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Winter 2019


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4 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!

Now there would be a true reversal: NYCB preserving Tudor when the mothership, ABT, seems to have left it on makeshift life support on a gurney in the hallway.

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12 minutes ago, Helene said:

Now there would be a true reversal: NYCB preserving Tudor when the mothership, ABT, seems to have left it on makeshift life support on a gurney in the hallway.

.....and NYCB has the perfect Romeo --- Taylor Stanley who looks uncannily like Hugh Laing on stage! -- complexion notwithstanding!

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4 hours ago, Helene said:

Now there would be a true reversal: NYCB preserving Tudor when the mothership, ABT, seems to have left it on makeshift life support on a gurney in the hallway.

I saw the Tudor R&J at ABT many years ago. Yes, I'm old! It is one act with music by Delius. It's a great work which distills the emotional content of Romeo and Juliet in an amazing way. I believe the original title was The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.  I think it would take a concentrated rehearsal period, with someone who knows the dramatic intent of each moment to put it together. Also, by virtue of the music and style I don't see it replacing a blockbuster in ticket sales. I really dislike the Martins R+J, but Tudors one act won't replace the ticket sales. 

It is a shame it isn't done by ABT. I believe New York Theatre Ballet does it sometimes. That small company has become the repository of Tudor works.

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Just in from a final performance of Sleeping Beauty. I saw four performances this run:  Tiler & Tyler, Woodward and Huxley, and Lovette and Gordon... and then Lovette and Gordon again, tonight. They were my favorite pair. I loved both Peck and Woodward, but Lauren's way of acting is more natural and fresh, someone up-thread called her endearing, and I agree. She had a difficult time in the final attitude-turning section of the Rose Adagio, kind of stumbling and falling off-pointe during the third turn and appearing quite unsteady; when the fourth suitor, Jared Angle, took her hand, he made the wise decision not to take her on the turn, and just held her there in place to fill the music. Other than that, she was resplendent and radiant, and spellbinding in the Vision scene. And Joseph Gordon, what can I say, I'm really loving him. 

Miriam Miller was again a fairly bland and tentative Lilac Fairy, and had a few small bobbles as well. However, got a huge response from the audience at curtain call. Harrison Ball has done Gold in three of the four performances I've seen, and he's looking insanely beautiful. MORE PLEASE. Baily Jones did Ruby tonight, probably the most prominent role I've seen her in, and she was very charming and engaging. Alec Knight and Claire von Enck did White Cat and Puss in Boots with a kind of madcap comic fervor that delighted the audience. From what I've seen, Knight appears to enjoy campy roles where he can overact, and while I didn't care for his over-the-top Mother Ginger in Nutcracker, this role was perfect for him. A few notes on the suitors. Most of them stand around looking bland. In the performances I saw, Silas Farley stood out as Africa, making as grand an entrance as one could possibly make, summoning up all his height and dignity with the billowing purple cape behind him. And Andrew Scordato was pleasingly competitive with his fellows, as someone said up-thread he was shooting dagger eyes at the other guys. 

On a totally different note, I look forward to Liebeslieder!!

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22 hours ago, cobweb said:

Just in from a final performance of Sleeping Beauty. I saw four performances this run:  Tiler & Tyler, Woodward and Huxley, and Lovette and Gordon... and then Lovette and Gordon again, tonight. They were my favorite pair. I loved both Peck and Woodward, but Lauren's way of acting is more natural and fresh, someone up-thread called her endearing, and I agree. She had a difficult time in the final attitude-turning section of the Rose Adagio, kind of stumbling and falling off-pointe during the third turn and appearing quite unsteady; when the fourth suitor, Jared Angle, took her hand, he made the wise decision not to take her on the turn, and just held her there in place to fill the music. Other than that, she was resplendent and radiant, and spellbinding in the Vision scene. And Joseph Gordon, what can I say, I'm really loving him. 

I am sorry to here that Rose Adagio went so badly for Lovette in her second performance. Having seen her first show, I think she had the potential to be a great Aurora. Cojocaru is my all time favorite. 

I too am looking forward to Liebeslieder although a funky schedule has prevented me from buying a ticket yet. I hope to get there.

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Hmm this isn't really a knock against Lovette but I don't think she'll ever have the technique for major classical roles. It's too bad she doesn't have a choreographer who can really choreograph for her strengths (her charm and beauty and lyricism).

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31 minutes ago, canbelto said:

It's too bad she doesn't have a choreographer who can really choreograph for her strengths (her charm and beauty and lyricism).

Methinks she should choreograph for herself! To the dancers on this thread, why is it that professional dancer/choreographers don't typically choreograph for themselves? My only experience is amateur, but throughout my recreational dancing, if we were choreographing a piece, we always danced in them as well.

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Just now, Emma said:

Methinks she should choreograph for herself! To the dancers on this thread, why is it that professional dancer/choreographers don't typically choreograph for themselves? My only experience is amateur, but throughout my recreational dancing, if we were choreographing a piece, we always danced in them as well.

They do! But it's more of a modern dance thing. Obvious examples: Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor (he was famous as the dad in Big Bertha), Merce Cunningham.

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On 2/23/2019 at 9:43 PM, cobweb said:

She had a difficult time in the final attitude-turning section of the Rose Adagio, kind of stumbling and falling off-pointe during the third turn and appearing quite unsteady; when the fourth suitor, Jared Angle, took her hand, he made the wise decision not to take her on the turn, and just held her there in place to fill the music.

A nice reminder of the value of stage experience and maturity. Good for Jared to steady her both physically and -- I assume -- mentally.

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Lovette also had some stumbles when I saw her on Tuesday of last week.  Of the five casts, she was my least favorite.  I don't think her technique is strong enough for Aurora. In most of the NYCB rep, Lovette performs well.  However, in the role of Aurora, there is nowhere to hide.  If you have weak technique, it will show.

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12 hours ago, Emma said:

Methinks she should choreograph for herself! To the dancers on this thread, why is it that professional dancer/choreographers don't typically choreograph for themselves? My only experience is amateur, but throughout my recreational dancing, if we were choreographing a piece, we always danced in them as well.

Having been a dancer who also choreographed a bit, I never considered casting myself in one of my ballets, although I did step in for an injured dancer once.  I never felt I could adequately set and clean the choreography while simultaneously worrying about my own dancing.  How do you watch rehearsal if you are participating in rehearsal?  But I'm sure there are some dancers who wear both hats with ease.

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1 hour ago, California said:

A nice reminder of the value of stage experience and maturity. Good for Jared to steady her both physically and -- I assume -- mentally.

I agree California. I wasn't there, but my guess is that, not only was she shaky, but the problems with the first promenades took up more time/music than they should have, and Jared Angle made a good call as to how to finish it out.

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4 minutes ago, vipa said:

I wasn't there, but my guess is that, not only was she shaky, but the problems with the first promenades took up more time/music than they should have, and Jared Angle made a good call as to how to finish it out.

Good point, I didn't consider that but it sounds right. Lovette's technical difficulties didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying the two performances that I saw. I loved her. I used to find her pretty, that is to say merely pretty, but in this run of SB I'm finding her really beautiful. 

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8 hours ago, canbelto said:

I find it a shame that no major newspaper has covered any performances in this Sleeping Beauty. Only the NYTimes.

Yes, it's puzzling.  In general the NYT dance coverage has been sparse, it seems, since Macaulay left. Not that I ever loved his reviews. Will they even name a new chief dance writer, or rely on Kourlas and Seibert and occasional contributors?  

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23 minutes ago, Marta said:

Yes, it's puzzling.  In general the NYT dance coverage has been sparse, it seems, since Macaulay left. Not that I ever loved his reviews. Will they even name a new chief dance writer, or rely on Kourlas and Seibert and occasional contributors?  

I even went to some of my favorite arts blogs like dancetabs and found no coverage. I mean ... not to toot my own horn but ... it's like the only person who covered several casts was ... me.

https://humbledandoverwhelmed.blogspot.com/2019/02/nycbs-sleeping-beauty-has-radiant-new.html

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7 hours ago, canbelto said:

I even went to some of my favorite arts blogs like dancetabs and found no coverage. I mean ... not to toot my own horn but ... it's like the only person who covered several casts was ... me.

There are several ballet-focused blogs that have reviewed multiple performances, though none that I can link to here.

Edited by nanushka
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Those who were only present at the Woodward/Huxley debut last Thursday witnessed the worthier of their two performances. At Sunday's matinee Woodward had a bobble at one point on her own, and there were at least a couple of serious partnership mishaps during the Wedding Pas de Deux. Otherwise, Woodward again was superb during The Spell and The Vision sections, and Huxley excelled in his solos. Comments about Huxley not projecting royalty are understandable; however, neither quite did Woodward in the final scene. Many in the orchestra section gave them a standing ovation at the ballet's conclusion.

Of the five Auroras Lauren Lovette appeared the most frustrated with the technical demands of the role. Nevertheless, she also had many gorgeous moments, and looked very natural as a Princess. Along with the outstanding Joseph Gordon as Prince Désiré, she seemed to have materialized straight out of a picture book.

At the performances I saw the various women who performed the fairy variations during The Christening did so with finesse and elan. The qualities Aurora has been blessed with in this production are worth noting: tenderness, vivacity, generosity, eloquence, and courage.

Since there are so many instances in this work where the stage is crowded with dancers, occasional issues with group alignment and formation are to be expected. Although it is possible that from my position I missed some, nothing of this nature I observed proved especially distracting. The Lilac Fairy’s Attendants during The Christening, the Maids of Honor during The Spell, and The Nymphs during The Vision were particularly enchanting.

One of the dancers I have most often seen on the stage at NYCB is Lauren King. In addition to some uneven work, I have also seen numerous estimable performances by her. Furthermore, even though always appreciative of her loveliness, an opportunity not long ago to briefly witness her dance from close at a studio made me realize how I had nonetheless underestimated it. Her being cast as the Lilac Fairy this season was not surprising, nor was how much I enjoyed her in the part.

Ever since becoming a soloist Emilie Gerrity has done some truly excellent work, and in this run she was fantastic in her Fairy of Tenderness variation, and as Emerald.

On Sunday I happily caught sight of Unity Phelan as one of the Garland Dance Villagers, and wondered whether she would in fact appear as one of the precious metals during The Wedding. That did not occur. Regardless, she shone in this season's The Sleeping Beauty in all her three roles: as the Fairy of Courage, as Diamond, and as Emerald. Earlier in the week her missing two scheduled performances as the Fairy of Courage led me to fear that what I was so looking forward to on Thursday would not take place. Thankfully, it did: witnessing Phelan as Diamond, Brittany Pollack as Emerald, and Ashley Laracey as Ruby dancing so resplendently together was one of the absolute highlights of the run for me.

A key reason for NYCB's success this past decade has undoubtedly been the extraordinary level of achievement by three of its finest and most highly motivated principal dancers: Ashley Bouder, Sterling Hyltin, and Tiler Peck. All three consistently deliver performances of genuine merit and distinction in both the regular NYCB repertory and full-length/story ballets! With their magnificent renditions as Aurora this winter season each reaffirmed her standing as a true pillar in the current NYCB roster.

Finally, in my opinion, no performance during this run surpassed in beauty, power, depth and cohesion the one Friday night with the second cast. Tiler Peck, Tyler Angle, Ashley Laracey and Sara Mearns were all so exceptionally beautiful and effective in their respective roles as to—notwithstanding how much of this ballet I had seen during the past two weeks—evoke my regret at not having been able to catch the middle one of their three performances.

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"First comes the sweat. Then comes the beauty, if you’re very lucky and have said your prayers."

This goes way more for “l'amour," as the immortal La Belle au bois dormant patently implies. Although for a human being to experience profound love may be difficult and rare, it is not impossible. Through the sundry productions that have issued from the original version by Tchaikovsky and Petipa ballet has vividly, splendidly brought to theatrical life a story that is exquisite and timeless to begin with. Aficionados may debate the merits and shortcomings of various productions, and criticize the version by Martins all they wish. It would be false and dishonest of me not to acknowledge, however, that this production by NYCB initially aroused the curiosity which led me personally to reflect on the story.

Not surprisingly, with such a complicated work and enormous cast not everything panned out during this two-week run. Yet the past fortnight at NYCB has been altogether immensely rewarding and enjoyable.

 

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I did not see Liebeslieder Walzer back in the day, and I know there are strong feelings about the deficiencies of current casting vs the original. I can't speak to that. But I can say that I find it an overwhelmingly beautiful piece and I am grateful for last night's performance and am eager for tonight and tomorrow. If they are putting together next year's programming, I urgently hope they will put more performances of this on the schedule. 

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Last night, with an electrifying performance from Daniel Ulbricht and secure solid work from the entire cast of prodigal and then a luminous, transcendent performance of one of the most sublime Balanchine works was just what was needed to usher in a new era at NYCB. I’m grateful that pure circumstance led me to last night’s show. I found myself choking up at the humility and grace of Jon Stafford and Wendy Whalen in their curtain speech and I’m renewing my NYCB membership as my vote of confidence. 

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I was also at last night's performance, and thoroughly enjoyed both Prodigal Son and Liebeslieder Walzer. Tess Reichlen was stunning, and in addition to evoking the essence of the femme fatale, she made the maneuvering of the cape and all of the runs en pointe look as if it was the only way that she could be moving. Daniel Ulbricht was also very moving, and I found the entire cast of men quite strong, too. I'd never seen Liebeslieder Walzer, and was blown away. I didn't expect to enjoy it—I'm not much of an opera person—but was intrigued regardless. The emotion and development of the rapport between the couples had me transfixed, and when the first couple emerged at the end with ballroom shoes and her long dress, I was sad that my glimpse into the world the dancers inhabited was over—I imagine it as a grown-up parallel to seeing versions of the Nutcracker where Marie/Clara is seen at the end asleep on the couch in her living room and you're left wondering what was real and what was a figment of the imagination. Sterling Hyltin seemed to float through the entire ballet (though her dress seemed just a tiny bit too long, and I found myself worrying she'd step on it at times). I don't know if I've ever seen Maria Kowroski out of pointe shoes, but I was amazed watching the articulation of her feet through her line even in the ballroom slippers. I enjoyed Ashley Bouder's performance, but I'd read Alastair Macaulay's analysis of her PDD and did not see the same nuance that he described, though I think after watching it a second time, I might find that in her dancing, too. I felt like Ashley Laracey and Justin Peck looked the least rehearsed of the couples, though honestly, I think what distracted me the most in watching their partnering was that Peck's suit bunched up so much in the shoulders that it really broke his line and made him look like he must be uncomfortable! I was hoping that the men would remove their jackets in the second half, but their gloves seemed like the only change costume-wise in moving from the portrayal of the "real" to that of the "soul". I wish I could read more about this ballet, as it certainly gave me new insight into Balanchine's world, both choreographically and intimately. 

Whelan and Stafford gave a brief talk, and though it was an odd night at the ballet (not a full house, and, as Macaulay's NYT piece points out, lots of departures both after Prodigal Son and the first half of Liebeslieder Walzer), they looked radiant and composed. I'll say more in the appropriate thread, but it was nice to see the two together.

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