance  Petipa,  Forsythe  or McGregor. 

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55 minutes ago, Royal Blue said:

Mary Thomas MacKinnon, a new member of the female corps, showed tremendous stage presence.

                                                                                                                                   *

 

Is she related to corps member Olivia MacKinnon?

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16 minutes ago, abatt said:

Is she related to corps member Olivia MacKinnon?

They are sisters, I believe.

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21 hours ago, Tapfan said:

With the possible exception of  some pieces by Justin Peck,  many of NYCB's biggest fans and financial supporters are always going to be resistant to  anything that isn't Balanchine or Robbins.   It's as predictable as sand is in the desert that they will resent different  work because it means fewer chances to see even more selections from the prolific works of  B & R.    

What's wrong with staying in your lane?  It's worked for NYCB all these years.  As to the dancers, they didn't become  NYCB dancers because they wanted to dance  Petipa,  Forsythe  or McGregor. 

Let us agree to disagree.  Count me in as one of NYCB’s biggest fans, plus a member of their guild (that's a financial supporter) for thirty years.  What drew me?  Balanchine.  What keeps me going?  Balanchine.  As I pointed out in my post, Balanchine is the backbone of the company.  If that were to change, I would no longer be attending NYCB performances with such frequency.  That being said, I believe that all ballet/dance companies need try out new works, whether they keep them in the rep or not.  Dancers need to be stimulated first by their current rep, which you so aptly pointed out as being the main reason why dancers joined NYCB in the first place.  But they also need the excitement of having new works done on them.  I saw a different side of Taylor Stanley last week in a modern and very different ballet.  He was magnificent as was the rest of the cast.  Will it stay in the rep?  Probably not.  The music was not to my taste, but perhaps twenty somethings feel differently.  The ballet companies need to bring in new audiences, and if popular music helps, then more power to them.

With regard to your comment "What's wrong with staying in your lane?  It's worked for NYCB all these years."  That's actually not true.   They've had plenty of new ballets created on them post Balanchine and Robbins. 

The bottom line is, we don’t want the company to stagnate.  It would save ballet companies tons of money if they just did the same ballets and nothing else.  There must be a reason why they try out new works.  Paul Taylor saw that coming several years before he died when he opened his company up to other works.  Personally, I try to get all Taylor programs, just as I try to get mostly Balanchine and Robbins programs.  But I am open to new works, and enjoy the bulk of them, even if it’s to see them only once.  This applies to NYCB as well as other ballet/dance companies. 

 

 

Edited by NinaFan
Added

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21 hours ago, Tapfan said:

With the possible exception of  some pieces by Justin Peck,  many of NYCB's biggest fans and financial supporters are always going to be resistant to  anything that isn't Balanchine or Robbins.   It's as predictable as sand is in the desert that they will resent different  work because it means fewer chances to see even more selections from the prolific works of  B & R.    

What's wrong with staying in your lane?  It's worked for NYCB all these years.  As to the dancers, they didn't become  NYCB dancers because they wanted to dance  Petipa,  Forsythe  or McGregor. 

But they HAVE danced Petipa, Forsythe, and McGregor. 

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1 hour ago, Rock said:

But they HAVE danced Petipa, Forsythe, and McGregor. 

As dancers at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky have danced Forsythe, McGregor, and Balanchine, but that's not the main reason they join those companies.

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Curious that no one has posted about Prodigal Son on Wednesday night with Joaquin de Luz and Maria Kowroski. It was so amazing. I didn't think that the partnering would work due to the difference in their height but Joaquin seemed so young, vulnerable, and powerless against Maria's femme fatale siren. I'll definitely be there on Sunday for joaquin's farewell.

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4 hours ago, NinaFan said:

With regard to your comment "What's wrong with staying in your lane?  It's worked for NYCB all these years."  That's actually not true.   They've had plenty of new ballets created on them post Balanchine and Robbins. 

 

I know they've danced works by other choreographers.  My point is that it appears that a substantial portion of NYCB patrons would rather see lesser known Balanchine and Robbins than new pieces by others. 

Every time a new work by another dance maker is premiered, you hear the deafening howls of lots of City Ballet fans and some dance critics, exclaiming that it's a waste of money, time  and the dancer's talent to put these new monstrosities  on the stage when the company has treasure trove of works by the house masters that could be presented. The artistic merit or lack thereof  of the creations by those  whippersnapper outsiders isn't the point.  It's that for many ballet fans and critics, these new creations aren't their cup of tea, so they need to go.  

These folks have time and time again made it clear that if they wanted to see dances made by other choreographers, they'd see other ballet companies. 

As to the dancers, all of them know whose works they will be dancing most of time and they're more than happy with this fact. Isn't that why dancers have a legacy company as a dream company?

I  know that there has been a decades-long debate about the best ways to prevent ballet institutions from becoming museums.  But truthfully, the fact that that some companies are museums is why some patons love and support them. Does anyone expect or even want the Mariinsky Ballet to change its mission when it has worked all these years?

Balanchine is a god, Robbins is his son, City ballet is the church of Balanchine. Shouldn't its followers have no other gods before them? 

Besides, other companies are far more adept at switching to other styles than NYCB. Heck, even a stately old battleship like the Royal is better at dancing in different styles.  

Edited by Tapfan

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The problem with NYCB is that they commission so many new works each season, but very few deserve a permanent spot in the rep.  Nevertheless, NYCB seems to feel that a new work must be shown at least 8 times for them to break even on its cost.  The result is that they continue to rotate the new works, whether good or bad, through the rep until the magic number of performances to break even is reached.    There have been many wonderful new works created at NYCB, but most are unworthy and do not merit repeated viewings.  Given the ever increasing price of tickets, people are less inclined to buy expensive tickets for a program that includes a weak ballet.

Edited by abatt

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46 minutes ago, Tapfan said:

Balanchine is a god, Robbins is his son, City ballet is the church of Balanchine. Shouldn't its followers have no other gods before them? 

New York City Ballet and the Balanchine- and Kirstein-led companies -- example, Ballet Caravan -- have always danced more than Balanchine, and have always danced more than Robbins during his stints with the Company. In fact, critics wailed intermittently that Balanchine was over-the-hill and passe, and some later claimed that the modern, forward-thinking Robbins had eclipsed Balanchine, and that Balanchine needed to step aside for other choreographers.   While most of the choreographers were in-house and followed the neoclassical path  -- Taras, Tanner, Christensen, Tomasson, Clifford, Bolender, d'Amboise -- some were in-house and did very different kinds of work, like Ruthanna Boris' "Cakewalk," -- and Ashton and Tudor choreographed for the Company.

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1 hour ago, Tapfan said:

Besides, other companies are far more adept at switching to other styles than NYCB. Heck, even a stately old battleship like the Royal is better at dancing in different styles. 

To say NYCB dancers can’t switch between styles is really selling the dancers short.   It’s the other way round in that dancers from other companies often have difficulty dancing Balanchine properly. 

Balanchine and Robbins are not one homogeneous style.  They are totally different styles, which NYCB dancers perform exquisitely…. it’s in their DNA.    So to say they can’t dance other styles when they’ve been doing it all along is absurd.   And this does not even take into account all of the other choreographers who have choreographed for them since their inception.

1 hour ago, Helene said:

New York City Ballet and the Balanchine- and Kirstein-led companies -- example, Ballet Caravan -- have always danced more than Balanchine, and have always danced more than Robbins during his stints with the Company. In fact, critics wailed intermittently that Balanchine was over-the-hill and passe, and some later claimed that the modern, forward-thinking Robbins had eclipsed Balanchine, and that Balanchine needed to step aside for other choreographers.   While most of the choreographers were in-house and followed the neoclassical path  -- Taras, Tanner, Christensen, Tomasson, Clifford, Bolender, d'Amboise -- some were in-house and did very different kinds of work, like Ruthanna Boris' "Cakewalk," -- and Ashton and Tudor choreographed for the Company.

Thank you Helene.

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

The problem with NYCB is that they commission so many new works each season, but very few deserve a permanent spot in the rep.  Nevertheless, NYCB seems to feel that a new work must be shown at least 8 times for them to break even on its cost.  The result is that they continue to rotate the new works, whether good or bad, through the rep until the magic number of performances to break even is reached.    There have been many wonderful new works created at NYCB, but most are unworthy and do not merit repeated viewings.  Given the ever increasing price of tickets, people are less inclined to buy expensive tickets for a program that includes a weak ballet.

That's interesting about the magic number 8.  I feel the same way about buying tickets for a program that includes a weak ballet, but sometimes there's no way out if I like the rest of the program.  Especially with the themed based performances which offer no flexibility to avoid a particular ballet.  

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16 minutes ago, NinaFan said:

To say NYCB dancers can’t switch between styles is really selling the dancers short.   It’s the other way round in that dancers from other companies often have difficulty dancing Balanchine properly. 

Balanchine and Robbins are not one homogeneous style.  They are totally different styles, which NYCB dancers perform exquisitely…. it’s in their DNA.    So to say they can’t dance other styles when they’ve been doing it all along is absurd.   And this does not even take into account all of the other choreographers who have choreographed for them since their inception.

Thank you Helene.

I think certain NYCB dancers who are cast in full length Petipa ballets and other full length dramatic ballets don't have enough experience in mastering the styles needed for their roles. For example, I've seen problems arise in phrasing, upper body carriage, and arm placement and movement.  These issues have been noticeable to me in certain performances of Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo & Juliet, to name a few.   However, some company members excel in mastering other styles and content, such as Sterling Hyltin's wonderful La Sylphide recently. 

Edited by abatt

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2 hours ago, Tapfan said:

Besides, other companies are far more adept at switching to other styles than NYCB. Heck, even a stately old battleship like the Royal is better at dancing in different styles.  

Highly inaccurate and the Royal Ballet is far from being an "old battleship."  IMHO

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