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New York City Ballet Fall Season


Helene

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53 minutes ago, NinaFan said:

Wow, Meagan will definitely be missed!   But it's good to hear that she is likely staying on to teach at SAB.

 

According to the SAB website, she became a permanent member of the faculty in September.

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Having arrived at the theater five minutes late, I missed the performance of Allegro Brillante last evening; however, the rest of the program was fantastic! (On Sunday afternoon with a sparkling Sara Mearns in the lead Allegro Brillante seemed a dazzling brand new work, even though it has received its share of electrifying performances recently.)

To be sure, Easy is not a major piece, yet it is brief, unobjectionable, and colorful. Provided a performer who grabs my attention as readily as Unity Phelan is included in the cast, it is not onerous to watch.

My familiarity with the musicals of Richard Rodgers is nowhere near it should be based on an affinity for the music of his I have heard in various contexts. At the top of beckoning American Musicals is Carousel. On account of this simultaneous unfamiliarity and attraction, I find Wheeldon’s ballet extremely appealing—especially with a ballerina of Tiler Peck's stature as the female lead! The fact that Tyler Angle, one of the most dependable of NYCB's male principals, may be miscast is immaterial under these circumstances.

On the whole, NYCB's production of La Sylphide is enchanting, as is the music by the obscure composer. Some mannerisms of Marika Anderson's Madge are excessive; Daniel Ulbricht was efficient as Gurn, and Joaquin De Luz haughty yet touching as James; regardless of the discrepancy in height compared to both men, Lauren King was a memorable Effie. Still, given the critical nature of the role, the evening unsurprisingly belonged to Sterling Hyltin and her potent, captivating portrayal of The Sylph. The comeliness and lightheartedness in her physiognomy and movements throughout the ballet made her change in demeanor and acting at the denouement almost unbearably moving. One wonders how and why sadness can be so beautiful!

Tuesday evening at NYCB, in sum, was terrific—an evening which made the regrettable necessity of missing the magnificent Dances of Isadora at New York City Center tolerable.

 

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8 hours ago, canbelto said:

Only thing was Lauren King was so much taller than Joaquin, Sterling, and Daniel Ulbricht that she towered over all of them. Odd casting choice. NYCB currently has a whole bunch of shorter, sweet-faced girls who could have danced Effie.

I felt the same, and also seeing Anthony Huxley paired with Megan LeCrone. But the characters don’t really dance together that much, it’s not like there’s any complex partnering. And I guess they don’t want to be rehearsing two new Effie’s, especially when both King and LeCrone are so good at this role. Who else did it last time? I missed Indiana Woodward’s sylph last time and was sorry she wasn’t cast again. 

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14 minutes ago, DC Export said:

Per Brittany Pollack's instagram, Megan Johnson is also retiring after this evening's performance. 

Already? How time flies! I remember her seeing her as the lead in Concerto Barocco very shortly after she joined the company — she might even have still been an apprentice — and thought she was lovely in the role. And lovely she remained! She'll be missed too.

 

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The company has had a lot of turnover recently:

Principals:

Joaquin de Luz (retiring)

Chase Finlay, Zach Catazaro, Amar Ramasar (fired)

Soloists:

Savannah Lowery (retired)

Corps:

Likolani Brown, Cameron Dieck, Meagan Mann, Megan Johnson

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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

The company has had a lot of turnover recently:

Principals:

Joaquin de Luz (retiring)

Chase Finlay, Zach Catazaro, Amar Ramasar (fired)

Soloists:

Savannah Lowery (retired)

Corps:

Likolani Brown, Cameron Dieck, Meagan Mann, Megan Johnson

All true. There is also a lot of rising talent, but it will take real leadership to push, promote, develop the right people. Casting at a time like this is crucial. 

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15 hours ago, cobweb said:

I felt the same, and also seeing Anthony Huxley paired with Megan LeCrone. But the characters don’t really dance together that much, it’s not like there’s any complex partnering. And I guess they don’t want to be rehearsing two new Effie’s, especially when both King and LeCrone are so good at this role. Who else did it last time? I missed Indiana Woodward’s sylph last time and was sorry she wasn’t cast again. 

I believe Brittany Pollack danced Effie.

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On 10/3/2018 at 2:02 PM, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I'll feel just awful if you regret it! I think Runaway is the real keeper from the Fall Gala ballets, although Gianna Reisen's new work "Judah" confirms every bit of promise in "Composer's Holiday." I had to keep reminding myself that she's just 19. 

From what I've seen touring the reviews, critical opinion is split on the new Abraham. Marina Harss was mostly positive: http://dancetabs.com/2018/09/new-york-city-ballet-fall-gala-the-exchange-judah-the-runaway-new-york/ It may depend on one's ability to tolerate Kanye.

ETA: I'm not a huge fan of Fearful Symmetries, but the mostly all-debut cast listed for the 10/6 matinee looks mighty interesting.

Kathleen, I’m so glad I listened to you!  The dancing was absolutely spectacular in Runaway, with the entire cast dancing with incredible abandon and yet stunning precision.  And as you said, Taylor Stanley’s performance alone was worth the price of admission.  WOW!  Did he have a solo curtain call at your performance?  He did yesterday.  I’m guessing his fellow dancers pushed him out in front of the curtain.  The audience roared their appreciation!    

Yes, Fearful Symmetries was very interesting!  It’s been a while since I’ve seen the ballet, and I loved every minute of it.  With the exception of a few who had danced in it previously, it was mostly debuts from some very talented dancers.   The piece has such intense speed that I was exhausted just watching them!

It was a terrific performance, and I thank you again for encouraging me to see Runaway!

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33 minutes ago, NinaFan said:

Kathleen, I’m so glad I listened to you!  The dancing was absolutely spectacular in Runaway, with the entire cast dancing with incredible abandon and yet stunning precision.  And as you said, Taylor Stanley’s performance alone was worth the price of admission.  WOW!  Did he have a solo curtain call at your performance?  He did yesterday.  I’m guessing his fellow dancers pushed him out in front of the curtain.  The audience roared their appreciation!    

Whew! 

Glad you enjoyed the performance! And yes, if I recall correctly, Stanley took a (well deserved!) solo curtain call at the performance I attended as well. 

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On 10/3/2018 at 12:02 PM, abatt said:

Major program change, folks.  For the Sat Oct 6 matinee, they have replaced the Ratmansky masterpiece Concerto DSCH with the decidedly NON-masterpiece New Kyle Abraham work.  The Concerto DSCH was the main  draw on that program.  (See updated casting sheet posted today.)

[...]

Oh, and the casting for This Bitter Earth on that same program is changed from Tiler & Tyler to Reichlin and LaCour.  Glad I decided to skip the Oct 6 matinee.

Well, I, for one, was THRILLED to see the new Abraham piece on Saturday! So exciting to see such a compelling new work, The Runaway. Taylor Stanley's performance is a revelation and the cultural references just keep coming. It's one of the things I love about modern work. Much like Agon, where the dancers' identities seem so fluid, Stanley seems to have an identity that shimmers and changes, one minute he's like one of the ball queens in Paris is Burning, the next he's a break dancer on the floor, and out of THAT he becomes a classical prince. And there's this serious, searching quality to his journey. It's an astounding piece of dancing. His physical facility is breathtaking. How great it is to see more of Black popular culture developed and referenced in the classical idiom onstage at NYCB. Ballet did not stop in the 19th century!

I've also never seen a choreographer make such good use of the costume gala. After seeing the pictures I wasn't sure the costumes would work (Personally, I would forbid sleeves for dancers), but the costumes are spectacular... though I would still omit Georgina Pazoquin's sleeves. The costumes were amazing, the choreography made USE of the costumes, and several dancers even came out in multiple looks.

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Friday evening’s NYCB performance—Pulcinella Variations; This Bitter Earth; Concerto DSCH; Fearful Symmetries—was highly rewarding.

As I view Pulcinella Variations more and become used to its fanciful costumes, I find myself increasingly attracted to its music and choreography: it is a congenial, effervescent work. Observing how lovely Miriam Miller appears and dances in this is delightful. And although Tiler Peck’s superlative rendition of the role she originated may be par for the course for her it inspires—typically—wonder. (Due to unusual circumstances, I watched the lion's share of another electrifying performance of Allegro Brillante on Wednesday evening with her in the lead from a fascinating perspective.)

Ever since the work’s NYCB premiere six years ago, the music of This Bitter Earth has moved me profoundly. Taking everything recently occurring into account—including the weighty remarks she delivered at the Fall Gala (I was unfortunately not in attendance)—I, therefore, considered the casting of Teresa Reichlen in this pas de deux to have been an astute decision—any attendant partnering difficulties involving her size notwithstanding. Some comments made lately by Lauren Lovette, furthermore, would have added a piquant element to her debut in Wheeldon's solemn pas de deux also, so I regret having missed it.

With as splendid a cast as Friday night’s—Ashley Bouder, Sara Mearns, Tyler Angle, Joaquin De Luz and Gonzalo Garcia—Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH with its unforgettable central section could hardly fail to awe. (What a powerhouse is Bouder shown to be in this ballet with her extraordinarily assured balances, remarkable spins, and breathtaking series of grand jetés!)

One reliable way to assess the worth of a particular performance by a dancer or a ballet is by the impact each makes when following anything superb earlier in a program. Friday evening’s Fearful Symmetries was enthralling and featured a spectacular debut by Indiana Woodward, who commanded the stage in a role that ironically receives third billing as if she were one of the company’s preeminent principals.

 

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Thank you so much Royal Blue for this report. Here's my beef. As a long time NYCB fan, I wish they'd more frequently mix Balanchine with contemporary works. I saw the program with Allegro Brilliant & short works by Peck and Wheeldon, followed by La Sylphide, so they do it sometimes. But I'd be more prone to buy a ticket for a program if I was sure there was one great Balanchine work there along with pieces I've never seen before. For the most part the programming is - All Balachine - All this or that. Do audience studies really show that the people attending all Balanchine programs really don't want to see something new?

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I believe it's all about having a "tag" - the theory being people are more inclined to buy a program with a "tag" on it - All Balanchine, All Tschaikovsky, All New, 21st Century - Barocco/Balanchine/Broadway - any name they can think up helps sell the evening, or so the theory goes. I suppose it's true but boy do I miss rep. It was so thrilling to have a different mix every night. 

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55 minutes ago, Rock said:

I believe it's all about having a "tag" - the theory being people are more inclined to buy a program with a "tag" on it - All Balanchine, All Tschaikovsky, All New, 21st Century - Barocco/Balanchine/Broadway - any name they can think up helps sell the evening, or so the theory goes. I suppose it's true but boy do I miss rep. It was so thrilling to have a different mix every night. 

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.  

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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. 

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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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