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Winter 2019


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Echoing others in emphasizing how great the Woodward/Huxley performance was. After seeing this show twice this season, I actually love this production for its speediness, gorgeous visuals, and total lack of drawn-out mime sequences. I enjoyed it even more last night than on Sunday, with the Bouder/Garcia cast, even though Bouder was technically stronger as Aurora after over a decade of experience (her rose adagio balances were jaw-dropping, and the fish dives had more "snap" to them). I preferred Woodward in the vision scene though. Huxley may not be all that princely but I'd gladly see him in leading-man roles over pretty much every other man in the company. All of his landings were light and seamless. I think Megan LeCrone did as good of a Lilac Fairy as she's capable of, but she's simply not right for the part (unlike Lauren King, who's perfect for the role). Strong technique though. And shoutout to Harrison Ball for technical perfection as Gold. I really hope he gets promoted to principal soon. 

Edited by JuliaJ
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1 hour ago, tutu said:

Not sure if this is the best place to put this, but according to a recent article in the Times today, Peter Martins moved around the Sleeping Beauty casting at the last minute.

 

 

1 hour ago, tutu said:

Not sure if this is the best place to put this, but according to a recent article in the Times today, Peter Martins moved around the Sleeping Beauty casting at the last minute.

 

The perfect argument for getting rid of Martins works once and for all!!

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Chiming in to, once more, remark on what a spectacular job Indiana Woodward and Anthony Huxley did last night. I had goosebumps beginning with Aurora's first entrance that continued throughout the performance! She had some spectacular balances that were really musical and solid, though did seem to have her weight forward in the third of four (I think of the second diagonal?). I found most interesting how different my interpretation of certain steps was watching Woodward vs. Hyltin. Her portrayal of Aurora was what really blew me away, though—her eye contact with the suitors, her rapport with her parents, etc. A delightful debut and a very natural fit for Aurora. I found Huxley charming as well, though I understand the less "princely" comments. His jumps are so clean, and the accents of his footwork so precise. It made me wish that I'd seen him in Bluebird, which I think he's done before, though Ulbricht was delightful in that role.

This was the third time I've seen this run of Sleeping Beauty, and either last night's cast of prologue fairies was better able to handle the tempo, or I'm getting used to it. Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara as Tenderness, Olivia MacKinnon as Vivacity, and Claire von Enck as Eloquence were particularly charming. As has been mentioned when the casting was posted, I was curious as to the choice to put Megan LeCrone as Lilac—I agree that she's not especially well suited to it. Tess Reichlen's lines, manner, and comportment set such a high precedent, and Lauren King's came close to that splendor. However, I thought LeCrone's port de bras was expressive and fluid, and as I was sitting up high last night, I was less distracted by the tension in her face and shoulders as I have been in the past. She did nail some of the more difficult turns, too. I have loved Miriam Miller's presence in the past, but last night was a little distracted by her port de bras. Her arms are so long and thin, and it didn't quite seem to flow in her Generosity last night, though I'd guess that she'd be lovely in that role. 

Adrian Danchig-Waring's king remains my favorite, and I think in general that NYCB could enrich the portrayal of the character roles a bit. The courtiers (SAB students) were a little flat, and it's clear that pantomime and character aren't focal points for City Ballet. The Vision scene was wonderful and continues to grow on me (though I agree with other comments regarding intermission questions). Unity Phelan looked stunning as Diamond (as did Emily Kitka, who has been great in everything I've seen her in recently, especially Serenade), and Harrison Ball as Gold was spot on. I don't love the Puss and Boots/White Cat PDD, and definitely think that this version seems more feral than what I'm familiar with. While Ulbricht was lovely as Bluebird, I really did not enjoy Pereira's performance. Her use of epaulement seemed confused at times, and her arms not fully realized either. Perhaps it is because this PDD/variation is so frequently taught and performed to young dancers, but her performance had a bit of a student quality to me. 

If you're able, I'd highly suggest getting a ticket to see the final Woodward/Huxley performance. A wonderful end to (my) run of Sleeping Beauty! 

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Agreeing with all on the stunning debut of Indiana Woodward as Aurora. I was touched to see the other dancers onstage watching her intently and eagerly; they seemed to beam in her success. Also loved the refined Anthony Huxley and the elegant and very princely Harrison Ball. Megan LeCrone has her more authority in her Lilac Fairy than the bland Miriam Miller and even Ashley Laracey, but just does not convey warmth and radiance. I'm sorry I missed Lauren King's Lilac Fairy and would love to hear more reports on this. Also I've been glad to see Roman Mejia among the jesters in two of the performances I've seen. More of him, please! 

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The few times I've seen Ashley Laracey this season (as Rubies, also as Lilac Fairy) I have been shocked by what I've seen. She just isn't dancing like she normally does. Can't explain it. But there's no energy to her dancing. She also looks frighteningly thin.

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2 minutes ago, Fleurfairy said:

Wow. Someone thinks very highly of herself. 

Being the "outspoken feminist" is part of how she chooses to brand/market herself.  This was an opportunity to appeal to her fan base who loves her for that.  Just my opinion, of course. 

Edited by Balletwannabe
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Jonathan Stafford is apparently just as concerned over what happened—which makes this about rather more than Bouder’s thoughts.  Or her Aurora.

I’m a Hyltin fan by the way  — though I like Bouder in many roles. 

Right now I’m more inclined to wonder about the judgment of the board in allowing this situation to linger (WHATEVER Martins’ motives) than about any of the dancers.

(A range of opinions have been expressed in the thread on Martins’ sexual harrassment suit where this also came up.)

 

 

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1 minute ago, Drew said:

Right now I’m more inclined to wonder about the judgment of the board in allowing this situation to linger (WHATEVER Martins’ motives) than about any of the dancers.

Totally agree. This is a mess. It's been over a year - what is going on internally that no new AD has been named?

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3 hours ago, canbelto said:

The few times I've seen Ashley Laracey this season (as Rubies, also as Lilac Fairy) I have been shocked by what I've seen. She just isn't dancing like she normally does. Can't explain it. But there's no energy to her dancing. She also looks frighteningly thin.

It seemed to me that Unity Phelan, who danced Diamond last night, was even thinner than Ashley Larceny. Did anyone else notice that?

 

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19 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Totally agree. This is a mess. It's been over a year - what is going on internally that no new AD has been named?

We're on the same page cobweb. Personally, I'm starting to doubt everyone judgement, and the messier this gets the less attractive the job gets. 

I was so glad to hear glowing reports if Indian Woodward's Aurora, I wasn't able to go, so I'm grateful for everyone's reports.

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41 minutes ago, angelica said:

It seemed to me that Unity Phelan, who danced Diamond last night, was even thinner than Ashley Larceny. Did anyone else notice that?

 

Yes I did notice that both Unity and Ashley Laracey were frighteningly thin. But Unity danced very strongly I thought while Ashley's dancing just didn't have the beauty and sparkle I'm used to seeing from her. 

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10 minutes ago, Leah said:

I’ve been wondering about that. The article emphasized that SB had already been programmed for the season, but it seems like there needs to be a few classic full lengths each year for box office revenue. Would it be worth it to redo one Martins already choreographed like SB or SL? Or would they commission a Giselle or something from a new choreographer?

I'd vote for replacing Martins' Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet with their hideous Per Kirkeby sets and costumes. I haven't been able to bring myself to see either production more than once.  

If they need another full-length ballet, I'd rather they get a brand-new one than another version of Giselle, particularly when there is another company in their immediate proximity that performs it regularly.

Of course, what actually happens will depend on the new AD, whoever he/she may be.

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The idea of Martins changing casting at the last minute, and presumptively walking backstage before the dancers had finished their show is utterly confounding to me.  It seems to be a power play, and one that must be responded to immediately, as Stafford hinted they would do.  He needs to get out of there and let this company recover and heal and move on. 

It is unfortunate that their blockbuster audience hits are choreographed by Martins.  It is hugely expensive to make a new production, with all new costumes and sets etc.  But do they have a choice in the long run? 

I was also dismayed to read of the loyalty to Peter in the board member quoted, and presumably other board members that he must have groomed and seduced during the years of his tenure.  How are those people, who may or may not know anything about arts admin or personnel issues, etc, how are they to come to agreement on a new leader if they are still loyal to Peter?  It sounds like a mess.  We need a good spring cleaning over at that board for starters, and a new AD, and Peter gone for good.

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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

Yes I did notice that both Unity and Ashley Laracey were frighteningly thin. But Unity danced very strongly I thought while Ashley's dancing just didn't have the beauty and sparkle I'm used to seeing from her.

Unity’s public facing Instagram account has documented a pretty nasty sickness she’s been battling—cold/winter stuff I think. I don’t think she missed a performance, but she showed footage of making soup, picking up a prescription, etc. this weekend. An illness on top of her current rep (I’m thinking of watching her in Hermann—she was beautiful, but it definitely seemed like a ballet that would require a great deal of stamina!) might be to blame. 

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I understand where Ashley can come off as self important in the article, but I also applaud her for speaking out. If she hadn't then we would not know how much of an influence Martins still holds. I find it appalling that he was able to behave this way considering the reasons for his exit. I place that blame solely at the foot of the board who still seem to hold him in greater esteem than the dancers. I think it is fair for her to criticize why she was switched cast if it was truly done at the last minute. Maybe bringing to light these issues will speed along the reform that needs to happen and finally have them decide on an AD. As she said in one of her posts about the Waterbury incident, these things have festered in their leaderless state. NYCB needs to get their act together, while the performance on stage seems to still be strong that may not continue without a strong foundation.

 

Also I am so happy to hear about Woodward's debut, I hope this heralds a promotion to principle.

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1 hour ago, nanran3 said:

It is unfortunate that their blockbuster audience hits are choreographed by Martins.  It is hugely expensive to make a new production, with all new costumes and sets etc.  But do they have a choice in the long run?

 

Couldn't they keep the physical production for Sleeping Beauty but make some tweaks to the choreography so that it's no longer a Martins production? I think this is what ABT did with Baryshnikov's Don Q, right? 

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26 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Couldn't they keep the physical production for Sleeping Beauty but make some tweaks to the choreography so that it's no longer a Martins production? I think this is what ABT did with Baryshnikov's Don Q, right? 

"Tweaking" a production as large as The Sleeping Beauty is no simple task. Martins has both choreographer and staging credits for this version, so it's really a matter of replacing the production entirely with say, the Ratmansky version, or whatever.

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12 hours ago, FPF said:

I'd vote for replacing Martins' Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet with their hideous Per Kirkeby sets and costumes. 

Replacing R&J is a good start..I suggest they pay homage to one of their 'giant' choreographers by reviving Tudor's R&J--and he did it all in one hour!

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3 hours ago, atm711 said:

Replacing R&J is a good start..I suggest they pay homage to one of their 'giant' choreographers by reviving Tudor's R&J--and he did it all in one hour!

I was thinking the exact same thing! And Balanchine held Tudor's version in very high regard . . .

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What everyone seems to forgot is that the only reason NYCB has these full length/blockbuster/cash cow ballets is BECAUSE of Peter Martins.  They do fill the house which brings in money.  

And from what I've read on here, these productions do not stop BA'ers from attending in order to see multiple casts.  It is no different than most of us complaining about ABT's current Swan Lake, but still attending multiple times. 

So yes, new productions are always welcome, but I still enjoy the ones currently in rep. 

Anyway, that's my two cents. 

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