Jump to content
The Traveling Ballerina

NYCB: Jewels & All Balanchine

Recommended Posts

What is it that you didn't like about "Symphony in C"?

Share this post


Link to post

I also was curious  about what The Traveling Ballerina didn't like about "Symphony in C".  TB,  find the  comment from your review "...perhaps a ballet with a cast of around fifty dancers is an ambitious undertaking for a company that has no leadership" curious too!   This ballet is so rich in contrasts and moods that I suggest at least a few more viewings.   One can only begin to perceive this ballet in a single performance.

Share this post


Link to post

It's one of my favorite ballets, so I'd suggest giving it another try if you didn't absolutely hate it. It sounds as though you thought that it maybe looked under-rehearsed ("but for much of the time the rest of the stage is often in disarray")? 

Share this post


Link to post

"Symphony in C" is in NYCB's DNA.  An earlier version, "Palais de Cristal," was created for the larger Paris Opera Ballet in 1947.  Each movement had its own color scheme. 

What I think was a lot more ambitious was Balanchine's version for NYCB created in 1948, when NYCB was quite small, and the non-Principals often did double-duty in different movements.

Share this post


Link to post

Hmm can I ask where you are sitting? Symphony in C is one of those ballets where sitting high enough so you can see the corps patterns is absolutely necessary to appreciate the piece.

Share this post


Link to post

Canbelto makes a very good point. I almost always sit upstairs, especially for Balanchine, and when I have sat in the orchestra, I've felt that it was too close. 

Share this post


Link to post
13 hours ago, Helene said:

What is it that you didn't like about "Symphony in C"?

I think my overall experience was marred by the fact that the corp dancing was not IMHO up to par, and I'm referring to both technically and their attention to formations.

Share this post


Link to post
12 hours ago, FPF said:

It's one of my favorite ballets, so I'd suggest giving it another try if you didn't absolutely hate it. It sounds as though you thought that it maybe looked under-rehearsed ("but for much of the time the rest of the stage is often in disarray")? 

Yes, I think I will and may have another opportunity when they're in D.C.

11 hours ago, canbelto said:

Hmm can I ask where you are sitting? Symphony in C is one of those ballets where sitting high enough so you can see the corps patterns is absolutely necessary to appreciate the piece.

I was sitting in the third ring which provides a wonderful perspective, viewpoint which allowed me to see that the corps was not quite cleanly executing the patterns. 

Thanks all for your response - at this point I think I'll chalk up my experience as it being an off-night and hope to see the ballet again sometime :)

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, The Traveling Ballerina said:

I think my overall experience was marred by the fact that the corp dancing was not IMHO up to par, and I'm referring to both technically and their attention to formations.

I'm glad to know that I wasn't the only one who felt this way. I've also noticed some sloppiness in Diamonds as well (throughout the 1st and 3rd act I sorely missed the Bolshoi demis from last yr). The principals were mostly good but also very out of sync in the 4th movement. I'm seeing it again in October at the City Center so hopefully they show some improvements. 

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, alexL said:

I'm glad to know that I wasn't the only one who felt this way. I've also noticed some sloppiness in Diamonds as well (throughout the 1st and 3rd act I sorely missed the Bolshoi demis from last yr). The principals were mostly good but also very out of sync in the 4th movement. I'm seeing it again in October at the City Center so hopefully they show some improvements. 

I'll be curious to hear your thoughts after City Center. And I'll most likely be seeing Symphony again when the company tours to DC in April.

Share this post


Link to post
14 hours ago, canbelto said:

Hmm can I ask where you are sitting? Symphony in C is one of those ballets where sitting high enough so you can see the corps patterns is absolutely necessary to appreciate the piece.

That's very true, and it's the case for many Balanchine ballets.  You can only see the Balanchine geometry - the patterns and formations - from higher up.  I recently sat up in the fourth ring for Jewels, and the difference in perspective helped enhance my appreciation of the placement and formations of the corps.  I'm not complaining about sitting in the lower rings, but there should be more freedom of choice regarding seating locations.  Audiences were robbed of this when Ms. Brown and Peter Martins decided to close half the theater on most nights. 

Share this post


Link to post
15 minutes ago, abatt said:

I recently sat up in the fourth ring for Jewels, and the difference in perspective helped enhance my appreciation of the placement and formations of the corps.

Me, too! And it was wonderful.

Share this post


Link to post

I know NYCB has a summer stint in Saratoga, but until relatively recently, before New York City Opera went on life support, NYCB started with a Winter season either with Nutcracker or a week of rep before Nutcracker, while NYCO had the theater for its Fall season.  

They have at least one dedicated Ballet Master for the corps: it was Rosemary Dunleavy for decades, and I haven't heard that she's moved to another role, although this may have gone over my head.  And there are ballets like Symphony in C with long institutional memory. But I wonder what the strategy is for programming the relatively short Fall season in terms of getting the big corps ballets in shape amidst preparing for the gala premieres.

Share this post


Link to post

Third ring is where I used to sit when I lived in/near the city and had a subscription. You should absolutely be able to appreciate Symphony in C from there.

Also, though, NYCB is not known for the uniformity of its corps. 

Share this post


Link to post
40 minutes ago, FPF said:

Also, though, NYCB is not known for the uniformity of its corps. 

And never has been. Martins actually tidied things up a bit. 

Share this post


Link to post

It's a tradeoff. Balanchine prized energy and daring over uniform execution. In order to get everyone's arms and legs pointing in precisely the same direction, that energy has to be dialed back, and he preferred the energy at full tilt.

Yesterday and the day before I attended the Bolshoi's Etudes. The corps was perfectly synchronized--and robotic. The effect was dreadful. (Until they got to the diagonals of grand allegro. Then it was every man for himself, music be damned.)

Share this post


Link to post

Seeing the Bolshoi and NYCB Diamonds back to back last year wasn't a great idea. I didn't mind NYCB's corp at all throughout all these years until the super Jewels event where I was able to compare them in less then 24 hours. I was more bothered by their stiff upper body than nonuniformity though. As mentioned above, it's a tradeoff. One cannot have NYCB's legs and Russian epaulement at the same time(please let me know if such a dancer exists!). 

Share this post


Link to post

I think you have to frame this correctly in your brain.  There is so much on YouTube now that shows Symphony in C and Diamonds danced by different companies.  But non-neo-classical companies often dance both at a turgid pace, to give their dancers the time to line up perfectly.  Balanchine intended his dancers to look like starlings during a murmuring on the stage.  Fleet of foot, fast turners, quick turns, sprightly jumpers - and length, always long and lean,  those are all part of the Balanchine style.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×